The Insurance Agent’s Guide to Short-Term and Long-Term Sales Strategies

Any insurance agent who’s been around long enough will realize there are two basic types of prospects — hot leads and cold leads. Hot leads are the people, who are actively shopping for insurance at this very moment and are willing to buy as soon as they find the right fit. Cold leads, on the other hand, are people not yet ready to buy but who may be ready in six months or a year. Each requires a different approach to reach success. Today, we’d like to look at how you can handle each one.


The Short-Term

Insurance leads, who are ready to buy now, are often motivated by finding the cheapest price instead of looking at the long game. Unfortunately, selling can be difficult to these individuals if you’re unable to establish value over price. Sometimes you will win these battles, but others, you won’t. Regardless, it’s important that you get in front of these individuals and show them you want their business while making the value pitch. For customers new to the insurance market — be it home, life, or auto — they may not be immediately swayed, but it’s only a matter of time before they’re once again shopping for a better price. By touching base with the lead and explaining to them how you can offer value that goes beyond the one cheap price point that’s influencing their buying decisions, you can eventually convert them though you may have to wait through several policy renewal periods before it actually happens.


How to Handle Them

First, make sure they are a qualified lead ready to buy. Secondly, make contact. When you do, try to get a sense of when they expect to make a decision. Then, follow up as much as you can without being a pest about it. You might even ask them before letting them go from that first contact, when is a good time to follow up with you? If they say, “I’ll call you,” thank them for their time, and then just send an email or place a phone call following up a few days later. Don’t be discouraged, even with a hot lead, if you’re unable to get them to sign during that first meeting. It often takes between five and seven contacts with a lead before they will convert. Be ready to make those contacts, and try to switch it up. Suggestion: Contact 1, by phone; Contact 2, in person; Contact 3, email; Contact 4, by phone; Contact 5, email; Contact 6, in person.


The Long-Term

Inevitably there will be times in your career when you meet leads, who are genuinely good prospects, but they’re locked in to a policy period and don’t plan on making any changes until renewal. Don’t get discouraged. With a long-term strategy in place, you can nurture these leads over time and “warm them up,” so to speak, from cold to hot.


How to Handle Them

The first thing you want to do is find out when their policy renewal period will be and let them know you would really appreciate it if they would consider talking with you at that time. Then, as soon as you can, enter that information into a spreadsheet or whatever productivity tool you use to keep up with appointments. Set frequent reminders to follow up with these individuals, preferably by email. Try to make your outreach informative, like an occasional email with some type of tip they might find useful or a piece of information they might consider fascinating. Then, a month before their renewal date, try to set up a lunch or just give them a quick call to check in. By staying in their line of sight without bombarding them with sales pitches, you’ll be the first person they think about if they really are serious about getting a new quote.


In Summary

Being a successful insurance agent is often about how well you can read your prospects and respond to their needs. That starts with learning the difference between a hot lead and learning how to “heat up” your cold leads. Then, once you have them in the door, it’s a matter of establishing value over price, even when you can win on price.

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