For many P&C focused insurance agents, auto insurance sales are a huge part of their business. Even increasing auto insurance sales by 10% can have a significant impact on an agency’s bottom line.
Let’s face it—agents are constantly looking for ways to grow our books of business (and grow them faster). To come up with a useful list of strategies—both do’s and don’ts—we asked lifetime President’s Club and MDRT agent Chandler Hahn. Below are 9 tips that you can use today to help make sure you strategy will work to improve your results when it comes to auto insurance sales.
9 Key Tips On How To Increase Auto Insurance Sales
1. Don’t focus too heavily on the highest close rates – focus on consistent close rates.
If you ask almost any tenured agency owner they’ll tell you – close rates are virtually never stable. They can change from week to week or from month to month, and they are almost always different from marketing source to marketing source, not to mention from producer to producer. So focusing too much on achieving the same close rate week to week is a losing proposition.
For example, when it comes to comparing lead sources, close rates rarely are 100% consistent. You may see internet leads close at 11% one month, and then close at 8% the next month. There are a wide range of factors that may be causing this fluctuation (for example, the quality of the lead sources, the types of leads you’re working, the areas where you’re receiving leads from, the number of different lead vendors you’re working with, how consistent producers are working each lead, how tenured the producers are, seasonality/the time of the year you’re reaching out to consumers, and so-on). So it’s absolutely crucial that you look at your closing rates in a broader context and not just take them at face value or look at them as the key metric for your agency.
By focusing your budget on vendors who provide a consistent close rate (which may not always be the highest close rate out of your vendor mix at any given point in time) it allows you to better pinpoint any potential weak points in your processes or personnel. By ruling out a consistently performing vendor/lead source as the issue, you can more easily identify if any problem is related to your follow-up process, to a specific team member’s performance, to your training program, etc. This will better allow your agency to have a scalable system that reinforces accountability. Without this, you and your team run the risk of constantly changing directions, which makes you lose momentum and can often lead you to poor results.
2. Don’t switch vendors too frequently.
Some agents fall into the trap of switching vendors monthly in an attempt to chase the highest close rates. The big problem with this? When you switch quickly, you sacrifice any chance for consistency.
Think of starting a new vendor relationship as similar to starting a new workout routine: it will probably hurt at first, but the more you do it, the more your muscles adjust, and soon you start to see results. Likewise, you have to give your new lead sources time to produce enough data to support your decision to stick with them or move along. I suggest a minimum of 6 months before switching.
Furthermore, when you constantly switch vendors, you risk burning out your team. Whether your close rate is 10% or 5%, it’s important to maintain a relationship that produces consistent, predictable results from your vendors. When you know what to expect, you can create follow-up processes that your entire team can follow. Switching vendors frequently makes it difficult for your team to get into a rhythm with leads, and you risk exhausting your producers. Consistency over time is more important than the highest close rate.
For example: say one month it takes your team 10 follow-up activities (on average) to write a lead. Then the next month they say they’re able to write a new lead with only 5 follow-ups. But then the next month it goes up to 15 follow-up activities. In this example the team will not be able to get into a steady process—by the time they realize the 5 follow-ups aren't working, it’s already half-way through the month. With a consistent close rate (again even if it’s not always the highest of your vendors in a given month) it allows them the opportunity to drill down into how many activities (on average) are truly required to write a lead, and then they can build their daily schedule around those required activities
3. Do have consistent follow-up processes.
In my office, we can email, text, and call our leads. We have a consistent process templated for each of these interactions with every single person that comes through the proverbial door—these processes don't change, at least not often (remember it’s all about consistent vendors and consistent processes). Establishing and maintaining consistent follow-up processes is a minimum expectation, because they produce predictable results for my team and my agency’s bottom line. If my producers follow them, they can hit commissions and validate their seats in my office.
A robust insurance sales process is the key to success—does yours measure up? Get our proven follow-up template here:
Download The Insurance Agent Sales Process Quick-Start Template
In your agency, whatever system you use should be trackable and expandable. You can see several examples of what your follow-up processes and systems could look like in this eBook.
The bottom line: I want a response no matter what. That’s right—I don't care what the response is, because buying and reaching out to internet leads is a numbers game. The more you do it the more successful you’ll be; if you don’t have a process that’s steady and consistent, you will face an extremely difficult path to success.
How To Increase Insurance Sales With Buttoned-up Processes
- Tell producers that they can do more than the process, but they can't do less.
- Ensure all tasks are consistent for your producers, so that when you filter out opportunities, you know how many people you spoke with each day.
- Use different follow-ups for leads you have spoken to vs. people you haven't spoken to.
- Let the lead dictate the follow-up process—there is no one-size-fits-all approach!
- Set-up your systems so they're organized and easily filtered. For example, use consistent subject lines (ie. Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 5) so you can filter for the steps you are on and move more quickly and easily through them. Work all “Day 1” leads at the same time then move on to the next group. After speaking with prospects, you can notate with symbols to help your team recognize the closing opportunity that each lead presents. This will help you and your team save time and become more efficient, because everyone is running the same processes (even if the specific approaches are different).
Follow-up tasks and systems are so important for producers because your leads will build up over time. If your agency doesn’t have an established system to run every day, you won't know who is ready to close, where leads are in the buying journey, and how your team is performing.
4. Do practice double-dialing.
Don’t be afraid of using an aggressive outreach cadence. Working leads the right way can have a major impact on the success of your agency. There are four simple, proven steps that can help you close a deal and boost your lead revenue by up to 128%; get the details on this method here.
5. Don’t stop dialing just because you can't reach someone on a particular day.
You’ll never know why someone answers a call (or doesn’t!); things change from one day to the next. You also can’t know if someone answered your call one day because they saw you had tried to call them the day before (or they saw your text or email). Just because someone doesn’t answer your initial calls doesn’t mean that those calls aren’t influencing that lead to potentially answer the next call you make. To cover all your bases, make sure your sales process is thorough and is mapped out over many days (really weeks). To learn more about when and how to speak to leads you get on the phone, check out A Winning Insurance Sales Conversation Process in 8 Steps.
6. Don't ask people if it's “a good time” when you get them on the line.
Why? Because it's never a good time (they wouldn’t have answered you if they couldn’t speak). Instead, assume the sale! Assume the lead on the line wants to talk to you and knows what you want them to do. Tell them what you already have, and dive right into the questions you need to know to verify quote rates.
By making these assumptions and taking steps to verify the information you have, you’re showing people what you already know—that you’re not some random caller asking them to waste time answering questions they’ve already responded to. You are a professional who is here to make purchasing auto insurance quick and easy for them.
7. Don't ask questions you can find the answers to yourself.
A follow-up on the previous point: Don’t waste time and frustrate leads by asking unnecessary or easy-to-verify questions such as where they live, their current vehicle, etc. In short, verify instead of ask. So for example, don’t ask the address, verify it (“you still live at 123 ABC Ln in ABC CITY right?). Don’t ask the vehicles, list them ( “you have the 2018 Honda Civic, correct? Great! Any other vehicles you wish to add to this quote?), and so-forth.
8. Do provide information they can verify to show you're legitimate.
People may not always remember that they filled out a form. But rather than rehashing the form information, give them information you’ve sourced from the form and ask them to verify it instead. This demonstrates your legitimacy.
9. Don’t stop once a producer’s initial follow-up is done.
Most producers (and agencies) are done with leads for new business once they’ve gone through a short-term follow up process. This is a huge mistake! My agency closes a third of our sales from people we’ve X-dated.
Long-term follow-ups are absolutely crucial. I mandate a six-month follow-up with anyone who wasn't initially interested or recently closed a new policy with a competitor. Six months later, the lead has had a chance to see how their policy works (or doesn’t) and may potentially be looking for an agent to provide greater value. By making sure you circle back to these leads, you can close more business from leads you purchased months ago. Remember though that different lead vendors have different terms and conditions when it comes to how long after receiving a lead you can continue to follow up. Many vendor’s T&C's limit outreach to a 90 day window, and while some are longer, some are even less.
Bonus Tip: Choose leads you can count on.
One of the most important ways to increase your auto insurance sales is to make sure you’re purchasing high-quality leads to fill your pipelines from EverQuote. Our leads have expressed intent to buy insurance, so it’s more likely agents will have a chance to talk to them and close a sale. They have a relatively high close rate—around 10%. FInally, these leads are scalable, meaning you can add more as your pipelines expand.
When you partner with EverQuote to connect with insurance shoppers, you’ll actually gain more than just leads—we help all our partner agents optimize their leads and tweak their processes when and if issues arise. Contact us today to learn more about how filling your pipeline with auto insurance leads from EverQuote is the best route.