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Rethinking Prospecting: The Best Lead Source You’re Not Using

I’m often asked about the best ways to prospect for new leads, especially online leads. While prospecting is still something we need to do, I’m more convinced than ever that the real prospecting needs to be done among our existing clients.

When you prospect for new leads, you’re starting from scratch every time. You have to earn that prospect’s trust, educate them, convince them to buy your product and hope they buy from you. Remember, they also may be shopping among a handful of other agents.

Now, let’s change that scenario. What happens if you prospect among your existing clients? You’ve already earned their trust. You’ve already educated them on the basics of life insurance and personal finance. You’ll need to explain what this latest offering or opportunity may be, but if you’ve laid the groundwork, you’ll be starting with an educated consumer. How much better are your chances when you approach someone who’s already done business with you?

A lot better, as I discovered. 

Identify Your Best Clients

In our agency, we spent time going over the metrics of three types of clients. We refer to these clients as: 

» Suspects. These are people we’re marketing to, but they haven’t expressed a specific interest in a service or product yet. According to Forrester Research, however, 84 percent of these people will go on to buy from you or a competitor within 24 months. 

» Prospects. These are traditional “leads,” people who’ve expressed an interest, but haven’t made a purchase yet. Many agents spend the bulk of their time working these leads, even though only about 50 percent of them are ready to buy now, according to Gleanster Research. 

» Buyers. These are your clients, including your best advocates — the people who give you referrals. They’ve already bought a product from you, but unless it’s time for an annual review, how often do they hear from you? 

When we analyzed our client interactions, we realized that our clients and advocates accounted for nearly 80 percent of our profits and less than 20 percent of our agency’s total expenses. My guess is your analysis will reveal the same thing. Now ask yourself — are you spending enough time with the people who account for 80 percent of your profits? For most of you, the answer is probably no. 

Offer Them New Products

The best way to shift your prospecting efforts from suspects and prospects to buyers is to offer them additional products and services. If you sell only life insurance and your clients already have bought a policy, they have little incentive to go through the process again. One possible exception is if you can rewrite a policy to include a rider for coverage they don’t have, such as long-term care. Another alternative is to find a partner agency that can help broaden your product range, as well as provide logistical and marketing support.

Once you have a well-rounded portfolio of products, it’s time to create a simple email nurture sequence that lets your clients know how else you can help them. These emails don’t have to be comprehensive or designed by a professional. All they need to do is inform your best clients that you are now able to offer disability insurance, for example, and invite them to talk about the product and how it can help protect their finances. 

Use Technology to Increase Efficiency

The final step in this process is the use of marketing automation software to automate and scale your prospecting efforts. Using software allows you to create emails and campaigns once and send them to as many clients as you want. Once you enroll a client in a campaign, your software sends the emails in that campaign at pre-selected times, with no action required by you and your staff. You can ask clients to call you, schedule a consultation, visit a web page, get a quote or attend a webinar — it’s up to you.

This kind of drip email marketing frees you up to sell, meet with clients, perform annual reviews, attend conferences or grow your business how you see fit. You also can create campaigns specifically for targeted groups of clients, such as business owners or high-net-worth clients.

Ultimately, the key to prospecting among your best clients is to have a standardized, systematized and automated way to reach out to them. Once you create the system, you can replicate campaigns for each new product and service you want to offer. 


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