To achieve success in the insurance industry, you have to network.
Networking is important even for agents who are good at sales and consider themselves to be a “people person.” The importance of networking is even greater if you’re just starting an independent insurance agency.
Networking Introduces You to Potential Clients
The biggest reason that networking is so important in the insurance industry is the fact that it gives you the chance to meet new potential clients. The more people you meet and talk to in a professional setting, the larger the number of people who will be aware that you sell insurance. Then, when they need insurance, they are more likely to remember you.
Networking will also lead you to more clients via referrals. After all, if someone you network with is talking to a friend or family member who needs an insurance agent, they may recommend you.
What to Focus on While Networking
As you expand your network as an insurance agent or agency owner, you want to focus on a few key objectives.
You want the process to be as easy as possible for both you and your clients. This will also let you deliver the high-quality service that you promise. To ensure operational efficiency, create Standard Operation Processes (SOPs) and look for tools to help you, such as insurance agency management software.
Customer Empowerment and Digital Solutions
If you can offer a digital solution to clients, do so. In today’s technology-driven world, customers want the ability to file claims digitally. Digital solutions also allow for more personalized customer service.
As you network, you need to show your contacts that you add value to your clients. The way that you add value will likely depend on the type of insurance you sell. That being said, every agent can add value via their experience and range of offerings.
It should be clear to all potential clients, as well as anyone you network with, that you do your best to minimize the losses and out-of-pocket expenses of your clients related to insurance claims.
How to Expand Your Network
Many of the methods you will want to use to network in the insurance industry are methods that you would also use in other industries. Some, however, have extra factors to consider for insurance agents or brokers.
Ask for Testimonials
Your existing clients are a great starting point for your network growth. You hopefully already ask them for referrals if they are happy with your service. You should also ask them for testimonials. Testimonials will not only show the quality of your insurance service, but they will also boost your credibility and show you have strong client relationships.
Ask for Referrals
As mentioned, you hopefully already ask for referrals. If you don’t, you are missing out on an important source of networking opportunities.
Attend Events, Meetings, and Conferences
Even with the rise of digital events and social networking, traditional networking methods, such as attending events and conferences, are still important for the insurance industry.
It is still easier to make a strong connection if you interact with someone face-to-face than it is if you interact digitally.
Start by attending events and meetings related to the insurance industry to grow your network within the industry.
But you also want to grow your network outside of the insurance industry, as that is where most of your potential customers will lie. So, also attend local events that aren’t specific to your industry. For example, look for local professional meet-ups or networking events.
You should also make it a point to attend local community events. This is a great way to expand your network to include regular people as well as business contacts. That being said, at those community events, make it a point to network with the other business leaders in your area, in particular. This will bring in the most opportunities.
Just remember that no connection is too small to be important. You never know where you will get opportunities from, so if someone approaches you for networking, continue the conversation.
Follow-Up After Events, Meetings, and Conferences
Don’t just make a connection at an event and assume you successfully networked. You need to nurture the new connection, at least somewhat. Connect with your new contact on social media and invite them to a one-on-one lunch or coffee.
Use Social Media
While in-person networking is still important, there is no denying that networking on social media is growing. As a bonus, you don’t have to leave your home or office to initiate it. Your main focus for social media networking will typically be LinkedIn. However, Facebook and Twitter can also be useful for increasing brand awareness and gaining new connections.