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Business of Insurance Podcast
20 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
CONTRACTS - DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING? Do you know how it could impact your career? EP - 59 For this author, contracts are a sensitive topic. Almost a hot button. My major in college was law enforcement….I was facinated by reading case law, often which is developed because of contracts. As a Certified Insurance Counselor, that’s 90% of the training….what does the insurance contract say and how does it relate to what we as the agent do, what the insurance company does and what the insured does. Most people don’t ready the insurance policy very often and in and in a digital world, that contract is often sent in the middle several other emails and just gets filed….not like the piece of paper that we once received and put in a filing cabinet. I’m a stickler for reading contracts and I think a lot of it is my background. As an insurance agent, you have a few important contracts that you are signing, and it’s important that you understand what you are signing where you put your signature could impact your career. For this discussion, I’m primarily going to focus on employment contracts, because that is what will impact you, the insurance agent, the most. I’m at a place in my life that I won’t sign another employment contract. In my world, also known as a non compete. Before I talk more about contracts, I want to introduce you to our podcast sponsor, Insurancemailboxpower.com. I’m so excited to have them as a sponsor and if you haven’t checked them out, please take a few minutes to go to insurancemailboxpower.com. They’ve agreed to be the sponsor for a few episodes, so I want to provide you with ideas on how you can use this platform to grow your business. Since we are talking about contracts and potential new employees, let’s say you are the owner hiring someone new. You want to make the experience of working for your agency one that is welcoming, where the new employee is excited to come to work and be part of your organization. What if you send them a welcome packet before their first day, include a coffee mug with their name on it, include a greeting card that talks about how excited you are to have them on your team and you send them some brownies to get them through the afternoon slump! You could just do that or you could create a drip campaign for all new employees where you sent them some love every few weeks or months depending on your budget and what you feel is appropriate. Maybe you send them a gift card, a personalized pen (with their name on it) a personalized water bottle, game set or even some sweet treats. Insurancemailboxpower.com has a lot of gift items to choose from and they are adding more every week. What is really nice about this is that you can brand what you send with your company information but you can also personalize it with the employees name on it, you can automate the campaign so that once you set it up, you can forget about it. But you can send the goodies throughout the year and make your employees feel like you appreciate them. Go to Insurancemailboxpower.com to get your free 14day trial and tell them debbie DeChambeau sent you! Now, let’s get back to talking contracts When I first started in the industry, I worked for my dad and as a high school student, I don’t think he was worried about anything. Also, he was just learning the business himself, so an employment contract was the farthest thing from him mind. I stopped working for my dad after about 10 years and the next agency I worked for hired me on as a CSR/Account Manager. I was responsible for servicing the accounts, I didn’t have much of a relationship with the clients, other than processing paperwork. I believe I had to sign an employment contract / non compete, but can’t remember. It was the next 3 agencies I worked for that had me sign contracts and it’s something I’ll probably never do again. The first contract I had to sign was when I was hired as a producer. Every producer had to sign one and honestly, I was so happy to have the position, so it wasn’t an issue. Until some things happened inside that agency that I couldn’t stomach any longer and I needed to leave. The issue was I had built a relationship with a lot of people that I was their insurance advisor, they counted on me for my advice and it had taken me awhile to earn their business. The document I signed said I couldn’t contact those clients for a certain number of years. This was pre internet, so they couldn’t find me as easily as they could today, but I know a few of them tried and did eventually find me. I still couldn’t write their business until the time had passed but they were not happy about that!, at all! And I felt I had lost some friends. When I left the first agency, I had an attorney review the contract so I had a full understanding of what I could and couldn’t do. Why did I invest the money into having an attorney review? Because I’m not an attorney, I know how to read the contracts but I don’t know the laws. I live very close to the MD/VA line. The employment laws between those two states are very different. ….Paying an attorney for one or two hours of service is much better than paying them to defend you in court if you are sued for violating the contract! Contracts are real life. Employers have you sign them because they are serious about keeping their business. They will sue you if you violate them and then you will have to pay to defend yourself. Depending on how big the company you worked for is, could depend on how vigorously they pursue you….but they have deep pockets. You might not! The second place I worked for I thought was going to be a forever home, so again, signing the contract wasn’t as big of a deal, but I did have it reviewed by an attorney before I signed it and the attorney offered a few suggestions to help me modify their contract to make it a little easier on me. They gave up one or two items, but they weren’t anything of significance. When I left the second agency, I again faced the same issue that I faced the first time...I had clients that trusted me, that wanted to work with me and that couldn’t because of my contract. The good news / bad news is that I had not written that much business with the second agency before I realized what a crazy business it was. I’m serious when I say crazy…..their staff punched a time clock and literally lined up 10 minutes before it was time to leave waiting to clock out at 5:00. No one gave any extra at that agency. It was like a ghost town at 5:05. Completely the opposite of anything I had ever seen in the companies I had worked for in the past. On Fridays we started the 5:05 club with the producers because we were the only ones left in the office. The 5:05 club was our in house happy hour. We had some great beer tastings then! The one really good thing about that agency was its location. It was an hour away from my home, but it overlooked National Airport...many of you listening might know it as Ronald Regan Airport, right outside of Washington DC. I saw Bush Sr. leave office and learned that when a president leaves office, they take a helicopter ride around the Capital ...at least up until #45 they did this, I could see that from my office. I also saw the funeral procession for Jacquie Kennedy Onassis as it arrived at Regan Airport. It was a stunning view looking at the Potomac River! It was easy to leave that agency but it was hard to leave that view! When I left that crazy office, I started my first agency. While being my own boss had been in the cards since I worked for my father, it was a lot harder to get started then what someone starting today has to go through. I had been offered a position with Nationwide Insurance as an agent, but their contract stated that I had to sell a certain number of life products in order to maintain my contract. My issue then as it would be today is that what if their product wasn’t the right fit for my client. I’ve clearly been on the independent side for too long, having access to all of the options that need to be explored for clients! What I remember saying since I started my own agency is that I would never sign an employment/non complete agreement again. I never want to leave the people who have built their trust with me because of a piece of paper. I don’t think I am unique with this feeling but at the same time, clients come and go. So it shouldn’t be the only driver in what we do but it definitely can have an impact. There are a lot of industries that require their employees to sign an agreement, it isn’t just insurance agencies. I’m perfectly ok with it so long as it’s fair. There are some contracts that are very unfair and potentially worth fighting, if you have the resources. If you have listened to some of the earlier episodes, I talked about the business groups that I run in addition to running my insurance agency. For those of you who are familiar with BNI, my business groups are similar, but more about business development and creating opportunities inside and outside of your business. One of my members is a mortgage broker. After about a year of being a member, he decided he was going to start interviewing other lenders to work for because he wasn’t having a good experience with the company he’d been with for 15 years. He was very mythological with his interviews and narrowed it down to two companies. The one that he decided to join really impressed him. The CEO flew in to meet him and his wife for dinner, discussed how he could reach him personally if he had issues, confirmed everything that was discussed with respects to office, salary, benefits, etc. .Mike, the mortgage broker, signe the contract and was so excited to work for the new company. He had a new role, felt really comfortable, was transitioning his business then we went into lockdown. Then the new business he brought to the new company wans’t getting processed. He was told 60-90 days before he could get anything done. At his old company he was getting things done in 30-60 days. Some other lenders were getting things done in less than 30 days and he was having trouble competing. After 6 months of this, Mike was very frustrated. He decided to leave and was hit with a cease and desist letter from the company owner. The document he signed, which he did not have an attorney review for him, basically said that he could not get out of working for the company for a certain amount of time without having to pay back a certain amount of money and that he could not work for any other mortgage company for several years. I don’t have the specifics but the big picture is that he is being held hostage with that company because of the contract he signed. He’s now working with an attorney to get out of the contract which has cost him more than a few thousand dollars and he’s not finished yet! He’s a smart, educated man and he didn’t have an attorney review the contract because he didn’t think about it. I feel bad for him because I know he’s feeling horrible about the situation and his life would be completely different if he had spent a few hundred dollars to get the contract reviewed. I’m sure the attorney would have told him what he was getting himself into and Mike probably would not have signed the contract as written. No body would! Now, you might be thinking, this is mortgage, not insurance and nobody in insurance would do that. Trust me, they will. You just have to decide how much you are willing to spend to defend yourself. Earlier in the episode I mentioned an agency I went to work for as a CSR when I left my dads agency. This agency had 5 locations and the two managers at one of their locations decided to break off on their own after a few years. I know the agency had them tied up in legal work for close to 10 years. It was a mess! I believe one of the principals eventually left the insurance business completely and is now a legislator in some state out west. He just started his life over!. He also had like 15 kids, so he couldn’t really afford a lot of legal bills for too long! Insurance agencies want to protect their business. It’s their survival mechanism. As someone who consults with business owners, I understand and agree with this. But there needs to be a middle ground where people can leave and pay for their business at a known price ahead of time. Not long ago I learned that lawyers don’t operate this way, which surprises me, but they are so ethically bound that it does make sense. In the legal world, if an attorney leaves a practice, the firm must send a letter to all the clients, announcing that the lawyer is leaving and giving the clients their choice where they want to go. As a business consultant, I struggle with this because of the impact it can have on revenue, but as someone who sold insurance and had to walk away from friendships and people who trusted me, I love the way lawyers have to do this. I sold my agency in the late 90’s and focused on my business development groups, insurance and marketing consulting along with doing some public speaking for different organizations. In that time period, I had to take a job because of getting divorced and low an behold, another employment / non compete was put in front of me. This one I did sign and without any regret because I was not writing any insurance, My job was to build relationships with realtors and encourage them to use the insurance agency within the real estate company. Since I wasn’t selling insurance, I knew there was nothing to worry about with that contract. When management changed and they wanted me to start selling, I knew my time there was short. Also, I really didn’t get along with the new management. Not to bash anyone, but I’m about working for an organization where they treat their employees like people who have a brain, not treat them like they are idiots. There I go digressing again! I’m sharing with you some real life examples of contracts but what I want you to take from this is that you will be asked to sign contracts. You must read them, understand them and probably have an attorney review them for you so that you understand what happens if you want out of the contract. It only costs a few hundred dollars to pay an attorney to review it. If you don’t have the money for that, ask your future employer if they would pay the attorney bill as part of your compensation if you join the company. If you don’t join the company, there’s probably a good reason that came out of the contractual review and you would then have to pay the attorney bill yourself but you’ll be a happier camper because of it! The contracts you sign are written for a reason. Don’t think they’ll never enforce it, because if you violate the contract you signed, most likely, you will be sued! If for no other reason, the company will want to make an example of you to deter other employees from doing the same thing! There is one more thing that I want to say about getting your contracts reviewed and that is to make sure you are using the right type of attorney. What a lot of people don’t know is that just like most insurance agents specialize in one area, so do attorneys. So have your employment contracts reviewed by an employment attorney Have your business contracts reviewed by a business attorney If you need to sue someone use a personal injury or litigator type of attorney Hire an attorney that specializes in the area that you need and isn’t a general attorney that does what you need once in a while. Read the website. If they say they do a lot, keep looking until you find the specialist! That wraps up this episode of the Business of Insurance Podcast. Don’t forget to check out the sponsors website insurancemailboxpower.com. Tell them Debbie DeChambeau sent you. Thank you for listening. Until next time, keep creating opportunities! SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please follow, like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. The terminology for this has been changing, but we want you to get our podcast when new episodes are published, so check the platform where you listen to podcasts and make sure we are in your playlist! We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts.and Google Podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. SPONSOR 2021 sponsor: This episode of the Business of Insurance Podcast is sponsored by Insurancemailboxpower.com. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneur, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
18 minutes | Jun 13, 2021
Plans, Tactics and Shiny Objects
EP 58 - A Business Needs Prospects To Grow What is the best way to find them? Is there a magic formula? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this episode of The Business of Insurance Podcast. If you are responsible for business development in your firm, then this episode is for you. In many of the insurance groups that I’m in, the one topic I see the most discussion around is marketing. It’s one of those aspects of being in business that people need to know about, because without some sort of marketing, there won’t be any business coming in the door to pay the bills. In the insurance industry, there are some people talking like the’ve discovered America, when in fact, a lot of ideas have been happening for decades. Sometimes they are given a new name, sometimes there’s a new spin on how to deliver, but bottom line, there’s not a lot that’s new in marketing in the past few years. If you are new to owning an insurance business, it might seem new to you, but most things that people are doing in marketing today have been around for at least 10 years and longer. With that being said, technology is constantly changing therefore how we implement our marketing is always evolving. Adding marketing to your business with success is another story. I think it’s important to say that marketing and sales are two different things. Marketing is the tactic to bring awareness and for getting the phone to ring, sales is getting someone to give you their credit card or payment information. Sometimes they are considered one, but in my opinion, they are two different skill sets. One person can and sometimes needs to do both, but without marketing you might not have any sales. You’ve heard me say this in other episodes, but you need a marketing plan and you must watch out for the shiny object syndrome. If you aren’t familiar with the shiny object syndrome, it’s when you hear of a new idea and want to implement it, without exploring if it will work with your current marketing plan. Let me explain a few concepts: Understand that a marketing plan, ,also known as a marketing strategy (see I told you some things just get a different description but they mean the same thing) - but a marketing plan is something you create to implement and measure. It’s a road map. It shows what you want to do and when and how to get people to notice your business. Let’s just say that you are creating a marketing plan. In your marketing plan, you might decide to focus on referrals. Included in your plan around referrals would be the types of referrals you are going to develop - maybe you’ll create some mailings or a system to get them from current clients, maybe you’ll implement a plan to go to different networking events to meet new people, maybe you’ll implement a plan to reach out to CPA’s and develop relationships with them in hopes of getting referrals. Each of these ideas around referrals is a tactic, but you need a plan to make sure you get those referrals. If I were to ask you how you were going to get new business and you said referrals, that’s great but how are you going to do that? That’s where your marketing plan comes into play. Let’s break down the three ideas I just gave you, referral from clients, referrals from networking events and referrals from strategic partners like CPA’s and bankers. If you want to get referrals from clients, you might want to print cards that say The Greatest Compliment I could ever receive is a referral from you, my client. You might decide that with every new client you get, you send this card to them 2 weeks after the close of business. Maybe you will also send a postcard 6 months after you get each new client reminding them how much you appreciate their business and that you are never too busy for their referrals. With this one idea -you need to design the piece or pieces, have it printed and then establish a system for them to get mailed. You also need to establish a tracking method so that after 12 months you can see if it was successful. You also want to make sure you block time on your calendar to revisit it after 6 months to see how consistent you’ve been at executing your plan just for getting referrals from your clients. It’s great to create a plan but if you don’t execute it, if you aren’t evaluating the data, you are kinda wasting your time! Now let’s talk about using networking as a way to generate referrals Will you join organizations? Which ones? Trade associations, local chambers, community groups? Will you get involved?,How much time will that take and do you have the resources to manage it, How many events a week or a month will you attend, What follow up plan will you have for the people you meet after attending those events and How will you measure your success? As you can see, creating a plan can be involved. In my opinion, the more detailed it is in the beginning, the more you will see and you can measure the success. I’ve brought up measuring your success a few times already in this episode. It’s important. There’s a saying in the marketing world...if you aren't measuring, you aren’t marketing. I think it is very appropriate for business! Before I talk about another term that is essential in marketing, I want to introduce you to our podcast sponsor. They actually tie in nicely with what we are talking about today as they are another marketing idea for you to explore in your business. The concept isn’t new, but it’s a new platform to help you personalize, automate and stay top of mind with prospects and clients. It’s called Insurancemailboxpower.com. It’s a card, post card and gifting platform with a built in lead development system. Today we’ll talk about the birthday card feature. What if you started sending birthday cards and half birthday cards to all of your clients, friends and referral partners? You can put their name on the front and the inside, insert your signature and also brand the card with your contact information on the back! There’s no ‘hallmark’ on the back or anyone else's information….just yours or whatever you choose to put there., I like to put my logo, web address phone number and tag line on the back as another message branding my company. When you go to insurancemailboxpower.com, you can get a free 14 day account and utilize all of the products available. Put $10.00 on to your account for postage and send a few cards to yourself so you can see the quality! They have a ton of online training available so you don’t have to feel lost when you sign up . Check out Insurancemailboxpower.com and see how you can stay top of mind with your clients and referral partners. Tell them Debbie DeChambeau sent you! Now another term to be familiar with is marketing tactic. A tactic might be the networking piece I mentioned above, maybe it’s email marketing, direct mail or just door knocking. The tactics are the items in the plan that bring awareness to your business and hopefully make the phone ring. Here’s where things fall apart and this isn’t just for insurance professionals, this happens to a lot of people and businesses.It’s a big reason why people hire coaches! This is what is known as the shiny object syndrome. Did you jump on clubhouse when it was all the buzz? Did you jump on tik tok with videos. If they were in the plan you created, great. But I’m guessing if you said yes to jumping on Clubhouse, it wasn’t really part of your plan, there was just a lot of buzz about it and you didn’t want to miss out. Maybe you went back and modified your plan, which is perfectly ok, but hoping on and saying your business need s a presence there is what I call the shiny object syndrome. I’ve been teaching about social media since 2005. First We talked about LInkedIn, then Twitter, then FB. Then Instagram, Mixed in there was get on YouTube,your website needs to be mobile friendly, get online reviews, buy online advertising. I’ve talked about and taught about all of these over the years. The reality of it is, if it’s not part of your plan, you don’t need to jump on. Maybe you evaluate it to see if it make sense but don’t jump on just to jump on. If you have plenty of business, if you have extra dollars to throw at it and you have a lot of extra time, then be my guest, but most people aren’t in the position to throw a lot of dollars or time at something with no plan. There are things going on in the insurance industry that some people think are new and trendy but honestly, they've been thriving in other industries and they are just catching on in the insurance industry. So let's talk about what's been around for awhile. Podcasting Email marketing Referrals Direct mail Advertising Creating events / Speaking for leads Trade show booths Writing a book Developing Courses You tube Video Social media -groups The new kid on the block I’ve talked about a lot of these tactics in different episodes of The Business of Insurance podcast and I’m sure we’ll talk about them more in the future! When it comes to marketing your business, I caution you about trying to do everything on your own. When you have a lot of time and not a lot of money, it might make sense to do this, but you have to pay attention to the ROI. Honestly, if you are in business, you must think like a business owner. The business owners that see the most success are the ones that can delegate. Do you need to know how to create a podcast….it won’t hurt, but think about how long it will take you. Researching equipment, sound strategies, editing, promotion, and the list goes on. Hiring someone to do it for you will get it done faster; do you need to know how to create email campaigns? It won’t hurt, but you could be attending a networking event or making 10 prospect calls in the time it would take someone else to create the email for you. If you are new to the business and working for yourself, please take some classes on how to run a business. Your local SBDC, SCORE and WBC are great resources. Go to SBA.gov for local information. If you aren't sure who to hire to help you with your marketing, ask other businesses in your area for referrals. Join a mastermind group - just make sure it’s not all insurance agents! Create your own board of advisors. It's also a way to make other business connections. Most business owners figure out too late that they should have a marketing plan. They realize too late that if they had had a plan they would have seen greater success sooner. I know this because I’ve worked with many many business owners over the years. It’s the feedback I get the most. So to recap what I hope you’ve taken from this episode - create a plan, map out the details of the plan. Set time through the year to review the plan and then modify the plan as needed. Most importantly, avoid the shiny object syndrome. If a new marketing idea becomes all the buzz, evaluate it carefully to see if it makes sense in your business. Make sure you have the budget and staff to execute the concept properly. Ok, before we wrap up, I’m working on developing The Business of Insurance group on FB. I’d love for you to join. I really want this group to be for business owners who have opened their doors. It’s a place to offer support, inspiration and idea sharing, not a group for recruiting, selling or asking about coverages. There’s plenty of groups out there for that. There’s a link in the show notes or you can seach for the group on FB. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please follow, like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. SPONSOR This episode of the Business of Insurance Podcast is sponsored by Insurancemailboxpower.com Stay top of mind with your clients and referral partners by landing in their mailbox, not their inbox where you might get lost in email jail! CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
18 minutes | Jun 6, 2021
Expand Your Knowledge
EP 57 Continuing Education for Insurance Professionals. I know, it’s a boring topic, but I hope to get you thinking outside the box today. Many of you listening might already be doing this, but let’s get more people heading this direction. Welcome to another episode of the Business of insurance podcast My name is Debbie DeChambeau, I’m the host of this podcast, I’m an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. I want to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Todays episode is for everyone in the insurance industry, but if you are dealing with clients or helping to train insurance agents, this episode is especially for you. You see, getting into the insurance industry is fairly easy. You take a test, get licensed with a carrier or broker and start selling or working. Most people say the license test doesn’t really cover what is needed for the types of policies you will offer as an agent. In my opinion, that statement is 100% correct. It just covers the basics and even covers some things that many of us will never use in our insurance career. But we need to know them for the test. Once you get licensed in the insurance industry, you need to update your license every year or two or three, depending on the state you are in. For many people, they just go online, find a course that they can get the proper number of hours and are done with it until next time. It’s an afterthought for many, just doing what they have to do to get by. We are all busy, I get it. In addition to barely getting annual CE’s in, there are many licensed agents that don’t have a dual license, they only have the original license. For example ….. someone that started with a life and health license never gets the property and casualty license. Do they need to???? NO! But here’s why I think it’s important to have both. You need to position yourself as an advisor to your clients, not think of yourself as a sales person. The insurance industry has a bad reputation, and in some ways well deserved. It’s too easy to get in to the business….but if you are in the business to do the right thing for your clients and not just make a sale, then you will position yourself as an advisor, a risk manager. Someone that is looking at all aspects of insurance protection so that your clients understand their options. If you only have one license, it can make it hard to expand your conversation. It’s hard to position yourself as an advisor because you don’t know what you don’t know. Just like your clients don’t know what they don’t know. With the internet, people have the opportunity to learn more, but there’s also a lot of misinformation on the internet and it’s our job to help our clients understand. That’s what we get paid for! A lot of people get their licenses and then consider themselves an independent agent and open their business doors. The licensing class is what they have to run their business! Minimal product training…., minimal industry training...minimal business training. There’s a big learning curve in the industry and most people don’t realize that until they are in the middle of it. While it sounds so great to be on your own, working alone adds additional challenges to learning the technical components of the industry in addition to learning how to be a business owner. It becomes a ‘hope and pray strategy’ that they are doing things correctly. In the back of their mind they know they have E&O and think they are good. For this reason, I think it’s important that you expand your education and think about getting some additional certifications such as CIC, CPCU or CRM on the property and casualty side to a CLU, CHFC or even a CFP for those with a life and health license. BREAKDOWN OF DESIGNATIONS: CIC - Certified Insurance Counselor - geared towards the property and casualty independent side - takes a dive into policy forms and provides a lot of real life examples CPCU - Certified Property and Casualty Underwriter - like the name says, it’s geared towards the property and casualty side - has historically been pushed on the carrier sde, particularly for underwriters CRM - Certified Risk Manager - there’s a version for commercial and a version for personal lines. I think we could all benefit from understanding risk management. CLU - Chartered Life Underwriter - it’s the life/health equivalent of the CPCU CHFC Chartered Financial Consultant - geared towards financial consultants who are more on the life and health side - CFP - Certified Financial Planner - also geared towards financial planners but more on the investment side - encouraging them to take a risk management approach for helping their clients, not just focusing on investments. My husband obtained his CFP shortly after 9/11. It was a time when the market was down and a lot of people didn’t want to talk about investments, so I actually encouraged him to pursue it because I knew the value long term of how it could help him. While I didn’t get the Cruts and Crats portion, I did review the property and casualty portion and could see it was in-depth and valuable. This is showing my geeky side, but I really enjoyed doing some of the reviews with him as I learned a lot for my own practice. This is a high level overview of some of the designations. Do some research to see what makes the most sense for your career. There are many other designations, and new ones are popping up all the time - for example, the CPIA which is the Certified Professional Insurance Agent which is for all agents, and focuses on sales processes, ethics and marketing using insurance as the platform. I earned the CPIA designation about 4 years ago and CiC designation more than 25 years ago…. With the CIC designation, I have to complete a minimum of 16 hours a year doing an approved update so that I can keep using the designation. Yes, every year I have to update my designation by taking 16 hours through programs with the The National Alliance which is the organization that manages the CIC, CRM and many other designations. For this particular designation, you have to do the update before your birthday each year. I always try to take the sessions that are new, trendy, innovative, because a lot of them are the same and are repeated frequently.. For example, I was fascinated by cyber liability sessions back in the mid 2000’s. Not enough businesses have cyber liability today and in light of recent hackings, they are probably more aware of it now than ever. So those people that paid attention to cyber liability years ago should be crushing it now! That combined with a good risk management strategy can open a lot of doors and set agents apart from the pack. In a recent CIC update, I took the medicare and medicaid session. Now,I’ve done that many times. I admire the instructor a lot. I took a session with him back in 2012 or 2013 and he blew me away. It was right after the Affordable Care Act had been passed and he read the 2000 plus pages of the document and taught us what we needed to know. We were talking about aspects of the ACT before anyone. I digress…..The recent sessions I took were around medicare/medicaid and long term care and different uses of life insurance. I’ve taken several of this type of session many times over the years and I always learn something new. For example, this time I learned about the new hybrid life and long term care policies. Yes, insurance companies have finally figured it out! What I always find interesting in these sessions is how many property and casualty agents know very little about life and health. These are agents that have been around for awhile. Many of them do this particular session because they are thinking about retiring in a few years and feel like it’s time to start learning. Think of all the missed risk management opportunities with their clients because they didn’t know what they needed to know. Now, I would guess the same would apply to a life and health person sitting in on a property and casualty class but it’s like the hands are in front of their face saying, no, I don’t want to know about this. It’s too overwhelming and my brain can’t handle it! I’m not saying you need to be an expert...because I do believe in focusing on one area. But you need to know a little bit...you need to know enough to ask a few questions that could lead to an introduction to someone on your team. Imagine writing car insurance for someone for 10 years and in year 11 they passed away. They left behind a wife and 3 children under 10…..and no life insurance. You talked to them every year updating their car information but because you focused on car insurance, you never asked them about life insurance. You were their trusted advisor……. In this scenario, you probably wouldn’t get sued for not asking about life insurance, but there are circumstances that if you don’t address certain issues, and then there is a loss, you could get sued. As an insurance professional, it is to your benefit to position yourself as a trusted advisor. To take the sales notion out of it and make sure your client is aware of what insurance products are available to protect them. It’s important for them to know what is not covered, just as much as it is important for them to know what is covered. Don't make any assumptions. I also offer this from first hand experience. You see my sister passed away at the young age of 36. She wasn’t sick, she just didn’t wake up one morning. She left behind 4 children. One under 5, one under 10 and 2 teenagers. She stayed home and did daycare. Her husband worked but they counted on her income as well. Plus, her staying home meant they didn’t have any daycare expenses. When she passed, there was no life insurance. Financially, he was devastated. He lost her in come and had to pay for daycare, so it was almost a double whammy from the financial perspective. I was / am an insurance agent. I never talked to them about life insurance because I focused on commercial insurance. Losing a sibling is hard. Knowing that I never asked an important question is harder! Had I had the conversation, how different might their lives have been if there was some insurance to help them out? A lot of times people don’t want to talk about other lines of insurance because they feel like it’s sales, but the more you know the more you realize that asking the questions builds trust, it positions you as more of a professional than an order taker and someone selling insurance. We need to work on that mindset. There are some people who have so many designations, you have to wonder if they ever work. While it is impressive, without a doubt and in my opinion they are probably 10 times more knowledgeable than I am, it’s hard to be away from the office doing all of these classes to earn the designations!! But having one or two designations, particularly the right ones, can make you so much more valuable to your clients and set you apart from other agents. I’m not a big fan of actually touting the fact that you have a designation but the knowledge that it provides you will definitely pay off. The insurance designation organizations haven't done a great job educating the public to look for professionals with these designations. The CFP designation is advertised regularly and most people who are looking for a financial advisor are aware to look for someone with that designation. There are other ways to get an education in this industry. Self study, on the job training, having a mentor and through networking. I don’t think that enough organizations have what I like to call focused networking and that’s part of the piece that’s missing. I few years ago I attended a conference for IAIP. I interviewed several attendees for the podcast and you can hear the conversations in earlier episodes. This is an organization that has been around for awhile but recently rebranded to be more inclusive. It’s the International Association for Insurance Professionals, formerly known as NAIW, National Association for Insurance Women. Now, I’ll be honest, I'm not a member and when I went to an NAIW meeting many years ago, I felt like the youngest person in the room and I know I wasn’t the youngest at the recent event I attended. But, I could see how people might feel that way. Yet because of the age difference, it might keep people away if there isn’t an ongoing effort to bring in young people into the organization and make them feel welcome. But getting involved in an organization like this is a great way to meet people with experience, people that can answer questions and help you build your career. I would encourage you to be a part of at least one insurance organization to meet your peers. Those friendships will be invaluable. So to recap, consider advancing your career by obtaining a designation or two, instead of just doing CE’s to get them out of the way! Position yourself as an advisor, ask questions like a risk manager and talk about what isn’t covered so that people understand their risks. Get involved in an insurance organization. Not with the intent of getting business, although that could happen, but this industry needs professionals and that’s what is promoted in insurance focused organizations. That wraps up the conversation about continuing education but I want to spend a minute to talk about marketing. What are you doing to stay in front of your clients and prospects? If you haven’t done so already, check out insurancemailboxpower.com. You see, being top of mind is essential. Yes, you can send an email which is probably more cost effective, but you have to deal with spam, being part of 100’s of emails that people receive each week and staying compliant with the Can Spam Act. You can stand out today by sending things to the mail box. A post card, a birthday card or even a be different and send a half birthday card. Not many people are doing that today! Check out insurancemailboxpower.com. And see how you can make a difference in your marketing! Tell them Debbie DeChambeau sent you! Thank you for listening to this episode of the business of insurance podcast. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please follow, like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. SPONSOR This episode of the Business of Insurance Podcast is sponsored by Insurancemailboxpower.com Stay top of mind with your clients and referral partners by landing in their mailbox, not their inbox where you might get lost in email jail! CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
14 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
The Benefits of Snail Mail
EP 56 - Are You Leveraging The Mailbox For Marketing? Are you taking advantage of snail mail to stand out? Birthday cards, holiday cards, postcards and even newsletters can be sent through the mail and have a big impact on your marketing efforts. Here’s an overview of what we discuss in this podcast episode. Holiday Cards There are many types of cards that you can send. If you want to stand out, consider these types of cards Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas Thanksgiving Cards Happy New Year Cards Birthday Cards Some of your clients don’t have their birthday recognized by anyone, getting one from you could be a wonderful gift and a great way to stand out. Send to Clients Strategic partners Automate sending birthday cards: Email birthday cards - Constant Contact Snail Mail cards using a new service called Mailbox Power Newsletters My audience is over 65, they appreciate having paper to read while reading morning coffee and not being attached to an electronic device all the time. Sometimes, it is nice to read things that aren't online and getting distracted by what can happen online. Avoid the rabbit hole Postcards Tips for healthy living Best practices Recipe’s Outdoor exercise tips Hand Written Note Cards Try to send one hand written note card a day. Make it a challenge for yourself Stay top of mind with your referral partners Referral Thank you card ideas Send 4 cards a year to referral / strategic partners Holiday Heart Healthy, something to get through the winter Welcome to Spring 4th of July Halloween Create Systems so that the activities don’t slip through the cracks. Use a CRM, an excel spreadsheet or a calendar to keep track of your note card activity and contacts. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms where you listen to podcasts including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. We’d love a review on apple podcasts. SPONSOR This episode of the Business of Insurance Podcast is sponsored by Lynn Michel Insurance. Do you know someone turning 65 that needs help with purchasing Medicare insurance? Let Lynn Michel be your business partner. They’ll take care of your client and make you look good in the process. Lynn Michel Insurance, LLC 301-996-2328 Lynnmichel.com Connect with them on social media Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneur, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram and Clubhouse @dldechambeau SPECIAL CREDITS Special thanks to Mihir Celly for editing this episode
22 minutes | Sep 2, 2020
I Passed My Life and Health Exam, Now What?
EP 55 I PASSED MY EXAM NOW WHAT? Life and Health This is the second part of our series on career opportunities in the insurance industry. The focus is on the opportunities available to you as a life and health insurance agent. If you passed your property and casualty exam, be sure to listen to episode 54 where I talk about some of your options with that license. Life and health are completely different industries inside of the insurance world and both offer several options. So many people think insurance is all about sales. While it is definitely a component of the industry, there are a lot of other areas where you can work and not do sales. T For example, there’s underwriting, accounting, claims, and I’ve heard one of the departments that makes a lot of money is the actuaries. So if you are a numbers person, it’s something to consider! LETS EXPLORE LIFE OPTIONS DIRECT - Mass Mutual, Northwestern, Prudential - I’m sure there are others but these are some of the bigger names that people recognize Northwestern has a great internship program - Sean, Bob Quinn, Josh The positions I mentioned above from being an underwriter or doing claims would also be available with these types of companies. CARRIER - Another area on the carrier side is selling products to other agents. A very good friend of mine worked for Hartford for many years. He started just out of college. His role was to work with independent property and casualty agents and help them help their clients. Ironically, when he first started with Hartford, my dad was his first agent client. It’s how we met. He went on to be one of the national leaders with Hartford before retiring. My friend has now started his own off shore insurance company and I hope to bring him on as a guest at some point because I’m really not clear what he’s doing today, but know he’s doing well! SIDEBAR -except it just goes to show you that the opportunities are unlimited. INDEPENDENT - like the property and casualty agent, you can also be an independent life insurance agency, where you focus on selling life insurance products or some of the other products that I’m going to discuss in a minute. As a solo, you can go to an MGA or other broker that will help you get contracts without production requirements. Think about approaching a small P/C agency and working with them with life and health. Many P/C people run from Life/health so this could be a win win for both of you! ANCILLARY - Other products that we often think of life insurance professionals selling are term insurance, whole life, final expense. long term care, and a hybrid life/LTC. LTC isn’t really a life product, but the hybrid version today is very exciting in my opinion and worth exploring as an agent. There’s a lot of cool things you can do with life insurance. I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a basic life insurance agent, not selling anything too sophisticated, but there is a lot that can be done in this arena. Once I brought my friend from the Hartford on an appointment to see one of my government contractors. He was talking about some sophisticated life insurance planning techniques to help the two business owners. They were talking on the same page although I must admit, I was a little lost in the conversation. There is so much that can be done with life insurance, it’s not just a straight term or whole life sale. The more assets someone has, the more fun putting together life insurance policies can be because there’s more to work with! WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH HEALTH INSURANCE? GROUP - independent agent, work for a company like Kaiser Generally group health is for businesses. Similar to the last podcast episode when I talked about business insurance. Obviously, if you have a group, it’s a group of employees that work for the company. 2-50 50 and above INDIVIDUAL - this can be a tricky business, but there is a career here. The ACA is different in many states and many states have plans that work around the ACA. Sadly, there is not a lot of commission with the ACA plans and there is also certification, which can scare many people away! The money for you as an agent is earned when you can cross sell products such as dental, life and cancer. During the COVID pandemic, a lot of people are losing their group health insurance, so there is a lot of demand for individual health insurance plans. While they might not be able to afford other insurance products during the pandemic, if you take good care of people, when they do get back to work, they’ll be prospects for other insurance products then! MEDICARE - this is where I am today. I must admit, I love this part of the business, but there’s a lot to it. For one thing, if you want to sell medicare advantage and prescription drug coverage plans you have to take an annual test called AHIP and you have to re-certify with each insurance company each year to sell and get renewal commissions. With many of the tests, you only get 3 tries and you have to get a 90% or better each time. Honestly, that can be nerve wracking and stressful. And the commissions aren't huge. But there’s a demand for the products and you won’t find someone on every street corner selling medicare like you might with car or life insurance. Most seniors need some sort of dental, vision and hearing plans as well as cancer insurance. When you can sell these products, your commission increases significantly and that’s where the business can be attractive. Medicare is highly regulated with a lot of rules and regulations. For some people, that can be a deal breaker for a career. The opportunity to help people is something I really enjoy so it’s why I love the industry so much. There’s also what we call ancillary products - these would be things like cancer insurance, dental and vision and hospital indemnity policies. Depending on the state and situation, there are many options for these. You probably wouldn’t want to just sell one of them but when packaging them with a life policy or health policy, you are really helping your clients and making some money at the same time. There are career opportunities for each of the type of products mentioned, You can find positions on both the agency and carrier side. You’ll need someone to design the products, market them whether you are marketing directly to the consumer or marketing to other agents. Underwriting Claims Customer Service Technology How do you know who to work for? Finding the right fit isn't always easy! Most organizations are ethical and work above board, but there are some bad companies out there. Some are known as multi level marketing type companies. They’ve been around awhile and I don’t think it’s a good option, but ...I”m just going to leave it there. Do your research, talk to other agents outside of the company and get their input before putting your heart and soul into them. One of the most important things you can do as an agent is to look at the financial ratings of the companies you represent or work for. If they are struggling financially, do you really want to sell their life insurance policy? What if they aren’t around in 10 years to pay claims on the people you were trying to protect. If an insurance carrier has financial difficulty and can't pay claims, the State Insurance Departments are the back up system. As an agent, it’s not something your clients should have to deal with. This is where integrity is important and you don’t sell insurance just for the commission, you sell the insurance because it is the right thing for your client. You need to understand what is covered, what isn’t covered, what the rate history has been and you should always look at the financial ratings before presenting a product to a client. I can’t stress this piece enough. I said this for the property and casualty side, but if you try something and find you don’t like it, there are so many other options to consider in the insurance industry. Don’t give up on this career path because the first job or the first boss didn’t work out! Pick one area, learn it and learn it well. Become the expert in the area then move on to something else. Remember, there is a lot to insurance. It’s not simple and black and white. So many people really don’t give it a chance and so many people really don’t understand what is involved. Most people don’t choose insurance as a career, most people fall into it. I encourage you to make it a choice as a career. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. This episode of The Business of Insurance podcast is brought to you by LynnMichel Insurance. Lynn Michel is an independent insurance agency helping seniors with their medicare benefits from medicare advantage to prescription drug and medicare supplements. If you have someone that needs help and this isn’t your area, please connect with Lynn Michel Insurance. They won’t take your clients from you, their goal is to help you look good! In the US, October 15 - December 7 is annual enrollment period for those on Medicare. If you know someone that is over 65 and currently receiving Medicare benefits, this is the time for them to review their plans and see if there is a new plan that makes more sense for them. During this time, medicare recipients are bombarded by mailers and commercials, so please encourage them to talk to a professional and review their options. If the professionals at Lynn Michel can’t help them, well refer them to another professional that can! If you aren’t focused on the medicare market, let Lynn Michel Insurance be your resource. Check them out at lynnmichel.com or connect with them on social. That wraps it up for this episode. I hope you’ve taken away a few ideas that you can implement. If you like what you’ve heard, please subscribe but more importantly, please tell a friend or a colleague about the podcast. Until next time, keep creatin
26 minutes | Aug 23, 2020
Passed My Exam - Property Casualty
EP 54 - I PASSED MY EXAM NOW WHAT? Property & Casualty The topic in this episode is a suggestion from one of the apple podcast reviews (iTunes). I’ve also heard from people that are just studying for their test, so I thought I’d create an episode to give you some ideas for your next steps. Even if you have been in the industry for a while, you might listen as a refresher or share with someone you are mentoring. If you are in sales or thinking about going into sales, I’ve included a few extra nuggets for you towards the end. Since the core of this podcast is why the insurance industry is a great place for a career, I thought I’d take the question and offer some ideas. If you are listening to this and have other ideas, let me know and if I get enough of them, I’ll put together another episode on the topic. I passed my exam, now what Did you get your license before you were hired? Congratulations, a lot of people don’t do this, they get their license once they’ve been hired. I know some investment firms hire you and give you the first 90 days to get your license completed. That will put you behind the 8 ball because those 90 days could have been used for prospecting, and a good sales person will understand this. If you are someone that has chosen a career in insurance, getting licensed is the first step. No matter what direction you go with your career, it’s a big learning curve. The licensing portion is only the basics. A lot of what you learn in the licensing process is not what you will be dealing with in the real world. If you are headed into sales, you need to focus on the sales process first, but I would recommend that you take some other classes about 3-6 months into your career to expand your knowledge. Work towards a certification. It will set you apart from those that haven’t furthered their education, many but more importantly, it definitely expands your knowledge base. It’s often a way to fast track the OJT. One little nugget Share about your license. Over the years I’ve seen many agents trust their employer with handling their license, from making sure they renewed it to making sure their CE’s were completed. The agents just went about their day to day duties until one day they realized their license had expired or they didn’t do their CE’s and then chaos sets in. My suggestion is that you stay on top of when you need you do your CE’s and your renewal and that you process your license renewal, don’t let your agency or employer be responsible for this.. You worked hard to get your license and you don’t want to take any chances. Over the years I’ve had a few friends lose their license because they thought their employer had taken care of things, and they didn’t! Nobody wants to go through the licensing process twice! Now that you are licensed, let’s talk about working in the property / casualty side of the house. CAREER OPPORTUNITIES For today, we'll focus on the agency side of things, not the insurance company side. Most insurance company personnel don’t have to have their license because they aren’t selling anything. At least that is what I think. I’ve never worked on the carrier side, so if I’m wrong, I know someone will correct me and I’ll update the show notes! On the agency side you work for a Direct Writer or an Independent Agency Personal lines - protecting cars, homes, trucks, motorcycles, campers, boats, You might provide insurance for special art pieces or airplanes, you might need to protect their household staff or international travel needs. Depending on the market you live and work, some of these accounts can be over $10,000 and I’ve seen them over $100k. Some agencies have high net worth divisions that focus on the individuals that have a lot of assets that need protecting. Commercial lines - this is primarily business insurance. Look around you at where you eat, your gym, office buildings, amusement parks and contractors. Special events, franchises and medical facilities all fall into this category. In my opinion, it’s good to specialize in something. If you’ve listened to other episodes, you’ve heard me say that I specialized in construction contractors when I was selling. At one time I knew every electrical contractor in town because of a special program we had. Here's how unique the business can be: I heard a really cool story recently and it's how you can make insurance as interesting or as boring as you want. A friend of mine, also an insurance agent, has a client that does a big convention every year. All I know is that it is really big and it makes the client almost 90% of their annual revenue. Each year, they purchase event insurance. This year, as the agent was negotiating the coverage and premium, he kept asking for more coverages. The premium got up to close to $200k for this event. Since the premium was so high, the agent started asking for everything to be thrown in to be covered. Even pandemic insurance! Not having any clue that we’d be having a pandemic. The policy was written last fall so the pandemic wasn’t even on the radar. His client's event is cancelled. The client is going to receive close to $40 million dollars because of what the agent negotiated. While this is an abbreviated version of the story, it’s an example of a few things in the industry that you’ll learn over time. One, everything is negotiable, you just need to know what to ask for, Two, every risk is different which makes the business so interesting. Whether you are dealing with a special event or insuring a doctors office, you’l have different insurance protections that you’ll want to discuss and that in my opinion is what makes this a great business. Personally, I'm a fan of the commercial side because it’s what I’ve always known and where I’ve always worked. There’s a need for people in both sides of the house and you just need to find a place that you feel comfortable and enjoy. Let’s talk about the types of places you can work. We have Direct Writers and Independent Agencies Direct writer - someone that works for a company that only represents one company. Allstate / State Farm / Farmers / Liberty Independent agent - represent multiple companies Small agency Large agency - Willis Tower Watson Consortium - HUB International National NFP Next I want to talk about some of the positions that you’d find on the agency side. The direct writer has a few of these but the independent agent has more of them. The direct writers often received these services from the home office. Sales: There’s inside sales and outside sales; Inside you might be responsible for selling to anyone who calls in or you might be responsible for making cold calls. Some of the bigger agencies might even have a call center, but I’m not a fan of those. I realize it’s a way of running a business, but there’s no personalization there. If you want to build a book of clients that you’ll have with you throughout your career, a call center isn’t the place to be looking! Most of the time, but not always, personal lines is more of an inside sales position and commercial or business insurance sales is out of the office. CSR / Account Manager: Someone that manages the paperwork or client requests, policy changes, reviewing the policies when issued by the carrier. Some sales might be expected but in many agencies, not required. Many agency principals wish their CSR’s would sell more, but the CSR doens’t usually think of themselves as a salesperson, so this is often a challenge for agency owners. Listen to episode 21 titled Steady Sales with Sheldon Snodgrass. We talk about the concept of helping CSR’s mindset. There's underwriting i.e. looking at a risk and pricing it. Not done too much on the smaller agency side but larger agencies often have this capacity. There’s pricing policies using rating tools which are mostly online today but larger accounts also have pricing flexibility that smaller accounts don’t have, so larger agencies will often have some underwriters on staff for this purpose. Marketing: two types on the agency side - and many direct writers don’t have this, it’s mostly on the independent side - Marketing accounts to the insurance company Marketing the agency - someone who manages the social media, advertising, website, etc. This is a newer role on the agency side, but a critical one. Most of the direct writers do this for their agents Claims: Some agencies have a separate claims department. They want to manage the claim process and have the information flow through the agency before reaching the insurance company. Some agencies have the ability to pay small checks on their own rather than having to wait for the insurance company to investigate which makes it easier for the insured to get back o their feet. This varies from agency to agency, city to city and carrier to carrier. Loss control or risk management: Often times larger agencies will have one or two loss control people on staff. This is a little more of a specialty position but one that is very valuable for agents to provide their clients. For example, a restaurant might need a loss control person to help them with purchasing the proper equipment for safety, for training staff on safety measures or to implement proper protections in the restaurant. Life & Health: Some property and casualty agencies will also have a life and health division. I’ll talk more about that in another episode, but it’s an option. As you can see, there are a lot of choices to consider if you want to work in the property/casualty side of the industry. Insurance companies have similar types of positions. When you work for the insurance company your client is usually the agents, not the consumer. This isn’t the case 100% of the time because if you work for someone like GEICO or USAA, you are selling to the consumer YOU HAVE OPTIONS What I really want to leave you with here is that there are many options. If you are in a position that you don’t like, it shouldn’t be the end of your insurance career. Look for other opportunities like I’ve described here to consider. This industry needs young blood…...don’t give up too fast! There’s one other area I want to cover before I end today's episode and I alluded to it earlier in the episode. Since many people are attracted to the industry because of sales, I’m going to add some ideas for you to think about while you are still studying for your exam. Outside Sales If you know you will be selling…..start talking about what you are getting into with your friends and family before you even take the exam. Don’t sell anything because that’s illegal, but start talking about it. Also, create your marketing plan. Too many people wait until they are licensed to think about this and you’ve wasted too much time already on prospecting. A few things you can be doing:. Start building your linkedin connections Start setting up relationships with strategic partners Get involved with a networking group or start your own If your end game plan is to have your own agency, I would recommend that you work for someone for at least 2 years first. Why? There's a lot to learn! Over the years, I’ve taught classes on starting a business and that alone is a big learning curve, plus learning about the industry. Get some experience then think about going out on your own. It’s a lot easier to get carrier contracts today than it was 20 years ago, but there’s nothing better than having a track record when you make the leap! Find someone with a training program (pros/cons of going alone) Find someone that will give you some ownership if you make your numbers Once you decide you want to work in the sales side of the insurance industry, start your marketing that day. Here's two books to get you started: Book Yourself Solid - Gets you thinking about what you are selling and what your messaging is It talks about some simple, effective ways to meet people It works Never Eat Alone - This book isn’t that much different than Book Yourself Solid with the exception that it get’s you thinking about who you know, which you’ll need that list when you start selling, and how to build your network. The reality is, why eat alone if you can eat with someone and potentially create business opportunities. There are a lot of good books out there but these are two of my favorites. If you are going solo and opening your own business, I would also suggest you read the E-Myth Revisited. It will get your business mindset off to the right start! Just substitute insurance when they say baker and it will make a lot of sense! That wraps it up for this episode. I hope you’ve taken away a few ideas that you can implement. If you like what you’ve heard, please subscribe but more importantly, please tell a friend a colleague about the podcast. This episode of The Business of Insurance podcast is brought to you by Lynn Michel Insurance. Do you know someone who is turning 65? They need to consider their Medicare options and Lynn Michel focuses on helping them navigate the complexities of Medicare. If you aren’t focused on this area, let Lynn Michel be your resource. Check them out at lynnmichel.com or connect with them on social. Until next time, keep creating opportunities. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneur, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
19 minutes | Jul 2, 2020
Power of the Inbox - Automation
EP 53 - AUTOMATING YOUR SYSTEMS This is the last episode in our email marketing series. If you haven’t listened to the others, I’d encourage you to start with episode 47 for the email marketing series and if you want to learn a little more about marketing, listen to episodes 44 and 45. The topic today is a little more advanced. With the exception of the concept around birthdays or anniversaries, I would not suggest you introduce this aspect of email marketing until you have your basic email marketing campaigns set up and running consistently. We are talking about automation. You might hear the term autoresponders or automation, for email marketing, it’s the same concept. Basically we are discussing a series of emails that you can schedule in advance that are sent based on a certain trigger. The trigger might be someone downloads something or it’s a birthday or they sign up for something. It’s a series of emails that go out on a pre scheduled basis once the trigger has occurred. You might send one email or you might send a series of 10 emails over the course of 3 months. How many and how often are up to you and over time, things you’ll have to measure and probably revise. While for the most part, you set it up and your done, if you aren’t getting the responses you want, that’s where the revisions come in. Many CRM programs have autoresponders built in. Check with your platform to see how much of this can be done with the system you're already using. If you have an older platform or you aren’t using an agency crm, then I’d suggest that you use an ESP (an email service provider). We talked about ESP’s in episode 48. Integrate them so you don’t have to use two separate systems. If you are in the process of looking at a new platform, I’d suggest that you look for a platform that can perform these services for you as part of the features they provide. Keep in mind some of the features that you should look for based on what has been suggested on other episodes in this series. There are many different uses for autoresponders. For this episode, we will focus on 4. Automate electronic birthday cards Onboarding process for new employees Automated series for new customers Automated series for the digital documents that you give away So let’s start with an easy one: Automated Birthday Cards Sending a birthday card is one of the simplest forms of marketing you can do. I love the idea of sending birthday cards in the mail, but if you don’t have the budget or if your client list is really to big to do this effectively, I’d encourage you to look at automating birthday cards through email. It’s not as effective, but it does work! It’s a touch. It’s better than not doing anything at all. Here’s how I would suggest you do this. Make sure you have the birthday for all of your clients and referral partners. Each platform is going to operate differently on how you set up the birthday cards. In Constant Contact which is the platform I’ve used the most, I put everyone with a birthday into a list and its triggered with the date of their birthday and then email is sent automatically. Every year, on January 1, I go in and update the card that is sent, I.e. update the graphic and then the email cards are sent automatically the following year on the right date. Sending birthday emails is automated, it won’t get dropped if you get busy because it’s automatic. All you need to do is remember to change the graphic once a year, but even if you don’t do that, the email will still get sent. Use marketing automation to onboard new employees Think about this - you bring on a new employee and what happens? They have an orientation on the first day, then paperwork for taxes, health insurance, employee handbook, etc and for the first few days can feel overwhelming. Then there’s an orientation about where everything is. They are put in front of a computer and depending on their experience level, they might be handed clients to work with and they are off and running. Think of your first day on the job. Every company is different, but it’s usually on the first day, a ton of information is thrown at you and then you start working! And then you forget some of it and feel embarrassed having to ask about the simple stuff! But what happens is they forgot about what the kitchen policy is, they forget about what needs to be logged into for the first pay period, they forgot about who they need to contact for taking PTO or working overtime. Your onboarding emails can cover these topics or whatever is relevant to your onboarding process. As part of your automated onboarding process, drip out the important stuff over a period of days or weeks to remind them of the things they might have forgotten. You could do that in all of them. This helps you to know the new employee is engaged and doing what you want them to do. By sending an automated email series using a platform that has metrics built in will also allow you to check if the new employee is even reading the email, much less taking the action you’ve included. One of the reasons I’m suggesting that you send more emails than less is that too much information in one email can get lost. When the subject line in each email tracks with the content, it’s easier to do a search to get the details. Remember the KISS principle. Plus, if only one email is sent and it’s really long, it’s very likely that it won't get read in its entirety because it is so long. So think about your new employee onboarding process. What are the steps that you go through and what could you automate? Once the process is set up, all you need to do is add the new employee’s email address and the rest will happen automatically! Here’s an idea for a sequence - but I’m sure your sequence would be much better. Keep in mind that I’ve been self employed for 20 years, working for myself mostly without a staff and things have changed in the onboarding world, so your list might reflect changes in procedures. Day 1 - welcome - include a video from the different key staff members to help them get oriented Day 2 - list of contact people - maybe include where they can find the list as it is updated or who is leading other departments that they might want to introduce themselves to. Day 3 - overview of kitchen policies - lunch etiquette Day 4 - employee handbook - highlight 3 items that you want them to understand. Give them an activity to complete on the handbook and that way you know they have read the email! Day 5 - computer policies - email setup, templates, CRM details Week 2 - Frequently accessed websites for work to be performed Wee 3 - Schedule a meeting or lunch with agency owner (include calendly or scheduler link) Week 4 - expense reports, supplies, Week 5 - 30 day check in - what are we doing well, what do you need help with I’ve listed 5 weeks worth of emails - 5 in one week and then one a week for 4 weeks, but you could do this as long as you need to. My list only includes a few topics but think about what you cover in your initial onboarding meeting. Take some of those topics and drip them out into an email. One of the things you could also do in each email is to have some sort of call to action in each email. I mentioned that for the employee handbook, An automated series for things you give away Before I dive into this idea, when it comes to attracting new clients, you often need to get them to know like and trust you before they will do business with you. While a lot of what we do in the insurance business is offer quotes, and we are always hoping to get someone to allow us to give them a quote, it’s very possible that they aren’t actually ready to make a switch to you yet. They don’t know you well enough, they don’t like you or trust you enough to make the leap. So your job is to stay in touch with them. You could add them to your regular email campaigns, or you could set up an automated system to keep them engaged, to show a little bit more about who you are and the value you bring to your clients and maybe through that series of automated emails, you’ll win them over sooner. There are many ways for doing this, but today we are talking about email marketing automation so I’m going to focus on email examples In the last episode we talked about building your list and one of the ways to do it was to give something away. Once you’ve come up with something to give away (also known as a lead magnet), then you want to drip some emails to them with additional valuable information in hopes of getting that person to trust you enough to do business with you. You can drip emails to a lot of people without having to talk to them and get business when you least expect it. Let’s say you are targeting business owners and you create a booklet about hiring best practices. When the business owner downloads the book, they are then sent to a list that is set up for your automation series and you can send them several emails as a way to stay connected. For example, the first email would be the booklet that you sent them The second email might be talking about contracts for new hires and why working with an employment law attorney is beneficial The third email might talk about one or two coverages employers need for protecting their employees like WC and covering their equipment while working remotely or on travel The fourth email might have some digital security issues The fifth and final email might be about an event that you have, let’s say a monthly webinar that they could sign up for. The idea around having the monthly webinar series is that if someone downloads your booklet and also signs up for your webinar, they are interested on some level about what you are offering. The webinar could also be an invitation for a meeting to introduce yourself and learn about their business. From there, you can implemen
20 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
Power of the Inbox - Growing Your List
EP 52 - Collecting Email Addresses to GrowYour List This is the second to last episode in our email marketing series. If you haven’t listened to the others, I’d encourage you to start with episode 47 for the email marketing series and if you want to learn a little more about marketing, listen to episodes 44 and 45. In episode 47 we talked about list segmentation which is about managing your list, but it’s important to always be growing your list as well - why because that is new prospects for you. That’s part of marketing. In episode 47 we also talked about looking at your website for different ways you are collecting email addresses. Today we’ll take that a little deeper. Getting email addresses doesn’t just come from people visiting your website. You can ask on your social media posts, you can have give aways, contests, webinars, workshops, community events, things where people need to sign up for something and give you their email address in the process. Why do you need to grow your list? If you are someone that is investing in social media you might be thinking, “do I really need to do worry about email marketing?” My answer to this is if you aren’t, you might be out of business before everyone else. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and whatever new platform is developed is rented space for you. Today, they are all free. Today, they control what people see, unless you pay them. It’s basically a pay to play game for them. So if you aren't paying, not many people are seeing your content. When FB first started with the business pages, as a trainer, I was telling everyone to create one. Those that did, those early adopters, had their pages seen...for awhile. Then FB went public and then they needed to start making money. So then the business pages weren’t seen as much and if you wanted your business page to be seen, you had to pay. Now its advertising The newest thing is groups. Build your community in a group. For now, everyone is seeing what is posted in your group. Before long, FB will have ads in the groups and you’ll have to decide how valuable it is. I don’t fault FB. They are a business. Businesses need to make money. In the case of social media, it’s offered to the consumer for free, they get use to things, it’s almost like an addiction but AI decides what the consumer sees. The people you want to target might not be in their sightline. By having the email addresses, you own it. You aren’t dependent on paying FB or even worrying about if FB exists because you reach your prospects and clients on your terms. Personally, I think that’s much better than having your business dependent on another! It’s really important to understand that social media is rented. You don’t really have people’s contact information. It’s hard for you to reach out to them. With email marketing, you are in their inbox and as long as you are sending valuable content, they'll keep you there! Ok, enough about that. I’ve used Constant Contact as my ESP for many years and I’ve been one of their partners for a long time as well. Since I’m not actively doing marketing for others today, I reached out to other CTCT partners in our community and asked them what they see as good ways of growing your list today. Some of the ideas I’m discussing today are coming directly from them and these are people who are working with clients everyday, helping them with their marketing. If you want to check them out, check out the show notes at thebusinessofinsurance.com where I’ve linked to their websites where they were available. What can you do to grow your list? Website - This is a no brainer and can be done a few different ways. In episode 47 I suggested you do a website audit. Where are you collecting email addresses on your website? In my opinion, you should have some form of email capture on almost every page of your website. From giving things away to just getting more information, if you don’t ask, you won't’ collect. This ties into what Amy Morales of Kapeesh Marketing says because she feels that many small business owners feel embarrassed or too modest to ask customers to follow them online or join some kind of digital marketing effort. Just as these business owners champion "shop small" and "shop local," they should feel empowered and completely capable of asking friends and customers to support them online and join them on an email list. I think some of this is because we don’t want more emails in our inbox so why should we ask other people for their email. I understand this but if you are sending out valuable information, people should be happy to get your emails. It’s the people that send out useless information that people will unsubscribe to. I’ve seen this a lot over the years myself. I even see it today with the clients in my CEO roundtables at Select Business Team. People don’t want to seem pushy or upset anyone so they don’t ask for the emails and they don’t put the tools on the website or other platforms to get people’s contact information. Just start with capturing an email, then you can get more sophisticated to capture other information. Now I’m in complete agreement with Vee Tanner of The Biz Tech Wiz who says, don’t put ‘sign up to get my newsletter on your website. That worked 20 years ago, but it doesn’t work today. Not many people are going to knowingly sign up for your newsletter today. Some will, but many of us are in email overload, so we only want emails that we can use or benefit from! I recently started playing pickleball and I’m interested in playing in a particular community so when I found out someone was sending an email in that community about pickleball, I did sign up. It’s valuable to me! So while some people in certain circumstances will sign up when it says sign up for our newsletter, you would be better off calling it something else. If you just have the newsletter then say something like Get Information On Protecting Your Family or if you are focused on the B2B market, say something like Get Details on Managing Your Business. Ideally you want to say something about staying in touch and offering something to download or get my free checklist or tool that benefits you. Amy Morales says this is what is working and can be done in several different ways. So, what can you give away? This is the million dollar question many of you will ponder. Throughout this email marketing series, I’ve given you a few ideas but here’s a few more: Fire Escape route planning tool The most overlooked insurance purchases (cancer, umbrella, LTC, event, cyber Hiring a nurse advocate Caring for your Pets The topics for what you can give away are unlimited. It will take time to develop or you can purchase a white labeled piece which will save you a lot of time and probably money if you purchase it this way. Michael Loschke of Arista Advisors suggests that you have to have a compelling value proposition and the key objective is to become a close trusted advisor. He follows the advice of financier and philanthropist, Michael Milken's and suggests creating deep emotional relationships" (something to which every agent/sales pro should aspire) - Health, Wealth and Children. BTW, the latter is often pets for seniors and empty-nesters. ;) Ask people join your list by phone or email or online zoom, "He’ll say to people, our clients receive special email offers and content on health, wealth, and children. May I add you to our VIP list?" Another way to Build your List is Webinars Webinars - Citrin Cooperman is a large CPA firm and they have been doing almost weekly webinars on PPP loans during the pandemic. They hit the market early with their webinars and now they are pivoting to other topics but when they started the webinars, no one else was doing them. They kept going when others only did a few. Now they have pivoted but they’ve built up a loyal following because of what they offered during the pandemic. It’s not too late to start doing webinars around the pandemic. One of the hot issues that I’ve been reading about is mental health. Kaiser Foundation put together a return to work guide and a large portion was focused on addressing mental health. Aetna is doing a big webinar in June 2020 and a section is on mental health. Does mental health apply to insurance? You decide. While webinars are a great way to offer a service, if you promote the webinars on social platforms, when people sign up for the webinar you now capture their email address. During the webinar, I would offer another opportunity to give them something and have them sign up directly into your email platform to show that they signed up, but you could use their email address from signing up for the webinar and upload into your ESP pretty safely. Workshops are very similar to webinars but are face to face. In 2020, I’m not sure how many people you will get to attend an in person workshop because of Covid. If you are listening to this podcast in 2021 or 2022, it might not be an issue at all! Like with webinars, your workshop topics can be about anything that will bring people together and help you grow your prospect list and email list. You can advertise them on your social platforms, send snail mail invitations, promote through your referral partners, put up flyers in different venues. Everything is focused on getting people to register or attend so that you can obtain their email address and you can stay in touch with them. There is a larger agency outside of Baltimore that started doing events a few years ago and 20 people showed up, now they have close to 100 people showing up every month. (at least prior to Covid they did) They’ve built their list by having these monthly events with speakers and inviting people - growing their list and their prospects at the same time. Networking events - Networking events is another
15 minutes | Jun 11, 2020
Power of the Inbox - Campaigns
EP 51 - PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER If this is your first joining us, welcome. If you are interested in marketing and specifically email marketing, I encourage you to check out episodes 45-now where we’ve talked about creating a marketing foundation, segmenting your list, metrics creating content and today we are going to talk about email campaigns. I’ve used the term email campaigns in several episodes and said I'd would explain it…..so here’s the explanation. Each time you create an email to send to your list, think of it as a campaign. I’m not talking about an individual email you would send, but one that you are sending to your entire list. One that you are creating for marketing purposes. Think of it in terms of “what do you want to get from the email campaign”. What kind of action do you want people to take? What is the result you want to see? An email campaign is pushing content to someone to pull a response from them. One of the concepts mentioned in this series is that content is king. John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing actually says content is AIR. Your company can’t breathe today if it isn’t creating content. Whether it be articles, ads, video, audio, graphics...it’s all about content. So when it comes to email marketing, you are pushing that content to your list, to your audience and to new prospects. You want them to take action on the content that you are creating. In addition, and this is more of a website tip than an email tip, but you want to drive people to your website as much as possible. There’s so many reasons for this but in a nutshell, the more people you can get to your website, the more likely you are to get new business. So when we think of content for your email campaigns, also think about creating the content on your website and pushing it out by linking it in your email campaign. Use your email campaign to drive traffic to your website! Let me go back to the hot chocolate example I gave in episode 50 for creating content. What if you wrote an article about the best recipes of hot chocolate. In your email campaign, you talk about one of the recipes then link to the article that is published on your website for the rest. Are you thinking “but that’s not insurance related, why would I put that on my website?” That’s ok…...you are human, most of us drink hot chocolate or make it for our kids, so why not drive traffic to your website with hot chocolate information and maybe they’ll stick around and get a quote while they are there! Your email campaign is pushing content - hot chocolate recipes and your response is getting them to click the link on the email campaign so they go to your website and get additional recipes. While they are on your website, they learn more about you and you have more opportunities to connect with them on other digital platforms. (this is tied to retargeting, FB pixels, google analytics and a few other areas which again, is not the subject of this podcast episode series.) This isn’t an episode about websites, but creating content for your email campaign. I just think it’s important for you to understand that creating content for your website is huge. Driving traffic to your website and having a website that you own is essential, I have not done that at this time for the business of insurance. I don’t want to come across as a hypocrite, telling you to do one thing and doing something different myself, but my decision is intentional. If you go back to the original intent of this podcast, it’s to talk about why working in the insurance industry is such a great career path. I’m not selling anything so I’m not worried about how many people visit my website. I’m not sending out any email campaigns so it’s not essential to me ….at least for right now. Things could always change I’m saying this because if you look at the website for the business of insurance podcast, it’s very basic, very simple. It’s actually created by my podcast host, Libsyn. However, I do script out each episode and have some links in each episode for SEO purposes. These are all things you want to be doing on your website and with each piece of content that you create as well. If I wanted to send out an email campaign and drive traffic to my website, I could easily do that because each episode has it’s own url and it is easily sharable. If I want to take an episode url and share it in an email campaign, it’s easy to do. That’s important for the content that you create for your email campaigns. So an email campaign is a little more than sending an email newsletter. It’s a marketing tool that has a goal and a system for measuring your results with a lot of moving parts in the middle. Hopefully you find that explanation helpful. Other ideas for creating your email campaign. Create a card or announcement Promote a celebration or a milestone Automated birthday emails - I’ll talk more about this in episode 52 but this is a great use of automation and emails Press release Invitation to an event or webinar Special offers and deals Surveys and polls Business letter Newsletter just information - so long as it is valuable Drive traffic to your website Share on social media What should your email look like Most importantly, it needs to follow your brand - same colors, fonts (if possible) and graphics that reflect your brand. Less is more - Don’t put everything into one email campaign. You’ll lose people from overwhelm. Remember the KISS principle. It works well for email campaigns also This is where you have to be a creative writer - or hire someone who is. Use phrases to get people’s attention so they will read what you are sending but you don’t want to be spammy or salesy. Mobile Friendly Keep your call to action above the scroll line Graphics are good but they need to be relevant They need to be the right size You want to make sure you own the pictures and avoid copyright issues They should be in line with your brand. You can use Canva to make your own graphics, you can purchase them from Canva and other online sites - I’ll link to the website so you know you are going to the right website. Watch for app sumo for deals for buying lifetime subscriptions photo companies Make your graphics clickable Link to website Social media Something that allows you measure Make sure you use text labels in case images aren't displayed by the recipients email program. Be sure to test images on different devices (phones, laptops, tablets) Recognized sender - Who will be in the ‘from’ line Producers Owner Marketing Sales Just the agency Compelling subject line Create your subject line after your email campaign is complete. As I mentioned earlier, a good writer will know how to do this. Take advantage of the pre-header text - it’s another opportunity to capture attention 2 seconds using 2 works to get people to take action today When to send Track in your metrics - Use common sense. As your list grows you might need to do this again to see if anything changes Those are the major points you want to think about once your campaign is created. In this series, The Power of the Inbox, we’ve covered a lot. We’ll be publishing 2 more episodes in this series, one about growing your list and the other about automation. Both topics are a little more advanced. Up to this point, you’ve been given a lot of information to get your emails created. Have you started? Share what you are creating. Join the Business of Insurance FB group and lets’ talk. If you like what we are creating in this episode and other episodes, please go to apple podcasts and leave a review. Until next time, keep creating opportunities. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
13 minutes | Jun 8, 2020
Power of the Inbox - Creating Content
EP 50 - WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT This episode is for those of you who are business owners, marketing and sales. This is the continuation of the series that started with episode 45 on marketing. This episode takes a deeper dive into email marketing, specifically about creating content. What will you write about? It’s one of the most asked questions If you are just getting started, have your staff go through their outbox and write down the topic of the last 10 emails they sent to clients. What was the topic? On the P&C side, they were probably on certificates of insurance, changing vehicles, adding jewelry, claims, and during the pandemic, what’s covered and not covered. Right there you have 6 topics that are insurance related. But do you want your email to be focused on insurance? Do you want your email to be focused on business or the community? There’s no wrong here. Your content needs to be valuable and relevant to your audience, based on your location, your niche, your agency goals. This is where planning is essential. What do you want your brand to represent. For some of you in rural communities, talking about what is going on in the community could be essential. Or creating your own events could be the focus of your emails. Maybe you mix it up a little and one campaign is about insurance and one is about the community. If you are focused on the business market, maybe you feature one of your business clients - interview them If you are focused on the marine market, maybe you write about new trends in the industry. Maybe you just send out email campaigns based on the holiday of the month. There’s a lot from donut day to peach pie day with some of the better known holidays as well. Here’s where you start Create a content calendar. This is as simple as taking a piece of paper and dividing it into 2 column with 12 boxes. This is assuming you are sending one email campaign a month, but even with this strategy, you could send more per month., and I’ll show you that in a minute. In the left column, write each month of the year. In the right column, you write down the topic you’ll write about. You could pick 12 insurance topics from the list I recommended you create a minute ago from sent emails. Another idea is to pick the holidays - you can google yearly holidays and you’ll see many lists of different holidays during the year. You can pick one a month and then create a calendar around that. Here’s an example of doing something not related to insurance at all but something that might be of interest to many of your clients and prospects. And if you are creative, you can probably incorporate some insurance into some of these as well. Jan National Hug Day, National Milk Day, National Bird Day, National Hot Chocolate Day Feb World Cancer Day, National Cheddar Day, Presidents Day, National Pizza Day Mar International Women’s Day, National Napping Day, World Kidney Day, Spring Equinox April Bicycle Day, Denim Day, National High Five Day, National Siblings Day If you used National Hot Chocolate day, you could offer hot chocolate at your office for the day to anyone that comes by, get a stand in a local park and serve it or at a polar plunge event. You could send out one or two announcements about the event, write an article about the history of hot chocolate, offer different recipes for making hot chocolate, create a contest about who likes it with marshmallows and without. So many opportunities to touch the community and meet new people that could potentially be prospects and clients for you! If you are targeting homeowners, young families and life insurance, maybe you pick bicycle day. What if you raffled off a bicycle, maybe you have a bicycle clinic at your office and invite members of the community to bring their bikes by for a check-up and hire a local bicycle shop to help out. Maybe you have a helmet awareness day on bicycle day to help kids understand how to properly wear them and make sure they are properly fitted. Now here’s something for those of you focused on business. Start with a theme of the month - then see what other activities you can create around the theme as part of your marketing. Jan Budgeting - Interview a CPA, a money manager and provide a list of resources for creating a budget. Talk about the benefits of a budget and maybe create a contest for people to create a budget in January and submit to you for a prize drawing in February. Feb Legal - interview a business attorney - what do business owners need to address in contracts - contracts with employees, with vendors, with subcontractors. Consider having a virtual session where your clients can ask questions. You could also bring in an attorney with a niche, maybe an employment law attorney or a bankruptcy attorney for Q&A. Mar Strategic Partnerships - most businesses grow on referrals. Yes, there is a lot of business that comes from online advertising, but if you were to survey most service businesses, they’ll tell you they get a large portion of their business from referrals. So turn that into a theme. Talk about strategies, networking opportunities, using linked for creating partnerships and paying vs. not paying for referrals. April Content Marketing - just like I’m sharing my knowledge with you about email marketing, you can do the same with your clients. There’s so much you can talk about with content marketing from email to blogging, podcasting to creating videos. You could have a different topic each week. Bring on a different expert for each topic. If you want to do more than just creating email campaigns using a content calendar, you can expand this to a monthly theme of marketing ideas just based on one topic. For example, let’s take budgeting. That works for both individuals and businesses. In addition to making it part of your email marketing, create a few graphics for social media, Do a FB live or two with different experts on budgeting. When it’s safe to be in groups after the pandemic, offer workshops where people can come in and work on a budget as a group. Now, you might be thinking, we are an insurance agency, not an event planning organization. That’s true, but remember, marketing is about providing valuable information, using an email campaign to promote is a way to find new prospects. I understand expanding past sending an email campaign might not be right for your agency, but it’s something to consider. This type of content might not be valuable to everyone, but it will be to most, particularly if you have your list segmented and target the right audience. If you really feel like your agency has to focus on insurance, look up claims around hot chocolate! I’ll bet there’s something out there! What I've done here is provided you with a very simple way to create a calendar. One topic a month one email campaign a month. That’s ok if that’s what your agency decides. Maybe for the first year you send one a month, track the results then decide if you want to add more in year 2. Can you see how creating the calendar also helps to create a theme? So your task for this episode is to create your content calendar. Start with the month after you are listening to this podcast and find a theme for 12 months. Build it out, decide who will write the content, what it will include, the deadlines for each campaign and then get it scheduled. Who will follow up to keep the project on task? The more you identify this up front, the more success you will see. If no one on your team is marketing for you, hire someone to create your email campaigns. If you need recommendations, reach out to me and I’ll connect you. That wraps up this episode. If you like what you’ve heard, please go to iTunes and leave a review. If you know someone that should hear this content, please share the episode with them. If you want to learn more about marketing, join the FB group called the Business of Insurance. I’ll link to it in the show notes and I look forward to meeting you there! If you want to connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, mention you heard the podcast in your request. It helps me identify the spammers from the listeners! Until next time, keep creating opportunities.. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
12 minutes | Jun 1, 2020
Power of the Inbox - Metrics
EP 49 - Marketing is about Measuring. When it comes to email marketing, there are several metrics you can measure to determine how well your campaign did. It’s important to set goals for these metrics which will help you track the progress of your campaigns as well. If you are someone that has sent email campaigns in the past, this is something you want to look at for prior campaigns and future campaigns and for those of you that haven’t sent anything yet, this is information for when you do. Inside of your ESP, there should be a place for you to see different metrics from each campaign. You should be able to see how many people unsubscribed, how many emails bounced, how many email in- boxes were full, how many emails were opened, not opened and how many people clicked on the different links you put inside the email campaign. TODAY WE ARE FOCUSING ON Bounces, Unsubscribes and Full email boxes. At the end of this episode I’m going to share one very valuable tip for email marketing. One of the key indicators of how you're doing with your email marketing is to track and review your unsubscribes. Many people will say it’s how many opens you have, but if people are reading it and unsubscribing, it’s a bigger problem. If people are unsubscribing, it is usually an indicator of 3 things: You aren’t sending valuable content You are sending too much content Your audience isn’t interested in what you have to offer any longer It’s that simple. The content you send is important. I spoke about this in episode 47 when I gave the example of an agent in NYC sending emails about drainage problems when most of the people on the list were renters or condo owners. If this agent were to send a lot of email campaigns that weren’t relevant to renters and condo owners, then they’ll lose a lot of subscribers and that is an issue in the long run because your prospect list begins to dwindle, for the wrong reasons. It’s essential that you send relevant, valuable content and while it might take extra work, it’s also important to tailor it to the audience rather than being too generic. Another reason why people unsubscribe is that you are sending too much content. You are in their inbox too much and because they really aren’t seeing the value or they aren’t interested any more, they don’t want to see you. Look at your own email inbox. How many people send you emails every day or every week? How many of those do you keep and read or just delete? How many do you completely unsubscribe from? What’s your reason for unsubscribing? Most likely that’s the reason many of the people you send email campaigns to also unsubscribe. I’m a believer that if you evaluate your own behavior, most likely, it’s similar to others as well. That will help you manage your email campaigns. The last reason people unsubscribe is that they aren’t interested in what you have to offer any longer. This can be tricky. A realtor friend of mine was talking about her email list yesterday and said she gets people that don’t want to see information she is sending out about upcoming listings, but they do want to know about the happy hours or events that she is hosting. (and she and her team have done some very elaborate outings in the past) One of the ways you can manage this is to put a questionnaire at the unsubscribe box asking questions about why people are unsubscribing and if they still want to get emails related to certain content. By asking this information and giving people options, it could help to salvage a few unsubscribes. This also ties to list segmenting which I discussed in episode 47 as well. If you have an email list that you haven't sent any emails out in awhile, you’ll need to send an introductory email or two and let the reader know what you are doing. Give them the option to unsubscribe as part of the content that you send. Doing this helps you to set a baseline for unsubscribes. Pay attention to your clients unsubscribing as well. If you have clients that unsubscribe and then you send an informational type of email campaign (like Covid-19 specific information) they might not get it because they unsubscribed to your list. If people do unsubscribe, you need to look at why, but then let them go. Don’t worry about the ones that unsubscribe, just keep working to create better content and reduce the number of unsubscribes. Let’s talk about bounced emails. There’s a few reasons why emails bounce. One is a great marketing opportunity the others are just numbers and there’s not much you can do. When an email bounces and it’s because the email address is no longer good, it’s a indication that your prospect or client has a new email account. Hence, the marketing opportunity for you because maybe they have a new job or they started their own business or maybe they retired. In some cases it’s going from one email provider like yahoo to another like gmail. Regardless, it’s your opportunity to reach out to them and get the new email address. It’s your opportunity to talk to them and see what changes are taking place in their life. Maybe create a business opportunity for yourself or one of your strategic referral partners. Other reasons why emails bounce include their inbox is full or they are out of office. One other reason why they bounce is that the email service provider you are using has been blocked by the company you are sending to. For example, in my CEO roundtables, one of my members is a banker with PNC bank. When I send emails to his PNC account they always bounce because I use Constant Contact and PNC blocks Constant Contact. If I send the emails to his personal email address, then there isn’t an issue of him receiving them. Some companies will let their employees white list emails, but not all will allow that, so it’s important to keep an eye on this type of bounce metric as well. It will tell you when you need to get personal emails and not business emails! HERE’S YOUR VALUABLE EMAIL MARKETING TIP: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER BUY AN EMAIL LIST. It’s the easiest way to get reported as spam and if you get reported as spam too many times your email account will be shut down and it is a very expensive proposition to get it back online. If you haven’t heard of this before, you are probably thinking I’m crazy. Well, hopefully not because I’ve seen this first hand. In the early 2000’s I was involved with an international networking organization. They did monthly events and with each event, there were 3 events. Initially, we were encouraged to build our lists as much as possible. Personally, I knew better because of my knowledge on email marketing, but not everyone knew the rules. A lot of people just added names without permission and therefore, they were reporting spam. Well, this international organization was shut down. Everything email was shut down. It took them almost 3 weeks to get back up and running. As a result they implemented strict protocols regarding email addresses, but the damage had been done. Imagine not being able to communicate with clients for 3 weeks because of no email. Buying an email list is basically buying a list of email addresses that hasn’t given you permission to email them. Some platforms like Mail Chimp require a double opt in, so that email list you bought and uploaded will have to give permission to have you add them to mail chimp. Constant Contact flags you if you try to upload too many emails at one time and will contact you to discuss the emails you have before it lets you send to them. If you aren’t truthful about where the names came from and get a lot of spams, you’ll get shut down by them. It’s not something you want to go through. While the intent of the CAN SPAM act is to have an opt out feature, it’s also better if you don’t get reported for spam. And here’s a little side note….did you know that most CGL’s today do not provide coverage for the CAN SPAM act? Initially they did, but that’s been added as an exclusion now! I learned that a few years ago in a CIC update I took! - ok, done with the sidebar, if you aren’t sure, read your carrier’s CGL’s and see what they say about the CAN SPAM act. And if you aren't familiar with the CAN SPAM act, then I’d encourage you to google it and read about it! WRAPPING UP If you like what you’ve heard, please go to iTunes and leave a review. If you know someone that should hear this content, please share the episode with them. If you want to learn more about marketing, join the FB group called the Business of Insurance. I’ll link to it in the show notes and I look forward to meeting you there! If you want to connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, mention you heard the podcast in your request. It helps me identify the spammers from the listeners! Until next time, keep creating opportunities.. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn
8 minutes | May 28, 2020
Power of the Inbox - Choosing your ESP
EP 48 - WHAT ESP SHOULD YOU USE? This is the continuation of the series that started with episode 45 on marketing. Today we are talking about your ESP - your email service provider. Maybe you have one that you already love but the question is, are you utilizing it to the best that you can. Maybe it’s time to take a refresher course with them. Maybe it’s time to upgrade to another platform. I’m not going to tell you which platform to use but I am going to encourage you to make sure you are maximizing the performance of the platform you are using. There are a lot of platforms to consider. I am very familiar with a platform called constant contact. I’ve used them since 2001. The platform has grown over the years and they've provided me with training modules for the last couple years and I have done probably 100 workshops using their material. Another popular platform is MailChimp. A lot of people like it because it is free. It is my understanding they do have some good tools built-in but again I'm still a bigger fan of constant contact. I'm partial I'm not going to deny it, but I'm not here to sell you on it either. But if you want to use it let me know when I can get you a good discount code. A few other popular platforms are AWeber and Emma. I haven’t used either one of these, but I’ve heard good things about them. One factor to consider is free vs. paid. Usually a paid platform comes with great support while a free platform has minimal support. So, depending on your tech level, paying for one that has support might be better than spending hours trying to figure out one of the free ones. I think these four platforms are good for the beginner email marketer, the smaller agency that doesn’t have a CRM. There are many CRM’s that have built in email marketing platforms. Learn how to use them and use them regularly. Other Platforms If you listen to other podcasts, you might hear advertisements for Click-Funnels and Convertkit, Active Campaign and Hubspot. These are also good platforms, but they have some advanced features that might not be necessary if you are just going to send out one or two email campaigns a month. If you are a coach, selling digital products or if you are experienced at email marketing and you are ready to take it to another level, then these platforms might be worth considering. There’s a few new names on the market that I’m not familiar with at all and they include SendinBlue, Omnisend and Pabbly. So use at your own discretion, but in the research I did for this episode, their name came up more than once. Here’s my advice. If you just want to keep it simple, if you just want to send emails to your prospects and clients, you don’t need a lot of fancy features. You need a platform that provides the following: Metrics such as bounce rates, opens, and click throughs and one that has good templates that are also mobile responsive and today a template that looks like a letter is good enough. Not too many graphics because it slows things down and not too many colors because it’s just too much. You also want to make sure the platform has the unsubscribe option. (actually that’s essential so that you stay in compliance with the Can Spam Act) You want something that is easy to use - if it’s not, you are never going to be consistent with your marketing. One of the CRM’s I used has email built into it but honestly, it was so difficult to edit. It was easier for me to use a separate ESP Some other features you might want to consider are tagging, automation, A/B testing, and resending. If you aren’t doing much email marketing now, if you don’t have a big list of email addresses for prospects, if you just want to send emails, then stick with Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Emma or Aweber. Don’t worry about all of the fancy features that some of the ESP’s provide. What you should focus on is a platform that doesn’t frustrate you and that fits the basic bill! Most importantly, only choose another ESP if your CRM doesn’t give you the features you can get in a different platform for email marketing. I’m not suggesting that you change platforms but if you aren’t using one, now is the time to do your research. If you listened to episode 45 where I talked about the special facebook group I’m starting, we’ll talk more about these platforms and if you have any questions, we can discuss them there. Just keep in mind that nothing is perfect! As one platform adds a new feature that makes it hot, the others usually follow with a similar feature, it just takes time to get it created so there’s a lag time. Do your research but don’t take too long. The idea here is to get started. It’s not fun to switch platforms but it's better to do it when your list is smaller. That wraps up this episode. If you like what you’ve heard, please go to iTunes and leave a review. If you know someone that should hear this content, please share the episode with them. If you want to learn more about marketing, join the FB group called the Business of Insurance. I’ll link to it in the show notes and I look forward to meeting you there! If you want to connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, mention you heard the podcast in your request. It helps me identify the spammers from the listeners! Until next time, keep creating opportunities.. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
15 minutes | May 17, 2020
Power of The Inbox
EP 47 - THE IMPORTANCE OF EMAIL MARKETING AND SEGMENTING YOUR LIST This episode is being produced for those of you who are business owners, marketing and sales. Listen to episode 45 before listening to this episode. Episode 46 is also worth listening to. In episode 45 we discuss the marketing foundation, identifying your ideal client, getting your messaging right and creating some content: Do an email marketing website audit Do a review of what you are giving away to get email addresses Look at where the email addresses are going when you collect them. Today we’ll focus on two areas. Why email marketing is important Segmenting your list Email marketing is the best form of marketing. On a recent webinar about email marketing. The host showed a picture of a Wall Street Journal article from January 2019 and the headline said “ Email is the hottest form of marketing.” That was even 15 months ago (from the date of this recording). FB, IG, TW, LI were doing well a year ago. So why would the WSJ publish an article like that? You own it You control it and You determine where and when it is seen. (i.e. lands in someones inbox) Facebook, twitter, IG, LI all have algorithms and they decide what you see, when you see it and how much you see. That might not sound fair, but each of them are businesses. Each of them wants to make a profit. Most importantly, you might use one of those social media platforms but you don’t pay to get on the platform. So what do you expect to get for free? I'm not going to talk too much about the pro’s and con’s of being on the platform, but from a business perspective, from a marketing perspective, it’s important to understand that these free platforms can do what they want. You then decide if you like their rules and want to take advantage of what they have to offer, and pay them to do so. Learning Tip: You don't own the content on social media platforms. They determine when you see things, who’s posts you see, what your viewing experience is like. If one of those platforms goes away that audience goes away. Did you know that a few years ago Twitter was in financial trouble? They were considering going out of business? Since our current President uses the platform, a lot more people are using it and therefore, it’s not in trouble right now, but they were talking about closing down a few years ago. It wasn’t long ago that people were spending thousands of dollars to build their following on Twitter. Imagine a company like yours that spent a lot of money and effort to build a following and then one day twitter went away. That was almost a reality for many people and businesses. What good is it to have a thousand or fifteen thousand followers if you can only connect with them on social media - and then you can only connect when the algorithm says so! Since most of you listening are insurance professionals think of this from a risk management perspective, How would you advise your clients to minimize a business interruption claim if twitter, FB LI went away. You tell them to get contact information, get the email addresses of the people they are connected with. So truthfully one of the best marketing strategies that you could have is to build your audience on those platforms by having strategies in place to collect their contact information and the easiest first piece of data to collect is their email address. You have got to get their contact information so that you can be visible on your terms, not on someone else’s terms. Not every email gets read, but by landing in the inbox you are at least seen! It’s a touch. Also email isn't going anywhere. I don't care what anybody says, it's the way that people communicate. Until that changes, email is a super powerful form of communication. Today yes people text, yes, people talk on the phone, yes, people are connecting on social and during this pandemic, virtually, but the inbox is still there so at least for now and I'm going to say the next five plus years unless something new comes out, email will still be used. And even if something new did come out, people have to adapt to that technology. Back in the 90’s it took people a long time to adapt to email. Most people are slow to change. For that reason alone, email isn’t going away anytime soon! The second topic for this episode is your list. In the marketing world, it’s called list segmentation but that’s an industry term. Plain and simple, it’s managing your list. It is important to know that managing your list is essential for your marketing success. Some of you will have more work to do than others when it comes to your list. In episode 45 we talked about looking at how you are collecting email addresses. They will go into a list of some sort. Maybe it’s just an excel spread sheet, maybe it’s into your CRM, maybe it’s into your ESP. (emal service provider). But once they enter your list, how are you segmenting them or is everyone going into one bucket? How are you dividing them up so that when you send an email campaign (and I’ll explain campaign another time), what buckets are they going into or is everyone going into one bucket or the same list? This is what is important. So your task for this episode is looking at your list. Are you breaking people's names out by personal and commercial lines? By Life by Health by home by auto? Are you breaking them out by prospects vs. clients? If you are focusing on commercial insurance, are you breaking them out by industry, like contractors, restaurants, consultants, startups, What about breaking out your list by referral sources so maybe it's your accountants, maybe it's your lawyers, maybe it's your real estate lenders. By having lists, it opens up additional email marketing opportunities for you. You can customize the content to talk directly to the reader based on their list. For the purpose of this example, let’s say you worked in NYC and most of your clients and prospects lived in the city. What if you were to send an email out about how the grading of the soil around the house can impact flood issues in a basement. If they live in the city, they are probably in a condo or an apartment so this information is not relevant. But if you worked in NYC and targeted prospects outside of the city that live in houses, this content would be relevant. So by segmenting your list of homeowners vs. condo’s vs. renters you would be able to target the right audience with your email.. Here’s another example: Let’s say your agency is in the rural part of the state where most people have farms. If you were to send an email that focused on the 5 things to consider when purchasing condo insurance, do you think your farmers would find it relevant? Probably not. You’d be better off sending an article about alternative ways farmers can generate income. That will get their attention. If you don’t have your list segmented, it’s hard to customize your emails Again, keep in mind these are just examples, but hopefully it makes it clear about why segmenting your list makes more sense for the emails that you send. When you send the wrong content to the wrong list, you begin to lose interest. People will unsubscribe. They’ll potentially report you as spam.. And trust me, you do not want anyone reporting you as spam. It’s the first way to get your email shut down. I’ll talk more about all of this in another episode. Having a segmented list allows you to focus your email marketing campaigns on the targeted audience. How much you take your list and divide it or segment it is up to you. I will tell you from experience, the more you segment, the more success you will have. It also means more work but that’s what separates the winners from the losers! If you are focused on golf courses and contractors, consider segmenting those two lists because while they’ll have some similar needs as businesses, they also have a lot of different needs that you can focus on in your marketing. You could have each of them in a general business list and then have each of them in the contractor or golf course list. Breaking them out into separate lists will help you target your messaging so they feel like you are speaking directly to them. Another reason for segmenting your list is that you can personalize who is sending the email. Let’s say that you have 5 sales people in your office. 4 are focused on commercial and one is focused on personal. Each of the commercial sales people can create a list of their prospects and the emails to those prospects can be specifically from them, not a general email from the marketing person. It provides the sales person with more brand identity so that when they call the prospect,they’ll be more easily recognized and it also keeps the content focused on businesses from going to the stay at home parent. If the agency sends an email from a name the prospect does not recognize, it’s possible that the recipient won’t recognize them as easily when they follow up for the business. All of this takes more work but it is also how you get the best results. You might be thinking that you are selling insurance and you aren't a content creator or an email marketer. But in this business today we have to be multi talented or we need to hire someone to do this for us. If you need someone to help you with your email marketing, reach out for referrals. It’s so important to have good valuable content for your audience but personalizing it creates better results. Here’s a recap of what we discussed today: Understand why email marketing is essential - it’s not going away and it’s not controlled by algorithms. Take a look at your list - are they segmented and are the email addresses in the right list? What type of lists make the most sense for you and for your agency. Do you have personal vs. commercial, prospects vs. clients? Homeo
9 minutes | May 11, 2020
EP 46 - JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP If you are an agency owner, a sales professional or doing the marketing for your agency or company, this episode and the next few are intended to help you retain your current business and continue to add more clients during these challenging times and beyond. When this podcast first launched, we had a FB group but wasn’t promoted much. Well with the coronavirus, it’s time to get it rolling again and you are the one that will benefit. It’s a way of giving back. Especially during these difficult times. Here’s the plan: First, it’s not a sales pitch. We aren’t creating programs to sell. We don’t want to do the marketing for you. There’s enough people doing that and we can introduce them at some point. The goal is to share our knowledge and help you be more successful. So head over to facebook, look for The Business of insurance group on FB and apply. Why should you join the group? The conversation will focus on marketing. We’ll have guests to answer your questions. It’s a work in progress. It’s for insurance professionals only, other than the marketing professionals that I invite. You can be an agency owner, a marketer or in sales. I don’t care if you are on the carrier side either. We will do a reference check so if your profile doesn’t say anything about your insurance career, you probably won’t be admitted! (that’s a basic marketing tip) It will be positive group and focused on marketing. If anyone enters the group to sell you something, or recruit you for something, they will be removed. Log into FB, search for the Business of Insurance group and click to join the group. (like the business of insurance page while you are at it) CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
21 minutes | May 3, 2020
EP 45 - Develop your Marketing Foundation In this episode we discuss the importance of a marketing plan and why you need to have one. We discuss some of the components and offer ideas for building your strategy. While every good marketing campaign starts with a good plan, we also provide you with three items to complete to begin building out a successful email marketing campaign. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM LISTENING Components of a Marketing Plan Identify your ideal client Develop your messaging Create content Email Marketing Conduct a website audit Identify what you are giving away Review where the email addresses are going once people give them to you SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
18 minutes | Mar 18, 2020
Pivot: Ramp Up Your Marketing
EP 44 - Things are changing rapidly with the coronavirus, so as business owners, it's time to pivot. It’s time to focus on your business even though everything around you might seem a little crazy. If you have been in the insurance industry for awhile, this is not the first time we’ve hit a rough patch. While this one might be more severe, we’ve had situations in the past that have had a big impact on business. In the 70’s we had the oil crisis when gas was rationed. We could only purchase gas on odd and even days, depending on how your tag ended. We didn’t have the internet then, so if you were in sales, you couldn’t really go see people if you ran out of gas. It could have become an excuse to not sell if you didn’t plan accordingly. In the early 2000’s we had .com bubble, the 9/11 attacks and around 2007/2008 we had the subprime mortgage crisis. All of these recessions impacted business. While not every business survived, most people bounced back. If they didn’t stay in their current profession, they found another. Those that thrived, invested in marketing. They didn’t panic; they didn’t go into wait to see what would happen mode, they took charge and put their name out there. What is happening today with Coronaviris is unpresented, yet, we will all bounce back. Business will continue, particularly the insurance business. As insurance professionals, we are needed more now than ever. As business owners, now is the time to focus on your business. I’ve done a few episodes on marketing, but today, more than ever, it’s essential that you ramp up your marketing efforts. This is what will separate the winners from the losers. Don’t freeze. Don’t panic. If you listen to the news too much, it can paralyze you. Minimize the amount of time you spend on social media. I’m a big music person, so my solution is to crank up the music and dance like nobody is watching! I’m not saying ignore the news because it is changing so rapidly, we need to stay on top, But you can listen for 30-60 minutes and know everything you need to know for the day. Or you can go to your favorite news publication and read 2-3 articles and be well informed. Things to consider for business survival I’m a believer that you want to first start with the business that you currently have. No matter how many clients you have, pick up the phone and call them. Start from the back of the alphabet! Divide the alphabet between different staff members. Set a goal for how many calls a day you want made, and when you want all of the calls completed. In my opinion, the sooner the better. You might get some push back about what to say. Start with, Hi!, we are here and wanted to make sure you are ok. If you need us, give us a call. Sure, you can send an email, but it’s not as personal. They will remember you for calling and checking in on them. Depending on how long this goes on, you might need to make the calls 2-3 times. In business it costs more to onboard a new customer than it does to keep an old one. That is why I recommend focusing on the current customers first. As you talk with them, you’ll get different concerns and then as a company you might find a way to address them. Some of the concerns or questions that are asked could be used for marketing pieces in some of the examples I’ll be suggesting in a few minutes. So have a system to track the calls that have been made and the feedback, concerns, questions that are asked. Then do a recap with your staff. If it is just you, do your own analysis! I believe in the next 10 days, you should be ramping up one or more marketing campaigns. I would suggest a 3 prong approach at first because this is not the time to sit back and wait. I’m going to provide some suggestions that aren’t super expensive to implement. Other than time, it doesn’t cost anything to call people. Marketing Ideas To Consider Virtual Education Sessions Personal lines could do sessions on proper nutrition. Partner with a nutritionist and have a conversation about staying healthy when confined to the indoors. Bring on an estate planning attorney to discuss wills and medical directives, bring on an accountant to talk about how this might impact personal taxes Commercial lines - Bring on an business attorney and talk about business planning; bring on an accountant to talk about financial management and find a marketing consultant to talk about marketing. Most of the ideas I’m going to mention in this episode would be great tips for your commercial clients and prospects. This is a great time for you to be offering valuable information! It doesn’t have to be just about insurance! You can use platforms like zoom, go to meeting or webex. It’s my understanding that some CRM’s have a platform built in. I have’t seen that but if your CRM has something built in, take advantage of it! Advertising Now is the time to start doing some advertising. I’m going to start with online but I also think there are other ideas that will also work. Online will be Google, FB, LI, IG and Twitter. Other platforms as well if they are relevant to your market such as Yelp, Angie’s List or Manta might be worth investigating. Google, FB and IG are ideal for personal lines. They can be used for business but I’d do a lot of testing before throwing money towards them when you are trying to attract business clients. If you want commercial business, Google and LI will be your ideal platforms. My recommendation is that you hire someone that specializes in this. If you want to learn to do it in house, there are classes you can take but I’d suggest hiring a marketing consultant to work as an outsourced CMO for a few months until you have it down correctly. You can waste a lot of money doing it wrong. It’s not hard but you need to have the foundation right before investing the money and that’s where the CMO can help. If you want some direction on where to find people that offer this service, reach out to me, you can find my contact information in the show notes at Thebusinessofinsurance.com I’m not a big fan of advertising in magazines or newspapers, unless it’s a specific trade magazine. For example, if you are targeting golf courses, advertising in a golf magazine is worthwhile. But advertising in the local glossy magazine might not get you the ROI you are looking for. Do you have clients or colleagues doing podcasts? If they’ve been consistent, offer to be a sponsor for a few episodes. You want to be strategic with who they are targeting, but this is an underused way to advertise so it’s worth considering. Direct Mail. I know, you are probably rolling your eyes, but because no one is sending direct mail right now. Think about it. It’s the ideal time to get noticed. Trust me. Most people will be home right now. They’ll have a few more minutes to digest the mail. If you send the right mailers, you’ll see a response. Now is the time to design, create and implement your direct mail strategy. How about sending a 12 month postcard series. Send this to your prospects. Work with a graphic designer to make it look professional or use Canva. Ideally you want it to be on the bigger post cards so that they stand out. A few ideas, springtime gardening tips, summer grill safety,and home fire exit plans. They key here is that they don’t need to be about insurance. They can be about things that will be of value to the reader. Even better is tips that are worth saving so they don’t throw away the post card. Partner with a local retailer and offer a discount code on the card for them to make a purchase! Get creative! If you have clients that can help, even better. For example, if you have a client that does home inspections, see if they’ll offer a 15% coupon to all of your customers for doing a deck inspection or a home inspection. People who own their homes should have them inspected every 5-10 years. (Most people think they only get inspected when they buy them, but things go wrong when they own them as well!) Here’s another idea - partner with a local restaurant. Ask them to provide a recipe for one of their dishes, then ask them to provide a discount coupon for something. Maybe buy the dish and get a desert or side dish. It would be a great way to partner with a restaurant and help support them while marketing as well. You could do the same type of partnership for your commercial clients. Do you know a small payroll service or business coach? Offer business tips and then a coupon for service. You are adding value to your prospects while helping your clients as well. All while creating unique marketing pieces. If you are looking for ideas for the series of postcards that you are sending, refer back to the calls you make to your clients above. Ask them a few questions and I’m sure from those conversations you will get a lot of ideas for your postcard series. Online reviews This might be a time to implement an online review campaign. Many people will be home reading emails so now is the time to capture them. Consider platforms like Grade.us, Podium or Get More Reviews. If you want to do some research, look up ‘online review platforms or reputation management software and read some of the articles. Some of the well known platforms like Yelp and Angies list are pay to play meaning that if you don’t pay their fees, they won’t promote you. So proceed with caution with sights like that. Something else to consider regarding online reviews is Google My business. If you haven’t set up your google my business page, do so now and direct your clients to leave a review there. One of the platforms I referenced above will help with that. Where do most people do their searches today? Google! So it’s important that you are getting reviews on a google platform! On a side note, and this is more for online management than anything, is to search your business name.
8 minutes | Mar 5, 2020
Coronavirus Risk Management
EP 43 - This episode provides you with risk management ideas to consider in the event your office needs to shut down due to the coronavirus. Most people will telework but there are areas to address with this from servers to IP protocols, internet access to telephone trees. Also consider remote calls, remote signatures and communicating with your business customers. The intent of the episode is to get business owners thinking. Better to be prepared than scramble at the last minute.. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
32 minutes | Feb 25, 2020
Content As A Marketing Strategy
INSURANCE PODCAST WITH CHRISTIAN BRINDLE EP 42 - Our guest, Christian Brindle, is taking his content marketing to another level. His topic is boring to most yet his audience needs the information. Creating content has increased his business in ways that he never expected. Christian and I are part of a few FB groups focused on Medicare. When he was ready to publish his latest book, The Insurance Funnel: 9 Simple Tests Every Insurance Policy Must Pass Before Purchase, he asked if anyone had a podcast that he could be a guest on, I raised my hand. It’s ironic how someone you only know through a social media platform has so much in common with you. I started in the business working for my father, as did he. We both have podcasts and we are both published authors, except he’s published more books than me! He’s an inspiration for sure! Christian’s podcast, The Everything Medicare Podcast, is published 3 times a week, but when he started,it was very sporadic. He talks about how the podcast has helped his business and why he is now publishing 3 episodes a week. I’ve listened to many of the episodes. As I move into the medicare space in my insurance practice, I’ve tapped into every resource I can for learning. His podcast is full of a lot of good information. During this conversation, we talk about a lot. From working with family to his podcast sponsor, it’s informative for anyone looking to do some different type of content marketing. What content creation has it done for his business? The podcast alone has brought in so many referrals that he’s had to get licensed in several states to accommodate the clients. The book is a great calling card to initiate a conversation with his strategic partners and potential clients. The content he has created has quickly positioned him as an expert in the field. Did you enjoy that conversation? If so, please go to apple podcasts (also known to many as iTunes) and leave us a review. If you have friends or colleagues that you think would benefit from the conversation, please share the podcast with them as well. Nothing makes me happier than to hear other insurance professionals creating a podcast or publishing a book. It levels you up, provides almost instant credibility and positions you as an authority. For Christians podcast, it was really exciting to hear how it has helped his business. Since I’m now in the medicare space, I started another podcast called Seniors We Love, and while I don’t specifically talk about Medicare throughout each episode, it is sponsored by my agency and as part of the sponsorship, I provide a medicare nugget in each episode. I’ll report back in a year as to how that helped my business. I originally booked him as a guest to help him promote his book but learning about how he got into the business and the podcast was part of why I enjoyed the conversation so much. If you are thinking about writing a book, find a way to get it done. If it’s an insurance book, write something that you can use as a calling card to get directly in front of your prospects. It will make a difference! If you want to learn more about Christian, go to his business website, ChristianBrindle Insurance Services.com, or connect with him on his social platforms. Don’t forget to check out his book, The Insurance Funnel: 9 Simple Tests Every Insurance Policy Must Pass Before Purchase. You can find it on Amazon. Until next time, keep creating opportunities ABOUT OUR GUEST – CHRISTIAN BRINDLE Christian Brindle is on all of the social media platforms and his books can be found on Amazon. His podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, Stitcher and your favorite podcast player. Connect with him on: LinkedIn Facebook. Twitter Website Podcast - The Everything Medicare Podcast Book - The Insurance Funnel: 9 Simple Steps Every Insurance Policy Must Pass Before Purchase CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
27 minutes | Feb 18, 2020
From Sales To Masterminds and The Advisor
EP 41 - If you haven’t listened to episode 40, it would help set the scenario for the conversation in this episode. Welcome listeners from Agency Nation. In January we were added as a content contributor and they are promoting this podcast to their audience. Agency Nation is also producing their own podcast and there are a few other podcasts on the platform, so check it out if you aren’t familiar with them. The core of this podcast is to talk about why the insurance industry is such a great profession with segments on different professions within the industry, personal development, marketing for those of you in business development and anything else that is beneficial to insurance professionals. SPONSORED BY PODCAST, INC 2020 We are talking about three areas from episode 40. The first is sales, the second is mastermind and the last area is advisors. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM LISTENING What makes insurance agents more than sales people Ideas on training new producers Asking questions that aren't on the insurance application How to position yourself as an advisor and build your network at the same time Leveraging your business relationships How not to burn out your spouse HOW TO LEAVE A REVIEW If you have an iphone or an iTunes account, would you leave us a review? It provides us the opportunity to get discovered by other agents. Log into your account, look for our podcast Business of Insurance then go to Ratings and Reviews and let us know what you think of the episode. SHOW THE LOVE If you haven’t done so already, please like or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast player. We are on all of the platforms including spotify, IheartRadio and Apple podcasts. If you are listening to this podcast online and don’t know how to listen to podcasts on your phone, reach out to our host, Debbie DeChambeau and she'll help you. CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
29 minutes | Feb 12, 2020
A Conversation About Sales
PLANNING FOR A NEW SALES PRODUCER WITH REMMIE BUTCHKO EP 40 - Our guest, Remmie Butchko, is the CEO of Georgetown Insurance located in Silver Spring MD. In this episode, he talks about his career first as a producer then as an agency principal and the road to success. QUESTIONS WE ASK Describe your current position How did you end up in this profession? What do you like about what you are doing? What do you wish you’d known before you started in this position Where do you see yourself in 5 years in this industry? How would you describe your career right now? ABOUT OUR GUEST – REMMIE BUTCHKO Remmie Butchko is the CEO of Georgetown Insurance. The agency was started by his parents and he is now managing the operation. Connect with him: LinkedIn, Website Facebook. Twitter CONNECT WITH THE PODCAST ON SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER ABOUT THE HOST This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
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