If you’re like most successful agency owners and executives, you want your agency to stand out from the thundering herd of competitors — the rank and file of agencies making bland pitches to prospective business clients.
The first step is to identify your competitive advantages. These are the special expertise, services, products and other factors that set you apart from the competition. Then you have to effectively communicate and promote those advantages so prospects know why it’s worth their time to meet with you; so they want to meet with you.
Some agencies, though, particularly smaller ones, find it hard to come up with differentiators to magnetize prospects.
Larger agencies may have access to more markets, sophisticated online tools, and other resources. But what can a ten-person agency do to establish themselves as go-to authorities and position themselves as the agency of choice? There’s quite a bit, actually. Here are four examples of how smaller agencies can leverage resources and create strong, unique identities.
Collaborate, educate, and communicate
- When CSRs are knowledgeable about coverage issues, customers come away feeling assured and confidant about the agency’s expertise. One well-trained CSR was able to show a customer that their umbrella policy did in fact cover a claim that another agent mistakenly thought wasn’t covered. Not only was the customer delighted with the reversal of fortune, but that whole family became staunch advocates, spreading the word about the agency’s competency.
- Another agency, in conjunction with a local hospital’s travel nurse, offered a series of presentations with tips and caveats for vacation and business travel that helped established a strong identity for the agency and gave them a meaningful competitive advantage.
- In collaboration with the local Chamber of Commerce and a Professor of Community Development at a local college, another agency co-sponsored a series of “Keep our downtown strong” meetings that examined successful business development tactics used by other communities. The information sparked initiatives that helped to strengthening the town’s economic base and the agency enjoyed considerable positive publicity and recognition.
- One agency that we know of reaped lots of positive PR when they helped organize an innovative loss-prevention presentation for the local school district that involved a regional carrier with special expertise in school insurance and a number of vendor experts on topics like school violence and job applicant background checks. The program quite successfully raised awareness of their independent agency as risk management experts in the community.