How can a commercial insurance broker or agent increase their insurance sales?

 

Hello,

My name is Pranav Gakhar and I am the founder of PointConversion. I wanted to write this post today to share my thoughts on today’s insurance traffic and where I believe it is going.

I will also share some methods to generate business below that have proven to be successful for me.

 

Let’s get straight to it!

 

Writing huge volume is great. You have a ton of clients, their data, renewals, opportunity to cross sell/up sell, etc.

But why just chase the # of accounts? You can write a dozen $200 commission accounts or write one $2,000 commission account.

The idea is to generate commission, write good business, and keep your markets happy.. well unless you are after the customer data as well and want to diversify your book with markets, feed programs, have a market share, competitors, and other reasons.

 

Well today, to keep it simple, I will just talk about 2 ways to write more premium.

 

  1. You need more traffic to your agency or brokerage.
  2. You need big accounts.

 

More traffic to your agency or brokerage

 

You need to be online (Organic search) – Just step back and think about how you search for most things today. Forget your customer and forget what you have been told. Think about you! Well, the answer should be online. It does not matter if its a movie ticket, shoes, computers… Google almost always has an answer.

Coming back to insurance… I came in the insurance industry in 2014 (Side note – After great 5 years in this space, effective early 2019, I have stopped selling insurance. I am now a full time SEO/internet marketer that generates commercial insurance leads for P&C licensed agents and brokers across Canada).

Anyways, right of the bat, I was exposed to the ‘online’ business model of generating insurance leads as a broker and closing them. I still remember looking at the google serp sometime in 2014 and seeing guys running ads and a few big players optimizing their sites on the search engines (Google, bing, and yahoo) to show up organically. When you search for a product, google populates the first 4 results with paid ads. Below that section you start seeing local business listings and organic sites. These organic sites are the properties that have SEO (Search engine optimization) teams behind screens working day and night to bring their clients to the #1 spot for given keywords.

So why am I telling you this? Well the future customer is online and you need to have a plan in place from today to make sure you will be contacted for their insurance needs when they are looking. Now this customer that I speak of is the small business owner, freelancer, mom and pop shops.. basically your $1,000 to $3,000 accounts. Guess what, there are millions of these guys. That’s a lot of premium to write. Plus they all have home, auto, life, disability, health and dental insurance needs… and what if one of them turns out to be the next Uber? Well that’s an account you would want.

So the question you may have…”Well what do I need to do to make sure I survive and thrive?”

The answer is simple. You need to hire a SEO company/in-house team to start dominating the local search results for keywords in your area OR you can buy commercial insurance leads online from PointConversion and skip that process entirely.

When I talk about local search results, let me give you an example. Let’s say you are in Hamilton, Ontario and want to target contractors for their CGL. Your SEO team needs to start optimizing for kws such as contractors insurance hamilton, insurance for contractors in hamilton, hamilton insurance brokers, etc. If you hire a good team or company, they will know what to do. The truth is, there are very few good companies and they are not cheap.

 

Google organic local search results for keyword

 

local seo listings for brokers

 

I want to emphasize the importance of a good SEO professional before moving forward. One algorithm update from Google can totally demolish your website rankings if your SEO team has used any unethical form of link building or SEO tactics. Today it takes 3-6 months for a site to start ranking for kws. SEO companies are expensive. Well.. it’s tough work and there are only 10 spots that get any traffic on the google search results. To be honest, only the top 5 results see any real traction. Think about it, have you even been on the second page of google or have had to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page?

Now our insurance companies are jumping in this SEO space like never before. These guys have millions to shell out. You most likely don’t. If you are willing to invest your hard earned money… do not be afraid to spend big to hire a top notch SEO company. You could be paying $x,xxx – $xx,xxx/month. But think about the ROI. Think about why these insurers are doing it.

Search is going towards voice.. how we will search will change.. soon. Virtual reality is coming. Augmented reality is coming. Conversational AI will dominate. That’s just the space I understand. There are genius minds in this world working while you and I sleep. But one thing is for sure.. search engines are not going anywhere.

On the other hand, you can hire us to be your lead generation partner. We will do all the optimization and you pay us per lead. You learn more our model by going to the homepage.

 

You need to be online (Paid search) – Google Adwords and Bing Ads allow you to bid $x per click to your website when a user searches a keyword on Google or Bing. For example, you tell Bing and Google that you are will pay $10 for a click to your site if the user is searching for lets say contractors insurance in your area.

So when a contractor goes on Google or Bing and searches for contractors insurance, your paid ads start showing up and from that point if the contractors clicks your ad and ends up on your website, you pay the $10 for that click. Bidding in reality works a lot differently. Please use the example above just to understand the idea of paying per click (PPC).

 

Google screenshot

 

 

 

Bing screenshot

 

 

The best part about this type of advertising is that results are instant. You can setup a campaign within a day and tell Google or Bing to charge you no more than $100/day for certain keywords. This should bring in some good traffic to your website.

You will start seeing traffic come through your doors shortly after you launch your campaign. Now this all sounds great. The reality of things is, you will need a serious budget to gain some traction. You will find it comforting to hear that once your ad campaign is optimized (this takes couple of weeks and thousands of dollars in ad spend), you will start seeing some SERIOUS ROI. Let’s say $100/day budget = 2 sales… well that is amazing if you factor what else can come out of that business. I would recommend hiring a company and outsourcing 100% of your paid campaigns unless you have expertise in house. An amateur building these campaigns will burn clicks and cost you thousands more of testing that could have been avoided had you worked with a pro.

The companies that specialize in PPC have their own monthly fees – $300 to $x,xxx per month in addition to your ad spend budget. So with a $100/day budget your total expense for the month will be $100 x 30 + $300 to $x,xxx / per month. These figures may seem huge but it is totally worth every single dime IF you hire the right guys and target the right traffic. Your PPC expert should do this analysis for you and will do it. If you are looking to step into the digital ads world, going with Google or Bing ads is the way!

 

You need to be on social media – This generation of man is addicted to technology. Our dopamine levels are constantly shooting in search of novelty and social media platforms fuel that addiction. Think about how many times in a day you unlock your phone and go on a social media application. I read somewhere that a person does this more than 30 times… most times without any thought or reason behind the action.

From a physiological perspective.. when we do something fun or pleasureful.. our brain releases dopamine. We think dopamine is a pleasure neurotransmitter but in also releases so the brain can remember what was done to get that pleasure.

When you went on Facebook and scrolled and saw that funny cat video, your brain released dopamine to make you feel pleasure and to also teach itself how to make that pleasure return… fast forward, the average brain is shooting dopamine all the time to push you to pick up your phone to feel more of it. Novelty + dopamine = the strongest addiction.

 

Here is a video on the subject

 

 

Anyways I tell you this because if you can not dominate search, you can definitely make an impact on social media platforms such as FB, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Here is what you need to do

 

Facebook – Run ads. Hire a company and tell them what targeting you want. By targeting I mean geo, profession, age, gender, and other variables. Run conversion tracking and your campaign objectives should be to optimize for a desired action. Research FB pixels and custom conversions. Use FB’s lead gen forms to collect leads. FB lead forms are far more efficient at generating the lead vs your own website. Use video ads as your creatives if you can. Target locally first and then scale campaign in your licensed territories.

Instagram – Run ads. These ads can be ran for the same targeting right from your FB ads manager. FB owns Instagram.

LinkedIn – Majority of you know this part. What I will say is start inboxing customers on the platform itself and personalize the messages. Brian Tracy said in one of his books about 1 min of planning = 10 mins saved… or something like that. Instead of a generic message, search their profile for points you can mention in the message and add your twist. You researching your client is the planning part. Send 20 or 30 personalized inboxes a day so you don’t have to send 200 generic spam like messages. It works. Easiest way to know is to do it yourself or think about how you have made someone $ because of their message to you.

Twitter – This platform can be used similarly to FB and Instagram. I have not experimented with ads on this platform. What I would do is follow the followers of other brokers or professional associations or prominent figures in the professional’s industry that you are targeting. Why do this? Well people that follow these accounts are your potential customers. Get in front of their screens by grabbing their attention with a follow or dm. Make sure you have a pinned tweet setup and keep your content head lines such that they generate curiosity or motivate the person to know more.

 

Now, let’s talk about the big accounts

 

To write big accounts, a few things must exist. Before moving forward, these are only my thoughts and opinions.

 

  1. You need to be specialized
  2. You need to know your product – inside out.
  3. You need to have tags – CAIB, CIP, CRM, etc
  4. You need to look presentable and fit right in.
  5. You need to be meeting guys in person.
  6. You need to have personalized social media accounts.
  7. You need to tailor yourself to the client.
  8. You need to be on top of the industry trends

 

You need to be specialized – Pick your lane. Pick a line of business of business you like and enjoy researching. Then pick a niche within it. Example – You like writing commercial lines > You like E&O products > You like dealing with engineers > You become an expert in the E&O space for engineers. The guys at the top only write a few accounts a year and they are all the same kind of business.

 

You need to know your product inside out – Once you pick your specialization, study the markets that provide this coverage. Familiarize yourself with policy wordings. Talk to underwriters. Talk to your principal. Talk to other brokers. Read other broker websites. If you quote a client, ask for their previous policy. Study their coverages… you will always learn something new. This concept of realizing that I will always learn more came to me when I started picking up self help books. When you will sit in a room with a millionaire/an expert/a big player… he or she will sniff out an amateur in a second. To get to where they are, they dodged countless bullets. They are conditioned to tune out your weakness and move on to the next one who they ‘believe’ to be the best. This is kind of like women detecting an insecure man.

 

You need to have tags – CAIB, CIP, CRM, etc – These tags earn you respect. They provide you an aura of exclusivity. Not many people can dedicate the time or have the capability to attain these designations. Your insurance peers will value you more, be open to talk to you about topics that they screen the rest out for, and you overall will be a more valuable asset wherever you go. Also, your big premium paying customers will also have tags of their own. They will respect you just like you will respect them. They will view you through a different lens just like to view them. The title of a CEO screams something. A tough designation next to your name does the same. Above all, you learn more and become even more confident in your position.

 

You need to look presentable and fit right in – In 2015, my principal in front of the whole floor called me out and embarrassed me for wearing a hoodie to work. In the moment, I was angry, but this man made an impact in my life which I realized later on. In 2017, I found myself at a convention trying to network and feeling unwanted and awkward. I wore black jeans, a spotted shirt, and a blazer. My shoes were kind of beat up. Dressed like I am going to the local bar to meet chicks. I met no chicks that weekend either.

Anyways, I was at that convention to meet insurance companies to talk about and pitch a few of my ideas. I got cards but next to no responses. I do not think anyone even remembered me. Or if they did, I probably did not make a good impression. We judge based on appearance. I cant blame them, I would be guilty of the same. Point is, you want to look like the person others want to work with. This point probably would not apply to most, but this was a game changer for me.

 

You need to be meeting in person – The sharks, whales, and other monsters of the sea do not shop online. A guy that generates 8 million dollars a year has no time to look for a broker online and request a quote. He has been working with the same broker for the past 20 years and could care less about his $45,000 premium. The assistant has better things to do. Only time he or she may explore another broker is if the relationship with the current provider collapses for whatever reason. This usually would not be the case as brokers that sit on these accounts service them properly.

Your only way in is to walk straight in to their office. Go to the receptionist and ask to speak to whoever you have researched before hand on their company site/linked-in. Ask for a 10 minute conversation and get to the point. That 10 mins of your life will make the biggest difference. Meeting people face to face changes the game. Not a single client of mine would pay me a dime for leads had I not done a presentation for them.. initially more than now. As the online space grows, so does the return on walking in an office as fewer brokers will resort to this approach.

 

You need to have personalized social media accounts – Social media in general is like a perspective setting machine on its own. Your friends, your pictures, your likes, interests, everything.. says something about you. Think about who you are targeting and cater to their eyes. Keep it professional. Keep it clean. You must make them like you.

 

You need to tailor yourself to the client – You met with a large manufacturer in a 100,000 sq facility and got 10 minutes of his time. His renewal is in 4 months. He will be present at a charity golf tournament and his assistant sends you an email invite as he liked you, golf came up previously, and he has spare tickets. But you don’t know what a driver even is. The point is, you want to be able to execute, within reason, to earn the business. Is picking up golf worth a shot at $150,000 in annual premium? I hope you can see beyond the scenario above and get the idea.

 

You need to be on top of the industry trends – What the specialist knows is what makes him the specialist. The top guys know what’s going on, at all times. They research themselves, their successful friends talk, and they can afford to buy data/insight. That is why they are at the top. Research your industry everyday for at least 1 hour. You want to be able to add value in front of other professionals of that industry. The more you know, the better you will understand coverages. The more underwriters will respect you. The less of a risk you will be in all actuality. The more wisdom you will impute, the more familiar you will be to the sound of money.

 

I hope I was able to add some value to your life!

To learn more about PointConversation and myself, please go to our about us page.

If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at [email protected] … I am always up for a conversation.

Any questions about our commercial insurance leads, I can be reached directly at 1-888-509-1206 x 1337 or you can checkout this page, this page, and this page.

FAQ page about our leads can be accessed by click here.

And that’s it.

Pranav