What Independent Agent Resources Do You Need to Survive in the 21st Century?

February 28, 2018

What Independent Agent Resources Do You Need to Survive in the 21st Century?

Being an independent insurance agent doesn’t come without its challenges. If you don’t have years of experience under your belt already — or know someone who does — you might not know what the right step is to take to help your agency be among the survivors. Want to start bringing in more revenue? Try taking advantage of independent agent resources to put your agency on the same plane as those who are winning.

Make Sure Your Agency is Prepared for the Years Ahead With the Right Tools and Knowledge

Running an independent agency is no small feat. Along with selling policies and interacting with customers, you’re also responsible for everything else involved in keeping your business alive. It’s easy to feel like you’re being pulled in a thousand different directions. These resources will help you lighten the load so you can put your focus back into the things that really matter.

From understanding how to gain access to the market to using technology to change the way your business runs, these independent agent resources can be your guiding light for finding success as an independent agency in your area.

No matter what point you’re at with your agency, you’re going to face challenges and setbacks. Independent agent resources will help improve your processes to keep you on the right track towards gaining more business. Need help finding the right steps forward? We’ll go through a variety of resources you can use to improve the amount of income your business is bringing in, the number of customers you have, and the community you can pull advice from.

Use Independent Agent Resources to Drive Your Agency into the Future

What do you do with the leads your business obtains? If you’re not nurturing them or leading them deeper into your funnel, you’re missing out on opportunities to gain new, lifelong customers.

So how do you keep them engaged once they show interest in purchasing a policy from you? Marketing and sales automation tools help do the work for you. With everything else you have going on, it’s easy to lose track of someone who isn’t ready to buy insurance right now. These tools keep track of where different leads are at in your sales pipeline, and compile email addresses so you have specific groups of people to target based on their interest.

Independent agent resources like these make it easier to keep things organized. All the information you need is right in one place where you can create and distribute marketing or sales messages with a few simple clicks. If you want to increase the amount of money you’re bringing in, you can’t forget about anyone who shows interest in your agency. Marketing and sales tools help you stay top of mind so when these people are ready to buy a policy, you’re the first thing they think of.

Training for Your Independent Agents Can Help Build a More Effective, Knowledgeable Team

Independent insurance agent resources

Once you have those customers in your grasp, you’re not the only one who is going to work toward getting them to make a purchase. Your employees are an important factor in making sure your agency continues to succeed. Do they have the training they need to close the deal? Even experienced employees benefit from a refresher on the best practices within the industry. If you want to show these customers your agency is the right choice, show them you are the experts in the insurance policies they’re interested in.

With industry training, all your employees will be able to show customers your agency has the most educated and capable agents available in their area. This expertise is what’s going to set you apart and make you appear even more valuable to the customers at the top of your funnel. Expert training also provides a benefit when you want to gain access to a new part of the market or obtain a new contract. Having employees with the ability to understand all the ins and outs of the market and what carriers are looking for help your agency find more success in receiving new appointments.

Make Sure You Have a Financial Plan in Place for Your Independent Agency

In order for your business to continue on a winning path, your finances need to be in order. This is another responsibility that will fall on you and having a bank or financial advisor on your side is an essential resource for independent agents. If you ever needed to buy a book of business, obtain a loan, or approach buying out a captive contract, a bank would be able to advise you on the best course of action. Without their help, you could end up making critical mistakes that severely damage your agency’s financial standing.

As a smaller insurance agency, you don’t often have the benefit of a self-sufficient HR department, so like most things, this responsibility falls on your shoulders. Do you have a plan for where your agency is headed for the future?

The median age for independent agents is over 50, and if you fall into this category, you should be thinking about where your agency is headed once you retire. If you don’t already have an idea of who you’d like to take your place, finding and obtaining the right talent will make sure your agency is left in the right hands. Yet when you already have a ton of responsibilities, this becomes a daunting, tedious task that often finds itself on the backburner.

Just like for your leads, there are HR software programs available to help relieve some of the stress you’re facing. This software will help you manage employee benefits and risk benefits, and it will also help you identify and retain the best employees for your agency. With HR software at your disposal, you’ll be able to have confidence that your most valued asset — your agency — is well-prepared for the years ahead.

Want Your Agency to Win? Take Advantage of Technology

Independent insurance agent resources

If you want to spark growth for your agency, acquiring technology resources will move you into the modern age. Reaching and retaining customers is crucial to your business, and one of the best ways to stay in touch with them is through technology

With an email software program, you remain a present force in your potential and current customers’ lives by showing up in their inbox on a regular basis. This technology gives you the ability to create winning campaigns to follow up with prospects so you lose fewer opportunities. Whether you’re reaching out to touch base on their current need for insurance or offering helpful content through a newsletter, email helps you remain relevant to your customer base.

Just about everyone uses some form of technology to stay in touch and learn more about the things they’re interested in. Why not give them the chance to learn more about your agency too? Another way you can reach your customer base effectively is through social media. Even having just a Facebook account will give your agency an updated presence and the ability to expand the reach your agency has. Don’t let anyone forget about you! Help start conversations about the questions your customers have by addressing common concerns and sharing content that provides answers they may be looking for. Embracing new technology will give your agency an edge over your competition and a new method to pull in customers.

To Find Success, Your Agency Needs the Right Market Access to Build a Better Book of Business

Above all, one of the most important independent agent resources is market access. If you’re just starting out or going off on your own, how do you gain access to the market? Maybe you already have an in, but you don’t have access to all the parts of the market you want. Or maybe you’re just getting out of a carrier contract and you’re starting the search for a new appointment. Whatever point you’re at, you need a partner who provides reliable market access to all the policy lines you want or need to become a winning agency.

For agencies who are just starting out, think about all the policy lines you want to offer and choose a partner who fits your values and is dedicated to helping you succeed. If you already have market access, maybe it’s time to evaluate what you have and see if a change is necessary. Is the path to more revenue by offering multi-lines? Make sure the partner you have is providing the right access you need to start gaining the income you need to grow.

There are a lot of independent agent resources available, and knowing the right ones to take advantage of can be tricky. Not everything is going to be the right fit for your agency, so spend time evaluating where you want to go and what resources are going to help you get there. It often helps to have a partner who understands where you stand and recommends the best path forward. A partner can also help you find a community of independent agents you can learn from. No matter what, if you want to strive toward becoming a winning agency, having a few of these independent agent resources in your toolkit will help the path to getting there be a little easier.

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