If you are looking for ways to grow your agency, try turning your attention inside your business. You have a very powerful tool for growth within your existing customer base – you just need to know how to access it.
I’ve created a technique for regularly uncovering sales opportunities in your current database. I call this process ‘Retooling’ and it’s something that I have been doing on an annual basis in my agency for years.
Retooling means digging deeply into your current client base and reaching out to existing customers as a way to jumpstart growth. It’s a way to identify opportunities to sell additional policies to customers who already know and trust you. But it’s also a way to maintain accurate and updated information about your clients, which helps with retention.
I believe that you should systematically close the doors to your agency at least once a year and get your entire staff on the phone, having conversations with your clients. The office is essentially closed, aside from emergency calls and walk-ins, and your whole staff divides up the agency database and starts dialing – all day long, for as many days as it takes to get through your entire client list.
First of all, you must have an up-to-date database if you expect to run a successful agency. Secondly, through retooling, you and your staff get to know your customers better, and when you know them better, you can better anticipate their needs and wants. This is the best way to be sure you are providing the highest-level customer service, and it’s also a great opportunity to thank them for their business.
Set a call strategy
Before my staff starts calling, I always define exactly what customer information I want to collect. There are two main types of information you want to get from clients during retooling. One is additional ways to contact them, and the other is more reasons to call them in the future. Train your staff on what trigger points to look for (birthdays or anniversaries provide good reasons to call), and what types of information to ask for (phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, etc.). I also make sure our database contains personal notes about all our customers (hobbies or interests), which helps the staff have more personal conversations when retooling.
After you decide on your strategy for each call, you will want to set agency goals for the retooling process. What do you hope to accomplish? Some of my goals include talking to as many people as possible, saying thank you to all our clients for their business, gathering information, and uncovering opportunities to sell additional products into each household.
Prepare for success
Retooling is not hard to do, and it will pay off quickly. But before you retool, you need to start planning. About 30 days before you start calling, let your staff know what you’re trying to accomplish. Set a day to begin retooling, and reschedule any appointments that are set for that day. Next, print out a complete list of clients and make plenty of copies of each household update sheet so that your staff has the client’s current information in front of them when they call. You may want to make scripts for everyone to use during the calls. It’s also a good idea to stock up on supplies like letterhead, note cards, envelopes, stamps, brochures, and so on.
I like to buy gift cards for my staff as a reward for going with the flow and doing something out of their ordinary job descriptions. And I arrange to have lunch brought in on retooling days so no one needs to leave the office.
I have been retooling my agency database on an annual basis for years and years, and my customers always appreciate the time we take to talk with them. The information we gather during retooling helps us set appointments, and increases sales. During retooling I find out what additional needs my customers have, and I have the opportunity to offer it to them. Retooling also allows us to change the tone of our conversations with clients from selling to educating.
By retooling, you give your customers more reasons to stay with your agency. This system is a fantastic marketing tool, and allows you to be proactive and strategic, rather than reactive.
Ready to get started? You can find a complete retooling kit in my workbook, Unleash the Power of Your Agency.