Whether done online or in-person, insurance networking continues to be one of the best ways for agents to grow their businesses. And whether you thrive at social events or tend to be more introverted, you can still be successful at networking if you find your niche.
What does insurance networking entail?
“Networking isn’t merely the exchange of information with others — and it’s certainly not about begging for favors. Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet,” which can happen anywhere ranging from a work conference to waiting on line at a coffee shop, explains TopResume, a resume writing company.
Because insurance tends to be a relationship-oriented business, agents often need to build rapport with leads before they can close deals. Networking can help you form those relationships and ultimately win over more clients.
In this guide, we’ll explore insurance networking in more detail, including how to get started with insurance networking and the differences between online and in-person networking.
If you want to turn your new networking contacts into clients, we can help. Click the link below to learn more.
Getting Started With Insurance Networking
Insurance networking generally isn’t a quick ticket to success. Yet, if done well, it can pay off long term in the form of more leads, more deals, and more contacts. Getting started may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to be an expert to jump in. One of the most important networking secrets, and one that applies to marketing overall, is that you often need to go through some trial and error before you find what works for you.
Perfectionism is the Enemy of Accomplishment
Don’t let perfectionism hold you back. Look for opportunities to connect with others in your everyday activities. By viewing networking as relationship building, rather than a task, will help it feel more natural. Plus, practicing how you talk about yourself and your business will help you navigate your conversations with ease. But, perhaps most importantly, networking is about listening intently to others. Learn to ask questions, and show interest in them and what they do. This will help you find ways to add value to their lives.
“Don’t just go into a networking event focused on how you can benefit – think about what you can give other people in exchange.” Consider whether you can share specialized knowledge, “give them a fresh perspective on a business challenge, or be able to introduce them to connections that could help them even if you can’t,” says Moo, a print and design company.
Find What Works For You
Also, think about what types of networking events work for you, as an insurance agent. You should be comfortable enough to make connections and be able to add value. For example, if you’re more introverted, you may find that networking on social media is more comfortable for you than at conferences. And if you’re more social, you may have to decide between focusing on networking at large insurance industry conferences vs. smaller events, such as at your local Chamber of Commerce.
Who to Network With
As you learn what types of networking events work for you, it’s important to think about who you can and like to network with. You don’t always have to network with insurance leads. Networking with other business professionals who may never become clients can help, such as if you learn a tip from another salesperson on how to improve your productivity.
So, rather than just trying to network with prospects and being too salesy, try to keep an open mind. You can network with:
Other insurance agents:
A strong insurance network can help your marketing. For example, if you create joint blog content with another agency, you can gain exposure to each other’s audiences. This type of networking can be particularly useful if you meet other insurance agents with complementary but not necessarily directly competing specialties.
Another good networking secret is to interact with marketing professionals who can help you improve the effectiveness of your own promotions. You’d be surprised how often marketing professionals give away advice for free as part of their own marketing efforts. Then, if you do need help for a particular campaign, or if a business owner client of yours is looking for growth help, having a strong network of marketing professionals that you can recommend.
Local business leaders:
In addition to networking with other insurance agents and marketing professionals, networking with local business leaders can be a great way to get your name out in your community. For example, forming strong connections with local business owners, even if they already have business insurance, they may recommend you when a new business opens up in your area.
Don’t overlook your existing clients. Networking with those who’ve already purchased insurance from you can still help long term. For one, doing business with them shows you value what they offer. If they have put their trust in you, you should be able to put your trust in them. Plus, forming stronger relationships with clients can make renewals easier. And having good clients can mean that they then recommend you to others in need of insurance.
In-Person Insurance Networking
When you think of insurance networking, you might picture formal networking events. For example, your local Chamber of Commerce might hold a networking mixer, where you would expect to meet and chat with other business professionals.
While these can be great opportunities, in-person insurance networking does not need to be limited to events formally labeled as networking events. Consider all the places where you can network, such as at or through:
During lunch breaks, between sessions, at cocktails parties, and more, you can often easily find people to network with at conferences.
Many industry groups host meetings, mixers, and other types of events where you can interact with other insurance agents. Or, you might find that joining an event geared more toward, say, marketing professionals, could be a way to meet others outside the insurance industry while allowing you to learn marketing secrets as you network. These events might not always directly be networking events, such as if you attend a keynote talk, but you can often network before and after the main session.
Local business groups:
As mentioned, your local Chamber of Commerce, or a similar type of local group, may hold meetings and other events where you can interact with other business leaders in your area. Like with industry group events, local business group events can range from formal networking opportunities to educational sessions to parties, all of which can be great chances to network.
Networking amongst alumni of the university you attended can be a great way for insurance agents to quickly form connections. For example, your alma mater might hold an event in your area for business owners, or you could attend a reunion where you can catch up with old acquaintances. While the interactions may be on more of a personal/casual level, you can still meet people that you want to speak with professionally at a later time.
Any time you meet someone, that can be an opportunity to network. When you’re not in your office, that doesn’t preclude you from handing out your business card to someone you meet at, say, a dog park. Or, you might see a local business owner at the grocery store. Making small talk and building some rapport can still help in the long run, as perhaps when they do need help with insurance, they’d be more likely to think of you.
Online Insurance Networking
In addition to all the places where you can network in-person, there are also ample opportunities for insurance networking online. Many of the same groups that host in-person events also host online ones, such as through video chat.
When networking online, keep in mind that interactions might not be as direct as they would be in-person. That’s largely because when you’re networking online, people generally have a lot of distractions around them, not to mention the fact that you’re missing out on body language and other social cues that come from in-person networking.
Still, online insurance networking can be valuable, especially in ways such as helping you reach people outside your local area. Introverts also might have an easier time opening up online, such as by having more time to provide thought-out, written responses.
“Sharing links about how to choose business insurance all day isn’t going to build a following.”Sprout Social
Social Media Networking
While online networking can take place via Zoom sessions, web forums, etc., a lot of marketing and networking takes place on social networks like LinkedIn. These interactions may not always be as direct as in-person ones, but you can reach more people at once and build up your connections over time.
Some of the ways to network on social media include:
- Social Network Groups: LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks have groups that you can join to network with other insurance agents or others who share similar interests with you. Within groups, you generally don’t want to be too promotional but instead should be conversational and helpful.
- Sharing Content: Whether within groups or on your main profile, sharing content can be a form of insurance networking, as you’re essentially starting a conversation and asking others to join in. Again, you don’t want to be too promotional or you’ll push people away. Instead, share content that helps them with their business challenges or that simply brings them joy.
“Sharing links about how to choose business insurance all day isn’t going to build a following,” advises social media management platform Sprout Social. “A good way to tell whether or not you’re sharing great social media content is to ask yourself this: If I didn’t work for this company, would I look at this post?” Sprout Social adds.
- Twitter Chats: Twitter chats generally involve a host asking questions via Twitter at a designated time with a designated hashtag. Participants then respond to the questions using the hashtag and follow along with what other participants have to say. These can be fast-paced conversations, but they offer the chance to directly interact with others and share advice with each other. You can find a Twitter chat relevant to your business such as by searching on a site like TweetReports.
Make Real Connections:
Online insurance networking, especially on social media, can seem out of place at times. For example, you might try to talk about serious work issues on social media, not realizing you’re your connections want more lighthearted content. It depends on your specific network.
So, instead of trying to be too formal online, keep an open mind with your networking approach. Try to genuinely form connections rather than trying to push everyone towards closing a deal.
As Curatti, a business blog, explains, “You can make friends on social. And friends help friends. They’re more likely to buy from friends or recommend them to others.”
Turning Your Insurance Networking Into Deals
While you don’t want to be too salesy, it’s still important to think about how you can go from meeting someone to eventually closing more deals. If you meet a business owner at, say, a local professional event, you likely want to continue the conversation beyond that first networking opportunity.
“Then comes the hard part for many people – reach out to that person and extend an offer to connect further. It can be nerve-wracking but remember: they have similar goals around networking and want to connect with new people too,” says the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
As you follow-up with new contacts and form strong relationships, make sure you have the tools in place to turn connections into sales. For example, using Wheelhouse, an InsurTech platform powered by Talage, enables your website visitors to automatically obtain bindable insurance quotes. You can also integrate the platform across your digital touchpoints, such as by adding a custom URL to your social profiles.
So, if a new prospect that you met at a networking event looks you up online, they can easily get a quote on their own via your marketing channels. That way, you can keep the focus on continuing to build relationships with your network, rather than having to be overly promotional and pushing them to obtain complex quotes.