Is Your Agency Attracting the Right Customers? I Doubt it, Here’s Why
There are a lot of fancy words used to describe this unicorn customer of sorts from ideal client to buyer persona and even avatar. It really doesn’t matter what phrase you prefer, they are all seeking to define the same thing: the right customer.
That is, the person you want to do business with all the time.
Every decision you make up and down, inside and out of your company should be focused on not only attracting this person, but also telling everyone else to go away.
In an eat what you kill industry, letting a live one go is almost punishable by death, at least excommunication.
You know what the problem with doing business this way is?
That “live one” or bad fit is preventing you from doing something better. I believe the fancy economics term for this is opportunity cost.
Think of it this way, if you’ve ever found yourself confused, angry or alienated by a change a company has made, there’s a good chance you’re not their ideal customer.
This isn’t a foolproof analysis, companies do plain screw up sometimes, remember when Netflix raised prices and wanted to become two companies?
Let’s be honest, our time is our inventory and last time I checked, Amazon wasn’t selling anymore of it with or without Prime 2 day shipping.
That means you almost need to be obsessed with protecting that inventory and distributing it as effectively as possible.
That often times means letting the little rabbit sitting right in front of you in your crosshairs go to have the opportunity to grab the big elk behind it.
I’m not a hunter, so I have no idea if that makes sense, but you get the point.
The best part about it is, nothing is going to allow us to achieve these results better than through content marketing.
Also, If I’m being honest, I think most of the stuff on this topic is pie in the sky garbage anyway.
Well, let’s get into that a little bit more.
Buyer Persona Byproduct
What most marketing (insert trendy word for expert) would have you believe is that you need to follow every step in their 576 step process and make sure this persona is developed enough to attend a fancy dinner party with you.
A big chunk of that will happen as a byproduct of creating high quality content from that consumer’s perspective.
That’s the secret right there. The more empathy you can find, the better.
Think about that person or persona you’re trying to do business with and start asking questions the way they would and creating content in that mindset.
That mindset will also help you figure out what type of content to create and where to create it.
Choosing Your Words/Topics Carefully
If you had the choice of two blog post topics, discussing state minimum limits or explaining full coverage, which would you choose?
You better be sure before you pick, because if you get this question wrong your browser will immediately sign you up for DIMA.
I’m kidding, but seriously.
The correct answer is full coverage.
Anytime you go near a topic like state minimum coverage, you’re going to attract people who are, yep you guessed it, looking for state minimum auto insurance.
Those people, are normally looking to spend as little money as possible and would leave you to save 47 cents from the guy down the street.
That is of course if they are even able to keep the policy inforce for more that one or two months at a time.
And they also have a pretty good chance to be high maintenance and chew up more of your time for less money.
I’m no math genius, but that’s a terrible equation.
No Email, No Service
I’m almost to the point if someone calls and wants a quote and doesn’t have an email address, to end the conversation there.
This isn’t to wage a war on the email illiterate, rather to be honest and label a very obvious “fit” qualification.
A few things not having an email address tells me about a prospect.
- I will not be able to reach them with any automated communication/follow-up
- I will spend more time signing them up via traditional paper applications or submitting online ones for them.
- Will not be able to easily send or receive documents and will need to rely on time heavy mail or in person delivery.
- There unwillingness to participate in an electronic form of communication that predates the internet is alarming.
That’s like someone not having a telephone in 1926.
In short, it just doesn’t fit how I (and most business for that matter) operate today.
This might seem pretty obvious, but I’m sure you have plenty of “clients” without email addresses and even worse, I bet you or someone in your agency doesn’t collect email addresses from your clients and prospects.
What About Referrals?
Don’t even get me started on this…
Just because one of your clients knows someone who needs insurance does not mean you should be the one getting it for them.
The only thing it does is shorten the “trust cycle” and allows you to get to the point.
I have absolutely ZERO scientific data to back this up, but my guess is that a prospect who has found you online and spent enough time with your content will trust you more (and faster) than will your friend’s Aunt Sally.
Change Your Marketing Surroundings
The simple action of focusing a majority of your marketing efforts to the web will go a long way to improving your overall pool of prospects.
The same argument about not having email can be applied to someone who contacts you from the yellow pages.
Chances are if they are discovering you in a printed book, they haven’t been to your website, no nothing about who you are and what you do, beside your generic tag line.
That also means you will need to spend more time, there’s the T word again, educating them to make the sale than someone who’s been to your website, read a few blog posts, watched a video or two and possibly downloaded your ebook.
If you could have 30 minutes back from every sales call, what could you do with that time?
Making the initial investment up front to identify, execute and attract the right client through the right channels is not just one of the toughest marketing, but also the toughest business decisions you will make.
I’m definitely not the most experienced agent, but it didn’t take long for me to see the ways “business as usual” was preventing the business of tomorrow from happening.
You Tell Me
Be honest, are you not asking clients and prospects for their email? Also, let’s share your ideal client and how you’re going to attract them in the comments below.
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Great one, Joey! It pays to be picky, doesn’t it? Right on, brother!
Thanks Jim, it does indeed. It’s not easy getting there but better starting today than tomorrow.
Great points throughout the article. The one I’m having a hard time accepting is regarding referrals versus internet leads. I understand what you are saying and in my head I believe it. What is hard for me to accept is that people that find me via Google or another online avenue is better than a referral. Now of course there are differences between a referral and a “good” referral. Most of the clients that seem to find us online are prices shoppers and not interested in an insurance adviser. Now that may have to do with the fact that our website is not great and we don’t do any content marketing now, I’m working on that.
What I’m struggling with, and I recently asked the Mastermind group on Facebook about, is how you turn down a referral. Of course I don’t want cousin Bob calling me who wants state minimum limits with liability only and instead I want Uncle Charlie who has a big house, 4 cars, and an umbrella. What I need help on is 1) how do you turn down a referral, and 2) how do you deal with the thought that if you turn down a referral that you’d offend your client and they’ll end up leaving you. I think the second one is the one that I have the most difficulty with because I don’t want to lose a great client just because I didn’t want to help out cousin Bob.
Thanks again for the article and keep up the great work.
Joshua Lipstone it’s a very slippery slope leading to a double edge sword and I’m not going to pretend to be smart enough to have all the answers,
Let’s make sure one thing is clear, good business is good business. If you have a great client who hangs around with other potentially great clients that’s not a bad thing. It’s just having the awareness to understand that not all referrals are created equal and every warm body through the door (digital or physical) equals the same opportunity.
I would imagine there’s always going to be a time when you’re going to have to take one for the team. I think the trick there is having a system in place to handle the cousin Bob’s of the world and other less then great clients efficiently while you build your perfect client empire.
“Now that may have to do with the fact that our website is not great and we don’t do any content marketing now, I’m working on that.” Love to hear that. I would give you a hive five right now if I could. Get that content up and watch them stop price shopping, it’s a beautiful thing. You might even get people calling you up you’ve never heard from telling you thank you.