Assuming you had a very enjoyable Holiday Season and managed to make time for planning and setting goals for 2017, there are a few very important things that may not have made your to-do list. Studies continually show that highly successful agencies embrace and take advantage of new technology. Paper calendars, sticky notes, and legal pads should no longer find a place on an agent’s desktop in the 21st Century.
Every agent knows that there are certain tasks associated with every new client and every new policy. Although these processes may differ across the lines of business, most are similar and need to be completed the same way for every piece of business, every time.
The tasks you perform pre and post sale are the tasks that help to prevent E&O claims and should never be taken lightly. These tasks are considered processes that are vital to properly onboarding a new client and should be automated so that every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed, every time, all the time.
Vital Pre-Sale Processes
Once a lead enters the “prospect” area of the sales funnel, a “discovery” process should be implemented so that you can discover and learn as much about your prospect as possible. The information provided in the discovery process helps result in meaningful quotes that are more likely to result in a sale.
Acquiring only the minimum information needed to offer a quote or quote indication is time well wasted. When you “out-discover” the competition, your chances of leading the pack are greatly enhanced. A discovery checklist (fact finder) should be created for each line of business that helps you learn about the prospect’s problem so you can present an affordable insurance solution.
Many agents use a fact finder for each type of policy they are quoting. Certainly, this is a useful method of discovery, but why limit yourself to one piece of business? We know there are many redundant questions across auto, home, boat, umbrella, and motorcycle applications, so why not gather as much information as possible in the initial interview so that you are prepared to offer other products when the opportunity is presented?
Combine Your Fact Finding Across Lines Rather than Product Type
The discovery process is much simpler than you might think. Rather than having half-dozen fact finders with redundant questions, take each fact finder (or application if used) and combine them into one complete fact finder for the product line (personal, commercial, life/health) instead of a single product.
Yes, this may take a little more of your time and your prospect’s time, but this additional time allows you more opportunity to build rapport with the prospect. By obtaining discovery across the line of interest instead of the product of interest, you become better prepared for your cross-sell opportunities. The information will also be vital for drip mail campaigns that can run in the background.
Automate The Fact Finding Data
Most of the better agency management systems allow for automatically populating the various fields found on a particular application with data found in a form built within the system. If you are not taking advantage of the automatic data population in your agency management system, start doing it now. If your system doesn’t offer this vital function, get one that does.
Agents that embrace technology soon realize how much more they can accomplish. Those who do not, typically work longer hours, make more mistakes, grow their book at a snail’s pace. You know the type; they have 47 binders on the shelf behind their desk, stacks of wrinkled up legal pads, files laying on every surface in their office, and sticky notes attached to sticky notes.