Erica Kiefer from AgencyBlocinterviewed me, asking how agency owners and agents can thrive, not just survive, in today's insurance industry and healthcare climate.A version of this article was originally published on their blog.
You hear it all the time – Change your agency! You’ll go the way of the Dodo bird if you don’t! You’ll have to sell your agency and work for someone else! You’ll lose your independence! Start making changes today to save yourself!
But is that actually good advice?
We watch insurance agencies make the craziest decisions about spending money. We see heavy spending and snap decisions regularly being made on a variety of software platforms, hiring internal marketing people, and buying client services (think value-added services).
What we also see are agencies frustrated with the lack of results from that come from this spending. It feels a bit like a money pit. And the way this spending takes place, it should!
Marketing in a New Era.
This is the subject line of an email I received from a benefits producer I correspond with occasionally. He replies to articles and brings up thoughtful questions, and then we have some back and forth exchanges. I want to share one with you that I felt was particularly relevant to our readers regarding insurance sales and marketing.
People don’t buy what you sell. They buy you and your ideas. And when all you talk about are your products, you’re losing potential buyers.
Marketing has taken on a critical new role for insurance agencies, and understanding what that role is, how it impacts your business, and what you need to do about it is simply table-stakes for successful businesses. It’s not a nice-to-have anymore, and it’s time to decide that you’re either going to commit to it, or you’re going to become increasingly irrelevant to potential buyers. Your choice.
Think about that question for a few minutes and let it really sink in. Because not everyone will get high benefit from the work you do best. And you aren’t the best at everything. So, we need to find a match between what we do best and those who need the things we do.
The time comes when you know you need to make changes in your business, but changes can be intimidating. How do you know if the team will accept the new ideas? How do you know if the clients will like it? How do you know the changes will even work?
I have the craziest conversations with people telling me that social media and marketing activities are a waste of time, and they don’t see how social/marketing could influence anything substantial, like their business. And when I look at their LinkedIn profiles, I see zero activity. Yet, some have hundreds of connections.
Go figure? They believe in it enough to use it as a Rolodex, but don’t believe in it enough to actually use it for strengthening their business connections.