Anyone who earns their living in sales (or has seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross) knows that not all leads are the same. Some are “sales ready” from the get-go and others need to be nurtured and coaxed along.
Nurturing leads is the popular expression these days, but we like the term incubate better. Incubation is a process that provides optimal conditions for growth and development.
You might be getting new business leads from trade shows, your own teleprospecting efforts, referrals from other clients, or even from a serendipitous meeting at a dinner party or your kid’s soccer game.
The path from the initial lead, to a face-to-face meeting, to writing the account is sometimes straightforward and quick. With insurance sales, though, there’s often a stretch of time before the prospect is ready to buy. And usually that delay is determined by the X-date.
Here’s the thing: if you wait until the X-dates are close before making a move to meet and review prospects’ policies, you’ve cut your chances of writing the account by maybe 50%. There are three good reasons that half of all commercial sales opportunities are lost this way.
In the first case, the current agent renewed the policies before the challenging agent even called to schedule a meeting. In other cases, competing agents, also aware of the prospect’s X-dates, have moved in early, effectively locking stragglers out of the process.
The third and most common reason leads die on the vine is simply that prospects, never strongly motivated in the first place and often busy with other issues when challenging agents approach them, just don’t have the time or inclination to bother comparing.
That’s why incubating insurance leads by sending well-crafted follow up emails can make a huge difference in the ratio of leads to meetings to accounts written.
What are you going to say in those messages so they provide those conditions for growth and development? We suggest they accomplish three critical things.
Establish your identity – Sometimes this is called building a brand. The point is to become a familiar and recognizable resource for your prospects. You do this through repetition and constancy: same name, same logo, and same recognizable newsletter or email format. That’s step one.
Show them you know what they need and have the resources to help – Step two is to make sure prospects know you’re experienced writing competitive coverage for their class of business. You know the risks they deal with and have similar clients you’ve been insuring for years. If those clients includes some marquee names, that’s even better. That’s the second way to optimize a prospect’s interest in your agency – by letting them know that you know what they need.
And the kicker is that you’ve got something other agents don’t – After establishing your credibility and gaining their confidence, you give them the best kind of reason to meet with you – you’ve got something no other agents have: a unique program, a special carrier, in-house services, or some other advantage that single you out from the thundering heard of competitors. Everyone else is claiming they can cut cost or improve coverage, but you actually have some special resource that few others have.