Agencies across the country are feeling the pinch of the hardening market and increasing economic uncertainty. Inflation is on the rise, and every day we’re hearing about new rounds of layoffs. Every employer is searching for ways to save money and, as a result, are more open to shopping for cheaper insurance coverage.
That means retention is a bigger challenge than ever, and the value you bring to client relationships should be prioritized to minimize the effects. So, ask yourself honestly – how valuable is your agency to your clients? Do your clients consider you to be replaceable?
The age-old adage of offering the best sales and service has become more minor and less meaningful in the eyes of your clients. That’s because all agencies claim to have the best sales and service. It’s simply not enough of a viable value proposition anymore.
So, what is your pitch? What do you offer clients that give you a competitive advantage against all the competition?
If you’re asking yourself this question, you might also ask what the ideal offering looks like.
Insurance buyers have very high expectations for their agent-client relationship. Those expectations have grown over the past few years due to the prevalence of buyer self-service options in the consumer market, poor communication, lack of resources, and historic conditions during COVID-19.
Buyers want an agent that offers more than a policy. They want someone who understands their business, can advise on industry challenges, and a partner who is focused on their success. They also want superior client experience.
Consumer expectations have transformed, requiring agents to be agile and able to adapt. That means fast, efficient online service, and 24/7 online resources that are available at the click of a button.
In this article, we will provide you with five retention strategies you can leverage at your agency to improve client retention, win new business, energize your renewal conversations, and transform your customer experience.
#1: Focus on Value, Not Price
If you’re still focused on the low-bid sales pitch and banking on sales and service, it’s time to shift your strategy. It’s time to start telling a different story.
Has this been your strategy? If the answer is yes, ask yourself if those policies have improved or hurt your client relationships.
Offering the lowest price is uncontrollable and, therefore, an untenable long-term strategy. Outside of providing your client a policy that is less than what’s necessary, if prices go up, there’s always the possibility that your clients will go shopping.
Offering unparalleled value, however, is irreplaceable.
So, as an introduction to understanding your value proposition to your clients, ask yourself these three questions.
- Outside of new client onboarding, claims, and renewal conversations, how often do you connect with your clients and emphasize creating positive touchpoints?
- Does your agency focus on educating your customers on regulatory changes, relevant market impacts, necessary compliance updates, and money-saving opportunities? Studies show that agents who do so are more likely to secure renewals.
- Do you offer your clients ways to save money or explain why their policy costs what it costs? Agents who show their clients the cost drivers affecting their premium and provide long-term strategies to remove those cost drivers are more likely to secure renewals.
For example, a lower mod score often means a lower premium. We understand how time-consuming it can be to break down a client’s mod score. However, ModMaster offers powerful mod analysis, helping agents quickly understand clients’ cost drivers and provide strategic guidance to help your clients improve their score AND hopefully improve their premium.
#2: Improve Your Renewal Conversations
We talk with clients every day about how to improve renewal conversations. Here are our top tips for more insightful, successful, and impactful meetings.
- Educate your agents and clients with a Learning Management System: Enable your sales staff to have more educated conversations with your clients by providing access to industry-specific training materials.
- Engage your clients with impactful, industry-specific content: Zywave offers an extensive library of content designed to help benefits brokers and P&C agents educate and inform their clients about the insurance industry.
- Embrace client self-service: Even when brokers aren’t having renewal meetings OR sending automated communications, clients can self-service and have access to the brand 24/7.
- Standardize Stewardship Reports: Communicate how you’re impacting your clients’ bottom line.
- Improve Your Agency’s Presentation: Put your brand’s best foot forward with professional, branded, informative presentations.
#3: Better Understand Your Prospects and Clients
If you want to serve as a trusted business advisor to your clients – and believe us, you do – the first step is having a deeper understanding of your clients’ business. But many agents don’t have the time, resources, tools, or money to deep-dive into their clients’ challenges.
Zywave’s Sales Cloud, Content Cloud, Analytics Cloud, and Client Cloud offer both agent and client resources to better understand the challenges facing businesses in construction, manufacturing, transportation, restaurants, and many other industries.
You will have more successful renewal conversations when your clients feel like they’re solving problems with you.
#4: Be a Resource for Your Clients
You need to create more of what we call “off-cycle” touches with your clients. That means regularly communicating with your clients in between renewals and outside of a claim. Often, regardless of your efforts, renewal and claim experiences are perceived negatively by your clients. Your focus should be on creating as many positive experiences with your customers as possible.
Content Cloud offers agents access to high-quality, trusted content, including newsletters, employee training, workplace safety, mandatory compliance resources, and much more.
Agents we talk to often don’t have the time to put together a client newsletter, checklists, guidelines, training documents, or valuable items that can help their clients. However, these are the helpful resources that your clients will remember when renewal season comes around.
#5: Create Stickier, Stronger Agent-Client Relationships with Upsell/Cross-Sell
If you’re a full-service insurance agency, the best way to grow your book of business and improve retention with current clients is to focus on upselling or cross-selling your clients.
This is not a particularly foreign strategy to most agencies, but accomplishing this can be challenging.
The key is proving to your clients that your agency is equipped and your agents are knowledgeable enough to handle their expanded business. If you’re offering P&C coverage for a client, prove your expertise in EB with content, data, and insights. Zywave’s Sales Cloud and Content Cloud can help you upsell and cross-sell more impactfully using consumer insights, business profiles, and strategic content.
Ready to get started?
If you’re ready to upgrade your attraction and retention strategies, Zywave is here to help.