How to Double your Close Rate: Featuring Hunter Ingram.
Hunter Ingram kicked off the first Insurance Agency Academy with a presentation designed to help insurance producers at any stage of their careers improve their close ratios.
First, when it comes to following up on internet leads, time is of the essence. The speed in which you get back to prospects matters, as does the speed with which you handle client service needs - both before and after the sale. There are several reasons why responding promptly to internet leads is so important:
1. Validation. When you respond quickly, you are validating your prospect’s transaction online, helping to put them at ease. They’ve just provided personal information online, so knowing that you received it and are interested in following up with them can be reassuring.
While there are different schools of thought on this, Hunter shared his belief that jumping to provide quotes without talking to the prospect first would be a mistake. You may be wasting time quoting a policy that’s ultimately not writeable.
2. Holding Pattern. When you are the first agent to respond to a prospect’s inquiry or request for quotes, the result may be that the prospect will hold off on reaching out to other agents or giving their business to someone else. Even just an acknowledgment to let you know you’ve received their information and are working on it can be worthwhile.
3. Likelihood of Closing Decreases Over Time. The longer you wait to respond, the worse your chances of actually making a sale become. Industry statistics suggest that leads convert 22 times more often when an agent responds by contacting the prospect within five minutes of receiving their inquiry. If you wait 24 hours or more to contact a prospect, your chances of closing the sale drop dramatically.
There’s also evidence to show that the first agent to reach out to the client will get the sale 65 percent of the time.
Remember that the consumer has provided their information and is waiting to hear from you. They are physically present and mentally engaged, so if you can reach out to them quickly, you stand a far better chance of being able to connect with them on the first try.
One mistake many insurance agents make when following up with internet leads is trying to contact the customer just one time. In fact, the average contact rate for leads is only 50%. What’s more, 61% of leads are unreachable on the first attempt. When you put those statistics together, what you get is an opportunity.
Agents who make six phone calls to try to contact a lead have a 93 percent chance of reaching the prospect, vs. a 39 percent chance on the first call. Every call you make gives you a greater chance.
In addition to directly reaching out to the prospect, do your best to engage them. If you can’t reach the prospect by phone, but have the opportunity to leave a voice message; text message or email, use it to try to make a connection with them.
Keep in mind that the prospect has invested their time and effort into getting a quote. Respect that effort, and remember that life can get in the way. Our job as agents is to stay in front of the consumer.
The third principle to help you improve your close ratio is to differentiate yourself.
Insurance is a commodity that people need, and that they appreciate having. However, it’s not something that is fun to purchase. Remember that leads are people too, but they are likely people who don’t understand the foreign language that is “insurance speak.”
When you reach a lead and have the opportunity to talk to them about meeting their insurance needs, your job is to educate them, so they understand how you are trying to help. Too many agents make the mistake of assuming that consumers understand insurance terms and concepts; in reality, many consumers end up zeroing in on the price alone and use that to make their decision.
Try to make a connection with each person that you successfully contact. Your earnings will genuinely be a by-product of how well you can relate to the consumers you speak with, so have “real” conversations with them. When you relate to your prospects and customers on a personal level, you’re much more likely to get – and keep – their insurance business.
Keys to Improving Your Close Ratio
When you get down to them, the keys to converting more leads into insurance sales are fairly simple:
- Remember that all consumers are online consumers. Learn to adapt and engage with them as you would with any potential client who called your office or walked through your door.
- Speed matters to every lead – on the front end and the back end.
- Don’t give up. Perseverance can dramatically improve your odds of success. Put a process in place to follow-up if you haven't connected with a lead.
- Remember to be human, and be relatable. Bear in mind that most consumers aren't fluent in insurance.
While there are a lot of ways to increase insurance sales, working with internet leads can be the cornerstone of your insurance agency, helping you grow and scale your business. No other type of marketing allows you to control the volume, geography, and quality of your leads. When you find the right lead vendor, technology vendor and staff for your agency, you'll be well on your way to reaching both sales goals and close ratio targets.
That wraps our digest on Hunter Ingram's IAA presentation. Be sure to stay tuned as we release more tactics and strategies to help you grow sales. As always, if you would like to learn more about the topic - contact the author.
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