In the insurance industry, everyone is obsessed with leads: Where to get the best ones; how to best make contact with leads; wondering why other agents always seem to get and convert great insurance leads into sales. Stop blaming the leads. Instead, take some time to develop a methodology for handling leads with the goal of increasing conversion rates.
No Joy in Lead Conversion?
Consider this: A lead is nothing without some serious nurturing. When leads arrive, they need immediate attention. They also need to be carefully handled. Taking the wrong approach with a lead may result in a lost sale. With so many lead providers out there, there is quite a bit of variation in quality and quantity in terms of the information that makes up the lead. Thinking you have sourced the highest quality leads can be dangerous in that far too many insurance agents think finding the best lead source is all they need, and that the rest of the process will take care of itself. Nothing is further from the truth in insurance. Leads rarely transform into clients and signed policies on their own.
All insurance professionals with highly successful lead conversion rates have their own particular system, and therein lies the only “secret.” They took time to develop a system for following up on leads, and then they diligently put that system to work for them. For instance, Kern Lewis, a contributor to Forbes, came up with seven basic things that must be addressed in order to increase lead conversion:
- Have a system.
- Keep records of everything.
- Be sure to quickly respond to all leads.
- Keep lines of communication open.
- Make leads aware of all you have to offer by providing good information.
- Tell leads you want their business and why they should choose you (but do not use the same tactics for life insurance leads as you would for health or auto insurance leads).
- If a strategy fails, figure out what went wrong, change the system and try again.
In implementing a process for converting leads, there are certain details to consider. A conversion plan includes finding an effective communication style and system that comes across sincerely. This puts potential clients at ease and may increase their confidence in the product. Additionally, knowing the product that you’re selling inside and out, up and down, backwards and forwards not only provides a full description of the benefits of the policy, but also relays a proactive and effective style of doing business. The ability to write clearly and convincingly is also hugely important. Good writing engages potential customers as well as provides helpful information.
There are some practices that are a bit more intuitive but may still be very helpful in increasing conversion rates:
- Staying abreast of communication innovations and upgrades that will enhance lead conversion efforts.
- Understanding that good leads and/or additional information on prospective customers may be available from unexpected sources.
- Having a feel for the right times and ways to follow up on leads after an initial contact.
Lead Providers Will Not Supply the Magic Bullet
There are scads of providers of insurance leads out there, and (except for the occasional bad egg) when lead conversion fails, it is likely not because the lead was poor quality but because the agent receiving the lead did not follow up quickly enough or approached the potential client in the wrong manner.
Some lead generators offer a certain number of “free” leads for signing up with their business. Others guarantee the quality of their leads by saying they are sourced from the best data available. There are even sites dedicated to providing the proper “scripts” to use when contacting a potential client. One common thread throughout the different lead generators out there, in addition to sites about how to improve lead conversion rates, is the necessity to act quickly after receiving a lead.
Some lead generating companies say that they limit the number of lead recipients. Other companies do not impose limits on the number of people to whom a list of leads is sent. Almost universally, however, every company, insurance blogger and insurance agent agree that time is of the essence.
It’s baffling to some, but even in this age of instant communication, instant gratification and instant approval, some rather old-fashioned concepts are what can make or break insurance lead conversion rates. Promptness, planning a system and perseverance all play a huge part in successful lead conversion. Leads are the bread and butter of the insurance business. Technology allows immediate receipt of new leads, and it only makes sense that the same technology be put to use in converting leads into new business. No magic, no cloak and dagger – just hard work, persistence and a good system.