During turbulent times, financial circumstances change frequently, and carriers often make changes to their policies as they adapt to the quickly changing economic landscape. Building solid relationships is especially important for independent insurance agents during these times, as they can build loyalty and commitment with current clients as well as peers. Strong bonds can lead to increased referrals, better client retention, and new opportunities to collaborate with other professionals in the industry. Here are some tips for fostering relationships with clients and peers.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
First and foremost, be sure to deliver outstanding service to your clients. According to the conversion rate optimization (CRO) software company, Invesp, it costs five times as much to sign on a new client than it does to keep an existing one. Yet, companies tend to spend more time and effort on acquiring new clients than they do on satisfying their current ones.
Satisfied clients are more likely to stick with you and recommend you to their peers and colleagues, furthering your reputation and network. They are also easier to sell on additional products. Invesp estimates that your probability of selling to an existing client is between 60% and 70%, while your chances of turning a prospect into a client are between 5% and 20%.
It’s well worth the effort; increasing customer loyalty by just 5% generally results in a 25% to 95% increase in profits — across industries. Get ideas for upping your customer service game by reading our previous blog post on creating exceptional customer experiences.
Maintain Regular Personalized Contact
Stay in touch with your clients, especially immediately following the initial sale. Send them updates on industry news, relevant policy changes, and other valuable information. This demonstrates your commitment to their needs and keeps you at the forefront of their minds. Maintain contact through newsletters, personalized email updates, and even by acknowledging special days like birthdays or holidays.
Customer Retention Management (CRM) software can help you keep track of client information and communications. Be sure to take notes after client interactions, recording a few lines about their families, passions, birthdays, anniversaries, or other details. Then take action on these notes by sending cards or a quick email check-in. You can even choose a card featuring their favorite sports team, vacation spot, or animal/pet.
Small efforts can go a long way in showing that you value them personally as well as their business.
Ask For Feedback
Seek out constructive feedback from your current clients. Being open to feedback shows your willingness to learn and improve. It can also help you establish genuine connections with your clients and others who value continuous improvement and growth. You can do this via online surveys, setting up short phone conversations, or asking directly at in-person meetings.
Be sure to act on the feedback you receive, either by making immediate changes or acknowledging the concerns and communicating the steps you’ll take to make improvements in the future.
The feedback doesn’t have to stop at your clientele. You may also receive valuable feedback by engaging with other professionals in the field. Getting constructive feedback from those in the same industry can help broaden your network and improve your reputation as a professional.
Simply showing that you’re coachable and have a growth mindset can open many doors for new or stronger professional relationships.
Identify experienced professionals in the field who can serve as mentors. A mentor can provide valuable guidance and advice based on their years of experience in the industry. They can share insights on relationship-building strategies, effective communication techniques, and navigating challenges successfully.
Mentors can also help you hone your skills, whether it’s by improving your communication abilities, coaching you through new CRM software, or helping you refine your customer service approach. These skills are essential for building and maintaining lasting relationships with clients.
Mentors often have well-established networks within the insurance industry. Through mentorship, you may gain access to your mentor’s contacts, attend industry events together, and receive introductions to other professionals. This expands your network and increases your opportunities for relationship-building with peers, brokers, and carriers.
Attend Industry Events
Participate in industry conferences, seminars, and networking events. These gatherings provide opportunities to meet other professionals, stay updated on industry trends, and connect with potential collaborators. They’re excellent relationship-building opportunities that occur several times each year.
To best use these opportunities, adequately prepare by researching the event and participants. Decide beforehand what you want to achieve at the event, such as connecting with specific industry experts or meeting a certain number of new contacts.
While attending the events, smile and be friendly and approachable. Make a point to actively engage by participating in workshops and discussions. Ask relevant, thoughtful questions that initiate conversations with speakers and fellow attendees. Be curious and a good listener; you’ll find it easy to connect with others, opening doors to new professional relationships.
Don’t hesitate to exchange business cards or connect on social media platforms to maintain communication and continue building relationships after the event. When you reach out to those you met at an event, mention specific conversations or topics you discussed to show your genuine interest in maintaining the new connection.
Maintain a presence at similar industry events over time. The repeated interactions can solidify relationships and lead to more meaningful collaborations as time goes on.
Relationship-building enhances your ability to succeed as an independent insurance agent. It’s not just about making sales; it’s about creating meaningful connections that contribute to your client base and your professional growth and personal connections within the industry. However, remember that building relationships takes time and effort. Consistency, authenticity, and a genuine interest in helping others succeed will go a long way in establishing meaningful connections in the insurance field.