The No. 1 challenge facing agents and agency owners is that producers aren’t getting enough first appointments.
That’s no surprise, considering how many touches are now necessary to connect with prospects and capture their attention. But it’s possible to overcome this challenge—and it begins with persistence.
I’m not talking about stalking your prospects, but rather developing a well thought-out series of strategic contacts that offer insights and value specific to their business needs.
This may sound like a lot of work, and if you’re not working at an agency with an inside business development team, the work will likely be yours alone—which makes setting aside time for developing and executing messages that much more critical.
Take a look at your calendar. How much time do you have specifically set aside over the next 90 days to do business development work?
Here’s the deal: If it isn’t on your calendar, it’s probably not going to happen, because business development isn’t a default behavior for most producers.
If you’re serious about making your numbers this year, consider adding the following practices to your schedule:
- Carve out two four-hour sessions once or twice a week.
- Organize your prospects into a central database; a spreadsheet will do just fine. Organize those prospects by industry, X Date if you’re a property-casualty agent, and number of employees if you’re focusing on benefits.
- Think about what’s important to your prospects. If you make your message about you, they won’t be interested. What they want to know is that you understand their business and can either help them reduce risks, or teach them something new.
- Finally, develop three to five messages in a template form.
All of the above will help you become more efficient. If you’ve got your email message ready to go, you won’t have to waste valuable time creating one each time you reach out to a new prospect.
Remember, it’s critical to follow a plan. Start with 10-25 prospects at a time. Make all your calls, then follow up with an email. Try to include an article or link that is relevant to your message. It’s a great way to bring value.
You may find that getting organized is the most difficult part. But once you create a pattern of calling, then following up with an email, you will get into a productivity groove that will yield significant results.
Ask yourself: If I don’t try to become systematic, how many first appointments am I likely to get this month?
Susan Toussaint is co-founder and partner at Oceanus Partners, a firm dedicated to helping insurance professionals working in all lines of business insurance improve sales and client retention.