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Future-Proofing your Independent Insurance Agency: 3 Workable tips

I don't believe in boundaries! Let me rephrase that: I don't think that as entrepreneurs that it is our place to set (the) boundaries between ourselves, our organizations, and our customers. In my humble opinion? That is for the customer to decide.

This article is an excerpt from my new book, ibroker: How an insurance agency should engage with the millennial and Gen Z demographic. Tools, tips, and resources to help you attract new life and health insurance clients in a digital age.

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As an industry, we have talked a lot about the need to reach out and connect with your clients and prospective clients in the context of helping younger people and families explore the different life and/or health insurance options out there in the marketplace.

Most of the subject matter in this little book of mine (that is now yours) has been focused on marketing, connecting, understanding, and empathizing with the folks that marketers and industry watchers deem as being either "Millennials" or "Gen-Z".

We talk a lot, in business, about these two consumer groups. And for good reasons. The truth is, for the most part, these are the future leaders, future clients, future entrepreneurs... the future, period.

A lot of focus is placed on these groups among those in business simply because they are what comes next- in any business, any industry. And folks like you and I, those of us in business for ourselves will be remiss if we didn’t, at the very least, explore ways in which we can also connect with those that hold the keys to the future of commerce.

It is my sincere hope that on your road to building a kickass insurance agency you have somehow found the thoughts and opinions shared here somewhat useful -to very useful."

Before I let you go though, I would like to stress the need for you, as an agency owner, to provide your team with the support and tools to help them - and perhaps yourself as well - build closer, more holistic relationships with your clients.

Your client list, "book of business", whatever you want to call it, is the entirety of your business. The fruits of all your (collective) labor. The main asset in your organization. And thus, should be treated as such.

Your client list is not just a list of names and numbers, but a living, breathing body of opportunity to help mold and shape your business whichever way you see fit. It is therefore crucially important that we work extra hard to keep our clients happy and profitable once we have initiated the agent-client relationship.

To help build stronger bonds with our individual clients - as insurance sales professionals- we must, among other things, venture to:

Embrace technology

For those of us getting a bit up there in age, this is one that we struggle with constantly. Your younger agents will typically not have this issue. And if you are under the age of... let's say 30? I am sure leveraging the power of tech to run your agency is not an issue for you.

I am sure as we speak that your agency has a presence on all the social media platforms. I am sure you probably already have a following online. Followers that you share fun, sassy content with. I am sure you got that part covered.

Regardless of one's age though, tapping into the great equalizer that is technology, is an opportunity that you cannot afford to miss.

I have no doubt that about 10 years ago, as it became clear that the new shopper preferred to buy stuff online, there were some retailers out there - smaller or even larger chains- who resisted the shift to eCommerce.

I know organizations like Best Buy and Macy's struggled to embrace the new way of doing business. And while these legacy brands were fighting to bring shoppers back to their stores - something that was clearly not going to happen- outfits like Amazon, JustFab, and a few of these now household names were ramping up to capitalize on the new realities in the marketplace.

Communicate dynamically

Communication, great and clear communication is the key, the building blocks if you will, of any healthy relationship. Ideas are shared smoothly, feelings are transmitted clearly, and so on, all if we establish some of life's most consequential relationships upon "good", no, "great" communication.

And you don't need me to point out how consequential your relationship with your clients is- Both to you and those you serve.

A lot has been said and written - even here in this book - about the need to communicate clearly with your customers. What we are all going to have to get used to as we move towards the future and thus handle younger clients is HOW we communicate.

Not tone or tenure - although equally important- but by which means said information is transmitted. Some of us, until recently had gotten used to talking to our clients over the phone or in person. Again, consequence of aging!

Younger clients, however, communicate better, or should I say, prefer to communicate via less traditional channels. We find ourselves doing quite a bit of texting with our clients as well as offering support and plan explanations via social media channels.

My only advice to you is not to resist the change but to instead invest in fortifying whichever means your clients prefer to communicate through. Learn what you can as a result of these changes and use that as your edge over the competition.

Be On-demand

I don't believe in boundaries! Let me rephrase that: I don't think that as entrepreneurs that it is our place to set (the) boundaries between ourselves, our organizations, and our customers. In my humble opinion? That is for the customer to decide.

I read a lot about the need to set boundaries in business. And I get where folks are coming from, but I think the topic is a bit more complex than what folks put out there.

Which boundaries you decide to set will most likely depend on the needs of your clients, the resources available to you, and the kind of business you are in. Understandably, a psychologist cannot decide to only respond to emails or answer the phone Monday - Friday, 9-5. Do you see where I am going with this?

People forget that gyms used to be open during the day until some chains decided to stay open 24 hours a day. That change served the needs of many folks out there who work out but did not work normal hours.

I love working on weekends simply because most of the folks you talk to will be more relaxed and more open to talking expansively about their insurance needs. In some cases, being the guy or gal your clients can reach out to at any time of the day can be the thing that sets you apart from the competition.



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