Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join
AIMS Society Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
The AIMS Society blog is designed to provide practical, timely ideas to help insurance agencies improve results from their marketing and sales efforts. Wishing you much success!!! For even more, consider joining the AIMS Society and you'll have access to a powerful network of agents and carrier personnel focused on excellence in sales!


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: AIMS Society  insurance marketing and sales  self-improvement  Leadership  teamwork  Agency Management  CPIA designation  Social Media  efficiency  Insurance Journal  Networking  Paradiso Presents  productivity  Professional Development  PRO-to-PRO  Technology  agency value  sellability  business value  Insurance Education  producer compensation  Risk Management  time management  Aartrijk  ACORD  ACT  agency sale  AUGIE  Catalyst Insurance Systems  Friends 

Get Ready for Lots of New Things from AIMS!

Posted By AIMS Society, Yesterday

New Look, New Website, New Services

You've surely noticed...we updated our logo and our website.  Although we're thrilled with the results, please know that it's stilland always will bea work in process.

Our new website is shaping up to be something pretty incredible and we hope to keep adding new features.  While we think you'll love the new look, what's even more exciting is what you'll be able to do with all of the AIMS tools and services. We'd like to share the thought behind all the new bells, whistles and visual touches.

We didn't want to make any changes without careful planning, so we started with a very deliberate review of our brand and our services to better understand what worksand what doesn't.  We did research with stakeholders and the board, spent time at a two-day workshop where we had an honest assessment of our organization, and we clearly described our aspirations moving forward.  The result is a one-page Brand Armature that outlines our:

  • Vision - The AIMS Society strives to elevate the insurance profession.
  • Mission - We inspire passion for insurance marketing and sales by supporting professional and personal development with education and collaboration that challenges, demands accountability and delivers actionable information.
  • Values, brand persona, proof points and client needs.

There's a lot packed into that one document, so we also created one succinct over-arching statement that we hope every AIMS member will embrace.  We call it our Brand Essence. It's like our DNA, the building block for everything else we do. The essence of the AIMS Societydrumroll, pleaseis:

Engage. Educate. Empower.

Three words that pack a lot of punch.  They imply active participation, ongoing dialog, a belief that learning never ends, and a desire to help members uncover their own strengths and fuel their confidence to succeed.

Our hope is that you keep these three words in mind as you see each of the exciting new things AIMS will be unveiling over the next year.  So get ready to join in a new era for AIMS.  Things are about to get really interesting!


Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  business value  CPIA designation  efficiency  Insurance Education  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  producer compensation  Professional Development  Social Media 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, October 14, 2016

When Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote “Getting to Know You,” they may not have been thinking of successful insurance sales and marketing strategies, but perhaps they were onto something.

Knowing your customers’ demographics is important — for rating purposes, of course. Age, marital status, level of schooling and other demographics are collected from prospects and clients every day, without exception.

But what about psychographics? Important for rating? Maybe not. But psychographics are part of the Holy Grail for marketing strategy. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, author Alexandra Samuel explains that “psychographics, which measure customers’ attitudes and interests rather than ‘objective’ demographic criteria, can provide deep insight that complements what we learn from demographics.”

Some examples of psychographics include:

  • Behavior (Client Joann enjoys perusing Pinterest in the evenings, searching for new recipes and inspirational quotes.)
  • Lifestyle (Prospect Tim is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys cycling, hiking and camping.)
  • Values (Client Shirley is active in church as a Sunday school teacher and is fiercely loyal to her close-knit group of friends.)

Surveys can help you dig deeper and get to know your clients better. There are many free tools available to implement formal surveys (including Survey Monkey). Even informal, one-question surveys can provide valuable data. As an example, asking the next 50 clients who call your firm which social media outlet they spend the most time on can help guide smart social media strategic decisions.

How can your firm take these results and turn them into actionable data? Review what the survey tells you, and adjust your marketing dollars to be spent in accordance with those results. Your firm most likely already spends money on sponsorships or gives back to the community —now you can make those efforts impactful to your clients and their interests and motivations. As an example, if you have many “Tims” in your database, supporting the local Boy Scouts or a fundraiser for a local watershed would resonate deeply with him — and attract others like him.

What do you already know about your clients that can help guide your marketing? Think about the policies you sell today — what might those indicate about clients’ attitudes and interests?

Tags:  AIMS Society  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  productivity  sellability  Social Media 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Same Product Delivered a Different Way - What can you do to improve your service?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 04, 2016

I finally broke down and ordered a meal kit from Blue Apron, the pre-portioned, ready-to-cook meal delivery service. What a treat to have the meal already planned, purchased and ready to go. Not a bad way to expose the family to some new recipes either, with no extra work from me.


After tucking away the Blue Apron ingredients in the refrigerator, I then noticed the laundry detergent was getting low and the dog treats were almost gone. Two quick pushes of my Amazon “Dash Buttons” and I was able to check those products off my to-do list, knowing they’d be shipped to my doorstep the next day. For those unaware, a Dash Button is a Bluetooth-enabled device that you can mount or tuck away in a drawer that automatically places your designated product order with Amazon with just a push of the button. It really doesn’t get any easier than that, and while it’s only a small help in the grand scheme of things, it is a pampering touch that’s appreciated.


I haven’t changed my purchases — food, laundry detergent and dog treats — but the way they’re delivered has certainly kicked my brand loyalty up a notch. I’m becoming accustomed to the delivery perk, and that’s going to make it harder for other brands to lure me back to their products.


What’s the lesson in this for you? You sell insurance products and risk management services. But most customers view coverage as coverage. How you deliver that insurance is what will set you apart. Digital access, 24/7 communication, quick response times — these have become the expectations of your customers, your price of entry. The challenge you must now answer is how will you deliver in a new way that not only seals the deal, but reinforces long-term loyalty? How can you become your customer’s next Blue Apron service or Dash Button? It likely won’t require grand gestures, but only thoughtful consideration of what will make your customer’s easier. If you can do this, you will have a competitive advantage that is tough to beat.


 Are there any extra-special customer service ideas you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!  

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  productivity  sellability  teamwork  time management 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Onboarding Techniques for Welcoming New Employees

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Onboarding Techniques for Welcoming New Employees

Your new employees' first day at your firm might look something like this:

  • Meet with HR to finalize any new-hire paperwork and review employee handbook.
  • Tour the building and briefly meet new colleagues.
  • Visit with new manager and/or trainer, and begin orientation
  • Wash, rinse, repeat!

The first weeks of a new job environment set the tone for how comfortably an employee will fit in with your firm's culture and therefore contribute to your organization.

The fancy buzzword for this is onboarding, which essentially recognized that employees need to get adjusted to the social and cultural aspects of a new job in addition to the job duties and skills. Consider taking a fresh approach to making newly hired individuals feel welcome:

  • Workspace welcome. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than arriving to your new job and learning that your new workspace still has some belongings, and dirt, from its last inhabitant.  Spend a few moments cleaning, organizing, and ensuring your new employee has everything they need.  Perhaps even have a small welcome gift of company logo gear awaiting them.  A computer, phone, and anything else needed to do the job should already be in place, sending the message that they can jump right in and be productive immediately. 
  • Buddy up. Mentoring in the workplace is important and has come a long way in recent years.  If you don't have a formal mentoring program in place, rest assured, there is an informal one in place, and it might not be exactly what you have in mind.  So formalize it, enlist your most passionate employees to participate, and let it flourish.
  • Sayonara silos. When getting an employee acclimated, it's easy to think that the best way for them to start is by learning the new job duties.  However, it's incredibly beneficial to give a new employee a 360-degree view of your firm.  Have them spend time in other departments in order to learn how all the different links in the organization's chain form and work together.  And if silos exist, this can be an effective way to encourage more inter-department mingling.

Your new hire wants to feel as if they are contributing to your firm as early as possible, so foster that by setting them up for success from the very first day.


Tags:  efficiency  Leadership  Professional Development  Risk Management  self-improvement  teamwork 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Are You Ahead or Behind the Curve?

Posted By AIMS Society, Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 16, 2016

Keeping Your Sales Efforts on Par With Expectations

We have a tendency in the insurance industry to be a bit insular.  We consider only what other agencies are doing and judge our own performance in comparison.  They have new sales materials; we have a better PowerPoint presentation.  But your clients do more that buy insurance.  They interact with a myriad of suppliers.  And their expectations are affected by the service provided to them in their personal lives.  You're selling to people who live in a rapidly changing world.  Are you ahead of the curve or still selling things "the old way"?

Here are some of the top selling trends for 2016:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) tools.  Using CRM software allows sales teams to work leads, manage clients, track commissions and more.  Yes, those are all things salespeople have always done (or should have), but this software simplifies and streamlines the task.  It makes the difference between "thinking" you followed up with that company three months ago to knowing it was actually six months ago.

  • Big data.  It's one of thing to collect data; it's another to know what to do with it.  Fortunately, there are more and more sales tools to help with analysis.  Here's a list of some of the best.
  • Social media.  Your clients are changing.  The younger ones grew up online.  They've already moved beyond Facebook.  If you're just now getting on Facebook, you're behind the curve.  Social media is a must-have.  No debate required.  Need help managing posts?  Try an online program like HootSuite.

  • Concern for online reputation.  Clients check you out before ever meeting you in person.  What does the internet have to say about you?  Or are there others out there with the same name burying you in the search engines?  What's being said about your company online?  Are you posting enough content to keep negative posts at bay when someone Googles your company name?

  • Acceptance of millennials.  Call them lazy, tech-centered and clueless if you'd like, but millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025 (that's less than a decade folks).  If you refuse to change to serve their needs, your client base will soon shrink.

  • Diversity.  America in 2016 is more diverse than ever.  People like to buy from people they can relate to.  Hire so your office inside looks like the world outside.

Sales is about service.  Service is about meeting needs and exceeding expectations.  Are you capitalizing on any of the trends listed above?  How are you doing?  Are you above or below the curve?  It's never too late to change!

Tags:  Agency Management  efficiency  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  self-improvement  Social Media  Technology 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

How to Beat the Big Guys

Posted By AIMS Society, Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to Beat the Big Guys

Insurance has been referred to as “an industry completely dependent on selling a product that you can't hear, see, smell, taste or touch.” So said Clara Shih in the Ad Age article, The Original Social Networker? Your Insurance Agent. She went on to highlight the unique characters that have claimed a spot in consumer awareness:  Mayhem the Allstate villain, Flo the Progressive Girl, Snoopy representing MetLife and the GEICO gecko. You’ve seen them—and so has everyone else. On TV, in print, on social media, seemingly everywhere.

So, how do you, an independent agent, sell something that’s somewhat intangible that’s also being sold by a charming pseudo salesman? Can you even compete with “the big guys” with the big ad budgets to match?

Absolutely—and here’s how: by being genuine.

In fact, being genuine is the one quality those brand name characters can never, ever claim—and you can own completely. And when it comes to customers choosing who to entrust their safety, security and financial well-being, genuineness is a pretty powerful point of confirmation as to why you’re the right choice.

Of course, “genuine” is more about an approach to partnership than anything else. If you look up the adjective in the dictionary, it includes such descriptors as:

  • possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real.
  • free from pretense, affectation, or hypocrisy; sincere: a genuine person.

In the article, 6 Reasons People Will Buy from You—Not Your Competitors, the importance of your approach is reinforced. Of particular mention in the article are these three key points that can set you apart—all of which are related to being genuine: 

  1. Their experiences with you. Your prospects will judge your worthiness based on how you make them feel…And always remember you are marketing to people first, so build the human bond by remembering personal details and listening carefully.”
  2. Your trustworthiness and reputation. Protect your good name, and do everything in your power to ensure that your customers, prospects, friends, employees, and colleagues view you as a person of value. Keep in mind that your credibility, plausibility, and truthfulness will also win you far more customers than exaggerated claims and over-the-top promises.”
  3. The value they receive. Although most consumers are price-conscious, the vast majority do not consider price alone when making their buying decisions. Rather, they consider value: the difference between what something costs and its worth to the buyer. What does value look like in the social media world? Answer: great content, expert advice and personal connections.” 

In the end, be yourself to make the sale. If you try to be anything else, it will merely be a matter of time until you can no longer maintain the charade and the partnership will fail. Worry less about the initial signature on the dotted line and more about the fit between you and your customer. If your personalities and approach are genuinely aligned, I’d bet on a long term partnership and mutual success. Now that’s a sale that lasts. 

Tags:  AIMS Society  efficiency  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  Professional Development  self-improvement 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Winterize Your Business

Posted By Donna M. Gray, Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Winterize Your Business

Gardeners nationwide are cleaning out their gardens, getting the space ready for winter and the subsequent spring growing season. Homeowners are checking gutters, door seals and windows.


Before we know it, the holiday season will be upon us and we’ll be busy with get-togethers, shopping and cards. Now is the time to winterize.


Have you considered going through a similar exercise with your business? Before the holiday rush and the New Year craziness, let’s get our business houses in order too.  Some ideas:

  • Clean out your files, email inbox and contact lists. If you can’t bear to part with things, at least move files to a thumb drive or separate hard drive. Once complete, check with IT about having your computer defragmented and scanned for errors too.
  • Unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists, follows or page likes.
  • Are you still a paper junky? If you need motivation to break the habit, consider not only the impact of all that paper on the environment, but this statistic from Your Office Isn't Big Enough for Clutter and Productivity“It costs nearly $25,000 to fill up a four-drawer filing cabinet. It also costs $2,100 each year to maintain it. That is a lot of lost money just to keep some papers on file.”
  • Read that last bullet one more time. 

Once your computer and paper files are in order, consider these ideas as well:

  • Once your computer and paper files are in order, consider these ideas as well:
  • Schedule annual client risk assessment meetings or simply a coffee together to close out the year.
  • Update your corporate Facebook page with a new photo or two. Double check that your profile is still accurate.
  • Review Linked In and Twitter profiles also.
  • Have a new headshot taken. Get it over with while you still have a glimmer of your summer coloring left.
  • Go through those desk drawers and throw away all the accumulated junk.
  • Consider changing the photos in your office—a new version of your favorite smiling faces is a guaranteed pick-me-up.
  • Add a plant or something fragrant to your office. It will add some perk to gray winter days.
  • Bring in a sweater and hang it on your door. You’ll be happy to have it that first chilly day.

Every task listed is certainly not mandatory—but a clean slate feels pretty remarkable. Just do one thing a week and you’ll be ahead of the game once the holidays hit. Happy Winterization!

Tags:  Agency Management  AIMS Society  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  self-improvement 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Hard work and no play makes Johnny inefficient

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 04, 2015


You’ve returned to the office after a long holiday weekend. How’d you do? Did you rest and relax? Or did you sneak off to get a little work done? I’m not talking the occasional email check—I get that if you don’t scan through your inbox with some regularity, you arrive to the first morning of the workweek with umpteen-hundred emails demanding attention. I’m talking work, as in sit down at the computer and log an hour or more.

Well, it turns out that a new study from Stanford found that when the work-week exceeds 50 hours, productivity per hour declines sharply. After 55 hours, productivity takes such a nose dive that you might as well stop working. In the end, those that work 70 or more hours a week actually get the same amount accomplished as those who work 55 hours. Consider that statistic again—those working 70 hours a week accomplish no more than those working 55. If you’re the one posting 70 hours, you may argue that things are getting done during those extra 15 hours—but that’s at a substantially reduced rate of efficiency per hour so you really aren’t accomplishing anything at all.

If you’re the work-a-holic type, perhaps it’s time for a reboot. But don’t do it this week. Instead, write down everything you accomplish this week and note the size of each project. Also track the number of hours you work, including those evening rounds with your phone and email.

Then next week, cut your schedule back by 10-20%. At the end of that week, compare your accomplished task list to the week prior. Did it drop off by a commensurate amount? I doubt it will—and you will have just recaptured some new hours you can spend in another way. Unplug, exercise, pursue a passion, visit that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, take your kid out for ice cream, read, or…just sit.

It shouldn’t take a holiday weekend to make you stop enough to enjoy your life. Give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose, and potentially 15 hours to gain.

Tags:  efficiency  productivity  Relax  vacation 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

2014 Class of CPIA Designees Raises Total Number of Designations Granted to More Than 5,000

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 01, 2015

New Designees Honored at AIMS Society Event in Indianapolis

RICHMOND, VA (May 14, 2015) — The American Insurance Marketing and Sales (AIMS) Society announced that 533 insurance professionals earned its Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA) professional designation in 2014, bringing the total number of CPIA designations granted to 5,142. A ceremony recognizing new designees took place on Thursday, May 7, during the AIMS Society’s 28th Annual PRO-to-PRO Executive Retreat in Indianapolis.

The Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA) designation is the first-of-its kind, hands-on, how-to training. To earn the CPIA designation, candidates are required to complete a series of three Insurance Success Seminars: Position for Success (CPIA 1); Implement for Success (CPIA 2); and Sustain Success (CPIA 3.) The seminars are designed to enhance the ability of producers, sales support staff and company personnel to efficiently create and distribute effective insurance programs.

During 2014, more than 170 AIMS Society education sessions were held nationwide—up 17 percent from the prior year. Workshop attendance increased by more than 15 percent over 2013. “Agents, brokers and other insurance professionals continue to find value in the Insurance Success Seminars and other education sessions we offer,” explained AIMS Society president, Craig Most, CPIA, CIC. “Record-setting participation is a testament to the strong sponsor and facilitator partnerships we’ve built over the years and the solid and practical training the classes offer.”

New 2014 CPIA designees hailed from 33 states across the country. Massachusetts, where the CPIA professional designation program is sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA), produced the most new designees for the year at 98. “The AIMS Society/MAIA relationship was launched in the last half of 2013 and has generated substantial interest among insurance professionals in the Commonwealth,” Most noted. Other top CPIA states for 2014 were Florida, with 71 new designees, and Michigan, with 68.

This year’s PRO-to-PRO took place at the Marriott Indianapolis East on May 7-8, 2015, in conjunction with the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of Indiana annual convention. The event offered insurance agency owners, sales managers, producers, account executives, and company leaders an opportunity to learn and exchange ideas that can help boost sales success and increase revenue. The AIMS Society annual meeting was also held during the two-day event. For more information, visit

About AIMS Society: Founded in 1968 as The Firemark Society, the AIMS Society ( is a national, member-driven organization that provides training, information and networking services designed to increase the personal and agency sales production of property and casualty insurance agents. AIMS Society was the first organization to honor property and casualty agents for sales excellence and to establish the industry’s only sales-based insurance designation—the Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA). Completion of the CPIA designation requirements is not necessary to qualify for membership. Lifetime CPIAs are recognized with the initials “CPIAL.”


Tags:  CPIA designation  PRO-to-PRO 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)


Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 20, 2015


It never fails; a couple decides to sell their home and a whirlwind of repairs ensue. That creaky step fixed, broken spout replaced and ding in the wall smoothed over. The home looks better than it has for decades—so some other family can enjoy it.

Why not get your agency ready for sale?

Not to actually sell it, but to make it the standout firm you know it can be.

Sellability, a company which analyzes businesses and what makes them worth more than others, has created 10 Things That Make Your Business More Valuable Than That of Your Peers. As I reviewed their list, it seemed many of their “home improvements” should be standard agency upgrades that need to be in place now, not as owners are headed out the door.

1.  Recurring Revenue—a loyal client base that allows you to weather rough patches. And enough in number that if one leaves, it isn’t catastrophic.

2.  Something Different—what do you do better than anyone else? If you don’t know, identify it. If you can’t identify it, it’s time to create it.

3.  Growth—an obvious necessity.

4.  Caché—are you held up as an example in the industry? Are people talking about what you do?

5.  Location—both the sales region covered as well as the physical location and atmosphere of your offices.

6.  Diversity—it matters, particularly to Millennials and younger.

7.  Predictability—do you have a sales process and an understanding of conversion rates and customer roadblocks? Do you have a process for uncovering that next customer?

8.  Clean Books—no explanation required.

9.  A defined perpetuation plan—who’s in charge tomorrow?

10. Happy customers—find out what they want…and deliver.


Don’t wait for a sale pending sign. Make the changes that not only make your agency more valuable, but more enjoyable for you—today.

Tags:  agency sale  agency value  business value  sellability 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 1 of 10
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >| 

America's only Insurance Sales and Marketing Education Organization & Designation