I remember 6 years ago when I was an insurance agent. Back then I knew absolutely nothing about lead generation or marketing. I didn’t have the sales skills or confidence to sell my products. That resulted in a pretty bad stint of struggling for months, unable to close any sales.

The agency I joined was pretty new. The directors were great sales people themselves, but they were horrible at coaching. They tried to teach us how to sell better and close more clients, but it was just failed attempt after failed attempt.

Not that I wanted to be there anyway. How I ended up being an agent is a long story. In short, I was “conned” into the role and I figured, since I’m already a licensed agent, why not give it a shot? The result was just months of hating every single minute of it. Road shows, door knocking, cold calling… Trying everything but failing miserably.

That said, looking back, I feel that if I had proper guidance and knowledge, it wouldn’t be as bad. Specifically, if I knew how to work my strengths and generate leads, then even though I hated being an insurance agent, I would still at least be making money. But as it was, I was torturing myself and not making any money at all.

So 6 years later, armed with my experience generating leads for multiple clients, what have I learned about lead generation?

A lot, actually. And if I could go back, here’s what I would have done. And here’s what I recommend you can do too, if you’re an insurance agent.

1. Identify your core market

I’ve spoken to many agents over the years, and one problem I notice is that none of them know who their core market is. They basically serve everyone and anyone.

While that is an alright strategy, there’s nothing that sets you apart from the next agent. It also doesn’t allow you to build your expertise or authority in a specific niche.

The most successful agents out there always specialize. They know who exactly they want to help, and they focus in on that market. Whether it’s high net worth individuals, business owners, corporate general insurance, life insurance for housewives, etc. If you don’t know who you want to serve, or who your core market is, then you’ll find yourself not building anything of value in the years to come.

What do I mean?

Most agents want to position themselves as supermarkets. They pride themselves on having a wide range of different plans for different purposes. But supermarkets survive because they have huge capital investments. And supermarkets have one single strategy, undercut the competition.

As an insurance agent, you don’t have the option to lower your prices. Even if your agency has the lowest prices, by how much and for how long? Fighting based on price is a losing game. Supermarkets have the benefit of economies of scale. Because of the sheer volume and risk they take on, they can win that game.

As a single insurance agent, adopting that strategy will kill you. A better alternative is to niche down. Focus on serving a specific customer in a specific segment of the market.

For example, you can go to the supermarket to buy soap and shampoo. But why do stores like Body Shop thrive? Because they are THE Body Shop. Instead of trying to fight for customers who shop in supermarkets, they go for a totally different segment of the market with unique needs and problems.

As an agent (or any business), you need to start with the market. What gaps are there in the market that needs solving. How can you step in to fill that gap and solve that problem. Focus on it, build your reputation and personal brand around that. You want to be the first thing people think of when they think of ______(solution). That means, you want to be the Life Insurance Guy. Or the Home Insurance Girl. That’s the only way you can beat the market.

2. Craft a unique offer for the market

Once you know who you want to serve and what specific problems they face, you can start to draw their attention. Do that by crafting a unique offer that is irresistible to them. Don’t be afraid of stepping out of the box to create the best experience for your ideal clients.

You want to be the no-brainer choice. The obvious option when the prospect is considering between you and another person.

For example, if  a prospect is a new startup looking for corporate insurance. And the choice is between you and Ms. X. And you offer not just corporate insurance services, but also secretarial services. Or perhaps you partner with corporate secretaries to offer services at a discount. Then the choice is obvious. You know that new startups need services like these. To set up AGMs, submit taxes, etc. And also get insurance.

If you can package a unique offer that benefits them and solves their problem better than your competition, you become the obvious choice. In a saturated industry like insurance agents, you can’t afford to be the same in a red ocean. Craft better offers to stand out and get attention.

3. Find clients who are part of your core market

Once you know who your core market is and what you can offer to solve their problems, you need to know where they are. Specifically, where can you get in contact with them? Both online and offline. Door knocking, cold calling, road shows, are common lead generation tactics. But a huge part of the online marketing space for insurance agents is still untapped.

And I don’t mean that no one is doing it yet (there are a few). But most people are doing it poorly and they get poor quality leads that don’t result in sales. Digital marketing is an art and science in itself. Learning the platform is simple, but understanding the psychology behind the platform is a whole other game.

From what I see, most insurance agents running ads online are throwing money into the ether with minimal returns (if any).

Also, paid ads is just one way to find clients online. You can join forums, Facebook groups, work with influencers, blogs, news sites… There are many ways to reach your core market online that is free. The question is how do you put your brand and your offer in front of these people?

Offline methods like giving out flyers and road shows mean you are literally shoving your service in front of their faces. But if people are constantly on their phones, then reaching them through online methods would be way more effective. With the right strategy, it can help you reach 10 or even 100 times more people in a matter of minutes than if you knock every door in an estate to sell them insurance.

4. Build a sales funnel

After you know where these people are, the fourth question is HOW are you going to get them interested in your offer? It doesn’t work to just immediately jump into the sales pitch. As a salesperson you should know that. The analogy is, don’t ask the prospect to marry you before first asking them out on a date.

The analogy is similar. Get their contact details, retarget them with valuable content daily, ask them out, give more value, show them how you can fill a void (solve a problem), and finally once they’re interested in what you’re offer, give them to opportunity to become a client by asking them.

This sales journey or process is what we in the digital marketing space call a FUNNEL. Basically, you want to move the prospect from one stage of the pipeline to the next until they finally buy from you. The reason why it’s called a funnel is because throughout the sales process, you’re basically eliminating unqualified people.

Maybe you want to specialize in corporate insurance for MNCs. And so if a startup approaches you, you may not want to take them on as a client because the work done to the profit from it doesn’t make sense. You can still keep them in your pipeline for when you have more time, or refer them to someone else. But basically over time, the number of people being funneled through your sales process becomes less and less.

It’s just naturally how it is. No one is able to close 100% of their prospects. It’s important to know your numbers. For every 1,000 people who see your ad, how many click through to see your content? From there, how many click through to see your offer? And how many people leave their contact details? And how many from there sit down with you for coffee? And how many actually buy? And how many stay for longer than a year? And how many refer more customers to you?

Knowing your numbers, you can easily optimize your sales funnel to convert better. If 1,000 people see your ad, but only 10 people click through to see your content, you know the ad probably sucks. Or you’re reaching the wrong people.If 300 people click through to the content, but only 5 people click through to the offer, you know the content sucks.

Data is the key to success. You can’t just run blindfolded and shoot in the dark hoping to hit your target.

5. Optimize and scale

And that’s related to optimizing. Taking the data you have and improving. Or rather, fixing what isn’t working and scaling what works.

If you have a winning ad that converts at 30%, and you’re spending $100 a day on it. Why not spend $150 and see the results? There’s no guarantee you’ll get more leads. But if you do, great! If you don’t, scale down to $100 and then duplicate the funnel and target a different but SIMILAR group of people to your core market (lookalike audience).

Digital marketing has amazing capabilities to help you reach way more people, without spending hours going from door to door to find new clients. Plus, you get only the most interested people talking to you. Imagine, in one day, walking through an estate, how many people can you speak and sell to?

What if you can reach 100x more people, and get just 10x more interested, qualified prospects to talk to you. How much better would your business be?

By the way, if you want to know exactly how you can start taking your insurance agent BUSINESS online, let’s talk strategy. Lets see where the problems and gaps in your current strategy is, and how we can improve. I’ll give you actionable steps to start implementing to see results. First strategy session is on me. But you have to act fast. My schedule is limited and I don’t have much time to offer free strategy sessions for long. I just happened to have an extra couple of hours right now working from home. So if you are really interested in scaling your business in these tough times, click here and let’s chat over video call.