Building a strong insurance business requires more than just generating leads and closing deals, you need to stay in touch. After selling policies, insurance agents can go further by building relationships with clients, in order to boost retention. In turn, that frees up time and money that would otherwise be spent chasing new leads just to replace lost clients. Plus, retaining clients and forming strong connections with them can lead to more positive reviews and help you build a referral network.
“B2B is no longer simply about doing a “one-time” sale; instead, it is about building trust in the long run,” notes Oliver Wyman.
But how do you get to that point of being able to stay in touch and get renewals year after year? While you may have some processes in place to initially follow up with new clients and provide a smooth renewal process, you may not know how to maintain these ties after the first year or so.
Fortunately, staying in touch with clients year after year doesn’t have to be overly complex. Insurance agents simply need to be mindful of things like a client’s individual communication preferences and be willing to invest energy into staying current with customers’ specific circumstances.
“In the best B2B relationships we’ve studied, the supplier knows the customer’s business and both sides take chances on new ideas, offer transparency and take a long-term view,” says Gallup.
If you want to maintain strong relationships with clients year after year, we can help. Click the button below to learn more.
Learn Customers Communication Preferences
If you want to stay in touch with a friend year over year, it helps to understand their communication preferences, especially if you don’t live in the same area and can’t see them in person easily. If that friend prefers to text, but you only email them, you may not have as frequent communication as you’d like. The same applies to insurance customer relationships.
Learning how your customers like to engage with you, and personalizing your communication accordingly, can go a long way toward helping you build and maintain strong client relationships.
Nearly three out of four “executives from leading organizations say they have customer knowledge available at each touchpoint to inform further engagement,” finds IBM in a study of industrial companies who focus on B2B.
While insurance agents may have somewhat different processes and may not necessarily have as much customer data to inform customer engagement, the overall takeaway remains the same: the more you know your clients, the more easily you can typically stay in touch with them.
Think about how customers might like to communicate via:
Consider questions like:
- How frequently do clients want to receive emails?
- Do clients want to receive your newsletter or one-to-one emails?
- What type of content do clients want to see in your emails, e.g., business advice articles, networking event listings, etc.
If you’re unsure of the answers, you can always ask. One way to do so is to include a short preferences survey when clients initially sign up for your mailing list. Or you could send out an existing survey to current subscribers.
As you get to know your clients, you may find that some don’t want to be overloaded by email. In that case, you could try sending regular mail, such as sending a thank-you card after each year that they renew. You can also send congratulatory notes if you see a client hit a business milestone.
Tracking the success of mail initiatives may be a bit more anecdotal than the data-driven insights you can get from digital marketing. So, you may want to try to get a sense of whether this works based on if clients respond to your physical notes. Or, if you do want to get more analytical, you could conduct an A/B test by sending notes to one group of clients but not the other and then see if there’s a correlation with renewal rates.
Some clients prefer to have more in-depth conversations which can be done via phone calls. In these cases, insurance agents may be able to keep client communication going year after year by setting up regular check-in calls, such as calling every six months to see how a business owner is doing.
When a client initially signs up for a policy, ask if they would like to receive phone calls and what frequency they would like, such as quarterly or bi-annual reviews. You can also let clients know that you’re available by phone if they ever have any questions or business issues they want to discuss.
Not everyone likes talking on the phone, but they do enjoy the ease of text messages. If clients are on the go, they may not have much time to read e-newsletters or get deep into email communication, so they may enjoy being able to shoot you a quick SMS message.
If you don’t want to give out your personal cell phone but want to stay available for clients to keep communication flowing year after year, there are a number of professional SMS platforms you can utilize.
For clients who live in your area, you may want to see if they want to meet in person. Doing so can help you form strong relationships that endure beyond the initial sales cycle. Anything from meeting for coffee to getting together with clients to discuss policy options can go a long way toward building trust and making clients more receptive to your communication year after year.
Prioritize Customer Communication
Learning client communication preferences can make a big difference with client relationships, but only if you follow through. You may remember to send a thank-you note after the first renewal, but perhaps you fall off this practice in the years to come. Or, maybe you initially establish a weekly newsletter to stay in touch with clients but soon find that other responsibilities get in the way of you reliably sending one out.
That’s why insurance agents need to prioritize customer communication on an ongoing basis. Even better, insurance agents should systemize their communication so they can stay in touch year after year, such as by:
- Setting reminders to get in touch with clients, e.g., for a customer’s birthday or business anniversary
- Scheduling future meetings during a current meeting, e.g., setting a date for a customer’s next semi-annual review at the end of a session
- Establishing a backlog of content, e.g., writing next month’s blog posts this month so that you have something to send to clients even when you get particularly busy
- Hiring part-time or freelance support to help you analyze customer preferences and establish an ongoing communication schedule
Insurance agents can also use tools like Wheelhouse that help systemize the renewals process. If you’ve done your job of staying in touch with clients throughout the year, according to their unique preferences, then there’s a good chance that they’ll be more receptive to your renewal offers. And automatically sending them out online through Wheelhouse help ensure that you stay organized and give clients plenty of time to renew year after year, rather than making them feel rushed.
Not every client will necessarily want to keep in touch on an ongoing basis, but by at least putting yourself out there and offering to keep communication lines open, you can draw in more who want that type of business partnership. In the long run, that can help you build a more durable business, where clients stick with you year after year.