Super Agent

Archive for August, 2016

Create a Center of Influence

If you’re looking to get in the door with leverage, there’s no better way than gaining an introduction from a Center of Influence. A well thought out, multi-channel approach is the way to go. While most well-developed Centers of Influence are happy to introduce you to their clients or colleagues, the quality and content of those introductions can actually harm your chances of entering with leverage if not done correctly.

Assuming your Center of Influence is eager to assist you, how confident are you that they can actually facilitate you in a manner that effectively positions your differentiators? Developing a “Center of Influence Presentation” will ensure that your prospects understand how you will bring value to them. How meeting with you is worth their time.

If you haven’t taken time to develop a Center of Influence Presentation, you could be missing an important step in developing successful referrals. Here are a few steps that will help your Centers of Influence get you in the door with leverage:

- Share your value proposition: Your Center of Influence should know what makes you different than other insurance agents in the marketplace. They should be able to clearly articulate what your process for engagement is, how you do it and why you do it differently. In addition, it’s important that they understand the impact it has created for your clients.

- Make sure they understand your perfect client type: Getting a referral for a prospect that isn’t a right-fit for you or your agency can put you in an uncomfortable and useless position. Make sure Centers of Influence know what makes someone a good prospect for you. Start with the basics: Number of employees, industry, geographic location and business complexity. Share the names of prospects you are looking to connect with and what makes them a good fit.

- Keep your Centers of Influence in the loop of your successes. Once they better understand the challenges you help your clients address, the risks you help them avoid and the opportunities you create as a result of your engagement, they will be more effective in telling your story.

Finally, put the information together in a brief presentation and schedule a business appointment with them. Then ask them to do the same for you. Building reciprocity is an important component of a long-term Center of Influence strategy.

These steps can help you better leverage your relationships and help you get through the door with more right-fit opportunities.

Make an Appointment with Yourself

The number one challenge facing agents and agency owners is that producers aren’t getting enough first appointments.

It’s not surprising considering the increasing number of touches that have become necessary to connect with prospects and capture their attention.

There are a few steps a producer can take to overcome this challenge.

First, it is important to understand that persistence matters. I’m not talking about stalking your prospects, but rather developing a well thought out series of strategic contacts that bring insights and value specific to their business needs.

This may sound like a lot of work, and if you are not working within an agency that has an inside-business development team, it’s likely that the work will be yours alone. This makes setting time aside to do the important work of developing and executing messages all the more critical.

Look at your calendar. How much time do you have specifically set aside over the next 90 days to do business development work? What is the likelihood that it will get done if it isn’t on your calendar?

Here’s the deal. If it isn’t on your calendar, it likely isn’t going to happen. Business development isn’t a default behavior for most producers.

If you are serious about making your numbers this year, you may want to consider the following:

- Carve out two 4-hour sessions each week, perhaps two days per week.

- Organize your prospects into a central database; a spreadsheet will do just fine. Organize those prospects by Industry, Date (if you’re a Property and Casualty agent) and number of employees (if you’re focusing on benefits.)

- Think about what’s important to your prospects; if you make your message about you, they won’t be interested. What they want to know is that you understand their business and can help them either reduce risks, or teach them something new.

- Finally, develop 3-5 messages in a template form.

This will help you become more efficient. If you’ve got your email message ready to go, you won’t have to waste valuable time creating one each time you reach out to a new prospect.

Remember, it’s critical to follow a plan. Start with about 10-25 prospects at a time. Make all of your calls, then follow-up each call with an email. Try to include an article or link that is relevant to your message. It’s a great way to bring value.

You may find that getting organized and started is the most difficult part. Once you create a pattern of calling, then following up with an email, you will get into a productivity groove that will yield results.

Ask yourself: “If I don’t try to become systematic, how many first appointments am I likely to get this month?”