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June 29, 2017

Agents: Here’s How to Differentiate

Summary:

With so many insurance organizations falling short on sales lead response best practices, there is a major opportunity to stand out.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

Consumers are price-shopping insurance policies online in record numbers. According to 2017 JD Power research, the importance of price has surpassed that of a good past service experience when a shopper considers or quotes a brand.

Though increasing price commoditization presents an enormous challenge for insurance agencies, our newest sales lead response research provides some hope. With so many insurance organizations falling short on sales lead response best practices, there is a major opportunity for agencies, regardless of size or type, to stand out from the competition and win new policyholders.

The Impact of a Winning First Impression

The first impression an agency gives a potential customer is very important – not only how quickly they follow up, but also what they say. Most potential customers see this first interaction as a leading indicator of a longer-term relationship with the agency.

Effective follow-up that is timely, appropriately persistent, with a message that adds value for the recipient can increase the chance of conversion. Research shows that:

  • Calling a lead within one minute of an inquiry more than doubles conversion rates.
  • Leads who are left two voicemails on six missed calls are 34% more likely to convert than leads who don’t receive any voicemails at all.

Insurance agencies may be under the impression that their contact strategies and specifically their lead response efforts are timely and effective, but Velocify analysis of actual calls, voicemails and emails shows that, for many of them, sales response tactics are more likely to be in need of an overhaul.

See also: 3 Great Apps for Insurance Agents  

Here are some pro tips to help improve call and voicemail performance shortcomings identified in the Sales Lead Response: The Ugly Truth Behind Call, Voicemail, and Email Practices study.

Call and Voicemail Timing and Cadence

While there is no optimal, magic time of day to make a call, following up quickly and then at strategic intervals can improve outcomes. Our analysis showed that sales professionals are often miscalculating when it comes to the most effective communication cadence — the right number and timing of phone calls and voicemails.

Calling a lead within one minute of an inquiry more than doubles conversion rates, but only 7% of the prospects in the study received a call within one minute. Almost half of all prospects submitted didn’t even receive a voicemail. Of those who did, 40% received only one voicemail, and 34% received too many. One prospect even received 10 voicemails.

PRO TIP: Velocify’s six-call strategy suggests leaving a voicemail on the second and fourth call attempt. Leaving the first voicemail on the second call results in a 31% higher conversion rate than leaving that voicemail on any other call.

It’s important to weave voicemails into a company’s call strategy because missed calls can go unnoticed, and a voicemail is a good way to get a prospect’s attention. However, producers need to make sure to strike the right balance because research shows leaving too many voicemails before contact, as many as five or more, can actually be worse than not leaving any voicemails.

The Impact of Message Quality

Voicemail frequency can increase the chance of conversion, but agencies need to leave quality messages to maximize callbacks. Accordingly, the study evaluated voicemail quality on five basic criteria: context; clarity; length; personalization; and tone.

Only 18% of prospects received “good” voicemails that included all five. Almost half (46%) of all voicemails were scored “bad to terrible,” meeting three of the five criteria or fewer. On the opposite end of the continuum, 8% of the voicemails received didn’t even meet one of the five criteria.

See also: How Life Insurance Agents Can Be Ready  

More Effective Phone Skills, Powered by the Right Tech Tools

Insurers can avoid inadvertently throwing money away by responding appropriately and learning how to more effectively maximize every prospect interaction. There are a number of technologies and techniques available that help improve process so agencies can more easily and effectively make a better first impression.

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About the Author

Chris Backe is the director of financial services at Velocify and a sales automation expert with more than 20 years of experience offering technology solutions to multiple industries.

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