There are so many good ways to generate health insurance leads for selling insurance and being able to get your own exclusive prospects is the key to real success in the insurance business. If you want to be the best in the game, it is absolutely what you have to be able to do and should be your primary focus. What I have seen that causes a lot of failure for new health insurance agents is that they are told to focus on their sales skills in order to out compete other agents. Insurance leads are easy to get but hard to work. It is better to get exclusive health insurance sales leads in order to make the most sales. Selling insurance should be the main goal, not constantly prospecting for new customers.
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That is, in reality, what I have seen new insurance agents dealing with using shared leads that they are usually started out using. The sad thing is that there is usually no other choice for you as a new agent getting started in the insurance business, but I have to tell you the importance of breaking free from the mentality that persists and that is even encouraged that you must out sell your competition, because once a prospect has been unwittingly “thrown to the wolves” they are usually not that good of a prospect anymore, anyway. ( I have found that those shared internet leads can be highly productive a month or two later after all of the “agents” have stopped fighting over them, if they are approached in the right way, so I do suggest getting aged insurance leads if the price is right…)
Back to generating your own exclusive leads: I have seen and tried out a lot of methods of doing this, and in testing them out found ways that wasted a lot of time (and money) and also a few that did extremely well. I narrowed them down to one major difference between the two that was the only factor in the effectiveness, (and no, it was not the color of paper my ads and signs were printed on.) The thing that made my prospecting work well was if it was targeted as opposed to random. So lets look at some of the techniques that do not work well because they produce very few random results:
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Marketing to friends and family: To me, this is the worst form of marketing (and is a lot of times what is expected of you as a new health insurance agent) because it is first, a limited pool of prospects, and two, it pressures them into doing you a favor. Also, if they become unhappy with their coverage, it all comes back on you.
Cold calling: Just too time consuming and piss poor results. It is a waste of time, even though it is the most inexpensive way to prospect, and if you are flat broke, you can knock out a lot of calls and get back on your feet, it is just not sustainable or effective time wise, and lets face it, if that is the only option that you have, you would be better off getting a part time job just to fund a better insurance marketing method.
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Door to door selling: Going around a neighborhood randomly knocking on doors trying to get a random sale is just outright desperate. That is best left to high end vacuum cleaner sales. It usually just has the effect of pissing people off and is not suited to selling insurance at all. It is also very time consuming and will eat up your time.
Untargeted advertising pieces: I have personally used a TON of these trying to get sales, and allthough I did get a few, I usually wasted more in getting them made than I was able to make back. I am talking about fliers, door hangers, pull tab sheets, and kick-down signs put at intersections. These usually go straight into the landfill instead of making many sales, (and I don’t feel like needlessly killing any more trees…) I have also seen the use of magnets plastered everywhere from mailboxed to gas pumps. People like these a lot but they don’t produce many sales at all.
Now that I have bashed these methods of leads generation, I am going to divulge to you the secret of using just those same methods in a targeted way to get your own exclusive insurance prospects and to make a lot more sales in a shorter time. This is what they don’t tell you how to do effectively.
Here is how to use those same inexpensive methods in conjunction with one another:
First you start with cold calling. ( I know, everyone hates cold calling, but it is what it is.) Instead of randomly calling numbers, go to one of the map websites, like Google maps, Mapquest, Yahoo Maps, that list businesses. Plan a route to drive in a day and then look for locally owned businesses. This is who you will cold call. When you cold call, DO NOT try to sell anything. Your mission here is to find out who the owner is and a good time to come by and talk to them for a couple of minutes. This is the only information you need. Again, do not pitch any product at all. make sure you write the information down because you will need it to plan out your route.
The next step is to have prepared several different advertising pieces prepared, ideally in several different sizes and formats. I am not talking about the actual insurance company literature either. What really works is pieces that are written in the first person that are fairly simple and straightforward. At the top, include an attention getting headline, something like “Hey, Do You Want To Save Some Money?” or “What Would You Say If I Told You I Could …” These are general, attention getting statements, that will get someone to look further at your advertising. Just don’t make the mistake on putting something insurancy sounding there.
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After the headline, list several questions that will keep the person reading, like “Are you tired of overpaying for insurance that does not cover everything you want it to?” Stuff like that, just think from the perspective of your customer. Them follow it up with a brief summary of how you can help them solve the problem and also a summary about yourself and your experience. Finally, put a direct call to action at the bottom. Ask for the business in a straightforward and direct way.
Now that you have several different pieces prepared, plan out your route. I know that this is very similar to doing the door to door sales but here is the trick: You are not trying to make any direct sales today. What you want to do is walk into each business and ask to put your advertising in their place of business, like in their customer waiting area alongside the magazines, on a checkout counter, in a window, etc. You get the picture. This is a perfect way to start a conversation with a business owner, and you will be surprised at how many are willing to help because you are not coming into their business trying to sell them anything. You are more asking a fellow business owner to partner with you to help your business. They tend to respect that.
Now this is the important part, where you will make the real sales. Every couple of weeks, make a point of stopping back by to change out your advertising pieces with new ones. (This is why you should have several different ones to start out with, instead of always having to pay for new ones, you can just simply switch them out with others that have been sitting in other businesses.) This way, they get used to you stopping by, and they will start to regard you as an expert instead of a fly by night salesperson that just randomly stops by pushing their services. Do you see how this all works?
The advertising pieces will get you some random customers, but the ones that will really be buying your insurance products are the small business owners and their employees, because they will be used to seeing you and know you. You will have already overcome the hugest barrier to making sales in the process. You will have earned their trust.
I know that this may be disappointing to those looking for the magic bullet to have a set it and forget it sales system that produces home runs at will, but anything good takes some effort and work. I just don’t like to see someones effort and time wasted and this method has produced the best results.
If you are looking for a passive way of generating leads, a good way to do this is through internet advertising. This is another place I have done well with, but it takes a pretty large time investment initially, and a substantial amount of knowledge. If you do not know what you are doing, you could lose your shirt with this. In my opinion, if you do not know a lot about building websites, search engine optimization, pay per click, geo targeting and such, you would be much better served to get an expert to do that for you. If you want to pursue this, there are some factors that you can control even if you have someone else doing it for you.
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The biggest mistake that I see with agent websites is that they tend to be to “flashy” and complicated. The ones that perform the best are ones done up like your offline insurance advertising pieces that are simple and personal. Have a good headline, the questions, how you can help get the answers and a call to action. I have seen a lot of sites with quote engines on them and what I have experienced using these quote engines is that a visitor will end up getting a quote but never take any further action.
Having prospects taking action should be your primary focus when advertising insurance online. Anything else is unnecessary and is a distraction. I just see all to often that agents try to set up a self service web page that ends up being totally useless, and a lot of times expensive.
The other type of prospecting that I have found to be passive but effective is the old tried and true direct mailing. Although not as effective as the first method of leads generation that I outlined, it has the advantage of being passive and non time consuming. There are a few twists you can put on direct mailing advertising campaigns to make them more effective. I have found that using the services that hand write the addresses and put real stamps on the envelopes get much better returns. They cost a little more but are well worth it.
Anyway, I hope I have given you somethings to chew on and mull over. These are the ways that have worked well for me over the last few years, and have proven to be the most effective way of generating health leads over the long haul.
Please leave your comments and questions because I always like to know what you think and to also answer questions.