Like The Who said: “Who are you…who who…who who?” So, how do people know you, and more importantly, how do you get known? How do you become “the insurance pro”?
It’s called branding, and it starts with what you do when you meet someone.
One of the frustrating things about the insurance industry is that nearly everyone sells the same insurance product—it’s often just the bells and whistles that differ. Everyone is selling the services of the agency that they work for, but to the buyer it can all sound the same. It can be really hard for an agent to set himself apart from the competition, especially with so many agents competing on the same account.
Many agents have taken sales training so they know that customers can buy with emotion and tend to do business with people they trust, respect and like. With that in mind, think of the Internet as a tool you can use to your advantage.
Start by showing that you are an insurance expert on your own website. If you have a particular area of expertise, i.e. insuring contractors, this is where you can show your prospect that you are an expert in their field. Add a personal website to your business card so that your prospects can check you out. On this website, you can have articles that relate to common insurance problems for contractors, insurance coverages that are important, etc. Now when someone Googles your name, a professional website about you, as the insurance expert, comes up.
New producers would benefit especially by branding their name. They need to build insurance credibility, plus most are young and are already using social media. Sending a prospect to their site that shows that they know their business and could make a difference in making a sale gives new producers a competitive edge.
What about when you are calling for an appointment with someone who does not know you? Sending them to your website allows them to learn more about you right off the bat. Perhaps they will find that they have something in common with you. Additionally, your prospect would be pre-positioned to see that you are more than just a salesperson; you are an insurance professional.
Some agents might feel that there is no value to this, but personal/individual websites is a growing trend among professionals across industries to brand their name. We all can be “micro-businesses” by branding ourselves. Start by Googling your name to see what comes up. Have you ever noticed that when you ask someone who their insurance agent is, they never respond with the agency’s name?. Instead, they relate to their agent’s personal name (and personal brand), so it’s easy to see the value of branding your name on the Web.
One easy way to create your online presence is with a personal branding system that registers your domain name, creates a custom website with hosting, fully integrates with your social media and provides professionally-written articles in your established field. It is more affordable and easier than you might think to implement a system that incorporates all of the tools you need to show others that you are the insurance expert for them.
Debbie Russell (http://debbierussell.me) is a brand expert who has spent most of her career working for insurance carriers and helping independent agents with new business development.
Savvy Social Media
Did you know that according to Mashable.com, an online guide to social media, over 55 million people log onto social networking sites on a regular basis? That is just under one-third of the U.S. population. Additionally, the fastest growing demographic segment of social networkers are Baby Boomers discovering the value of joining such sites. Think about how you want to position yourself for success. In addition to your own personal website, you will want to integrate with the following:
LinkedIn insurance profile. This is a combination of a resume, cover letter, references and a database of your network. Join targeted groups online and post your articles to establish your reputation as an expert.
Facebook profile. Over 160 million people have profiles, but almost none of them have branded themselves properly using this medium. Your friends are a source of insurance referrals. Posting your articles to your Facebook page can show your friends that you really do know what you are talking about.
Twitter profile. You can connect with more people using Twitter effectively, so this rising medium show not be overlooked.