Matt Masiello is the EVP & COO at SIAA, Inc and the President and CEO at SAN Group. Agency Checklists first saw Mr. Masiello’s article on Linkedin and thought it might be of interest to our readers. It is reprinted here with his permission.
In the new reality of commission cuts, increased competition and outrageous advertising spends, the independent agent of today needs to be mindful of how best to position oneself for the future. It’s clearly time for a different approach and the answer lies in what your customers need. Seems logical right? Yet the average independent agent still writes only two policies per household, when upwards of ten could be on the table. How well do you really know your customers? And what can you do to win this additional business?
Here are five tips to get you started:
- Develop a targeted marketing campaign for both personal lines and commercial lines. For PL make the target one that the direct channels are not spending $1 billion in advertising to attract. You can’t compete with their spending and why bother? Instead set goals around targeting the customers who choose to do business with the local exclusive agent.
- Build a local brand to differentiate your agency from the local exclusive agent who can’t offer choice. Raise your brand awareness with local business owners; make sure they know you can meet all their insurance needs, both commercial and personal.
- Incentivize your staff to write the right business. Consider paying more for multi-policy accounts and less for mono-line policies. Highlight the carriers you work with by utilizing their brands in your advertising and marketing messages. Leverage your carrier resources. They are there to help your agency be successful and they have great tools for you to use.
- Write the personal lines business for your small business owner clients. This is low service, high retention business. Let them know you are a local business owner, just like them and that you provide more choices than the exclusive agents can.
- Train your staff to develop business in every client contact. This means listening, asking the right questions and positioning themselves as a trusted advisor.
Being a client-centric agency means focusing on client needs and offering the full range of your services to both personal and commercial lines. It means addressing the complete client life cycle, while demonstrating value and creating a seamless experience.
As direct writers continue to challenge your business from auto to homeowners to small business, you’ll be in a better position to retain this business when you offer the convenience of multiple policies that span the client life cycle. And the client will be with a local agency. Yours.