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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!

 

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Top 10 Productivity Tools for Sales & Marketing Professionals

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, November 16, 2018

Top 10 Productivity Tools for Sales & Marketing Professionals

Orchestrating a team can be challenging. Whether you have a team of five or 20, every member has a unique personality and preferences. You also may have a host of processes and systems that you're using in the office.

When was the last time you looked at how you're getting work done? Are you being as productive as possible?

When you use the right productivity tools, your team's efficiency and collaboration will increase — resulting in more sales and better organization. there are a host of technologies, apps and systems out there that are designed to improve workflow.

Here are the top resources for insurance professionals:

  1. DocuSign: Incredibly popular in the insurance industry, DocuSign is an e-signature service that helps reduce inefficient paper processes and email contracts in record time.

  2. Slack: If your team is wasting time with inefficient communication processes, consider using Slack. It’s one of the most effective ways to instantly communicate and message your team members — and it works on both desktop and mobile. You can create “Channels” for specific purposes like marketing and only invite those on the marketing team.

  3. Google Docs: This is one of the most user-friendly tools out there for document collaboration. Think of it as a free online version of Microsoft Office. You can create and share word, spreadsheet, forms and presentation files (like proposals, pitches and sales letters) with other team members in real time.

  4. CamScanner: Download this app to easily scan any document and save it as a PDF. It will even enhance the scanned images and lift out important pieces of information like dates, titles and prices. You can also add notes and drawings to your scanned images.

    Note: If you have the Google Drive app on your phone, you can not only access your Google Docs but scan receipts and documents. You can share files immediately and access them later.

  5.  Trello: This collaboration tool helps you organize and prioritize projects and tasks. You can see who’s working on what, where something is in a process and what the next steps are for each prospect. Trello is great for delegating tasks, creating automatic to-do lists and keeping things transparent.

  6. CRM: You’re in a customer-centric business, so it makes sense to have an effective customer relationship management (CRM) system. It’s essential for growing your agency and managing leads and customers every step of the way. HubSpot has a free CRM, but if you’re looking for something personalized, consider Salesforce, Insightly, Zoho and Infusionsoft.

  7. SignOn Once by ID Federation: If you struggle with maintaining passwords and IDs, you’re not alone. It’s one of the biggest pain points among carriers and agencies. SignOn Once enables one identity to replace multiple logins for insurance system users. That way, you can spend less time resetting passwords and more time focused on serving prospects and clients.

  8. Evernote: This is the system for someone who loves sticky notes and keeps infinite tabs open in their browser. With Evernote you can take pictures, save websites and write to-do lists. It’s like your very own digital notebook. You can create different sections for different areas of focus and tag each document or idea — keeping everything you may need in one spot.

  9. Voice-to-Text: You may not think this would be helpful, but have you ever thought about how much time you spend typing something instead of saying it? Or have you ever had a great idea while waiting and didn’t have time to type a note? Voice recognition software has been around for a while, but the technology is finally advanced enough for the translation to be correct instead of jumbled. Consider a robust software like Dragon or start with a free app like Cortana.

  10. Zapier: If you have plenty of leads coming in but are getting bogged down with the follow-up process, consider an automation process. For example, if you get an email with an attachment, you can set up a “trigger” that copies the attachment into your Google Drive and then alerts you in Slack. You can integrate all of your systems like email, social media, email marketing and so much more.

Tags:  AIMS Society  Branding  business value  efficiency  email marketing  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  self-improvement  sellability  Social Media  teamwork 

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Why You Should Care about Facebook Ads

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, October 5, 2018


Why You Should Care about Facebook Ads

How can your insurance agency drive business with Facebook?

People spend an absurd amount of time on social media. That’s one of the reasons your agency is active on social media.

But Facebook’s algorithm changes have caused organic reach (the number of people who see your content without you paying for it) to drastically decline. This means that only a fraction of your page followers actually see your posts.

Have you seen that “Boost Post” button in the bottom right hand corner of your post? If you’ve tried it, that means you’re interested in getting more eyeballs on your content. But it’s the easy way out. If you’re looking to really target your core audience, increase brand awareness and eventually drive people to your website, you need to dig deeper.

How Facebook Ads Can Help

  1. Use data you already have. You already have a list of people interested and aware of your agency: You have an entire e-newsletter list worth of email
    addresses and data telling you who’s visited your website in the past few months. If you’re trying to boost leads and generate conversions, shouldn’t you focus on them? With Facebook, you can easily upload your email or data lists to seek out the same and similar individuals. A new target list will be created based on common demographic information found in your uploaded data — and voila! You have an audience that is much more likely to move through the customer journey.

  2. You can focus where your content goes. Hopefully you’ve already spent time looking at your current customer demographics or defining your ideal       customers. If you have this information, you can target specific Facebook users by location, age, gender, behavior, interests and connections. See what   we’re saying? For example, you can even get your agency in front of people who have recently purchased or gone through a big life event.

  3. You can test and repeat … and test and repeat. When creating a new Facebook ad, you can choose from a variety of “Campaign Objectives” based on what goals or results you want.

    • Clicks to Website: Targets people who have historically clicked on Facebook links that go to external websites.
    • Page Post Engagement: Aims to boost engagement with likes, shares and comments.
    • Video Views: Shows your video to the people whom Facebook knows are more likely to watch it.

    The beauty of Facebook advertising is that you can test one of these objectives this month and test another objective the next. With an open mentality, you can see what works and find different followers in the process.


  4. Budget friendly. The good news is that you don’t have to spend much to use Facebook ads effectively. But you do need to know what you’re doing. Start by limiting your promotions to one a week while posting regular content. Test your ads on a variety of audiences and objectives to see what works best.  

Remember, kicking off a Facebook ad won’t immediately give you tons of leads and website traffic. It takes time. If you want to learn more, check out Facebook Blueprint courses. It’s a great way to jump in and learn how it works.

Tags:  AIMS Society  algorithms  Facebook Ads  Networking  Social Media  Technology 

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Take a fresh look at your insurance agency's education program

Posted By AIMS SOCIETY, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I’ve pursued knowledge my whole life. I’m inquisitive. I enjoy learning … it seems natural to me. If you are NOT growing and learning, then you are sliding back the other way. I like to learn from my peers and from people who aspire to do things better or more efficiently. It’s a journey that’s never quite over.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, yet I find that so many in our industry believe they’re done learning once they have their insurance licenses. Why do they just grudgingly get the minimum continuing education required by the state?
For that matter, why do so many agency owners frown upon or avoid spending money for education? It is shortsighted to want your employees’ butts in their seats every possible working hour, every day, every week, every month, and not want to invest in their education.

Investing in professionalism, education

If an agency is not investing in the professionalism and education of their agents, they signal their stance on professional development, and become less relevant. They are doing a disservice to their staff and customers alike.

It’s time to take a fresh look at your agency’s education program — and if you don’t have one, get started. The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s (IIABA) Best Practices agencies budget each year for education for their staff members. Here are a few ideas:

Click here to read the full article on Property Casulty 360.

Tags:  AIMS Society  Insurance Education  insurance marketing and sales  self-improvement 

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Why You Need to Rethink Your Email Marketing Strategy

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, August 3, 2018

Why You Need to Rethink Your Email Marketing Strategy

Even if you’re already email marketing, chances are you’re not doing it as effectively as you could be. Many insurance agencies are using outdated templates, automated messaging or sending emails too sporadically. Whatever it is, there’s room for improvement.

The good news is that email marketing is still an effective way to market to your current and prospective customers. Email is powerful. It’s a direct line of communication that stays in front of people. In fact, a study by the International Data Corporation showed that email was the most popular mobile app for 78% of people.

But because your customers and prospects are inundated with emails every day, you need to be smart about your email marketing tactics. Here are some things to consider:

Tune into your ability to help. As an insurance agent, you’re there for protection and assurance, for safeguarding and advocacy. Instead of pounding home messages about discounts and bundling policies, give advice on safety and share inspirational stories instead. Once you start doing this on a regular basis, customers will start to see you as someone they can trust and someone that cares. You can talk about insurance, just don’t try to sell it.

Be personable. Agency Nation says that not personalizing your emails is one of the biggest email marketing mistakes that insurance agencies make. To stand out among the crowd, take the time to design your emails so they are relevant and individualized. You should also make sure your “From” line is either someone’s name or your agency’s name.

Design a strategy and be consistent. One of the most essential aspects of an effective email marketing strategy is to stay consistent. Set a realistic goal, whether that’s once a month or once a quarter so clients know what to expect when. If communication becomes unreliable, you’ll confuse customers and lose trust.

Use email marketing to generate and nurture leads. Once you have a lead in the door, you want to nurture it, feed your prospect’s interest until it blossoms into a sale. With email marketing, you can deliver relevant content that relates to wherever they are in the consumer journey. Develop a relationship through email and they’ll be likely to engage in person down the road.

When you follow these tips, your email marketing campaigns can easily bring in new policy holders, new revenue and enhanced loyalty. Spend less money on print ads and instead focus your budget and time on email marketing — you might be surprised with your results.  

Tags:  AIMS Society  email marketing  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  self-improvement 

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Turn a Prospect’s ‘No’ into a Positive Experience

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, July 20, 2018

 

Turn a Prospect’s ‘No’ into a Positive Experience

 

When it comes to discussions about sales strategy, one of the most entrenched concepts is “don’t take no for an answer.”

 

But the reality of sales prospecting is that “no” is an answer you will probably hear — often. Despite your best efforts, it is sometimes the only answer the prospect is willing to give.

 

Insisting on changing “no” to “yes” can, in fact, do nothing more than turn off a prospect and shut you out from any future discussions about what benefits and services your company could provide in the future. Persistence in the face of a repeated “no” can lead to antagonism and frustration for both you and your prospect. Once your prospect perceives you in a negative light, trying to turn that perception around will be almost impossible.

 

Taking “no” for an answer, when done right, can turn a negative into a positive and lead your prospect to possibly becoming a valuable client.

 

At the outset, you need to respect your prospect and their answer. At that first or subsequent call, a prospect may have his or her defenses up, expecting a lengthy, ambitious pitch that does not respect their time or response. Accept “no” graciously and you just might surprise them, prevent that feeling of antagonism and leave the conversation where he or she might be willing to reconnect with you in the future.

 

After you accept a client’s refusal, don’t just walk away and treat the prospect as a waste of time, either. Having shown respect for their answer, it is now time to reach out and build a foundation for the future. Ask their permission to speak again at some point. Aim for a second conversation in the future to reconnect or send an email about something of interest to them, just to keep in touch. This is an opportunity to build a relationship and shape your brand in the prospect’s mind.

 

Your main objective should never be to force a “no” into a “yes,” but to avoid a bad sales experience. One helpful strategy is to do some homework before making the call. Identify the prospect’s need and have an answer that shows why your product is their solution. Not only does this give you a firm basis for conversing with your prospect, but it also saves time — for the both of you. First, you’ll avoid calling upon someone who has no real need for your product, and they won’t have to listen to a pitch about something that has no relevance to them.

 

Most importantly, when doing your homework, make sure the person you contact is someone who can say “yes.”

 

To prepare, turn to LinkedIn, the prospect company’s website, and any other publicly available material that helps you understand who the decision-makers are and how your product or service will benefit them. And when you make that call to that person, listen to what they are saying, ask questions, and learn how what you are selling will complement their business.

 

Respect, courtesy, and a little homework may not conclude the sale today, but invoking those concepts can open doors to a future book of profitable business tomorrow.

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  business value  efficiency  Insurance Education  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  sellability  time management 

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