Despite advances in technology and the continual creation of new communication platforms, developing prospects and generating leads remains the ever-present challenge crucial to success of most insurance agents and financial advisors.
InsuranceNewsNet talked to numerous agents and advisors, including a number of company founders and CEOs, to find out what strategies had worked for them.
Linda Chavez, founder & CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder, based in LA, commented on three of the most common and proven strategies: networks, cold calling and using social media.
Networking: “Networking is one of the most effective strategies used to prospect and generate leads in the insurance industry,” says Chavez, adding, “Whether that means meeting with referral partners, attending events, or simply meeting people face-to-face in your local community, networking can be a great way to get your name out there and make connections which may lead to future business opportunities.”
Cold Calling: While cold calling can be a time-consuming process, it is still a great way to reach out directly to potential customers and get your name out there, says Chavez. “Cold calls should be approached with an understanding that not everyone will be interested in what you have to offer, so don’t take it personally if you don’t get responses right away.”
Social Media: Social media is an increasingly popular tool used to prospect and generate leads in the insurance industry, especially as the numbers of platforms has grown and evolved. “With platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube,” says Chavez, “you can reach out to potential customers who may not have otherwise been aware of your services. Additionally, you can use social media as a platform to showcase your expertise in the industry and demonstrate why people should choose you for their insurance needs.”
Cold calling and social media are likely to have short-term results, Chavez says, as both involve making quick connections with potential customers.
Networking, on the other hand, can be a great way to generate long-term leads. “You will create relationships which may lead to future business opportunities. Additionally, having an active presence on social media can help to generate long-term leads, as you can continuously engage with potential customers and build relationships over time.”
Chavez offers some tips for success:
Audience: Make sure that you are targeting the right audience – make sure that you are targeting potential customers who are interested in the services you offer.
Create a unique message: Differentiate yourself from competitors by creating a unique and compelling message that will capture the attention of your audience.
Follow up with leads: Don’t let leads fall through the cracks; make sure to follow up with them in order to turn them into customers.
Utilize analytics. Track your progress and use data to make informed decisions about the strategies you are using.
Cold emailing, says Chavez, is one strategy that has not worked out for her in prospecting and generating leads in the insurance industry. “While this can be an effective strategy, the response rate is often so low that it ends up being a waste of time and resources.”
She does use email as part of her prospecting and lead generation, however. “Email is a great way to reach out to potential customers quickly and easily, and I have seen success with it in the past. Additionally, I use content marketing as part of my strategy, as this can be effective for building relationships with potential customers over time. Overall, I would recommend testing out different strategies and seeing which works best for you.”
Quick outcomes vs. long-term results
Adam Garcia, CEO of The Stock Dork, based in Orlando, Florida, is also a financial consultant. He offers several strategies for generating leads.
“To generate leads in the insurance industry, there are different strategies that can be used for both short-term and long-term results. For quick outcomes, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media advertising can be effective. PPC allows you to create targeted ads and drive traffic to your landing pages immediately, while social media advertising helps you reach a broad audience and engage potential leads quickly. These tactics attract interested individuals and direct them to your insurance offerings.
“However, for more long-term results, strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and networking/referral programs can be valuable,” says Garcia. “SEO involves optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results over time. Although it takes time to establish a strong online presence, it can lead to consistent organic traffic and leads.”
“Content marketing, including blogging, videos, and educational resources, helps establish your expertise and credibility, attracting potential leads who actively seek valuable information,” he says, adding, “Networking and referral programs require time to build relationships and cultivate trust, but they can lead to long-term referrals and a loyal client base.
“To be successful in prospecting and lead generation in the insurance industry, it is essential to define your target audience and understand their specific demographics, needs, and pain points,” Garcia says. “Using data and analytics to monitor and analyze the performance of your lead generation efforts can help you optimize your campaigns and make informed decisions about resource allocation.”
Garcia says that providing valuable and educational content that addresses common questions, concerns, and challenges faced by your target audience can establish trust and position you as a knowledgeable resource. “Optimizing your website and landing pages to be user-friendly, responsive, and optimized for search engines can maximize conversion rates.”
Finally, leveraging automation and lead nurturing through marketing automation tools can streamline and personalize your lead nurturing process, while regularly evaluating the performance of your lead generation strategies and making adjustments based on feedback and data can lead to continuous improvement, he says.
Financial health checks
“One of the best strategies that has worked for me in generating insurance leads and prospects is by offering free one-on-one financial health checks via online virtual meetings,” says Raymond Quisumbing, a registered financial planner affiliated with Bizreport.com. “By offering free financial health checks, I am able to determine a client’s financial problem and offer the most suitable financial solution. This improves my chances of closing a sale. In case I am unable to close a sale, I am still able to ask the customer for possible referrals, assuming he or she enjoyed or benefited from the free financial checkup that I conducted.”
“In our company, we build our social media marketing for generating insurance leads,” explained Jonathan Merry, CEO & founder at Moneyzine. “For this, it is important to build a network. Since I was focusing on Facebook, I started by building my friends list aggressively and joining every group you can think of that might have my target demographic.”
“Before anything else, I read the group rules about advertising and posting in those groups about business or life insurance,” says Merry. “It is a lot of work at first, but this is how to do it on Facebook, and it will pay off.”
“You can reach tens of thousands of people this way if you’re consistent. At one point, I was generating 3-5 leads a week on Facebook like this,” he says, adding, “Quality, exclusive, referral-quality leads that I consistently closed at a 70% rate. People wanted to talk to me because they trusted me and felt connected to me.”
“If you can leverage existing relationships in these groups, that’s even better. You want to be the center of a hive of activity around your niche. Consider using video as well on Facebook, this is powerful. Remember to clean up your Facebook page. Remove everything that you wouldn’t want a potential client to see. And get a good headshot.”
‘A multipronged attack’
Will Cutler, a licensed insurance agent based in South Carolina says, “Prospecting can be very tough… you would think technology would make it easier, and in some ways in has, but in others it has not made it easier.”
Cutler takes what he calls “a multipronged attack to prospecting:”
Warm Market Approach: “The ole’ friends and family approach This positive to this one is it gives you people you know and typically want to help you succeed. I have generated a lot of business just through my current sphere of influence. The negative is that a lot of times they see you a certain way. If you were ‘the partier,’ they usually still see you as that partier. Using low level products like term can be easy but when trying to get to higher level stuff like cash value life insurance, premium finance, or annuities to handle their retirement, you have a big hurdle to get over.”
Social Media: “Dollar for dollar, it’s the best you can prospecting tool out there. As long as you are staying compliant – and most importantly consistent – you can generate quite the following and over time you are the trusted professional. I have friends in the industry to do six figure target premium every month and 100% of their leads come from social media. I do use social media but haven’t been super consistent. With that being said, I have set many appointments because of a post I have done or a ‘Live’ [broadcast].”
Buying Leads: “Here is where technology can be your downfall. I hear of people paying $350-$500 per annuity lead and to me that is crazy. I know it’s a numbers game but that’s a big commitment. On the flip side, I know people that pay $6-$10 per lead through the company they are with. This sounds great with a low entry point, but you get what you pay for. When you dive deeper, you learn that the majority of the IMO’s money comes from selling and reselling its own agents’ leads. You really have to do your due diligence with the lead source. When you find a good one, hang on to it!”
Email & CRM: “No matter where the lead comes from, I input it into my CRM. After I have figured out what type of lead it really is, I assign a particular drip campaign that will drip emails over the course of 12-14 months depending on the campaign. What I have found is the lead at some point was interested. Maybe when you called wasn’t a good day/month for them. Sometimes you just have to keep getting in front of them and remind them you are there and have what they were looking for.”
Referrals from clients: “This is probably the best lead source because they just did or have done business with you. Hopefully you are doing annual reviews with them to make sure they are happy and everything is up to date. (If you aren’t doing annual reviews start doing them immediately). Many times, they don’t want to give you a name and number for you to ‘sell’ their friend or relative something. Once I have delivered a policy (life or annuity) there are beneficiaries and I make sure they are correct. I have the client reach out to let the beneficiary know I will be calling them. I tell the client I want them to know me, have my contact information, and what to do when something happens. I have never had one not make the introduction. From there, it’s just cultivating a relationship and finding how you can help them.”
Do research, and ‘be persistent’
John Espenschied, owner of Insurance Brokers Group located, based in St Louis, points to research and being persistent as key to successful prospecting.
Do your research: Before you start prospecting, it’s important to do your research and understand your target audience. This will help you tailor your message and approach to their needs.
Be prepared: When you’re prospecting, it’s important to be prepared. This means having a clear sales pitch and being able to answer any questions that potential customers may have.
Be persistent: Prospecting can be a lot of work, but it’s important to be persistent. Don’t give up if you don’t generate a lot of leads right away. Keep at it and you’ll eventually start to see results.
When it comes to lead generation, he recommends setting up a system and patience:
Create a lead generation system: A lead generation system is a set of processes and procedures that you use to generate leads. This could include things like creating a lead magnet, running paid advertising, or attending industry events.
Track your results: It’s important to track your results so that you can see what’s working and what’s not. This will help you make adjustments to your lead generation system and improve your results over time.
Be patient: It takes time to generate leads. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep at it and you’ll eventually start to see success.
Relationships matter most
Our business strategy is to partner with the nation’s leading RIAs to deliver the best Life Insurance advice and strategy implementation to their clients, said Matt Celenza of Boulevard Wealth Partners, who specializes in business insurance services.
“Generating leads comes through developing long-term partnerships with advisory firms and their advisor teams. We prospect by reaching out to RIA management teams and/or their best advisors. The RIA space has grown dramatically in the past ten years. RIA’s have come to learn that as independent advisors with generally smaller staff footprints than the brokers and wire houses they left, it is critical to have the best 3rd party advisors and outsourced service providers feeding into their businesses.”
Celenza says in his practice, there is no quick fix for developing prospects. “These relationships take time to curate and usually start top down. As a partner of the advisor, we have to integrate into their process, both for themselves and their client. It means we need to lead with our service and not the product. What we find is that once a trusted relationship is established and our services are recognized for their value, advisors lean into the partnership and caseload dramatically increases.”
While creating lasting relationships is crucial to his business, Celenza says there are some tactics that don’t work well. One, he says, is what he calls “fighting for mindshare.”
“We know the value of our service and expertise. There are so many RIAs out there that want our services, we have learned not to focus on those who don’t want it – despite the fact they probably do. We have found these same firms coming back to us years later when they realized the value of what we provide. Focus on who wants to work with you, not who wants to be convinced.
Like most firms, Celenza says uses social media. “It’s been great for branding [but] less successful for case generation.”
John Forcucci is InsuranceNewsNet editor-in-chief. He has had a long career in daily and weekly journalism. Contact him at John.Forcucci@innfeedback.com. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnF.
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