Breaking News

The 21st Century Producer

The industry is changing whether you like it or not. Everything is done online nowadays. Consumers want their products right now. And they want them at their fingertips.

Speed and convenience is the name of the game. Today, producers must change with the industry. If you don’t, you’ll go extinct.

I’ve heard from hundreds of producers wondering how they can become more efficient in the technologically-dense 21st century. They see that it’s possible, because if it weren’t, none of us would be selling. These producers are just unsure about where to start and what to do.

More than 200 million people use the Internet in the United States. Eighty percent of these users have some form of social media account. One-third of them follow a business on social media. In 2011 alone, social media generated $325 million in leads.

So the question, again, is this: How does one get in on that?

Once you’ve accepted the fact that younger generations (X and Y) are thinking differently, that competition is tougher and that the industry is shifting, you’re off to a good start. Now, you can make a change. Career agencies aren’t as prominent anymore. These days, there is more production coming from independent agents. Moreover, we’re seeing the dawn of the Internet direct marketer.

Take a look at the table below to see how things used to be as opposed to how they look now:



Agent driven

Consumer driven

Scripted sales pitch

Unscripted conversation

Rate cards and illustrations

Online quoting & planning

Single carrier solutions – career agency trained

Multiple carrier representation – lack of training

Little competition from outside

Crowded distribution model

Training isn’t as good for the independent agent anymore, but the client continues to evolve. Today, clients walk in with prior knowledge thanks to the Internet. This makes things even more challenging.

After all, why even bother talking to an agent if I can just click a few buttons and buy insurance right then and there? And, if I do need to talk to someone, why should I talk to you when someone else is cheaper and virtually the same?

So, to become a 21st century producer, you must differentiate yourself.

You have to find a way to stand out above the rest and be different. If that means switching up how you talk to clients and prospects, then do it. If you haven’t found your niche, do so. If you already have a target niche, but you’re having trouble, find a new approach.

Consumers look at value and price. If you have the same value as everyone else, they’ll opt for the cheapest service. So show your value.

Not sure what it is? Well, then it’s time to create your value. Find out what you can do or provide that no one else can. Find what makes you unique. Value is more important than price, and many times, value stems from convenience.

Many producers who retain an old-school way of thinking also cling to their sales funnel approach. But there’s a new sales funnel—one that starts with marketing. Before you can make a sale, you must first get in front of a prospective client. It’s the most difficult aspect of selling, but it’s also the most important.

You can be the greatest salesperson in the world, but if you don’t have leads, you’re not going anywhere.

To get you started, use these simple steps:

1) Determine the Marketing Medium: Who is your target audience? We know ours. It’s 50-year-old women. Best of all, we know where to find them. Women around 55 years of age are increasing their use of Facebook. Choose the audience you want to target, and then go out and find where they are.

2) Know the Metrics: Knowing your metrics will help you visually spot differences in your campaigns and efforts. If anything looks out of the ordinary—positive or negative—you should figure out what happened differently. Here are a few examples: I know the email campaigns I send have a 12 percent open rate and a 10 percent click-through rate. I also know that, of every 1,000 emails we send, there is a 30 percent conversion to leads average. I know this so that if any of these numbers deviate, there needs to be an investigation.

Differentiate. Provide value. Still not sure where to start? Try this very easy process:

Write down everything that you think makes you unique and everything you can provide to a client. Now go back through the list, and line out everything that even one person says they can do equally well.

Once this process is done, you’ll be able to re-think your business and/or your approach.

About Ryan Pinney

Ryan Pinney
Ryan J. Pinney is a five-year MDRT member with five Top of the Table qualifications. A regular contributor to financial publications such as, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business News, as well as, he is a sought after expert in using technology to drive insurance business and streamline the application and underwriting processes. He leverages his experience with search engine optimization, social media, and online marketing to assist agents and agencies alike create their online presence and profit from it. Utilizing the same principals and technology his firm provides to agents, his agency sold more than 16,000 policies direct-to-consumer over the internet last year.

Check Also


Spotlight: Experienced Life & Annuity Producer Greg Spreng

The business I got into 22 years ago is not the same business I work …

Leave a Reply