5 Takeaways from Chris Draper: A Leading Agent in Texas.

June 12, 2017 Matt Desilet

Chris Draper is a leading captive insurance agent in the state of Texas. Recently, Chris spoke at Insurance Agency Academy, explaining how he grew his agency to become a top producer in Texas, with internet leads.

In this post, we're pulling out the 5 best takeaways from his talk to help you take immediate action to grow your agency with online leads. To watch Chris' full presentation, click here and enjoy all of the presentation's nuances, and grab the full benefit of his industry experience.


5 Takeaways from Chris Draper on using Online Leads

Whether you are an experienced agent or are just beginning your career, the odds are good that you're always on the lookout to find ways to make growing your insurance agency easier. While there is no one magic formula or any particular thing guaranteed to help you succeed,

At the 2017 Insurance Agency Academy in April 2017, a top-performing captive agent in Texas, Chris Draper, shared some of his insights into the types of activities that have helped his agency flourish. This post highlights some of the key takeaways from that presentation.


1. Know what you want.

Take the time to set goals for yourself, both professional and personal goals. Goal-setting is the first step toward helping you realize those targets. If you don't know where you want to go, it's going to be tough to get anywhere. Take three minutes, twice each day, to set and write your goals. Then, check your progress at the 90-day mark.


2. Invest in your staff.

Your employees will be the lifeblood for your agency, so the importance of investing in them - and reinvesting in them - cannot be overemphasized. However, it's important to ask yourself a few key questions:

  • Do I have enough staff?
  • Do I have the right staff?
  • Have I trained my team, and equipped them to succeed?

At the end of the day, you want your employees to represent your agency, and to be its biggest fans. To do that, you need to invest in them. When you compensate your staff well, pay them bonuses, and help them realize how their work impacts the success of the agency as a whole, they'll play an integral role in client retention and referrals. While monetary investments will motivate employees, investing in staff is so much more than giving away cash. Consider buying eBooks for staff upon request, paying for one seminar/training per year, and always bring as many people as you can afford to industry/carrier-sponsored training events.

It's equally important to make sure you recognize when someone isn't a good fit for your agency's culture. The cost of keeping someone who isn't right for the job will be greater in the long run than the cost involved in bringing someone fresh in the door and getting them up to speed.


3. Marketing: Try Anything and Everything!

When it comes to insurance agency marketing, you will likely need to engage in some trial and error before you have an overflowing sales funnel. However, one thing is for sure: passive marketing doesn't work. What is passive marketing, you ask? Let's call it the; "if you build it, they will come" strategy. Or, "our products sell themselves" methodology. Unfortunately, you cannot just sit behind your desk and expect insurance business to land in your lap; it's going to take some effort on your part. Some business owners become nervous when the thought of paying for marketing and leads comes up, but here's a little secret; as long as it's profitable, paid marketing is worth it. 

Don't be afraid to try new things. Here are some of the tactics that have helped others succeed:


Own Your Market
To succeed in your community or your natural market, you need to know who you are targeting. What does your typical policyholder look like? Where are they, and how do they communicate?

When you have the answers to those questions, you'll need to get your name and face out in the community where your perfect client will see them. Try sponsoring community events like sporting events or festivals; consider print marketing in a local newspaper or other publication. Building a social media presence for your agency online may also help you reach your target customer.


Drive fresh leads
Selling insurance takes work; you need to drive new leads consistently. Don't be afraid of buying online insurance leads, either. There are a lot of options out there; you may need to try more than one internet lead company before you find one that regularly seems to provide reliable results.


Follow-up with prospects
It's going to be hard to be successful if you don't have a scalable, repeatable process for following up with your prospects. That process may include some or all of the following:

  • Prospect CRM database to track "touches."
  • Be persistent with following up (until a prospect says "no!")
  • Survey prospects who DON'T buy from you, to learn why
  • Create an automated email campaign. Activate your name, face, and thought leadership in front of prospects on a frequent basis.
  • Follow-up buys any means necessary, whether that's by mail, text, chat, etc.


Directly from Chris: Understand that making money is going to cost you money

Consider tracking your marketing dollars spent by using "vanity" phone numbers, where each ad or campaign uses a particular, different phone number. Baking-in measurement tools to your process can be a major way to zero in on what kind of marketing copy or approach is working - and what's not working so well.

Know that you're going to have to spend money to make money. It's cliche, but it's true. It's a gamble, and you're bound to make some missteps along the way. However, over time, you'll get a feel for what's working well.


4. Hold People Accountable.

An insurance agency that doesn't have goals, or doesn't track its production numbers, is not likely to be very successful. When you hold your staff - and yourself - accountable on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis, they will be able to see how their actions can result in greater sales.

Know your agency's numbers, including:

  • Average premium per policy and item
  • ROI and acquisition cost (CPS/CPA)
  • Weekly sales staff productivity reports
  • VOIP call volume reports
Having data to review at scale, helping leaders understand past reporting periods is great. What can make or break your agency's strategic moves, however, are insights that can be accessed during reporting periods, and by individual contributors. Consider defining activity reports per producer, adding weight to calls, emails, texts, etc. Activate your insights mid-week to improve your sales funnel operation - making it agile.


Another tip that can be beneficial is to have a whiteboard in the office with the office's sales goals. Have daily huddles and weekly meetings to review progress. If your agency isn't making their targets, why not? What are the obstacles? If a particular agent is doing well, what are they doing? What's working well? Staying on top of your numbers is the best way to see those numbers move in the direction you want them to go.


5. Invest in Yourself.

High-performing entrepreneurs across industries, and across the world, have one thing in common: they invest in themselves. One of the big mistakes that even successful businesspeople can make is resting on their laurels. Sure, you've been a top agent in your area for 10+ years, all the numbers seem to look great, but what are you doing to stay ahead of the curve? Consumers change at the speed of thought, so products, services, and salespeople must change with them. 

Don't stop learning; make continuing education a priority. Look out for carrier events, industry seminars & webinars. Consider what areas you would like to focus on improving, find companies that do it well and then start by reading their blog. When you invest in yourself, you're investing in the future of your agency, and in everyone who works for you. Just as investing in your staff can make all of the difference in their performance, investing in your development can raise your entire agency to new heights. 

That wraps our digest on Chris Draper's IAA presentation. Be sure to stay tuned as we release more tactics and strategies to help you improve your agency marketing efforts. As always, if you would like to learn more about the topic - contact the author. 

If you want to learn more about growing your new or established agency, check out:

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