In today’s fast-paced environment, it’s important to have sure footing for your business. Advisors and their staff have a lot to deal with—from customer service and marketing to new products to policy-delivery systems. These challenges are coupled with consumers’ ever-demanding desire for complete customer satisfaction.
Times like these demand that you stay focused on what is vital to the long-term success of your business. And that focus should remain solely on building and enhancing solid customer relationships.
One way to accomplish this is to implement a system to stay in touch with your customers and schedule regular face-to-face meetings. Consistent contact with clients is a must if you want to survive and thrive in the insurance and financial services arena.
The magic bullet
We have been successful in assisting agencies in using an agency contact representative (ACR)—the person we call the magic bullet—to facilitate this important piece of the business puzzle. An ACR’s job is to make the agency accountable for consistent customer contact and for setting up planned meetings with every customer household at least once a year, more often if possible. No matter the size of your agency, a competent ACR should be able to schedule a minimum of four insurance reviews per day in the office, two life appointments per day in the office, two auto or fire appointments per day in the office, and two commercial appointments. As a result, you will have 10 scheduled appointments each day and a foundation for building closer client relationships.
Although success is based on the quality of the relationship we have with our customers, insurance is also a numbers game. That’s why an ACR is so important. Ten appointments a day equal 50 appointments per week, 200 per month and 2,400 per year. Meeting face to face with that many customers every year virtually guarantees your success.
Timing is everything
We have tried various combinations of hours for the ACR to make telephone calls. In our experience, you can forget Fridays. People are already thinking about plans for the weekend, not insurance. What we discovered is that we achieved the best results Monday through Thursday, phoning from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. A competent ACR working 20 hours per week can easily generate your quota of appointments.
Provide the tools
Your responsibility will be to provide the tools to accomplish your appointment goals. You will need to train your staff on how to create call lists, and you will need to provide phone numbers to your ACR. Also, it is important for you and your staff to obtain home and work phone numbers when transacting business so that your ACR can use his time effectively. You will need to develop a calendar that will enable your ACR to schedule appointments with confidence when you are available.
You will want to call your clients for an insurance review the same time each year. We use the alphabet system, broken down by month, so that we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves, and more importantly, so that we call the client at the same time each year. This way, we review customers with last names beginning with the letters A and B in January, those with C and D in February, etc. This system was modeled on the one used in the medical field and creates consistency for our clients.
Hiring an ACR will be one of the best business decisions you ever make. It frees you and your staff so that you can focus on spending quality time with customers, meeting their needs and deepening the relationship. By making the ACR responsible for scheduling appointments, you will be on the offensive in scheduling the types of appointments that meet your agency goals and objectives. Selling products such as life insurance and financial services will now become a way of life for your agency instead of a lucky sale made once in a while simply because all the stars were aligned that day.
The ACR puts you and your agency back in the driver’s seat, performing like a sleek, high-powered sports car on a long road trip.
Troy Korsgaden, LUTCF, has trained nearly 40,000 insurance agents and brokers and their staff. He was twice named Agent of the Year from among 14,000 Farmers Insurance agents and is a frequent speaker at industry events. You can reach him at 800-524-6390 or at www.tksystems.org.