When I originally got into the insurance business the internet didn't exist. Agents would carry rate books with incredibly small print and have to calculate the premiums and fees by hand. Needless to say mistakes were a common occurrence, and I was one of the biggest culprits of quoting someone an incorrect price.
At that time (back in the 1980's) we were taught a method of prospecting which involved networking and learning verbiage to ask for referrals. The networking part was not as bad as it would seem because I am comfortable talking to strangers. And I found out later that most of the people I was trying to connect with were not as comfortable as I was in that situation. On the other hand, though, the referral part was hard for me.
Let's face it, most people don't like to give referrals. When I have asked for referrals in the past I can sense the tension build and the wheels turn in my client's head. I understand the trepidation because I have been on that side of the situation as well. You give a friend's name and the next thing you know your friend calls you angrily. "Why did you give that insurance agent my name?"
Unfortunately, things haven't changed much since then. There are still companies out there trying to teach their new agents the old school ways. This is because they believe that insurance selling is built upon a relationship of trust. There's nothing wrong with that, but people in general, and younger people specifically, don't feel the need to have that relationship anymore.
From an insurance agency standpoint, we still do some of the same "old school" things, but with the internet available, we can now market to a wider geographical area without having to be physically able to see and talk to our clients. Zoom and other tools have given agents access to people who need our products and services from multiple states.
This is evident by the increasing numbers of people who are buying financial products on the internet. Things like auto insurance, life insurance, investments and banking were handled in person by an agent or advisor, and they still are. However many people feel they no longer need, or want, to deal with someone for these types of services.
Personally speaking, I began purchasing my car insurance online years ago, as well as my small investment portfolio. By doing this, it keeps more money in my pocket and I don't have to wait for someone to return a phone call or be in their office. Convenience is the name of the game.
With that in mind, we have done our best to make available more products on our website that clients can look at when it is convenient for them. And if someone wants to speak to a real person, we have made our calendar available for a phone appointment accessible too.
Check out our website and run a quote, and if you see a rate you like that fits into your budget, you can even start an application. We want to make things as convenient for our clients as possible. In the meantime, please stay healthy!
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient, and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!