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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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What the Million Dollar Pros Know

Posted By AIMS Society, Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We know a guy who built an agency from scratch.  He started with an office in the back seat of a borrowed car.  He eventually built it to a $3.5 million revenue shop without borrowing a dime or completing an acquisition. In 2007, his agency was sold to HUB International.

Today, he manages 38 agents across the country, who last year produced $26 million in commission.  Six of his producers post over $1 million in commission income.  In addition, since becoming chief sales officer, he has taken between 15-30 percent of his sales force to the Sharp Awards, which is HUB International's annual sales achievement recognition.  In order to qualify for this award, agents must write a minimum of $200,000 in new commission income that year.

Impressive.

Think he might have some interesting stories?  Think you could benefit from his insight?

We're excited to have Dennis Templeton at the 2017 PRO-to-PRO in Orlando February 9-10.  He's an AIMS Society past president, past board member and CPIA life member, and on Thursday afternoon, he'll be sharing his high-energy presentation, "The Winner's Playbook."

What can you expect?  Not theory, but real world ideas you can actually use.  In fact, Dennis is going to share his own complete, proven blueprint for building a sales program.  You'll learn:

  • the routine that can help you win consistently
  • how to "sell without quoting"
  • "The 10 best" that lead to a high-performing sales organization

As Dennis explains, "Understanding this is a mental game - and if you are willing to open your mind and change the way you think - there is not limit to what you can do in our business.  And it starts with your own belief system in yourself!"  He also gives some of his own credit to AIMS saying, "Early on, I got involved with the CPIA / AIMS Society to maximize my sales knowledge and use it in the growth of the agency."  Looks like it worked. Ready to put AIMS to work for you?

Register today!

Tags:  Agency Management  agency sale  agency value  AIMS Society  business value  CPIA designation  efficiency  Insurance Education  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  producer compensation  productivity  Professional Development  PRO-to-PRO  self-improvement  Social Media  teamwork  Technology  time management 

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Do Clients Turn to Your Firm During Natural Disasters?

Posted By AIMS Society, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

During the first week of October, we began to grow acquainted with a storm by the name of Matthew, and by week's end, it had deluged the media to the point of no escape.  Evacuations were encouraged, warnings were given, and preparations began.

Regardless of the region in which you do business, disasters can occur. Insurance professionals constantly look for ways to enhance client relationships and add value to build loyalty—and communication before, during and after a natural disaster can do just this.  How can your firm support your clients' plans to get through?

Creating a plan early is key.  So if you're in the north, schedule a planning session regarding winter storms before the first frost.  Finalize a checklist and responsible parties long before you'll need them.  

Your plan should have several components:

  • Establish preparedness best practices.  You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but you should customize the information so that it's applicable to your client base.  FEMA has tips on its website for hurricanes, power outages, Zika virus, flooding and more.  Once you have these tips ready, you can communicate them multiple times—long before they are needed, as reminders in the event of an impending crisis, or just after, depending on the situation.
  • Provide reassurance.  Your clients turn to you as a professional for their peace of mind.  This is the best time for you to provide that.  You can provide tips to mitigate loss, as well as paint a picture of how their coverage will help them.  You can reassure them that you'll be with them every step of the way.
  • Consider practical advice.  What else, besides insurance, do people think about while preparing for a storm?  Bread and water, of course!  Perhaps your firm's Twitter feed can be used to let your local clients know where these highly sought after items can still be purchased, and where the shelves are bare.  It may seem small, but this gesture lets your clients know that you care about all their needs.

Don't be nervous about over-communicating throughout catastrophic events (or even mild snowstorms).  Your clients will remember that you were knowledgeable and helpful, which will help build brand loyalty.

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Tags:  Agency Management  agency value  AIMS Society  efficiency  insurance marketing and sales  productivity  Risk Management  teamwork 

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

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 4, 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 

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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.

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

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A Numbers Game

Posted By Donna M. Gray, Friday, April 17, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Numbers Game

It seems anywhere you look there’s a list—4 easy steps to landing your next job; How to train you pet in 8 simple steps; 50 ways to leave your lover.  You get the point. Sometimes it’s easy to miss the message when confronted with yet another check list.

Yet I read 10 Trending Changes In Customers and Customer Service Expectations that made some observations I thought worth sharing. While the article’s author, Michah Solomon, contends that the basics of customer service are “timeless,” there are some new realities everyone must recognize. 

  1. Fast is becoming faster. Internet time and overnight deliveries have warped everyone’s expectations. If you’re mentioning something like “we respond quickly,” or “all inquiries are replied to within 24 hours,” you better deliver.
  2. Customers expect accuracy. Of course, this is particularly important with insurance. Never rely on cut and paste or spell check to ensure your materials are presentable and professional.
  3. Customers don’t mind “serving themselves.” In our self-serve world, it’s no longer unheard of to provide online access to information so the customer can gather the information they want—when they want it. You can also rely on their help inputting data into forms if you have the proper templates in place.
  4. Business hours are expected to be 24/7. Of course, you’re not expected to be sitting in the office, but there better be plenty of information available online and the ability to post questions when they arise, not just during the standard 9-5.
  5. Customers demand just about everything come with a money back guarantee, implied or explicit. Never hide behind fine print and own your mistakes. The effort displayed counts nearly as much as the actual outcome.
  6. No hidden fees. Free shipping and handling, complementary extras and other add-ons have altered thresholds for unexpected costs. Be transparent from the get-go.
  7. You must deliver in omnichannel. Make sure you offer information in multiple formats and in various platforms so it’s waiting for the customer when they come looking.
  8. Monitor, monitor, monitor. If a person takes the time to post about your company, either a compliment or a complaint, they appreciate a reply…preferably today. Make sure you’re monitoring online and other communication channels such as call centers or feedback cards.
  9. In today’s technology driven world, people still want authenticity. Don’t let a computer get in the way of a conversation. Be the same online as you are in person.
  10. Customers are in control—and they know it. Social media gives them a voice and they’re not afraid to use it. Don’t let this scare you; celebrate the information it delivers to your doorstep.
Consider each point, 1-10. How well are you playing the customer

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

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