Some people see the glass half empty and some people see the glass half full. Personally, I tend to see the glass needing to be topped off.
Some insurance agents think that the period of time between Thanksgiving and New Years is a waste of time. They are convinced that people have their minds focused on holiday gifts and celebrations and do not want to interrupt their decorating, partying or shopping with insurance matters.
Other insurance agents think this is the best selling time of the years. They are convinced that with all the holiday shopping and joy in the air, people’s sales resistance is lower than normal. While other agents are busy with other pursuits, they are busy making money.
Both mindsets are correct. During this time, you can’t go wrong with either philosophy. If you think that December should be your busiest month of the year and are willing to work to make it so, you are correct. If, on the other hand, you have met your sales goals in the first 11 months of the year and want to take time off to enjoy the holiday season, you cannot be faulted.
The only thing that I would encourage both agents to remember is that the day after 2010 ends, 2011 begins.
Our agencies have more differences than things in common. My focus is on health insurance for people with Medicare. Other agencies focus on life, disability, car or commercial insurance. The knowledge of products and laws for each of those disciplines is vast. I’m a fairly intelligent guy and what I have learned in over 23 years of being an insurance agent is that there is so much to know in each area that I am not convinced that any one person can be an expert in everything.
I am aware that some agencies are licensed to sell insurance in multiple areas. I call them generalists. In my opinion, they are perfect for people who already know what they want. They can facilitate the purchase of insurance and spend the commission with the best of them.
Specialists, however, in my opinion are those agents who know a lot about a single type of insurance. While they may be able to facilitate the purchase of life and disability insurance, they are not qualified to give professional advice to customers in those areas but because they have concentrated their focus on health insurance policies, laws and trends, they are qualified to counsel customers in that area.
The one thing every agent has in common is the need to market their services. Our communities in general and target markets in specific need to be reminded of who we are, what we do and how to contact us.
The one thing that every insurance agent, throughout the US should be doing during December is making a marketing plan for 2011. Whether you take the entire month of December off or redouble your sales activities during the holiday season, it is so very important that you take the time to plan what marketing activities you will be using in 2011.
If you have no other marketing templates to follow, the 5 Ws of journalism can help.
Decide who your target market will be. List all the demographic information you can about them. Decide on the age, gender, geographic location, & etc. for your ideal customer. Obviously, you are still free to sell to anyone who wants your product but by selecting a target market to aim at you will be better able to decide what marketing tools you will be using.
What x 2
There are 2 “WHAT” questions you will need to answer.
1-What need do I want to solve in 2011?
All of us have products to use to solve needs from maintaining a standard of living for survivors in the event of a premature death to paying medical bills in the event of illness. As you determine your marketing plan for 2011 determine which need you want your marketing focus to be on.
That does not mean that you can’t solve both needs if a client requests your help and you have the products. All it means is that you will be better able to determine how to spend your marketing capital on the materials you need.
2-What marketing tools will I use?
As you develop your marketing plan you will need to decide which of the plethora of marketing tools are affective for your market.
For example, a recent study indicated that young adults tend to respond better to social media marketing while it is not as effective to people in the Baby Boom generation. Direct mail marketing techniques tend to work better for that demographic.
As you draw up your marketing calendar, you need to commit to some deadlines to make certain things get done. The old proverb tells us that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. By setting and keeping marketing deadlines you stand a better chance that your intentions will actually turn into deeds.
Your license is probably good anywhere in your state. I live just outside Houston, TX but my wife’s family lives in a small town north of Dallas. I am legally able to take care of the insurance needs of her family and their friends in Dallas but they are close to 300 miles from me.
I devote most of my marketing activities to places within 10 miles of my office. That way, when someone responds to one of my marketing pieces I am able to easily take care of their insurance needs and form a relationship with them.
If you are a captive agent and are required to report to a sales manager, he/she probably already has an official template approved by your insurance company. Whether you like the exercise or not is immaterial. Sometime this month you are going to have to fill out the report so it can be forwarded up the management line. This is the kind of paper work that mid-level management uses to justify their existence. Sales managers will use whatever you tell them on their precious forms as hammers to hit you with during 2011.
If, you are an independent agent, there are no managers looking over your shoulder to guarantee that you complete a marketing calendar.
Practically speaking, however, whether you are a captive or independent agent is immaterial. Whether you use the fancy forms provided by your insurance company or a plain yellow legal pad and pen makes no difference. Sometime during this month you need to commit to a plan of action for your own success.
If you have experienced the end of year “planning” and can share your experiences or comments to help young insurance agents, please leave them as Comments below.