What is your competitive advantage? Experience? Customer Service? Superior Knowledge? Great Markets? Great! Except all 500 of your closest competitors have those very same things.
Believe it or not but your competitive advantage is you.
Sure experience, knowledge, markets, etc. play a part in what makes you the agent you are, but all these equal, people are going to buy based on who they like and who they are comfortable with. People are going to buy based on the value of the experience.
In order to win this battle and to outshine your competition, you will need to brand yourself.
Don’t worry, you do not need to be over the top or spend a lot of time and money branding yourself. The basics of branding which we will show you in this blog, are to help prospects get to know who you are and what to expect when buying from you.
Why branding is a requirement in the digital age
Before we get into the easy ways insurance agents can brand themselves, it is important to talk about why. Why brand yourself and not spend that time talking with more people?
It really boils down to buyer behaviors. Buying behaviors and Buyer options.
Buyers are now equipped with technology and a huge flux of options. So what many of them do is they search for insurance but they may look at several options before even reaching out to one.
Sure there are clients who will buy from you without going online andcomparing. There are those who you meet with and you are the only one they meet with. But this is just a small portion of the marketplace.
Those who have received you as an onlinereferral,found you online, or those who you are prospecting who already have an agent need to see how you are different if you are to gain an advantage. Here is where branding yourself makes a huge difference.
Alright, now let’s get into some ways you can brand yourself in this digital world.
Of course, I am going to say social media! Social media gives everyone access plus it allows them to get an idea of who you are. However, I’m not talking about just posting on a Facebook brand page. As a matter of fact, it is the opposite of that.
When it comes to branding, you need to use social media to show who you are and create confidence in the buyer as having chosen the right person.
Using Social Media to show your Human Side
Being a die-hard sports fan or a potato chip connoisseur is going to tell so much more about you than the fact that you sell insurance. Even though technology seems to be dominating the business world, people still want to do business with people (for the most part).
While most of the sales aspect is transaction and logic based, there is still some part of the sale that is emotional. How someone views you will greatly affect whether they buy from you or not.
People are willing to pay more if they like you better than their other options. If you have a bond with someone then a few dollars will not make much of a difference. Social Media can allow you to establish this bond.
Using Social Media to showcase your Expertise
It is also important not to get lost in puppy pictures and sports fandom or whatever you enjoy in life. While those things are great at building the emotional human to human component, remember there is still a business aspect tobusiness.
When people look at you or your business online (especially after someone tells them to check you out) then they need to be able to see the experience they will have with you. They need to see that if they do business with you that they are making the right decision.
What you depict should go along with your ideal buyer’s needs. So if they need a full-on risk management program, then your social media better have a visual representation of risk management. If they want an agent who cares about the well being of their family then you better show that you put families first and that they are not just a number to you.
Summing up social media as a branding tool
So take a look at both your personal accounts and business accounts. What will people think when they see them? Is the image you portray in alignment with the image of their ideal agent? Do they think, “no question this is the right agent for me?”
If you look like every other agent, then your competitive advantage defaults to a price war or a guessing game for the buyer.
Social Media is free. Brand yourself and allow your clients to see why you are the right choice.
In 2012 when I started working for an insurance agency, a picture of our agency at an event was huge. We were all about community and we needed to show that. Just think how powerful it would have been if they were videos instead of pictures?
What better way to brand yourself than to show who you are on video? Think about if you sold life insurance and there are videos of you high-fiving kids and spending time at family functions. People will know you care about family and may trust you more than the guy only talking about the money.
Or what if there are videos of you teaching small business skills for new businesses. Looks like you know a thing or two about business management right?
But just like with social media, it is not always about just great videos of you in the community. While it can be about that, you must put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and think about what they might need to see.
Here are a few types of videos you can use for branding:
- About us/ intro videos
- Educational or daily tip videos
- Videos from events or client meet-ups
Again, if you are not great at marketing or branding you do not have to try anything time-consuming and over the top. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and think about what they need to see to help them distinguish you as the agent to be.
Have you ever thought of having a personalized website? Now, I’m sure your agency has a website. And this is not really the time or place to get into the ins and outs of website design and all of that. What I want to talk about is having a simple and personalized website for you as an agent.
Instead of having a website that overviews all the products you offer this website can focus on all the things that make you a great agent. A place where you can mix professional expertise with things that make you a great human.
In other words a branding website.
I like the idea of the about.me websites. They are simple and can paint a picture of you specifically without all the talk of products getting in the way. I know you’re probably thinking “prospects need to know about all the services I offer.” but at this point in their discovery, they already know you sell what they need. At this point, they are trying to decide if you are a right fit.
Having a personalized website is easy to set up and you can, for the most part, set it up and not have to adjust it too much. It is an easy way to say “get to know me better” to clients. The best part (just like with video or social media) it is giving them something to take to other decision makers who were not present at the meeting or who have not met you in person.
Final Thoughts on Branding Yourself
Disruption came into the insurance industry because it was being viewed as a commodity. When agents became order takers, it was easy for technology to take over.
Now I know, and you know that there is value in having an insurance agent, but what about in the buyers’ eyes?
Branding is a way to step out and say I’m more than an order taker and I offer more than the 500 agents around my city. It is a way to humanize the conversation and add value to the buying process. And more importantly, it is easy for a potential buyer to see that there is value in having an agent.
Branding doesn’t have to be over the top or obnoxious. It is simply a way to open yourself up to the world.