It is most insurance salespeople’s worst nightmares trying to make sure their pipeline is full. There are many different ways of prospecting for insurance leads and most of them boil down to simple math.
In the past, we had used one of our carriers State Auto and their tremendously successful producer development program called the “Pacesetter Program.” It was built around traditional sales methods but the results were impressive and it was built on fundamental principles for building your pipeline. There program was a mix of mailings, developing centers of influence and good old drop in/cold call collection of leads. A company I am now associated with also has specific contact goals for the sales teams that they have found translates into results that lead to success.
In this article I want to discuss many of the different ways to prospect for insurance leads and some pros and cons of each practice.
What studies tell us about the ROI of prospecting ideas
Before we get into each idea, I want to first share a graphic from HubSpot who has measured ROI on developing leads to give you an idea of what their data shows pays the most dividends. It is not all inclusive but is pretty revealing.
You can see that they have two types of leads they address Outbound and Inbound. Most sales cultures I run into do not focus on inbound insurance sales. I think there are several reasons for this. 1) Is they know outbound or traditional sales channels and know the metrics. 2) They don’t understand inbound sales and until they do, will not be on the forefront of it.
I saw that to say this. Many companies give traditional means of prospecting for insurance leads, but in modern sales, insurance agents need to understand both outbound and inbound practices.
So let’s break these channels down and see what combination is best for you. I say combination because I do believe that today you need to have a mix of funnels and that both inbound insurance sales and traditional insurance sales still are critical for any salesperson or organization.
Pros: Just look at the graph above. It is the best way to optimize the cost and effectiveness of lead optimization. It develops your credibility and builds trust. It is relatively low cost (If you don’t measure your time commitment) and it is working 24/7/365.
Cons: It requires discipline to develop and continue to feed the blog. Regular posting is critical to ranking. Picking the correct keyword strings may be difficult to get ranked and found. Often bloggins is like fighting battles because business owners talk about the wrong topics or attempt to compete for keywords they will never win. Finding content. This should not be difficult but it seems to be a major hurdle to many of us. This does not have immediate results. Depending on where you are in your blogging, it is sometimes a slow crawl to get any engagement.
Pros: There is a huge audience. If you have a large network of contacts it can explode your message if they share your content. This is the newest form of networking and it can be effective. You can re-purpose information (i.e. blogs and videos) to promote a post on media. This is a good way of developing a position as thought leader and trusted advisor. It is also a good place for you to data mine for the Cold Call/Drop-in method of marketing. Follow trends and trigger events to find sellable events. New child, marriage, buy a new house, get a promotion, get a new job and on and on. Even seeing who is connected to whom for referral. Look at friends of your friends and connections to your connections to get Betty to introduce you to Bill.
Cons: Social media can be cluttered and has a lot of noise. Posting to the wrong audience can hurt. Make sure you are on the right platform for your message. Think of who you talk to on LinkedIn vs. Facebook or Twitter. It is hard to measure and also takes time to see results. People do not like sales on social media…Call me for a quote is not a great strategy. I say that but with a twist it can work. The aforementioned State Auto Program had their students do a posting saying they had a contest and needed names and the results were very good. So, going back to the social component, people don’t like to be sold but they do like to help. So set a bet up with a friendly competitor with a wager of a donation to puppies or babies and see how it works. But this takes effort. You must also think like a marketer and not necessarily a sales person. Many people use their title like “Owner” of “Sales Specialist” rather than a description of your expertise, like “Cyber Insurance Expert” or “Anytown’s Best Home and Auto Insurance Agent.”
SEO and Keywords:
Pros: With the world moving to a digital marketplace being found on the World Wide Web is a huge opportunity to find your future buyers. Again it is a tool that once developed and occasionally fed will work for you 24/7/365. It is still not too late to be a leader in finding your way to page one, just pick your battles wisely.
Cons: Much like blogging it has the downside of not working if you do not work it. It takes time, effort and expertise that many agents do not have. It also requires a change of mindset from selling to positioning ourselves for people to come to us. Many agencies do not see results within the first few months. Even those who do see results, if not carefully done, you may see results that you are not happy with.
Pay-Per-Click (Paid Search):
Pros: It is a quick way to reach large masses of people online and can lead to immediate results. With the advancements of technology you can control who sees your ads and the paid search ads allow you to have analytics of the people who come across your ad. You can see how many people viewed your ads and how many people clicked or interacted with it. Paid search also allows you to set a budget whether large or small.
Cons: Just like any advertising, online ads can be costly with no guarantee of success.
Cold Call/Drop In:
Pros: It will get you immediate results. You have to kiss a lot of toads but there are Princes and Princesses out there. It directly engages you in the marketplace. It allows you to find intel to help feed your other channels. Things like pains they have, competitors they have etc. It is much more personal.
Cons: It takes a lot of toads to get to the Prince or Princess. It is very labor intensive. It is not designed around the modern buying experience and you often do not find them or address them at the place they are on the buyer’s journey. It is tough on the mental well being. Rejection is something that is hard to face.
Direct Mail/ Email:
Pros: It is a good way to message larger masses of people. It is a way of repurposing information you have developed. For email marketing it can be automated (Sop can direct mail) and monitored. You can see who is looking at you and focus your efforts on the interested parties. Email can be inexpensive.
Cons: You are pushing in a pull economy. You are throwing a lot of (Expletive Deleted) hoping something sticks. Mail can be costly. Mail is hard to measure. You are not sure your message resonates with the buyer.
Pros: Sometimes they have open bar. You occasionally meet someone who may have a reason to talk to you other than for the door prize.
Cons: Costly, not effective, hard to engage in meaningful discussion…need I go on. Don’t do trade shows…go to trade shows to watch the other guy suffer.
Referral/Networking: (Not Measured by HubSpot)
Pros: Leads from these sources are usually the warmest. They leverage their credibility by recommending you.
Cons: You do not control the flow of leads, it is feast or famine. Sometimes the leads are problematic and put you into a difficult place with your network or referral partner.
What methods of prospecting for leads are you using and what has the most success? Do you agree with Hubspot’s assessment of ROI? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!