Effective Marketing Techniques?

Nov 17, 2007

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  1. gradyinsurance
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    gradyinsurance Super Genius

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    Which marketing techniques do you guys think are worth the time and effort involved in them. I have come to the conclusion that Advertising does not create sales, it just gives you some name recognition, and for the price, it doesn't give you enough of that. Cold Calling on the phone for me hasn't gone over too well, but I haven't ever bought any leads (used phone book, old files, etc.), and I have yet to try literal cold calling (knocking on doors). I very well may try it, but probably in the spring (it is getting a little cold for it), if I can hold out until then. I haven't tried a Marketing System (although I get mailed something about one daily), mainly due to my perception that the guy selling it didn't get rich selling insurance, but sure is getting rich selling this marketing system. Anyway, you guys are experts with years in the business, and I wanted you opinion of what works and what doesn't. My father used company leads, and referrals, and my uncle works off of referrals and word of mouth advertising, although he promotes his P&C business with signs on local highways and in the phone book. Another question is, do you think joining the local Chamber of Commerce is worthwhile? Here it cost 250.00 per year, and there are around 20 other agencies already in it.

    Thanks, Dave.
     
  2. salpro22
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    salpro22 Guru

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    What are you willing to do that another agent won't do?

    Some possible answers include cold calling, going B2B, seminars, Putting on An ALF outfit and holding up a sign on a main street that says, Call "1-800-INSURME" for Health Insurance Quotes, E-Mail Campaigns and/or Direct Mail, Networking with other professionals, clubs, etc.

    How is cold calling not working out for you? The problems might include 1)Voice tone or pitch 2)script 3)targeted areas 4) Demeanor 5)Confidence level 5)Lack of experience.

    Once a problem has been identify a correction can be made. You can use this board as a medium, as well as friends and family members. Perhaps you could post your script and some of us can critique it. Are you comfortable selling over the voice versus face to face? What is your comfort zone? What precludes you from working?

    How hungry are you at the moment? You seem to have the hunger for success, but are experiencing an issue with implementing your plans. What separates the successful professional from the future Walmart greeter is ACTION!!!!

    You have to pick 2-4 marketing channels and attack them 100% of your energy. The mental energy required in this field is key! I use cold calling, networking and B2B as my channels right now. If it's to cold, put on a coat, hat and some gloves and commit yourself to getting out there. How many agents do you think say to themselves, "I'll do it tomorrow or it is too cold, it is too hot,etc...." Those are the same people playing solitaire when they should be working. I've got nothing against them, but I do not have any tolerance for whining unless I see somebody has committed themselves through actions.

    How were the company leads generated? It takes a while to build up referrals and that does nothing for somebody starting out. You should focus on becoming an EXPERT in your chosen niche and annihilate the competition with your product knowledge and sales skills.

    It sounds like you have a wonderful opportunity to team up with your uncle and cross sell health, life and disability to his new and existing book of business.

    I wouldn't worry about the other agencies if I were you. People are buying you and your services. They could care less about Jim Smith's Insurance Agency if you give them what they want and need. If you don't have the money and an action plan when joining wait until you have both completed and do it then.

    From reading your posts it seems that you are experiencing the same issues that many of us have gone through and continue to go through. Reread the 1st question that I asked you and contemplate your decision making process and potential outcomes.

    When in doubt, listen to the song entitled, "We're Not Going to Take it!" and go get em!
     
    salpro22, Nov 17, 2007
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  3. gradyinsurance
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    gradyinsurance Super Genius

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    Thanks for your honest and frank advice. As far as a script goes, mine is weak, it usually goes something like this,
    "Hello, I'm Dave with Grady Insurance, and are wondering if you have thought about your Life Insurance coverage lately."
    Usually, I get hung up on before I get past "have you thought". So, I assume that it needs work. Voice tone is not great, I have a tendency to be hard to understand when I'm nervous, which is whenever I am trying to make a sale. Confidence level is not that high, due to repeated rejections, etc. Lack of experience is something of a problem, although not as much now as six months ago.
    I am VERY hungry at this point. Haven't had a policy issued all month (made 1 sale, its still in underwriting), have a prospect that I posted about earlier (84 F N/S, Final Expense), that I will follow up on next week. I need more business, but I would honestly say most of my problem is a confidence one. I am somewhat scared :o to approach people at times, especially in person. I would say that my best results come from referrals, but, as you said, they take time to build up.

    With regards to my uncle, I mentioned his P&C business, but he also carries Life & Health, and he is going through a somewhat painful experience with my aunt, (she suffered a massive stroke a few months ago, is now bedridden), so he isn't able to do much more than keep his own head above water, and he isn't able to help me out any. Not that I expected him to provide me any help, but it would have been nice to have worked with him/for him for a period of time in order to gain more experience. However, in the past year I have learned quite a bit about the business, and have met some more experience agents who have given me quite a few pointers. Closing isn't a big issue for me, but Opening is. I sometimes get shy and don't want to be "imposing". In a way, selling insurance reminds me of a dance I went to once. The caller of the dances made the statement with regard to choosing partners, " He who hesitates in life, usually loses." My hesitation to open a discussion about insurance with people that I know, has lost me business. I am working around my insecurity, and trying to overcome it, but it is very hard to do, especially with people I know. I sometimes wonder if I'm cut out for the insurance business. I like it, but I sometimes feel that I can't get the job done, due to this insecurity.

    Thanks for the advice, Dave
     
  4. Mr. Bill
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    Mr. Bill Guru

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    I don't know whether you have seen this suggestion yet, I did not buy it but have read rave reviews on it, for $49 seems worth a try (I have not purchased it myself but will likely do it this week! Everyone needs a refresher now and then):

    The KBI Group - The internationally-known sales and sales management consulting firm of Jack and Garry Kinder

    Dang. Now if I only collected a percentage from everyone that orders off the forum. Which I don't, but if you make some money then you can throw me (or my dog!) a few bones!
     
    Mr. Bill, Nov 18, 2007
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  5. salpro22
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    salpro22 Guru

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    First and foremost, break up your comments into multiple paragraphs as that will make it easier to read. Ensure you do the same thing when writing clients.

    If your tone is wrong, correct it and move on. Your confidence level will increase as you gain product knowledge, sales experience and maturity. Search the forum for scripts and use what works for you to match your personality. This will take time. I'd say to give every script a 10-20 hour commitment before changing the structure, tone, speed, etc. until you get some experience under your belt.

    You have 30 seconds to grab the prospects attention and make them want to know more! In all honesty, I'd hang up on you too as your pitch doesn't make me feel like I should talk to you more because I don't see the VALUE. Show me the value and I'll give you 10 minutes.

    I don't prospect for life insurance, so I'll leave that up to James and the other life guru's, but one thing I do know is that you have to offer a "hook" that allows you to get to step 2, which is the appointment.

    A sample HSA pitch might be, "Hello is Frank Smith available. Hi Frank this is J.R. with Mid Atlantic Health Plans. Instead of going into a long winded sales pitch, can I tell you why I'm calling in 30 seconds and then YOU decide if we should talk further?????" Thank you, I appreciate it, etc. etc.

    I own a home-based health insurance agency here in Laurel where I specialize in offering individual and family health plans to small business owners. There are some new plans that have been released that allow small business owners to have a own a medical plan that can pay for medical expenses with pre-tax dollars and accumulate funds in a tax-free account. The added bonus is that these plans are typcally 20%-40% less than most of the standard plans on the market. Do you currently have an individual or family plan? Proceed to qualify or schedule a first-in appointment.

    I have used the above script and it does work. The key is to get them talking about their situation so you can figure out whether or not their situation can be improved.
    What exactly scares you? Can you approach a woman and ask her to dance or her phone number? You learn to either control your fear or eradicate the symptoms that are causing you to be fearful. If you're afraid of rejection condition your mind to not take it personally and allow the rule of numbers to work everything out. You should be able to get at least 1-2 leads on average per hour after talking with 10-28 people per hour. If you cannot hit those numbers it is either the demographics you have selected, your pitch or you. All of those can be corrected.
    I'm sorry to hear about your Aunt and I hope everything goes well for you and your family. It is wise of you to think about your ability to sell insurance because it is not easy. Fortunately, the things you are experiencing are common and can be rectified with hard work, discipline and perseverance.

    Some people go for the kill on the 1st kill, but I normally don't unless I pick up on some signals. I have a simple 1, 2, 3 approach to telemarketing. If you ALWAYS not what the next step is regardless of the outcome your anxiety will be decreased and your confidence will go up.

    Taking 30 seconds to call somebody about the opportunity to help their family and find ways to transfer risk and add money to the business is not imposing. There are business owners and then their are business people. Go after the business people!



     
    salpro22, Nov 18, 2007
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  6. Bob_The_Insurance_Guy
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    Bob_The_Insurance_Guy Guru

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    First and foremost, join Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org). That is a worldwide organization that concentrates on verbal and listening skils. If you are in any type of sales it is a must.

    Secondly, put together a script that YOU wouldn't mind listening to, if you were called by someone.

    Finally, you have to find a segment of the population you click with. You can't sell Long Term Care if you've never had a family crisis involving it. You can't sell group coverage if you have never been exposed to it.

    Stay away from Leads groups: They already have, or have had, an insurance agent that is getting the quality leads, and all you will receive is their overweight, diabetic, anurism, AIDS-infected, gout-ridden, manic-depressive, hypertensive, stroke-recovering, erectile-dysfunctional, cancer-ridden neighbors and friends. Just because there is not a current insurance agent in the group, only means that he/she has moved on, has kept in contact with the group, and unbeknownst to you, still gets leads from them.

    Give informational seminars at libraries and YMCA's: Don't offer food or prizes. Just information. People will come. Some are small groups, but they will increase, the more you do. Don't be company or product specific. Just stick to the basics. Remember, they don't know a copay from a deductible, and will laud you with praise for clearing that up. Have a sign-in sheet, and make follow up calls, just to see if they need any further information, or will allow you to invite them to future meetings.

    Network with other Financial Planners: especially the ones that don't want to fool with health insurance. You can be their "health/DI/LTC" guy. Stop by their office, say hi, and give them a very informal, five minute update on what is new in the industry, and how it MIGHT be of benefit to their clients.

    Facilitate a weekly Job Networking Group for the unemployed: these people need Short Term Medical. They know people who are working, but not on company insurance plans. They know people who are aging in to medicare. They know companies that are hiring, but not offering group health (excellent opportunity for list bill or small group). They will ask how they can help you, because you are giving your time to help them.

    Go to Cover The Uninsured's website: Cover the Uninsured and find when the next one in your area is coming. People don't have insurance, not because they can't afford it, but also because they THINK they can't afford it. It's also a great networking tool to meet other professionals, from affiliated industries.
     
  7. gradyinsurance
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    gradyinsurance Super Genius

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    Wow! Thank all of you for this great information. It has really shown me why I feel the way I have about selling insurance. Now that I know what's wrong (i.e. fear of rejection) I can work to correct it.

    I have a situation currently going on that I wanted to ask your opinions of. I have a friend (fellow church member, my sunday school teacher) who I have lightly touched on the subject of life insurance with, but haven't really had any sort of interest shown from him. Now, his wife has a growth on her neck, and, although it may be benign, ganglion, or even thyroid-related, it may also be more serious. They don't know what it is at this point, and will not know for a while. Is this a good time to approach them for some Final Expense coverage (they have no life insurance or health insurance, for that matter), or should I just not go there?

    Thanks, Dave.
     
  8. somarco
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    somarco GA Medicare Expert

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    Gosh #2, you say that like it is a bad thing . . .
     
    somarco, Nov 19, 2007
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  9. Delta76
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    Delta76 Guru

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    I think you have gotten some great advice. The key is activity. If you made 100 dials per day to get ramped up, I bet your whole outlook would change, mine always does.

    I prospect for health and cross sell life. However, if I was going for life directly, there are three approaches you could take (or use a combination):

    1. Plain vanilla product call: "Mr. Prospect, this is Delta calling, I'm a local life insurance here in Anytown. There have been alot of changes in life insurance that have caused rates to be lower than they ever have been before. Would you object to me stopping by for 10 minutes next Tuesday when I'm in the area to introduce myself?" (just so you know, most insurance updated their mortality tables and rates dropped, people are living longer). The most important part of the script is asking for the appointment. ASK to GET.

    2. Pure introduction call: "Mr. Prospect, this is Delta calling with Grady Insurance. I work with a number of local business owners and I'm going to be in the area on Tuesday, would you object to my dropping by and introducing myself before my next meeting?"

    3. Don't overlook referrals from your natural market. Ask people to for their help. Ask if you can get together and show them the work you do. Tell them there is no pressure to buy from you. Ask for other people they know that you could be introduced to.

    Good luck. The bottom line, from 8am to 4pm, do nothing but see people or fight to see them. If you do that, you can't fail.
     
    Delta76, Nov 19, 2007
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  10. Delta76
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    Delta76 Guru

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    I have a situation currently going on that I wanted to ask your opinions of. I have a friend (fellow church member, my sunday school teacher) who I have lightly touched on the subject of life insurance with, but haven't really had any sort of interest shown from him. Now, his wife has a growth on her neck, and, although it may be benign, ganglion, or even thyroid-related, it may also be more serious. They don't know what it is at this point, and will not know for a while. Is this a good time to approach them for some Final Expense coverage (they have no life insurance or health insurance, for that matter), or should I just not go there?

    I personally wouldn't go there. He knows what you do, if he wants your help, he'll ask. Besides, what are you going to do for his son? He won't qualify for life insurance now.
     
    Delta76, Nov 19, 2007
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