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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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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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The ABCs of Gen Z

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, September 29, 2017

The ABCs of Gen Z

While we were all busy talking about the millennials, a new generation took over the top spot size-wise in society. Known specifically as Gen Z, this new group that you need to know about was born between 1997 and 2015 (meaning they range in age from almost 3 to 20). While it's true they aren't yet your latest hire or even your newest customer, you need to get prepared. After all, time has a funny way of creeping up on you, and the worst thing that a salesperson can do is ignore a looming trend.

So what do you need to know about Gen Z?

  • They now account for 26% of the population.
  • By 2020 (that's just three years away!) they'll account for an astounding 40% of all consumers.
  • They're the most technologically fluent generation ever. They use more mobile apps and mobile phone features than any other demographic segment in connection with retail, and the majority of their online time overall is spent on mobile devices.
  • They don't sit through ads. They won't wait to work their way through heavily sponsored content.
  • They're all over the place, using five screens on average — smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop and tablet.

As we continue to learn more about Gen Z, there's one thing we want to caution you about — don't be too quick to judge. Already labeled as screen addicts, Gen Z has now been shown in recent studies to have attention spans of just eight seconds.

Sounds pitiful, doesn't it?

But Jeremy Finch from Altitude, a product development company, looks at this stat differently, saying Gen Z actually has highly evolved eight-second "filters." As he explains, "They've grown up in a world where their options are limitless but their time is not. As such, Gen Z have adapted to quickly sorting through and assessing enormous amounts of information. Online, they rely heavily on trending pages within apps to collect the most popular recent content."

Looking at it that way makes Gen Z sound rather savvy, doesn't it?

Will you be as savvy at reaching them?

Tags:  AIMS Society  efficiency  Insurance Education  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Professional Development  self-improvement  sellability  teamwork  Technology  time management 

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How Can You Help Your Clients Prepare for a Natural Disaster?

Posted By Donna M. Gray, Friday, September 8, 2017

We are all devastated by the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. It seems relentless, unforgiving and unpredictable. Although many of those afflicted knew it was coming, most did not expect it to get this bad nor imagine the disaster it would cause. Nearly 52 inches of rainfall fell in southeast Texas in six days, forcing more than 30,000 individuals to flee their homes. Unfortunately, numerous home and business owners were not prepared for this impact.

And Irma, the second strongest storm recorded in the Atlantic, now threatens Florida and the East Coast.

As professionals, in the insurance industry, you have some influence in how a business handles a natural catastrophe pre- and post-disaster. There are a few things you can do to help your clients prepare for a disaster no matter the geographic location or type of catastrophe. Remember, a natural disaster can be smaller than a hurricane or earthquake. A fire or burst pipe can be just as damaging.

  • An emergency response plan is the first step to any solid preparedness program for both small and large businesses alike. Know evacuation routes. Form a communication strategy to make sure everyone is informed. Create a survival kit just in case. Consider remote work options and what aspects of the business will or will not continue.
  • Coverage. Of course, you need to ensure your clients have the proper coverage for their property and business possessions. Go over flood insurance programs, business interruption insurance and property damage details to make sure they're properly insured.
  • Data and technology. Because information is extremely valuable these days, help to make sure each client's data is backed-up and stored far enough offsite or in the cloud so retrieval is easy and accessible.

With these tools, your clients won't have to panic the day before a storm hits. Give them tools they need to properly prepare and plan for a natural disaster, so they have peace of mind when a crisis occurs. Let them know you're on their side and here to help keep things running smoothly.

What are some tips and tools you give your clients when it comes to natural disaster preparedness? Does your agency have a few go-to guides and methods that you use? We want to hear your insight so we can all be better prepared when a disaster strikes.

Tags:  AIMS Society  Auto Coverages  Be Prepared for Natural Disasters  Cyber Attacks  efficiency  Insurance Education  Personal and Commercial Coverage  productivity  Risk Management  teamwork  Technology 

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Planning on Disaster

Posted By AIMS Society, Monday, June 12, 2017

Depending on which part of the country you live in, you're probably very familiar with at least one major natural disaster threat. You may even be "luck enough" to have two disaster threats considered primary for your area. And although any natural disaster has the potential to strike at any time, each has a designated "season":

  • Tornado season: March-July
  • Hurricane season: June-November
  • Fire season: October-January
  • Earthquake season: January-December (okay, there is no season on this one; it's year-round)

When's the last time you talked to your clients about their plans should disaster strike? And are you addressing the threats that impact your clients' businesses in all the locations that they operate. Don't make the common mistake of addressing only those you're personally most familiar with. A business may be headquartered in the Midwest, but the location of its greatest resources could make hurricanes a bigger threat than its HQ region suggests. Is your client fully versed in disaster preparedness, not only for headquarters but also for where the organization's other locations operate?

Points to cover with your clients:

  • The need for business interruption coverage
  • The most common causes of business disruption: office fires, burst water pipes, a smashed transformer or a fallen communications tower. Of course, it doesn't take a natural disaster for any of those to happen, and without adequate coverage, just one of those events could cause the end of a smaller business already working with limited resources.
  • Disaster plan requirements:

 Back up processes in the event of power outages

  Communication plans to reach both clients and employees in emergencies 

  Remote work options if their office becomes unusable

  Basic supplies in reserve at an off-site location

  Identified disaster-preparedness point person or team.

For you, the biggest value in covering this information is that it positions you as more than a salesperson. It positions you as someone interested in creating a valued, long-term partnership. If you'd like even more detailed disaster plan ideas to share with your customers, visit agilityrecovery.com  or check out Emergency Essentials for ideas.

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  Be Prepared for Natural Disasters  Cyber Attacks  efficiency  Insurance Education  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  Risk Management  Social Media 

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