ILG has been publishing insurance marketing and lead guidance content for over 5 years now and we have accumulated a fairly large database of content. Despite these efforts I often receive emails from producers who have failed with shared internet leads asking for more help.
Perhaps the volume of content is overwhelming or my writing in particular is boring because in almost every situation 2 of the more important elements I try to stress have been overlooked or ignored all together.
So….I thought I would put up a detailed post focusing on the 2 core actions that most influence success when working shared leads.
What are these 2 core actions?
1) Speed to Contact
2) Presenting a Unique Value Proposition (or Unique Sales Proposition)
We are going to take a look at WHY these elements are so important by taking the perspective of the consumer shopping for a new policy.
Entering the Mind of a Consumer Shopping for Insurance
If you were to analyze common traits of successful sales pros across any industry one common skill would be the ability to understand the psychology of potential prospects.
Immersing yourself into the mindset of a consumer submitting a request for an insurance quote can aid in identifying their expectations as well as potential objections.
Let’s walk down the path a bit further and take a look at 2 common prospect profiles.
Note: While the following examples reference specific product lines the situations can relate to other types of coverage as well.
Prospect 1 – Susan
Susan recently moved from a neighboring state and needs a homeowner’s policy. She has a new job, kids and a long to do list. She has done enough research to know what coverage she needs and what she should probably pay. She just had a meeting cancel and decided to submit a quote request online. Within 2 minutes of clicking the submit button Tom, a local insurance agent, calls. Tom is friendly and immediately addresses all of Susan’s questions. He is able to offer Susan multiple pricing and deductible options based on her needs, presents the unique characteristics of his carrier, and provides additional advice regarding state and bundling discounts.
Susan is pleased with the options Tom has offered. She feels confident that Tom’s company will have reliable coverage and thinks the price is fair. She realizes that she might be able to find a lower price if she were to spend multiple hours shopping around but she does not want the hassle nor does she have the time. She buys a policy from Tom.
Over the next day 4 more agents call Susan. Each of them might have been able to provide a better solution and price than Tom but they do not get the opportunity. She answers the first 2 calls and tells them she has already bought a policy. She is busy and doesn’t bother to answer any further calls from numbers she doesn’t recognize. The 2 agents that never made contact complain that they got a bad lead.
To review, here are a few of the primary prospect characteristics:
- Has done research and is informed
- Very busy and values time
- Wants a fair price but not at the expense of hours of shopping
- Prepared to buy
Tom was rewarded for his quick response above all else. He knew his product and established good rapport from the onset. In this example we did not emphasize a unique value proposition.
If Susan was not prepared to buy immediately Tom would have had more competition which typically the case. However, because Tom was the first to make contact and made a good impression he would have the upper hand to close the sale statistically.
In our “right now” instant gratification society acting quickly is the most important factor to success with shared internet leads. The fact that Tom responded in 2 minutes helped him establish contact on the first attempt and engage the prospect while the thought of buying a policy was at the front of her mind.
Aside from being the first to contact the response time is very significant. If he was the first to call 2 hours after the lead was submitted he would have been less likely to make contact on the first attempt and would likely require more time and effort to earn the sale.
Prospect 2 – Greg
Greg just bought his first new car and is looking to switch insurance companies. His old car was recently involved in a minor collision and the ensuing claim with his cheap online insurer was a nightmare. Greg now realizes that you get what you pay for when it comes to an auto policy. He wants high quality coverage but he still wants to get a good deal. He has lot of time on his hands and is willing to shop around for the best option. Tom fills out an online form to receive multiple quotes.
Beth is an agent with a major P&C carrier. She had been on a call with another prospect and is not able to call Greg until an hour after his lead came in. Greg does not answer the phone, so Beth leaves a message and makes a note to call back later in the day. An hour later Greg returns Beth’s call and explains the coverage he wants. He mentions he is excited about his first new car, why he was unhappy with his previous insurer and that he has already spoken to 4 other agents who are all at roughly the same price.
Beth establishes a good rapport with Greg offering empathy to his experience and is able to get some additional information including the companies that have already called. She runs a quote based on Greg’s requirements and the price is slightly higher than her competitors. Beth knows her product as well as the products of her competitors. When she has the opportunity to provide a price over the phone she emphasizes that her carrier offers an industry exclusive discount option that would be available to him after being a policy holder for 6 months, their industry leading claim statistics as well as 2 industry best value awards. Greg is very responsive to Beth’s proposal but is committed to getting a few more quotes. The next morning Greg calls back to buy a policy.
To recap here are few of the primary prospect characteristics:
- Wants a value price
- Has been burned by a previous company
- Wants quality coverage
- Has an affection for his new car
- Willing to shop around
In this situation our prospect knew what he wanted and was not going to close on first contact. Beth would have loved to be the price leader but quickly realized she was going to have to present a unique value to make a sale. She emphasized unique features and facts about her carrier that matched the factors that were important to Greg. By doing this she was able to include exclusive features and get separation from her competitors, which were being compared on price by Greg. All of this in spite of a slightly higher price point.
Beth had a late start working this lead and was at a disadvantage by missing the first contact opportunity. In spite of this, she was able to use her excellent product knowledge to present a unique value proposition customized to Greg’s requirements and emotion to close the sale.
Your unique value proposition can be the same or dynamic from prospect to prospect. Captive agents will often leverage the unique offerings and brand power of their carrier while brokers can highlight the value of shopping insurance companies and creating a custom solution. These angles are proven to be effective but you should expect your competition to be using them as well in a competitive market. While a unique value proposition can be virtually anything of perceived value to the prospect we have seen strong response to features that incorporate motivational elements of human emotion often seen in direct response marketing.
There you have it. I hope these 2 examples help demonstrate how speed to contact and a unique value proposition play a major role in closing the sale. Of course, there are many other factors that are very important as well in addition to overall product knowledge and speaking fluency.
When it comes to working shared internet leads it is critical to have a plan and proper expectations before spending money with a lead company. That is why we have worked to create this resource. I will be pointing directing new agents and those who have struggled to this article and tell them to start here.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have a question or any personal advice to add.