The industry is changing whether you like it or not.

Everything is done online nowadays. Consumers want their products right now. And they want it at their fingertips.

Speed and convenience.

Producers today must change with the industry. If you don't, you'll go extinct.

I've heard from hundreds of producers who wonder how they can become more efficient in the 21st century filled with technology. They see that it's possible, because if it weren't, none of us would be selling. They're just unsure of where to start and what to do.

Over 200 million people use the internet in the United States. Eighty percent of these users have some form of social media account. One-third of them follow a business on social media. In 2011 alone, social media generated $325 million worth of leads.

So the question, again, is this: How do you get in on that?

Once you've accepted the fact that younger generations (X and Y) are thinking differently, competition is tougher and the industry is in fact shifting, you're off to a good start. Now you can make a change. Career agencies aren't as prominent anymore. These days, there is more production coming from independent agents. Moreover, we're seeing the dawn of the internet direct marketer.

Take a look at how things used to be versus how they look today:



Agent Driven

Consumer Driven

Scripted Sales Pitch

Unscripted Conversation

Rate Cards and Illustrations

Online Quoting & Planning

Single carrier solutions - career agency trained

Multiple carrier representation - lack of training

Few competition from outside

Crowded distribution model

Training isn't as good for the independent agent anymore, yet the client is evolving. Clients today walk in with prior knowledge now, thanks to the internet.

This makes things even more challenging.

After all, why even bother talking to an agent if I can just click a few buttons and buy insurance right now? And if I do need to talk to someone, why should I talk to you when he's no different and cheaper?

To become a 21st century producer, you must differentiate yourself.

You have to find a way to stand out above the rest and be different. If that means switch up how you're talking to clients and prospects, do it. Haven't found your niche? Do so. If you already have a target niche, but you're having trouble, find a new approach.

Consumers look at value and price. If you have the same value as everyone else, they'll go to the cheapest service.

So show your value.

Not sure what it is? Then it's time to create your value. Find out what you can do or provide that no one else can. Find what makes you unique. Value is more important than price, and many times, value stems from convenience.

Many who hold an old school way of thinking hold on tightly to their sales funnel approach. But there's a new sales funnel, one that starts with marketing. Before you can make a sale, you must first get in front of a prospective client. It's the most difficult aspect of selling, but it's also the most important.

You can be the greatest salesperson in the world, but if you don't have leads, you're not going anywhere.

To get started, use these simple steps:

  1. Determine the Marketing Medium: Who is your target audience? We know ours. It's 50-year-old women. Best of all, we know where to find them. Women around 55 years old are increasing their use of Facebook. Choose the audience you want to target and then go out and find where they are.
  2. Know the Metrics: Knowing your metrics will help you visually spot differences in your campaigns and efforts. If anything looks out of the ordinary—positive or negative—you should figure out what happened differently. Here are a few examples: I know the email campaigns I send have a 12% open rate and a 10% click through rate. I also know that of every 1,000 emails we send, there is a 30% conversion to leads average. I know this so that if any of these numbers deviate, there needs to be an investigation.

Differentiate. Provide value. Still not sure where to start? Try this very easy process:

Write down everything that you think makes you unique and everything you can provide to a client. Now go back through the list and line out everything that even one person says they can do the same.

Once this process is done, you'll be able to re-think your business and/or your approach.