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Insurance journal 101 sales and marketing ideas
 

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    Insurance journal 101 sales and marketing ideas Insurance journal 101 sales and marketing ideas Document Transcript

    • 36 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL August 19, 2013 www.insurancejournal.com 1 – Know Your Client Be alert to details that matter to the client and recognize what makes every encounter with each client unique. Our brand promise, “Because You’re Different,” hinges on employees knowing their dis- tinctive clients and sustaining a positive relationship. Tell your client things you are doing for them that they might not know about and make a point to ask them questions about their business. — Jackie Donnelly, Heffernan Insurance Brokers 2 – Link Up Ask key commercial clients for their per- mission to include a link to their websites on your agency’s website. You can bet they will give you their OK and will probably appreciate your loyalty to them, which should help you bond with a long-term cli- ent. — Phil Tuccy, Insurance Group Consulting LLC 3 – Share Problems Make the customer’s problem your problem. — Scott Mikkelsen, Mikkelsen, Kelly, & Kipp Insurance 4 – Mobile Friendly Make your insurance web- site mobile-friendly so your customers on-the-go can easily access your infor- mation if they need it. — Laird Rixford, Insurance Technologies Corp. 5 – Customer’s Shoes Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think: “If I were them, what questions would I ask?” — Scott Mikkelsen, Mikkelsen, Kelly, & Kipp Insurance 6 – Referral Partnerships Enter into a mutually beneficial agree- ment with a referral partner (i.e., accoun- tant, car dealership) with the objective of sending each other hot leads. I gain a lot of new business using this approach. — Eric Lanzillotta, CBIA Insurance Agency Inc. 7 – Foot in the Door For commercial insurance: Drop off a cookie in the shape of a foot to a prospec- tive insured. The cookie should have a note attached that says, “Trying to get my foot in the door.” — Trisha Wright, The Hartford. 8 – Checklists Use coverage and expo- sure checklists to increase sales. By doing the job of a professional insurance agent, you will also create a great reputa- tion for yourself. — Chris Burand, Burand & Associates LLC 9 – Make Friends Stop pushing product and price. Make friends and they will become your best clients. — Al Diamond, Agency Consulting Group Inc. 10 – Thank You Send a handwritten thank you card to clients when they send you referrals and say the following, “The sincerest form of flattery to my agency is in a referral from you, our client. Thank you so much for your vote of confidence and we will take special care of your referral.” Then enclose two more of your business cards. — Catherine Oak, Oak & Associates 11 – Measurements Measure customer Insurance Journal has listened to readers, spoken with experts, combed through columns and articles and even searched outside insurance circles to find the best sales and marketing tips for independent agencies today. Here are 101 ideas, in no particular order. SPECIAL REPORT
    • August 19, 2013 INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL | 37www.insurancejournal.com sentiment with social media — not just negative, but positive, too. If your customers are singing you praises, use that to tell more people about your great customer service and get some real marketing mileage out of it. — Don Wolff, Astute Solutions 12 – Umbrellas Sell increased limits on umbrella policies. Invite personal and small commercial lines umbrella insureds to increase their policy limits beyond $1 million. Many CSRs and producers write a small umbrella once — and then forget to suggest adding another million, or more, at renewal time. — Alan Shulman, www.AgencyIdeas.com 13 – Promote Your Website Promote your website on all of your mar- keting. This could include business cards, brochures, emails and social media. Basically, anywhere you have your agen- cy logo, your URL should be there, too. — Laird Rixford, Insurance Technologies Corp. 14 – Turn to Your State Association If you have an agency challenge, chanc- es are that someone else has already faced it — and solved it. Turn to your state agents’ association for a broad range of solutions to problems you face as an agent or agency principal. — Sharon Emek, Work At Home Vintage Employees (WAHVE) 15 – Screen Share It’s not always possible to get an in-per- son appointment. Using easy-to-use screen- share technology such as Join.me is a good way to share a presentation, or go through your website while you’ve got the pros- pect or client on the phone. — Julie Tinney, Insurance Journal 16 – Virtual Checks Use remote deposit to electronically deposit checks without leaving the office. Remote deposit captures images of both sides of checks, analyzes them for image quality and authenticity, and automati- cally balances deposits before submission. That makes the bank available 24/7, saves time and money, and boosts security. Remote deposit does not require applica- tion software, and uses a scanner (typically provided by the bank) as well as a PC with an Internet connection. — Mary Grazen, InsurBanc, a division of Connecticut Community Bank N.A. 17 – Great Customer Service It’s not a secret tactic, but it is the most effective one. When our agents provide cus- tomers with outstanding service, they show their appreciation by giving us referrals. — Trident Insurance Agency 18 – Give Them Something Never leave your client or prospect emp- ty-handed. Give them something useful and informative that will make them think of you every time they see it and use it. — Christopher J. Boggs, Academy of Insurance, www.IJAcademy.com 19 – Track New Business Appointments New business production is the ultimate indicator of sales performance, but under- standing meaningful activity may be the missing piece of your sales management platform. — Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry 20 – Website Design A well-designed website will serve as the hub of all digital agency marketing. When done well, it can serve multiple purposes: customer service, education, sales, reten- tion. — Laird Rixford, Insurance Technologies Corp. 21 – Tracking Metrics Growing agencies have one thing in common: They track where every new piece of business is coming from, so they know which mar- keting efforts are paying off. They also track the number of policies per client, so they know whether they are building deeper rela- tionships. — Jeff Yates, Agents Council for Technology 22 – X the Lingo Get rid of lingo and find a way to talk to clients in words and phrases they can easily understand. — Anonymous 23 – Strategize All marketing needs a strategy and a goal. You want to post a banner? Send an email to a list? Start a newsletter? Great. Why? — Anonymous 24 – Double Referrals Create a referral program that rewards existing and new customers. This creates a win-win which is naturally what a referral should be. Dropbox and Uber have suc- cessful referral programs that award the existing customer and new customer with bonus storage and service credit when the new customer signs up. — Josh Carlson, Wells Media Group 25 – Believe in Your Brand Passion is con- tagious. If you love where you work, shout it to the rooftops. Let others know why your agency is the best. You’ll be much more likely to generate genuine enthusiasm, which could drive more customers to use your services. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 26 – Data Goldmine For more than 20 years, agencies have had the most lucrative gold mine locked up in customer data. You may have 20 valuable nuggets of information about every client in your system: birthdays, claims, policies held, policies not held, ex-dates and so forth. So, if you’ve got 5,000 customers, you’ve got 100,000 pieces of information ...that changes every single day. Technology exists to turn that “dead data” into a marketing goldmine. — Michael Jans, Agency Revolution 27 – Be in Position to See Opportunity Work hard and try to put yourself in a position where, if luck strikes, you can see continued on next page
    • www.insurancejournal.com38 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL August 19, 2013 the opportunity and take advantage of it. — Mark Cuban, chairman of HDNet 28 – Drip Marketing Use a consistent drip marketing cam- paign: Bring value by providing useful info or ideas. You will be (hopefully) top-of- mind when the need for services will arise. — Brad Tamulski, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners 29 – Unique Landing Pages Use landing pages that are designed to match specific marketing campaigns (e.g., an email sent to auto insurance prospects should link to a landing page that discusses auto insurance and matches the design of the email). This will improve your con- version rate. — Laird Rixford, Insurance Technologies Corp. 30 – Social Media Content Provide useful, engaging content on social media to attract new customers and retain relationships with existing ones. Always remember that social media is con- versational. Never ignore anyone. Respond to all inquiries, comments, etc. — Valerie Foster, Monitor Liability Managers 31 – Community Like Its Partner with a community charity on Facebook. Preferred Insurance Services is partnering with Pet Project Rescue in Minneapolis until the beginning of September in the hopes of garnering $500 for the non-profit. Preferred has committed to donating $1 to PPR for every new “like” it gets on its Facebook page between now and then. In just three weeks, Preferred doubled its fan base — and raised nearly $200 for PPR in the process. — Preferred Insurance Services 32 – Don’t Forget to Ask Ask for the business. After show- ing value and laying out distinct advantages of a partner- ship, be clear about asking for business. You will either get it or find out remaining obstacles. — Brad Tamulski, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partner 33 – Community Involvement Savvy agencies and their employees are becoming increasingly involved in local causes to support their communities, and these efforts are generating new clients for them — clients who want to support busi- nesses striving to make the community bet- ter. — Jeff Yates, Agents Council for Technology 34 – Target Marketing Smart call — target certain industries/ client sizes/etc. and tell them exactly why you’ve identified them as benefiting from what you have to offer. Prospects can be more receptive. — Brad Tamulski, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners 35 – Social Media Marketing Social media marketing is more than tweeting/posting and running; it is roll- up-your-sleeves interactive work that builds solid relationships and reputations. — Tammy Elizabeth Southin, social media marketing consultant 36 – Show You Care Show your customers you care by helping them when they’re in trouble, respond- ing quickly and effectively to complaints, or providing sym- pathetic feedback. It’s up to you to build a symmetrical feedback loop of appreciation and understanding. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 37 – Clients in Common Find out from each of your key clients who their attorney and CPA is, and then contact those professionals and let them know you have the same good clients in common. It gets the attorney and CPA to send you more referrals because their clients use you. — Catherine Oak, Oak & Associates 38 – Video Testimonials Collect mini-video testimonials. Identify your happiest and most influential insureds. Ask them for a brief video testimonial you can tactfully use. A 6-second Vine or 15-second Instagram video recorded on your smartphone can be fun for your insured and for you. Use them online for marketing purposes and display them in-person when actively selling. — Alan Shulman, www.AgencyIdeas.com 39 – Bigger Footprint You have a license to sell insurance throughout your state, or more. Then do it. One of my clients shot from 95 contractors to 2,000 in four years. Her small town loca- tion did not dictate a small town marketing plan. — Michael Jans, Agency Revolution 40 – Email Use email marketing to cross sell. — Laird Rixford, Insurance Technologies Corp. 41 – Decide Once and For All Average marketing will flow from the unconscious decision to be “OK” with an average agency. Great mar- keting will flow from the decision to be great. Insanely great market- ing will flow from the decision to be insanely great. It’s up to you, cowboy. — Michael Jans, Agency Revolution 42 – Go Out of Your Way Going out of your way to help a customer will likely benefit you in terms of customer retention and word-of-mouth. But it’s also just a genuinely good thing to do — and that’s worth something, too. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 43 – Buyer’s Remorse Review What do you do when you discover that your personal or commercial prospect’s pol- icies just renewed? One response is to target their post-sale period of uncertainty and offer to provide a “buyer’s remorse review.” Your prompt second opinion can open an unsure prospect’s mind to many valid criti- cisms. — Alan Shulman, www.AgencyIdeas.com SPECIAL REPORT continued from page 37
    • August 19, 2013 INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL | 39www.insurancejournal.com 44 – Free Coffee We have a promotion on our website that offers a $5 Starbucks giftcard for referring a friend to our agency. — Trident Insurance Agency 45 – Build a Community There is strength in numbers. Look for people who are excited about the work you do and high- light them. Create an ambassador program to get even more people involved. You’ll suddenly find your brand popping up in more plac- es: in conversations, blog posts and “Best Company” lists. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 46 – Dissatisfaction Surveys What’s wrong with your insurance? Don’t use the same old “let me quote” approach when soliciting commercial lines. Instead, employ a business “dissatisfaction survey” to differentiate yourself and to let the buyer vent about what’s wrong with his current insurance program. When you know exactly what bugs him, you can provide a custom solution. — Alan Shulman, www.AgencyIdeas.com 47 – Turn to Training The industry’s nonprofit organizations are a rich source of training and education. The CPCU Society, ceu.com, AIMS Society, and NAPSLO are a few of the national orga- nizations that offer specialized classes in property/casualty insurance. Local associa- tions and affiliates also are helpful and even more accessible. — Sharon Emek, Work At Home Vintage Employees (WAHVE) 48 – Featured Partners We feature prospective clients and exist- ing clients’ companies on our “partners” page for cross referrals. — Trident Insurance Agency 49 – Email Drips Set up email drips in an automated agency marketing system to automatically follow up on every prospect over a period of time. This will help keep your agency in front of the consumer without you having to remember to do the follow up. — Laird Rixford, Insurance Technologies Corp. 50 – Shopping Carts We have our pres- ident’s picture on shopping carts! We advertise our agency at the local gro- cery stores. — Trident Insurance Agency 51 - – Reduce Redundancy Maintain your records and solidify your data with data download. — Real Time/Download Campaign co-chair Joyce Sigler, Jones & Wenner Insurance Agency 52– Consider Your Audience It’s all about the customer experience. Think about their experience and what they’re going through. Gather feedback. Consider what they like and what they don’t like. Try and fix the things they don’t like. Use their recommendations and con- cerns to change your company’s tactics or direction. Your customers will appreciate it. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 53 – Real Time Saves Real $$$$ Implementing real-time functions in your agency saves time and money. A typical agency with four CSRs each doing 15 trans- actions per day via real time (versus a com- pany website) will save 90 days of CSR time and $14,400 annually, according to surveys. — Real Time/Download Campaign co-chair Stuart Durland, Seely & Durland Insurance 54 – Be Quick Be quick and responsive to a client’s need. When I get a referral or an Internet lead, I try to make contact right away. — Anonymous 55 – Soft Stalking If a prospect is not responding, begin following their company on Twitter and Facebook and participate. It’s surprising how many business-owners and CEOs actually check to see their new likes and followers. This is particularly true of small- er companies. It’s just another way to get your name in front of them without asking to personally connect on social media with someone you’ve never met, which can be creepy. — Julie Tinney, Insurance Journal 56 – Virtual Connections Use your existing technology to give producers immediate system access while they’re working remotely. Two technologies built into Windows make it as secure to connect to the office server from across the country as from across the hallway: virtual private networks (VPNs) and remote desktop protocol (RDP). — Frank Sentner, Work At Home Vintage Employees (WAHVE) 57 – Online Banking Use online banking to streamline processes. Sending and receiving funds electronically, transferring funds between accounts, scheduling direct deposit of pay- roll, and creating wire transfers are all ways to be more efficient as an agency. Bankers familiar with insurance agencies can help develop programs to create an efficient process in managing agency funds and accounts. — Mary Grazen, InsurBanc, a divi- sion of Connecticut Community Bank N.A. 58 – Varied Methods If you put all your time and energy into social media, you may end up ignoring the potential customers who aren’t on social media. Embrace a variety of marketing methods to succeed, including everything from face-to-face interaction to grassroots tactics. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 59 – Set Up Knowledge Transfer Experienced workers are valuable sources of insurance expertise. Before they retire continued on next page
    • 40 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL August 19, 2013 www.insurancejournal.com (and 10,000 Americans hit retirement age every day) and take their institutional knowledge with them, set them up as men- tors for newer and younger producers and employees in your agency. — Sharon Emek, Ph.D., Work At Home Vintage Employees (WAHVE) 60 – Real People Delete your Facebook, delete your Twitter, meet real people, sell insurance. — Josh Carlson, Wells Media Group 61 – Listen Carefully Listening to clients’ concerns and answering their insurance questions thoroughly is extremely important in maintaining mutual trust. The client trusts that you are looking out for their best interests and that you are provid- ing them with expert industry advice. — Trident Insurance Agency 62 – Be the First to Know If you are tired that your agency’s not getting data before your customers do, encourage your carriers to initiate activity/ notifications for real-time notifications and policy data. — Real Time/Download Campaign co-chair Joyce Sigler, Jones & Wenner Insurance Agency 63 – Become an Expert Encourage your producers to develop an expertise on an industry group or techni- cal niche, and become the go-to person in the market- place. Enhance the reputation by participating in nation- al events, publishing articles and hosting seminars on the subject. — Laura Sherman, Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners 64 – Carrier Help Ask your carriers for content to use on your marketing materials, website, blogs or social media. They have a wealth of information to share about risk trends and industry changes, as well as claim examples/scenarios. Also, follow them on LinkedIn or Twitter, and you can share or re-Tweet any relevant information. — Valerie Foster, Monitor Liability Managers 65 – In-House Social Media We have an in-house social marketing consultant that stays up-to-date with our blog and social media sites. They reach out to local businesses and post useful insur- ance tips that elicit calls to our agency for quotes. — Trident Insurance Agency 66 – Amplify Success Rather than trying to accomplish all of your promotion goals at once, focus on growing over time. Once you gain recog- nition, whether it’s a mention from an important influencer on social media or a front-page story, you can use that to show more potential audiences why your brand matters. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 67 – ‘I Don’t Know’ Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know.” No one expects you to know everything; plus you now have the opportunity, and a rea- son, to connect with the client or prospect again. Not only will you know you have pro- vided the correct information, you will have built trust.” — Christopher J. Boggs, Academy of Insurance, www.IJAcademy.com 68 – Keep Score Become obsessed with being the best through performance benchmarking within your agency and within the industry. Top performers are motivated by winning. Encouraging competition internally creates a growth culture that helps you com- pete externally. — Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry 69 – Get Out What You Put In Start small and strengthen over time. Put in the hours to build relationships with the media and your customers. Brand recog- nition does not just happen overnight. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 70 – Hire, Hire, Hire Predictable, sustainable growth is direct- ly dependent on systematic reinvestment within your production staff year-over-year. — Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry 71 – Why Measure? You don’t have time to spend on efforts that don’t yield results. You have to illus- trate how your efforts increase brand awareness, create buzz and generate new business; otherwise you’ll never know what gets you noticed and what ends up being overlooked. Demonstrate growth and illustrate investment. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 72 – New Client Thank Yous Every new client gets a personally writ- ten thank you card with their agent’s infor- mation and a note that says: “We love refer- rals. Thank you for referring us.” — Trident Insurance Agency 73 – Total Agency Sales Culture Producers are the quar- terbacks of a growth team, but key technicians and high-level servicers are your lineback- ers. Employ quality people throughout the entire organization, not just within your sales staff. — Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry 74 – Make Your Value Proposition Valuable Track utilization on all value added services, charge fees on top of commission, and have a communication process through stewardship reporting to ensure the client knows your value. — Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry 75 – Match Interests Employees and producers have favorite SPECIAL REPORT continued from page 39
    • August 19, 2013 INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL | 41www.insurancejournal.com charities to which they personally give time and donations. Choose one of those for your entire agency to contribute to by volunteering and/or a fundraising. It’ll build camaraderie, help the charity, and make your brand a little better known in the community. — Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance 76 – Institutionalize Your Relationships Develop a long-term retention plan on large-scale accounts by introducing key agency executives to decision-makers. Involve quality service, loss control, claims advocates, and other value-added service personnel during the prospecting process to help diversify the relationship long term. This practice allows for better delegation of servicing responsibilities, sells the team, and helps transition relationships as employees move on or retire. — Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry 77 – All Aspects of Life The bottleneck for selling comes from lack of activity. Turn your life gray and open the opportunity of prospecting with every part of your life. — Justin Berry, MarshBerry 78 – Take Chances Someone will always say: “You can’t do that!” Just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it won’t work or that it won’t make a huge impact. You have to take chances to stand out. — Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency 79– Understand Customers’ Business Do your homework. When the customer sees you’ve invested time into understand- ing his business, there is a certain level of trust established right away. — Sales and marketing consultant Barry Farber, as quoted in Entrepreneur magazine 80 – Be a Solution Don’t sell product and features rather be a solution and new business will come to you — Justin Berry, MarshBerry 81 – You Can’t Do It All! Social media and blogging are becom- ing integral to a growing agency’s daily operations. Consistency is crit- ical. It may be time to hire a part-time or full-time employ- ee to do this. — Real Time/Download Campaign co-chair Stuart Durland, Seely & Durland Insurance 82 – Expand Your Virtual Reach Try your ven- dor’s web-based consumer self-serve quoting functionality, so your clients can serve themselves for quotes. — Real Time/ Download Campaign co-chair Joyce Sigler, Jones & Wenner Insurance Agency 83 – Google+ Use Google+ for research and lead gen- eration. With more than 100 million active users on Google+, it is a great way to search information. It’s a good tool for finding peo- ple in a specific demographic, occupation, employer, etc. — Valerie Foster, Monitor Liability Managers 84 – Once is Enough With the use of a comparative rater, you can key once and realize multiple sales opportunities. — Real Time/Download Campaign co-chair Joyce Sigler, Jones & Wenner Insurance Agency 85 – Ask for the Sale No matter what else is recommended, a salesperson ultimately must always ask for the sale. — Chris Burand, Burand & Associates LLC 86 – Free Content Tap into the insurance content — news- letters, emails, infographics and social net- working shares — that carriers and whole- salers provide. Share it with clients and prospects on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, and in your email newsletter and on your agency website. This showcas- es you and gives consumers relevant infor- mation. — Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance 87 – Differentiate Make building your book easier and use your agency’s institutional and personal differentiation to build partnerships of new business. — Justin Berry, MarshBerry 88 – Set Aside an Employee Day Pick a day once a year to honor and rec- ognize your agency team with a surprise lunch or other special event that focuses just on them and the work they do all year long. Recognition works. — Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance 89 – Pop the Question It’s amazing what people collect. Ask your next 10 clients or pros- pects: “Do you keep anything of special value or sig- nificance in your home or garage?” That opens up a new line of conversation, expands the relationship, opens up a channel for cross-selling coverage for collectibles or collector vehicles, and reduc- es E&O risk. — Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance continued on next page
    • 42 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL August 19, 2013 www.insurancejournal.com SPECIAL REPORT 90 – In Their Words Often, an individual can tell you what their primary concerns are in simple con- versation. Have broad, open conversations with clients and prospect clients to learn about where they are in life. As you review their insurance needs, use that conversation as the guide for what your clients value most. — Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance 91 – Get the Experience of Partners Ask for input from your business part- ners. Most will gladly pass along solutions that have worked for them in similar sit- uations. It will expand your knowledge, strengthen your relationship and may even lead to additional opportunities. — Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance 92 – Find a New Way to Keep in Touch Client messages related to annual reviews, policy anniversaries and birthday are common. Also consider special com- munications related to risks. For example, send an email to clients with classic cars or recreational vehicle coverage in the spring when the “toys” are coming out of the garage! — Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance 93 – ‘Sales’ Is Not a Bad Word Sales is often seen in conflict with ser- vice, but when this function is executed properly, it’s really the essence of good ser- vice. Proactive, attentive, needs-based sales in an insurance environment means that you are serving clients by looking out for their best interests, educating them about the need for coverage, and covering poten- tial risk exposures. — Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance 94 – Set Your Goals Goals should be set at both an individ- ual and company-wide level. Be realistic continued from page 41 but ambitious. Be measured but strive for the best. Your goals should be based on where you’ve been, as well as where you want to go. — Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance 95 – Mine for Specialties Mine your agency management system to find out where you have a niche. If you have three or four restaurant accounts, then you have knowledge within your agency about restaurants. Ask your current clients about other restaurateurs who could use your expertise. — Insurance Journal 96 – Document, Document, Document Keep track of what you do and what you tell clients. It pro- vides seamless service when a colleague follows up later with a client at a moment when you are not available to answer questions. — Maureen Boeing, Landmark Insurance Agency and past chair, ASCnet 97 – Multitasking Break It is so easy to work on the computer while simultaneously talking on the phone. Stop. Commit yourself to focusing on the needs of the client with whom you are speaking. Dedicating that time to the con- versation and lending full expertise to his or her situation will build stronger relation- ships and open the door to opportunities you may not have caught otherwise. — Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance 98 – Branch Out Pick your best niche and expand it like crazy. Keep nurturing your existing book while you grow your new “branch.” A well- picked and “niche-branch” can outperform the entire agency. — Michael Jans, Agency Revolution 99 – Budget, Schmudget I wish more agencies would “act like grownup” businesses and budget their money. And then, I wish they’d know when to throw that budget away. If you’re getting a positive ROI on a marketing campaign that is what every entrepreneur dreams of: free money. Don’t let accountants run your business. Good marketing means that the marketplace pays for your marketing. (Don’t let lawyers run your business, either!) — Michael Jans, Agency Revolution 100 – Agency Newsletters A newsletter is an excellent tool to help educate customers on insurance issues, to make customers believe that they’re getting some- thing extra for their insurance dollars, and to keep an agency’s name before its custom- ers. — Mary Christiano, Professional Insurance Agents associations of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire 101 – Don’t Use Complicated Diction When pitching, do not use complicated diction. Pride yourself on being able to explain the concept as quickly, clearly and simply as possible. The biggest problem in sales is client confusion. Confusion does not lead to a Yes. — Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, a N.J.-based “upcycling” and manufacturing firm, in a commentary in The New York Times