Life agents who are incorporating technology into their current business model will gain a competitive advantage over those who overlook this opportunity. Statistics show that consumers are using the internet to educate themselves about product options and rates. This provides a ripe opportunity for agents to harness the power of the internet too engage those prospects and utilize simple technologies to reach broader markets and establish relationships for cross selling multi-line products
Prospecting Problems: When insurance carriers initially established forms of distribution for their insurance products several come to mind: captive agents, independent agents and brokerage shops. Outside of that you have the methods these agents use to market the insurance products. Many captive agents were recruited in cattle calls, and were limited to the carrier’s products and required to make a warm list such as friends and family to uses as a starting point for product marketing. Independent agents market multiple carriers and many have had success in generating sales through seminars, cold calling, direct mail, and even print image ads. Brokerages usually focus on service to agencies and independent agents by offering competitive contracts, back office processing and service. In recent years the internet has become a more widely accepted source of lead generation for those who are forward thinking.
The introduction of the internet has evolved the way both carriers and agents market to consumers. Today’s consumers are looking for convenience when it comes to time and information and the internet provides just that. Carriers have realized that consumers are getting comfortable with the internet for retail purchases and that comfort has carried over to financial services. Since the mid 1990’s many data aggregators have evolved providing consumers the opportunity to compare insurance rates online in real time. This engagement of the consumer has advanced to internet lead generation allowing agents to buy these leads. Drawbacks with these services are that the leads may be sold 3-4 times over to other agents making them less appealing to some. In spite of this an increasing number of consumers are starting their search for insurance online which affords great opportunities for those who choose to take advantage.
Time Management Struggles: Most new agents are likely to be more than discouraged after spending hours calling leads they purchased at $19-40 a piece from direct mail, or online lead sources. Typically the agent will find once they have reached the consumer many of them have all but forgotten filling out the forms and are resistant to the agents call, or already made the purchase elsewhere. Unfortunately few of them are actually serious buyers. Even if the agent finds someone willing to commit to an appointment and spends time preparing the quote and drives to meet the consumer they face being stood up. If the agent is lucky enough to actually meet with the client and find a product that will suite their needs they still have to fill out the paperwork the old fashioned way and collect a check. Then the agent has go back to the office to proof the application and then mail it to the carrier or recruiting agency before the policy will be underwritten and issued for the commission. Most agents would agree that this system is far from efficient when it comes to time management and productivity. A new agent will find that while annuity cases, impaired risk cases and variable life cases can be a great addition to their business the term will traditionally be the bread and butter of the agent’s income source in the beginning. This makes it imperative to find a useful system that makes selling term time efficient and worthy of your efforts.
Discover The Virtual Agent: Newly licensed agent may find themselves thinking there has to be a better solution for writing term business and generating leads. Their must be a simplified method to automate prospecting for new business, automate initial applications and automate the processing. Consumers are seeking out quotes online and carriers have realized this fact and combined the integration of internet lead generation and telesales to improve the customers experience and service.
Through a combined process of real time website quote integration from the top carriers in combination with virtual agent telesales prospecting which provides exclusive inbound phone and internet leads. The agent operates just as a virtual agent would in a consumer services center. The benefit is it allows an agent to speak with hundreds of qualified prospects in a matter of a few hours since the calls are connected to you every 60 seconds, the more people you speak with the more sales you can potentially make. Regardless of whether the consumer makes a purchasing decision right away or you have to work with them, they have essentially raised their hand and said hey, I need insurance and I am qualified. If you’re a good salesman you have become their broker and can sell them whatever product best fits their needs. You are getting to these qualified consumers before they ever receive the direct mail pieces from other agencies.
Technology Time Solution: Ok so you see how to obtain the never ending leads but are you seizing the cutting edge technologies to electronically submit your simple term business? While most would agree it only makes sense that permanent forms of insurance such as whole life and investment forms indexed variable life and annuities will require a face to face meeting. Term Insurance and simplified issue policies still require all the normal aspects of writing a policy except you can streamline the entire application and underwriting process by working with about ten of the top carriers who are offering e-submissions. You will save tremendous amounts of time avoiding appointments maintaining paper applications and collecting checks not to mention the travel cost at $3.00 a gallon.
The combination of both traditional means of insurance marketing along the web and phone technologies will provide a strong customer service offering for consumers who want options and speed. The integration of the two processes allow for the internet to be a resource for lead generation and policy submissions while keeping the actual sales process personal without making the sale a time consuming process.
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