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Cooking Up a New Client

There is nothing more nourishing than a home cooked client. They are packed full of satisfaction and are exceedingly good for your wealth. Another satisfying aspect is that all the ingredients you need to make one are probably sitting on your admin & quote system. What’s in your larder?

Your Ingredients

Everyone will be different of course, but let’s say that a typical broker retains 80% of their client base every year and converts new clients at about 20%. Annually, per 1000 clients, they will maintain 1000 live clients and produce 200 lapsed clients and 800 prospects that received a quote but didn’t buy. That’s 2000 potential purchasers.

Cross selling to live clients makes obvious sense but what about the other segments of the database? Brokers can be guilty of leaving lapsed clients to go past their sell to dates. Re-soliciting them 11 months after their last renewal really is a waste of good ingredients. You need to engage them sooner and maintain contact. Not taken up quotes? No other market in any sector of the economy discards non-buyers like insurance brokers do. This segment of your database is by far and away the biggest stockpile of ingredients you will own. Think of them as clients that haven’t made a purchase yet.

Accurate Measuring

Don’t throw everything into the pot. For best results measure your ingredients. Segmenting your database can be very useful and it’s not complicated. Brokers collect an enormous amount of information when providing quotes or selling policies. Use this to identify segments that you can best sell to. You can be very specific. For example, you might extract information on all the commercial combined policyholders you have and cross sell a bespoke D&O product. Or your target might be wider: maybe identifying motor clients for a home insurance marketing campaign. The point is that these days it is very easy to interrogate systems or extract data and manipulate it in everyday software like Excel. Getting the measure of your ingredients makes it a lot easier to refine your cooking but it’s only any good if you have contact information.

You do have the contact information don’t you? Because you would be surprised at how many brokers fail to collect sufficient contact information, especially at quote stage. The most valuable ingredient in the marketing kitchen is contact information: that means address, telephone numbers and, honestly, I cannot stress this enough, e-mail address. You absolutely cannot cook up a new client without the right contact information – it would be like trying to make an omelette without eggs.

Cooking Techniques

We’ve established that you are not short of ingredients and that you can easily identify significant segments. The next thing to do is master a couple of basic cooking techniques. If you do, you will never be short of prospects.

Inbound Telephone

Make maximum use of inbound calls – they haven’t cost you anything. The caller often sets the agenda but you can still structure the call so that they become an opportunity for creating a funnel of future quotes. Always ask about other products and when the renewal dates are. Get permission to keep in contact with non-buyers and record it in your system. Finish the call with an action plan for each caller and an explicit commitment to them to follow it up.

Outbound E-mail

Outbound e-mail is easily the most inexpensive form of communication available to you and you set the agenda. If you are competent with MS Word you are capable of using one of the many mass mailer systems available in the market. This means you can send out interesting and useful e-mails to specific segments and, most importantly, you can access reports that give you an enormous amount of information about what the e-mail recipients did. You simply can’t get this sort of feedback from print marketing. If you did a leaflet drop in your local area would you know who read it, how often they read it, or what part of the leaflet they showed most interest in? You can with e-mail marketing. This sort of information is invaluable and can shape all of your follow up activity. E-mail is also a very inexpensive way to maintain interest once a commitment has been made to offer a quote at a future date.

In the insurance world purchasing decisions are nearly always influenced by a renewal date. It doesn’t matter how good your marketing campaign was in February if the recipient’s policy is not due until August. The likelihood is that they are not going to buy from you so you need to turn initial interest into a quoting opportunity. E-mail marketing is a remarkably inexpensive way of maintaining initial interest up to quote time.

Year on year, simply as a result of doing business brokers continue to produce the ingredients for cooking up their own prospects. And, it doesn’t have to cost very much money. If you succeeded in getting only 15% of your available database to give you permission to quote them on another product or the one they left you with you would get 300 quoting opportunities per 1000 clients. Don’t you think its time you made better use of the ingredients in your larder?

Summary

  • Always collect contact information first including e-mail
  • Get permission from buyers and non-buyers to contact them regularly by at least e-mail
  • Regularly review your whole database & quantify potential marketing segments
  • Structure inbound calls and always end with an action plan that you stick to
  • Make it your business to learn about e-mail marketing and try it at least once
  • Always use a mass mailing system to send campaigns – never your own

This article was written by Mike Millard, one of our Directors, and originally appeared in Insurance Age in 2011.