5 Myths About The Insurance Agent’s State Of Affairs
When forecasting the future, people tend to take on a dystopian view of how things will turn out. This fact has been apparent in talk related to the insurance agent. Fortunately, the “sky-is-falling” theorists don’t have much to go on if you look at the actual data. For example, a recent study from IBM showed that 69 percent of people still preferred buying from an insurance agent, and that number has stayed consistent since 2010 in spite of a shift towards the Internet for actual policy shopping. Nevertheless, certain myths persist about where we’re all headed. Here are five that won’t seem to go away.
- Google will put us out of business.
Yes, Google does have its hands in a lot of pots — search engines, Internet delivery, streaming content — but when it comes to insurance, the tech giant isn’t going to overtake the insurance agent any time soon. For starters, it’s a logistical nightmare for the company to serve a client’s ongoing needs in spite of the fact that they do plan on entering the auto insurance market. The way Google is entering, however, isn’t anything particularly innovative. The goal is to win on price, a strategy that isn’t working now if you care anything about customer retention. While Google does have the backbone to compete with some companies, they have no plans to enter markets like life insurance and home insurance, where an agent is most likely to make the lion’s share of his income. And even if they do “go there” one day, they will need the manpower to be competitive with the already-established insurance giants. That could be hard to do while keeping its established businesses propped up.
- Everyone buys online.
Yes, they do — for their existing policy. But an insurance customer has ongoing needs that are better served by the insurance professional. While around 34 percent do shop for new auto insurance every couple of years, they tend to stop shopping around once their needs graduate to homeowners and life insurance policies. That’s because the established agent still wins on price and service when packaging products.
- Building customer relationships is a waste of time if they’re just going to be gone in two years.
Again, that two-year statistic mentioned in myth two usually represents people entering the market or those who’ve yet to “settle down” with an insurer. The customer relationship is what you should be working toward, because it means your odds of selling a second and third policy improve greatly. And once a customer buys more than one policy, they stick around for a very long time. So believe this myth at your own risk.
- Becoming more available to your customers will make life miserable.
Crusty industry vets often advise young and hungry agents against sharing all their contact information with the client. They instead rely on set office hours and automated relays, where there is a buffer between customer and agent. While you certainly have the right to let a call go to voice-mail, don’t let that close you off from your customer. Make sure they can reach you by phone, by social media, by email. Customers are generally looking for assurance more than someone to talk to. If they know they can reach you at their convenience, they’re less likely to abuse the privilege.
- It’s too hard to find leads.
Finding good leads to build your business is much easier than you think. Here at HometownQuotes, we vet each one and make sure that you’re not having to compete with the entire regional insurance profession to get their business. People who share this myth generally suffer more from a conversion problem than a lead generation problem. To combat this, establish a system of contacts and follow-ups. Make sure that you’re not just calling a client once and forgetting about them. Keep in touch by phone or email or social media — however they prefer — until they can give you a definite yes or no. Past research has shown that it generally takes around six to seven attempts before getting a yes when agents are successful.
There is a real danger in buying into the myths that plague our business. Don’t get hung up on what others are telling you. Trust your instincts and your personal experience. Focus on the insurance lead or customer and giving them the best service imaginable. The rest will fall into place. Good luck out there!