Apparently, I forgot to hit publish in September 2013
Enough already, so sad that industry publications continue to write articles about direct writers (state farm, allstate, geico, liberty mutual, etc.) and how the independent agents are competing against them. Are you really? Maybe it is time for a solid look in the mirror. While you are at it maybe you look at your business plan as well.
Some things to consider;
1. Do you really want their customers? I like leftovers but my wife is a great chef. Her leftovers are the only one’s I eat, I’m not interested in anyone else’s. The lesson, focus on what you want instead of what they do not want.
2. Let’s face it, most companies want the same preferred business; great credit, own a home, have a college degree, married. Do you? Funny thing, in my experience, I do not see this very often among the Geico policies I replace. How about you?
3. Do any of your carriers not have a top notch call center? Don’t you have to have one if you want to be in business today? Thing is just because you advertise it doesn’t mean it is any better than a company that does not advertise it.
4. If you have an agency management system you have all sorts of ways to automate your follow up with current customers and prospects. Thing is you can time it up so you regularly reach them with VALUABLE information. Please let me know the last time a valuable piece of direct mail came from a direct writer….Yup, me neither. I think you might see a narwahl first 🙂
5. When was the last time you went shopping and the only thing on your mind was price? Go look in your kitchen, let me know how many store brands there are versus big companies. But that is not the real comparison see most of those store brands are made by the big companies. Now look again, do you have any of the real cheap cans of vegetables? Boxed goods? Odds are the customers you want don’t have them either. So why are you still worried about the price?
6. LOYALTY is most often reserved for PEOPLE, not brands or companies. How many people know their call center rep?
7. Based on my results and likely yours, you can get competitive rates for 8 out of 10 people you talk to. Let’s be conservative and drop that to 7 out of 10. 7 out of 10. There is no mathematical way that if you only have one company you can duplicate that result. So why spend the time on the 2-3 people that you cannot get a competitive rate for? *See number 1 ” do you know who you want”
8. Back to loyalty for a moment. You’ve built a business but have you built relationships? We are in a long term business, the profit from any household/customer/client/business rarely comes in the first year. How are you keeping them around? This is differentiating yourself from those companies you are supposedly in competition against. Heck it is also solidifying your position among any of the other local insurance options.
Bottom line, BUILD YOUR BUSINESS. It will build faster if you focus on what you can control.