When asking agencies or reading agency websites about what makes them unique, I see the same things over and over. Which makes all of those things listed…not unique.

Common “unique” and compelling reasons agencies list as selling points for doing business with them:

We’re a local independent agency – According to a study by Future One, there are approximately 37,500 independent agencies in the US. Take a minute to Google “independent insurance agency + your city name”, and you’ll see just how not-unique that is as a selling point in your local market.

We’ve been in business for X# of years – I recently wrote a couple of posts on this topic that you can read (No One Cares and Syncing Message with Client Needs). Some of today’s most successful companies have only been in business for a handful of years. The number of years in business is no longer a compelling message like it used to be.

As an agency, if you’re trying to project security & peace of mind to your clients regarding the risk they’re transferring, then the longevity & stability of the insurance carrier, not the agency, would be the important focus for the client. And that should be communicated at plan selection, not in marketing materials.

We have the best staff and great customer service – Yes, you and everyone else. There are many ways to say it and you just have to go to an agency site to find one of these quotes: “commitment to complete customer satisfaction”, “outstanding customer service”, “superior customer service”, “truly exceptional service”.

Great customer service is a minimum requirement for even being in a customer service business like insurance and benefits. If you don’t deliver excellent customer service, then you shouldn’t be in business.

We support our local community! – Again, local businesses are expected to be good citizens and participate in their local communities. Just go to any little league game, charitable run, or local business banquet, and you’ll see how many businesses are “uniquely” participating in their community.

We’re a Platinum Partner – I’m sure the carriers appreciate you promoting their businesses, however; is that promotion really helping to convey the message that you want to send to your clients about your own business? Promoting your premier carrier partnerships reinforces in the prospect’s mind the “we’re a traditional agency” model. It encourages them to select you with the hopes that you can negotiate a better price on their policies.

If you’re wanting to bring your clients a better business solution that is not focused on price, then I recommend you talk about business solutions and not carriers.

So, if all of these things are off the table, what are we supposed to promote??

Ask yourself, “What makes our agency a unique, compelling local business that makes people say “ABC Agency? Oh, yeah, those are my guys! I love them.” Do you think they say it’s because you are independent and have been in business for a long time? Doubtful. They are going to answer based on what you do for them to help make their business better.

If you don’t know what your clients would say, then you should go ask them.

And if your clients don’t list anything truly unique to your agency and the way you do business, then you need to spend some time working ON your business. Creating a unique business model and value proposition for your clients is today’s new minimum requirement for being a sustainable business.


Photo by Dominic Alves.

Defining Your Business Brand