40 Ways to Grow Your Insurance Business in 2018, Part 1
Are you motivated and ready to grow your insurance business in 2018? Whether it’s getting organized, logging more sales time, or selling a new product, the tips below can help you out.

We compiled a big 40-item list of the best, most inspiring sales and business tips we’ve seen and broken them up into categories. In this post, you’ll get the best sales tips for 2018. In following posts, we’ll dive into tips for business-building, organization, and personal growth.

10 Sales Tips to Grow Your Insurance Business in 2018

1. Find Your Unique Value Proposition

You are your greatest asset. Put your time, effort and money into training.

These days, most of us compete on an even playing field when it comes to products and pricing. So why should a prospect choose you? What can you give them they can’t get anywhere else? Once you identify this, your marketing gets so much easier.

Your unique value proposition might be a niche – in which case, your detailed knowledge is your unique value proposition. Or it might be the fact that you’re 100% digital, from Skype conversations to eApp, eSignature, and ePolicy Delivery. Or it might be the fact that you do the best job for people in your neighborhood – you’re local and proud of it.

If you don’t know what your unique value proposition is, now’s your chance to find it! Plenty of agents start out without a clear proposition, other than providing quotes, policies, and customer service. That’s fine – but now, it’s time to really dial it in and figure out what makes you different.

2. Improve Your "People Skills"

This is kind of touchy-feely for a sales tip, but this concept is going to underlay everything that comes after it. Now, we’re not talking about basic courtesy or customer service. Everyone should have that, no questions asked.

In this case, we’re talking about empathy and likability. These are the personality characteristics that inspire loyalty...and lead your clients to generate referrals that grow your insurance business. The good news? If this doesn't come naturally to you, it can be learned and nurtured.

  • Empathy. Can you put yourself in a client’s shoes? Do you listen? Do you ask questions? This means never multi-tasking during a client call. It also means asking 1-2 non-business questions during calls or meetings to get a better sense of who they are.
  • Curiosity. When you see a new LTC rider available on a product, do you think of clients whose parents need/needed care? Do you know enough about your clients to make those kinds of connections?
To be interesting, be interested.

3. Level Up Your Cold-Call Skills

The only thing standing between you and outrageous success is continuous progress.

A lot of our readers do business face-to-face. Chances are that includes making cold calls. So how can you turn those cold calls from a gamble into a win?

It starts with having a timer – and a sales script. A cold-call is not the time to list a dozen reasons why now is the time to buy, or all the reasons why Carrier A’s product is amazing. Your prospect doesn’t care about any of that.

Think of your cold call like the teaser for a movie:

  • In a world where [describe a problem], our hero wants [insert hero’s goal].
  • But when [seemingly insurmountable problem] happens, it looks like [opposite of hero’s goal].
  • Can our hero [insert steps needed to overcome obstacle]?
  • Call to action: See this epic story come to life in [movie title], in theaters now!

In this scenario, your prospect is the hero. You (and your products) are the steps they need to overcome the obstacle of financial insecurity. The call to action is to call you, get a quote on your website, or make an appointment. You should only mention yourself in the call to action.

Tweak the movie teaser formula above so that you’re delivering a fast, compelling story for your prospect. They’re facing a problem. If they don’t solve it, something bad might happen. The answer could be as simple as eliminating risk with a new policy. You can help them figure it out and solve the problem.

4. Leave Better Voicemails

When you do more than you’re paid for, eventually you’ll be paid for more than you do.

It’s a fact – talking on the phone is the least popular use for a smartphone. Chances are, you’re going to get a prospect’s voicemail. So how do you turn a missed call into something that strengthens your relationship?

Use a combination of your personality + the message + your relationship with the client, all delivered as concisely as possible.

  • Your personality. Business voicemails are boring, especially if it's an automated call. Use the fact that you’re a human to your advantage. Smile! Your prospect will hear it in your voice. If there’s a distracting noise (kids, dogs, traffic, etc.), it’s okay to admit you’re having a crazy day. But tell them they’re the most important part of your day in this moment.
  • The message. Can you convey your point in fewer than 3 sentences? Aim to answer these questions: What’s the issue? What do they need to do next? Are there multiple ways for them to respond (i.e., email, text, phone)?
  • Your relationship with them. Automated dialers can't provide a human touch. If you have information that’s helpful, use it. For example, is this client usually in meetings all day? Let them call you after hours. Is this client a die-hard fan of a team that just won a big game? Ask them to call you back when they’re done celebrating. These small details reinforce the value you bring to your client or prospect.
  • Speed. Time is precious, and the best voicemails combine all the above elements in as few words as possible.

5. Send Better Emails

When it comes to prospecting and sales emails, there are only 2 things your recipient sees: your email address (or display name), and your subject line. It’s time to take a hard look at both of them.

  • Email address. If you’re emailing clients from an old Yahoo or Hotmail account, it’s time to open a new account. In 2017, it made headlines when it was reported that every single Yahoo email account was hacked in 2013. In 2014, a number of Yahoo emails were hacked again. It’s just not professional to continue using an old Yahoo account at this point. Even if you changed your password and applied two-factor authentication, there’s still going to be doubt in a client’s mind – “If I reply to this email, will my information be stolen, too?” You should create a new account with a strong password and enable two-factor authentication. Free account providers include Outlook.com and Gmail.
  • Subject lines. A few tried-and-true subject line strategies include: (1) Ask questions, (2) Use the recipient’s name, and (3) Create a cliffhanger effect, ending your subject line before giving away a vital tip or piece of information (i.e., “The financial tip I give my own family members is…”).
Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.

6. Research Your Clients & Prospects

You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth.

This is where social media comes in handy. Search for clients or prospects before you talk to them. Do they have things in common with you, like an alma mater, church, or volunteer organization? Are they posting about issues you could help with? You don’t want to let on that you’ve looked up their profile. You can ask leading questions like this: are there any financial issues that are particularly pressing right now?

Don’t forget to Google the person, too. You may find relevant information on their personal or business website, for example.

  • If your client has a common name, you may want to limit the search to a particular city or state, like this: “Client Name”+ City Name. Put the client name in quotation marks to force Google to search for that exact name.
  • If your client owns a business, you can search for their name in combination with the business name: "Client Name" + "Business Name" + City Name.

7. Start with the "Why"

Good salespeople don't sell products or pricing. They ask questions and they listen. Usually, they start with a question that helps clarify the situation - what's happened in your life that has you looking for life insurance right now?

When you understand the why, you can present an appropriate solution.

Without knowing the why, you're forced to trust that the consumer already knows all their options. You're also trusting that they've made the right choice. If they've only ever heard of final expense and term life, for example, that's what they'll ask you for. But that might not be what's best for them. You'll never know unless you take the time to understand their situation.

Questions are often more effective than statements in moving others.

8. Document Your Follow-Up

Bad process is better than no process, because you can improve systems but not randomness.

You need a system for tracking follow-up calls, emails, client notes, and more. If you haven’t already, now is the time to make the move to a client relationship management (CRM) system. We use Insureio, which lets us make detailed notes, view policy details, and store scans and client documents.

Insureio has a few extra features that really help you stay on top of follow-ups. First, the system is based on statuses that indicate where a contact is in the sales process (prospect, application status, in-force, etc.). Each status contains tasks for you as well as the system, from sending automated emails to prompting manual follow-ups.

Every new prospect hits the system with a default status. If you use the pre-built New Lead with Agent Email status, for example, the system will email you when you get a new lead. Changing a client's status as you work through the sales process with them triggers new tasks and follow-ups. The system helps you ensure that no prospect falls through the cracks.

9. Schedule Sales Time

Making the sale is a gateway to a relationship.

Family, friends, business commitments, volunteer activities, church - everything takes time. It's easy to run out. If you're like many agents, you "borrow" sales time to run errands, maintain the business, or sneak in a few minutes of downtime.

But that's not the way to grow your insurance business. You need to be firm with your sales time. This is the time that's going to build your book of business, which will build your pool of referrals. Safeguard that the time the way you would a flight or a doctor's appointment - something you can't miss.

If you need to, use a calendar or app to schedule your sales time. Your smartphone can prompt you when it's time to start or stop. It sounds obvious, but making the habit automatic - and inviolable - is the best way to make more sales in 2018.

10. Develop a Referral System

If you build solid relationships with your clients, referrals will follow. It won’t be automatic, though – you still have to ask for them.

First, identify your ideal client. Are they a business owner? Do they have a certain net worth? Next, identify the clients you’ll ask for referrals. Who best represents your niche? Who was easiest to work with? Now, prepare a guide or document for them that explains what you’re asking them to do.

This guide could be a PDF, or a page on your website with instructions. Essentially, it asks your client to identify friends or family members with the desired traits, and recommend you to them as a financial advisor. Provide a range of conversation starters, including email text your clients can copy and paste. The easier you make it, the more likely they are to do it!

Finally, have a special way to welcome these referrals. You could offer merchandise, a book, or a welcome kit. Not only does this make you look good - but it also makes your client look good!

All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.

That's our look at 10 sales tips to grow your insurance business in 2018!

Check out the other posts in this 4-part series: