Technology Can Turn Your Policyholders Into Your Salesforce

by Sandy Haviland, Founder and CEO, Confidant on August 2, 2010 · 7 comments

Please help me in welcoming Sandy Haviland, Founder & CEO of Confidant as Insurance Ecosystem’s newest Communicator.  I think this is a great post and I am looking forward to many more.

By definition, perceived value is a matter of how you look at things.  Do insurance agencies look at their existing policyholders as ambassadors, sources of referrals, a network of testimonials and leads to future sales?  Certainly the good agencies do – but I’ve noticed that even the good ones can benefit from considering what sometimes goes wrong, or what might yield a large payoff if done better.

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Picture this:  Recently I attended a user group meeting for one of the major insurance technology systems, and heard an expert consultant give a speech about cleaning up the data in an agency computer system by deleting all information in the “Leads” file that is older than six months.  A totally insane notion, it seems to me (if someone bought an annual policy from a competitor, wouldn’t you at least wait a year and contact them before renewal?), but somehow nobody objected.  Why was I the only one upset by that idea?  How could it be that no one was questioning this thought?  Maybe the lesson is that if you don’t see how to make use of information, you might feel like throwing it away.

Many of those leads that the consultant suggested tossing out were no doubt provided by existing policyholders.  By people who know the agency, already do business with it, and have a network of friends and relatives who might become your clients.  Throw out their referrals after six months?  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and similar mass connection services alone could keep the agency’s name in front of those leads with very little effort expended.  Specialized tools designed for more personalized connections could reach them individually, foster greater appreciation for the agency’s service, and – done right – bring existing clients into the loop as advocates.  In fact, some tools are even designed to have clients manage the communication with people in their network.

So here is a challenge to forward thinking agencies:  can you establish a technology system that positions your existing clients as advocates of your business within their own social networks?  The tools exist.  Does your firm have a strategy for using the tools?

More on this in a subsequent post…..

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  • Sandy

    You make a great point, referrals from existing clients should be given the highest priority and having a formal strategy in place to manage those referrals should be a requirement. The close ratio off of referrals and introductions from existing relationships should be somewhere between 50% and 75%. When you compare that to the maybe 10% close ratio that come from cold calls, it seems you should have all of the motivation you need to develop and follow a strategy.

    I agree that having tools and resources are important, but the agency must first develop an internal culture that expects it's individual producers to earn, cultivate, and manage referrals. We have a saying in our network, "culture before process". No tool or process will ever be sustainably effective if the behavior it is meant to support isn't a part of the agency culture.

    Kevin

    • Kevin, thanks so much for your comments. They are spot on. I have learned over the years that unless a prospective agency has the right culture in place, it is not worth their time or $ to hire a workflow consultant. Thus I am very picky and strive to work with motivated agencies. Doing so is a win for them and a win for me.
      My recent post Where Has Pat Been

  • Sandy Haviland

    Kevin, great saying, Culture Before Process. I agree completely and the statistics you cite suggest the importance of embedding this thinking into the culture, Thanks for the thought!
    Sandy

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