I can’t get away from it. Every time I read something new or listen to a marketing coach they say the same thing. “Market to your existing customers.”
Actually, that sounds more dignified than the old Appalachian proverb, “Dance with them that brung ya.” They mean the same thing. “Keep an active line of communication with your clients.”
Whenever I hear the words, “I can’t remember my agent’s name,” I have mixed emotions. On one hand I am excited. I know, at the least, I am going to add a new client with a change of agent letter. The odds are great that if they do not know their agent’s name there are other holes in their insurance portfolio. All I need to do is review things with them. Rather than an agent of record letter, with a little customer service, I have a greater probability of a new sale.
On the other hand, when a prospect says that I am saddened. It tells me that the agent they had dealt with is less than professional. To me, one of the signs of a professional is the customer service they give their clients.
A sales person is very attentive to prospects until the policy has been delivered but forgets about them once they have cashed their commission checks. A professional realizes their relationship with this client is valuable and worth the time and effort required to nurture it.
Many of the products we sell pay renewal commissions after the first year. Once you have built up a number of clients, the renewals alone should guarantee you the level of income you need. Your need to constantly obtain new clients will diminish.
Face it; you are going to lose clients. People move away or decide their insurance needs have changed for whatever reason. All you need is to offset the ones you lose from natural attrition.
Professionals who maintain contact with their clients don’t lose them as often for frivolous reasons as the agent who is nothing more than a slick salesman.
As insurance agents we are taught the best time to contact people is right after a major life event, such as the birth of a child, recovery from a hospitalization or return to work after an injury.
Although it is a good practice to conduct an annual insurance review with your clients that does not always happen. By nurturing that client/agent relationship they will be receptive to you. Even if they are not open to a formal insurance review, if they know who, when and how to contact you, when they need your services, they are 6-8 times more likely to contact you than they are to “Google” another agent.
As a rookie insurance agent I was taught that a customer buys from you 1 or 2 times but they cannot be considered a client until their 3rd purchase. Many American consumers still believe in loyalty to someone they trust. Just remember you cannot demand trust or loyalty. They have to be earned.
Every agent I have ever met longs for the day when they no longer have to initiate communication but people call them when there is an insurance need. Whether is they are called referrals or word of mouth customers, all of us appreciate it when we answer the phone and the voice on the other end says “_________ told me to call you for help with my insurance problems.”
Your clients may be a little reluctant to give you names of people when you ask for referrals. Often, they have no problems with your service or professionalism. They just do not want it to look like they “sicced” a salesman on their friends.
By nurturing the agent/client relationship, when their friends mention a need for a service or product you deal with, they are happy to encourage their friends to contact you.
In the past I have used spontaneous telephone calls and printed newsletters to maintain contact with my clients. Those were fine I guess. Unfortunately, because of the time and expense involved, I was only able to make contact once a quarter. Those techniques nurtured my relationships but I found them a little less than efficient.
Today, all of my clients have an email address. For me email has been more efficient. Each week I send out an insurance educational email newsletter. Approximately 26% of my clients take time to read it each week. 100% of my clients are reminded each week of who I am and how to contact me.
Hardly a month goes by without a current client or referral calling my office for help with their health insurance.
For my agency, I need 400 – 750 clients for my agency to meet the financial goals I have. At that point, I anticipate the referrals and repeat business I get will offset the commissions I lose to natural attrition. When that happens I plan to use email marketing to nurture current clients only. Until then, however, email is just one of the marketing activities I use.
If you are using any other techniques to nurture your current clients, please share them in the Comments area below.