This is the fourth installment of a series discussing several aspects of the desired and coveted: the almighty lead… the medicine for what ails you…the panacea of agencies across the nation. But, I digress. The beginning of the series on leads shared some startling statistics, while the second part pointed out what really counts as a lead because there are a lot of leads hiding in plain sight. The third installment covered lead generation through Inbound Marketing. And now, part four, will talk about some best practices of what to actually do with a lead when you finally have one. I have found many agencies just seem to want more leads, without being concerned with the process of managing and closing those leads. The unsung hero of growing your agency revenue is actually an efficient and consistent sales process. I know, kind of anticlimactic, but stay with me, this is gold for your bottom line.
It has been said, “What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul?” On a lesser scale, but certainly of prime importance to your insurance agency surviving and thriving and thus the livelihood of your family is a similar concept: What good is it to have leads raining from the sky if you don’t close very many of them? Look, this is a business, and you don’t get paid for being very busy, churning out a million quotes that lead to precious few closed sales. What are you doing in your agency to make sure that every lead is maximized to the fullest? Here are three practical tips to increase your lead conversion rate:
3 Lead Conversion Tips
1. Provide an Outstanding and Uncommon Customer Experience
Make it easy to buy from you. This starts with having an up-to-date and responsive website. Then you must respond to leads quickly when THEY are ready to talk insurance. Per InsideSales.com, 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first. Their research also shows that if you follow up on web leads inside of 5 minutes, you are 9 times (that’s almost 1,000%) more likely to close them. Technology exists that can allow your agents to be talking with hot leads within moments of their visit to your website. According to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, insurance customers shop around to replace their current insurance agent twice as much due to a poor experience than when they’ve received a price increase. Service reigns supreme, but it starts at the very first contact and should remain throughout the buying process, not just when they have questions or claims after buying.
2. Put Every Lead Through a Defined Sales Process
According to CSO Insights, a formalized sales process leads to a 65% increase in individual reps hitting their targets, and an 88% increase in companies hitting their targets. Obviously, if you don’t have a goal, you can’t very well hit it. If you don’t have a consistent company-wide system or process, then your agents’ customer interactions are inconsistent at best. But, more than likely, you have a mish-mash of differing sales strategies being employed by your people when everyone should be on the same page doing what actually works.
3. Nurture, Nurture, Nurture
Per Marketing Sherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. Why am I saying it three times? It’s not just for emphasis; there are three distinct types of leads that you must nurture to maximize conversion to closed deals. Nurture prospects that are interested but not yet ready to buy. Gleanster Research says that as many as 50% of leads are not yet ready to buy. Make sure to nurture your current book of business for the purpose of renewals and also round-outs. If a current client doesn’t have all the lines of business that he could or should, he is still a lead until he does. Lastly, make sure to nurture leads that didn’t buy (from you), so you can have another shot at them in the future. If you are still not convinced, Gleanster also found that companies using lead nurturing reported double the sales conversion of companies that did not nurture leads. Doubling your sales conversion is real money, don’t leave it on the table.
These are important steps to increase your lead conversion to closed sales. To withstand today’s competitive pressures, agencies must do more with less, and become more efficient at generating leads and closing them. In order to accomplish this, agencies need to utilize the technology of a modern CRM system that allows you to track and manage leads through your sales cycle, with reporting of marketing sources, closing ratios, retention, and more. Additionally, as the leader of your business, you need to foster a sales culture at your agency and provide sales training, goals, and accountability to pull it all together. These concepts to help implement stellar lead conversion will be the topic of my next blog.