Recently, I was asked to put together a marketing campaign to attract new brokers and producers for our brokerage general agency. I decided upon a four-part seminar series that would highlight our strengths and the relationships the firm has with our life insurance carriers. We conducted the first seminar, and the response was overwhelming. The event was standing room only, 70 people for lunch, and we had 40 producers on a waiting list. One of the attendees commented that “we were very lucky to have had such a great turnout.” I smiled and thanked him but knew that there was nothing lucky about it . . . we had worked a marketing system that I have been refining for the better part of the past 10 years for seminar presentations.
Our industry is unique in the fact that it demands that producers be good sales people and good marketers to be successful. The problem is that sales and marketing are very different disciplines. Most salespeople do not have the “makeup” or skill sets to be good marketers and vice versa. Having been quite involved in both areas of this business, I can tell you that there is one common ingredient that links the most successful salespeople and marketers—they have a system in which they work and they don’t ever “wing it.” For the producers reading this, let me pose a question: “Would you ever go out and meet with a client without having some type of fact-finding track or sales track (depending upon the focus of your meeting) with which you are completely comfortable?” Of course not. Not if you are either successful or want to be successful in this business. The top producers have fact-finding and sales systems with which they are comfortable and rarely deviate from their process, if ever. The ultimate beneficiaries of this approach are the producer’s clients. They receive the benefit of a well-tested and well-practiced approach that will help them determine and meet their insurance and financial needs.
There is a very interesting dynamic that I have observed when talking to these very same producers about their marketing systems—many of them don’t really have one that is nearly as “tight” as their sales system. Most successful producers are actively prospecting (marketing) for new business, but when you ask them to explain their system, they are not nearly as comfortable as when you ask them to talk about their sales track. It’s a natural example of the two different disciplines one must master (or bring in help to master) to reach high levels of success in our business. The following is a brief outline of some ideas when it comes to developing and implementing a good marketing plan:
1. Identify Your Market – In order to put together a cohesive marketing plan, you must define who your ideal prospect is. You can then begin the process of targeting those individuals or businesses that fit into the defined target market.
2. Have Good Market Research – The amount of information available today is unbelievable. There has never been a time when information has been as readily available or available as inexpensively as it is today.
3. Present Yourself and Your Company Professionally – Make sure that you are communicating to your markets the qualities that make your firm unique and do so in a professional manner.
4. Be an Active Marketer – Remember when I talked about luck earlier? Activity breeds success and this has nothing to do with luck. If you are consistently delivering your message to the market you have defined as ideal for your business, you will find your prospects will increase and others will view you as very “lucky” (but we know better!).
5. Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up – Every lead is a potential diamond or can be a referral source to a potential diamond. Marketing is hard work, so don’t squander leads by giving up too easily. I have heard too many times, “…Well, I left a voicemail but never got a call back.” Have a “tickler system” (technology makes it so easy today) and continue to follow-up with your prospects on a periodic basis, until such time that they become clients or tell you for certain they are not interested in your products or services. Make sure that you are contacting people on a reasonable time-table. If you call a prospect daily you will become annoying. Try weekly.
6. Get Help Where Necessary – It is critical in this process to know what you are not good at and to get help in these areas. The best marketing plans fall apart when a piece of the plan is not implemented effectively. For example, if you are not super organized and your follow-up is not as good as it should be, either find a follow-up system online that works for you or have someone in your organization who is very organized help you (in most cases, getting the help you need to keep your systems running efficiently is well worth paying for).
These are just a few ideas you can use to help improve your marketing systems.