Imagine a college graduate who embarks on his professional career in the life insurance industry. With high expectations for himself, he is willing to commit the time and effort to become a successful independent agent. Little does he know he is about to enter an industry with high turnover, lack of community and negative stereotypes that come with the title. He faces unknown daily obstacles including recent strict oversight from the DOL, an overwhelming learning curve and the ongoing struggle of putting himself in front of new clients and creating a stable source of income. As we all would agree, this college graduate is not alone.
This might lead to the question, “Well, what are successful agents doing to avoid these hurdles?”
A common theme you will find is their niche and their “know how.” They have a predetermined market they are targeting and a step by step system in place once targeted. Whether focusing on retirees for income planning, CPA’s for premium finance partnership or generation Y for college funding, they have a concrete, streamlined, turnkey approach to acquire and close these types of leads. A methodology if you will that can help you do three things: Generate, educate and nurture.
To start, let’s kick off with how top advisors can generate leads. Although there are endless opportunities, it really comes down to a core of four traffic sources one can choose from including seminar, email/social media marketing, direct mail, and live networking. You want to pinpoint one source where you feel most comfortable given your experience and potential. The one source I have analyzed the most and have seen success stories arise from has been through seminars and speaking in front of groups of people. Depending on your budget and whether you want to use the resources of a mail house, this can be done at dinner venues, civic centers, libraries, schools, and even country clubs. When doing the math, you want to make sure it makes sense before considering one yourself. Studies have shown that on a conservative basis 10,000 mailers will generate on average two nights of seminars, 67 attendees, 46 buying units, 45 percent appointment ratio, 21 appointments, 25 percent closing ratio leading to five cases with an average of $10,500 target case size. Per mailer campaign, you can realistically walk away with $52,500 of total target premium. While dinner seminars are categorized as expensive, I have seen consistent 4:1 even 5:1 returns on initial investment. I believe Maccius Plautus said it best, “You must spend money to make money.”
Once we have established a growing traffic source providing qualified leads through a seminar series, you then want to establish an educational platform that can assist you along the client lifecycle. Whether it’s having your clients watch videos, review e-books or read consumer guides, you need to choose a magnet that will capture their interest and attract them further to you. As an example, let’s focus on educational videos and the philosophy for what is known as “flip education.” Pioneered by education administrators, this strategy reverses the typical lecture and homework assignments. Instead of teachers lecturing, they will assign short videos for the students to watch at home. The next day in class all objections, questions and concerns can be covered while in front of the instructor. Now imagine doing the same with your clients. Videos can now be integrated into the appointment process which can increase accountability with the end user as homework assignments can be assigned via the splinter approach. This also shortens the client lifecycle and can create more meaningful dialogue with prospects moving forward.
This now leads to the bottom of the funnel where you are turning leads into prosperous clients. The third dimension, nurturing, consists of dripping on the leads that have triggered interest in you via the lead magnets. In my opinion, this is the most crucial step and can make or break any client acquisition process. Think about it. You can have all the client interest in the world but if you lack the back-end work of following up, those leads are worthless. According to the marketing firm Marketing Donut, “80 percent of sales require five follow up phone calls after the meeting.” If you’re familiar with mailchimp or infusionsoft, these automated campaigns will do just that. Based off the prospect’s status, long or short term emails will be sent out on your behalf. Not only would you have a mechanized follow up system in place, you would have full client analytics to study and monitor client behavior. According to the marketing group Annuitas, “Nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.” Truth be told, many sales are lost on the back end as persistency dissolves over time. Lastly, according to Sirius Decisions, “The average sales person only makes two attempts to reach a prospect.” This third dimension can help keep you in front of new leads throughout the year but also help retain existing clients going forward.
One of the most recent questions I received is, “Kyle, where can I find the best insurance leads?” Deep inside I know where this conversation is heading. Now, I’m not saying purchasing call leads will not work. If you’re lucky you might be able to squeeze a couple of term cases out of the bunch, but who’s bragging? To some it makes perfect sense. The internet is a mainstream source to conduct business and offers a lot of opportunity in the insurance industry. However, if you lack the tech savvy, large social media following and close relationships with insurance lead providers, I would look for other alternatives and better ways to acquire leads. As the conversation unfolded, I realized that not all agents are willing to change their ways. Does this mean he won’t be successful? Not at all. Does this mean he won’t do seminars? Probably so.
Part of my role as a field support representative is to steer agents in a direction where I think they’ll be most successful. By transitioning from outbound marketing to inbound marketing, one must be willing to change and pivot from buying leads to generating them yourself. This approach will get you in front of more quality prospects, bigger ticket cases, and give you the ability to take your practice to the next level.
is a Field Support Representative at LifePro Financial Services in San Diego, CA. Prior to joining Lifepro, Tomco studied business at Ashland University where he focused on the fundamentals of marketing and client acquisition. He is now part of an in-house team of highly experienced professionals where he provides profitable lead generation tactics and strategies for top independent insurance professionals to help grow their fixed life and annuity practices. Tomko can be reached by telephone at 888-543-3776 ext 3281. Email: [email protected]