When you’re talking to your prospects, focus on them, not your products or services. Ask the simple question, “What’s important to you?” And then listen to what they say. You’ll be surprised how much they tell you.

1. Offset Negativity. What can you show your clients that you are doing to help them during the pandemic? Everyone is tired of hearing how all their business income (BI) claims are denied. What are you doing to offset all that negativity? Chris Burand, Burand & Associates

2. Engage with Followers. Social media is now a vital tool when it comes to sales and marketing, but social media managers must remember that engagement is key. Gaining likes and followers is great, but you also want to listen to your followers’ needs and acknowledge their likes and comments. From a simple “thank you” to private messaging those who leave unfavorable reviews to review their concerns, engagement could be the key to not only making a sale but also changing an opinion and gaining an even larger following. Toshya Leonard, Appalachian Underwriters Inc.

3. Address Risks. Identifying and gaining agreements to address risks of loss drives change behavior far more readily than offering gains. Frank Pennachio, Oceanus Partners, a ReSource Pro Company

4. Claims Opportunity. The best time to ask for referrals is at the time you deliver good claims service, a visit, a check, whatever. This is the purpose of insurance, and it shows that the policy they purchased did what it was supposed to in their hour of need. If the client is commercial, like an auto dealer, ask for the name of a few of their key competitors and ask if you can use their name. If a homeowner, get the name of a few neighbors, friends, or family to refer you to. Catherine Oak, Oak & Associates

5. Focus On Them. When you’re talking to your prospects, focus on them, not your products or services. Ask the simple question, “What’s important to you?” And then listen to what they say. You’ll be surprised how much they tell you. Don’t assume you know what they need or want. Once they start talking, keep probing with more questions to truly understand their needs before you start presenting your solutions. Dennis Pauls, PCF Insurance Services

6. CTA. Don’t forget a call to action (CTA) when you advertise/promote. What do you want the reader/consumer of content to do as a result of encountering your ad/promotion? Visit your website, call you, watch a video? Be specific. Doug Coombs, SIAA (Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance Inc.)

7. Content Is King. Fresh content is the best content. Building awareness is about consistency. Developing brand equity doesn’t happen overnight. Continually posting content to your blog and evaluating your content’s performance is critical to growing your brand. Zach Weeks, ITC

8. Polite Persistence. Adopt a policy of “polite persistence” when pursuing a prospect. The number one mistake we see people make is to stop selling too soon. It may take 5 or 6 outreach efforts to make a sale. Business development campaigns that stop at 1 or 2 contacts are leaving money on the table. Unless the prospect says “no,” keep trying in a professional manner. Margaret Grisdela, Legal Expert Connections Inc.

9. Check-Up. Check on your customers during the pandemic. For some clients, just receiving a phone call can further cement your relationship with them. Your interest and involvement will pay off in referrals and goodwill. Pipelines get rebuilt that way, which leads to growth. David Tralka, InsurBanc

10. A Non-Response Is Not a No. Business executives are busy, time-starved, and juggling multiple initiatives. Responding to an email solicitation, no matter how well crafted, is not a top priority. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t reading what you share. To increase response rates, brokers must be persistent and consistent in their messaging and share insights and content that directly relates to their prospect’s needs, challenges, and risks. Your prospects expect you to give up. Prove them wrong by developing insightful content that piques their curiosity and is relevant to their role. Susan Toussaint, Oceanus Partners, a ReSource Pro Company

11. Mine Existing Books. Review databases to identify, contact and re-solicit any “lost” or “prospective” clients within the last three years. Harrison Brooks, Reagan Consulting

12. Pay Attention. Too often, I see agents not paying attention to what’s being built around their area and trying to get in front of a new development too late. As soon as a new neighborhood or multi-use area is announced, find out who the owners and builders are and try to set up meetings with them. That way, you already have a foot in the door when people start buying, giving you a one-up on the competition. Zach Rogers, AAA

13. Agency Management ORM. Manage your online reputation. Don’t let it manage you. Publicly respond to all online reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Whether the review is glowing, challenging, or just a star ranking, responding publicly gives your agency the opportunity to demonstrate your core values, mission, and willingness to engage. It also allows you the chance to turn around a bad customer experience for the reviewer … and online shoppers get to see it. Dshanya Reese, Watkins Insurance Group

14. LinkedIn Live Broadcasting & Special Events. Take advantage of the NEW 2020 marketing and advertising tools that LinkedIn offers. This is going to replace the Facebook Small Business Advertising madness all over again. From live video, broadcasting to help you establish a LinkedIn expert authority to building your fan base or an audience. Utilize the new LinkedIn Events to promote webinars and special virtual seminars to help you promote your solutions/products. Patrick Zerarka, Iroquois Group

15. The New Four-Letter Word in 2020: Mask. These simple devices have become a lifesaving necessity. But they’re not without their problems. While mostly a safety accessory, they also tell me a story about sales and retention. My first coronavirus mask this year was a P95 model from my garage that I used for dusty jobs like sanding or fertilizing. Not that comfortable. I moved on to find a light colorful mask made of shirt fabric by a local tailor. It was roomy, but I soon found out that having the thick straps around my ears wasn’t going to work, and the metal stay in front of the nose would not stay in the middle of the mask. So I moved on to the disposable masks you’ve probably seen. Lightweight with light elastic cords I can barely feel on my ears. These are my favorites. Likewise, if you provide someone with a product or service, are you taking the time to follow up with them to see: How does it fit? How does it feel? What’s working? What’s not? Expressing interest and taking feedback might well make a buyer into a repeat customer. For a five-dollar mask, a feedback process is hard to cost-justify. But how about a $1, 000 homeowners policy? A $10,000 BOP? How about other products? I like to buy, but I like to rebuy when I find that product that suits me just right. Charles Wasilewski, Aartrijk

16. Show Gratitude. Despite our reliance upon all things digital and virtual, showing gratitude the old-fashioned way is key to developing and retaining a network that will support you. Whether dropping muffins to a referral source, an orchid to a customer at deal closing, or a handwritten thank you note to follow up on a meeting, having an attitude of gratitude is never going to fail you. Make these gestures your signature. Pam Simpson, Wells Media Group Inc.

17. Know Your Coverages. Selling based on backslapping is dead with social distancing. The only good alternative is to actually know your coverages and sell your expertise. Chris Burand, Burand & Associates

18. Floaters. Suggesting a Personal Article Floater for prized possession(s) may lower an overall package premium due to adding an additional policy to earn a larger multi-policy discount. Warren Wettenstein, Wettenstein Insurance

19. Plug into Executive Leadership Networks. Leverage existing relationships with leading clients to meet new contacts and serve as an expert resource for their professional communities who may be seeking insurance advice and guidance. Harrison Brooks, Reagan Consulting

20. Stand Out. Customers are being deluged with vendors using email to stay in contact given limited in-person meetings. What are you doing to stand out from all the other emails? Would a phone call be better? Chris Burand, Burand & Associates

21. Use Video. It’s more engaging, reaches multiple senses, and viewers of video tend to retain more than a message with a single sensory input. Video creation resources are more prevalent and less expensive than in the past. Share the video through your website, email, and social media. Doug Coombs, SIAA (Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance Inc.)

22. Process People. Create processes that leverage technology so your time and attention can be spent on clients and prospects. Kitty Ambers, AVYST.com

23. Let Data Guide You. According to the 2020 Dodge Construction Outlook report, over 776,000 construction starts are projected for the year. There’s a lot of builders risk opportunity for personal and commercial lines agents to grab, and it’s quick to issue. Alan Ferguson, US Assure

24. Zooming. Create a professional-looking Zoom background. Justin Foa, Foa & Son Corporation

25. Advocate. Be the customer’s advocate by protecting everything they have. Look for every opportunity to cross-sell each customer. The more products a customer has with you, the better the retention. Katie Curvel, We Insure

26. WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). When communicating a change, whether it be to clients, prospects, or employees, try to think from their perspective about WHY they should be interested in the change. If they understand that there will ultimately be a personal benefit, they will be more likely to adopt and maybe even help promote the change. Sara Holloway, Morris & Garritano

27. Respect. Treat every customer with respect. Let them ask questions and don’t use abbreviated answers. Most customers do not know the meaning of BOP or U/M, for example. Robert Lee Jr.

28. Invest in Technology. Create an Insurance Marketing Agency platform to support agents and clients. Guarantee top-level customer service and make the experience of purchasing an insurance policy smooth. A combination of an agent and technology makes a huge difference. Luis Castro, Univista Insurance

29. Walk Away. It’s OK. Not every prospect that you meet with is the right fit for you or your firm, and that’s OK. Don’t waste time trying to force something that doesn’t need to happen and move on to the next opportunity. Zack Pittman, MarshBerry

30. Know the Audience. Educate your team on the importance of knowing their audience. Go beyond understanding their business and identify their personality style. The way you ask questions and deliver solutions to their challenges should be directed toward their individual personality style. Don Folino, MarshBerry

31. Partner Up. Creating a team approach to new business helps encourage efficiencies and allows you to grow exponentially. Hire and train specialists for each stage of the sales process. For example, partner those that are good at opening doors with those that are good at closing business. Ben Swann, MarshBerry

32. Quote Disasters. Depending on the client’s commercial/home property address, even if running a mono-line quote, it is worthwhile to also quote flood, earthquake, and/or umbrella as potential additional sale(s). This demonstrates that you put in more time to help clients and improves agency retention. Warren Wettenstein, Wettenstein Insurance

33. Emotional Side. People make buying decisions using the emotional side of their brain. Presenting the most logical or price-competitive solution does not always win. Your solution needs to address issues such as if you can save them money and what can their business do with those savings. How does your solution impact their associates? If they are a contractor, does your solution allow them to bid on more or better contracts? Remember, it’s the emotional payoff that causes people to move. Dennis Pauls, PCF Insurance Services

34. Adapting to Virtual Platforms. The transition from face-to-face meetings to video interactions and providing relevant, real-time content online that clients and prospects can easily access. Harrison Brooks, Reagan Consulting

35. Prepare for a Hard Market. There are plenty of indications of a hard market. Preparing your agency for the risk management conversations and education customers will need can position your agency to spend less time servicing and more time selling during a hard market. Eddie Riveiro, Westfield

36. Be Honest. Want to know how we sell? By being honest. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to your prospects and insureds. When you’re honest, they would believe your words and stay loyal no matter whom they come across trying to sell to them. Build that relationship by having an open-door policy. Kitty John, Prestige International Insurance Group Inc.

37. Consolidate. Reassess your current portfolio of carriers and wean off those contracts that are underperforming through a formal book roll or transfer as part of your consolidation efforts. Small portfolios that aren’t at profit share can be a waste of time and money. Damon Johnson, Westfield

38. Selling vs. Marketing. We know that customers continue to shop, and they are shopping for something more than products. They are shopping for a dependable process — an advisor. In many ways, the industry equates selling to marketing, but they are not the same. Craig Welsh, Westfield

39. Disruption Isn’t the Same for Everyone. Try to not assume that everyone else has the same reaction to the disruption that you do. In the year 2020, there’s been plenty of disruption I’ve had to learn from. I’ve found that I’ve taught people I never thought I would and have learned from people I didn’t think I would. This could mean something good for your business. Charles Wasilewki, Aartrijk

40. Tech Tools. Use inexpensive web-based tools to make it look like you have a full staff of designers and content producers. Tools such as Canva, WeVideo, Vyond, Magisto, and Slidebean will help you up-level your visual content efforts without having to hire designers or expensive agencies. Leslie Lash, The American Equity Underwriters Inc.

41. It’s a Context Battle, Not a Content Battle. When purchasing keywords, it may seem daunting competing against large carriers or agencies. However, when it comes to keywords, it’s a context battle, not a content battle. Find the keywords that work best for your agency. Choose specific keywords, not general keywords. It will help your pocket and your page ranking. Zach Weeks, ITC

42. Action Conquers Fear. We spend too much time thinking of ideas and trying to develop strategies but are slow to take action. Don’t let that be the case with you. Zack Pittman, MarshBerry

43. Ask and Know. There tend to be two distinct sales approaches when it comes to successful vs. unsuccessful producers. Assume and Guess, or Ask and Know! Frank Cox, MarshBerry

44. Explain the Policy. Take time to explain the policy to your client. Do a thorough analysis and review of their policy and help them understand it so they can make an informative decision. Ariel Rivera, Deer Insurance Agency LLC and AIMS Society board member

45. Virtual Executive Presence. Now more than ever, we need to effectively use technology to connect with our prospects and clients. We need to ensure others are comfortable with it, too. When we use technology platforms for meetings and presentations, we need to pay particular attention to our executive presence. Professional dress (at least from the waist up), grooming, intentional eye contact, and practicing what we are going to say with confidence are all critically important to our effectiveness. Sandra Usleman, USI

46. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail. Sales is very much like baseball batting averages. You might only close 35%, which means you “failed” 65% of the time. Don’t let that stop you. Focus on the wins, not the losses. Jim Mitchell

47. Make it Personal. Find a way to personalize your content on large and small scales, whether that’s by segmenting your database for broad promotions like home remodeling or asking more questions in a one-on-one setting to tailor your conversation. You’ll find more success when you make the content more about the customer and less about you. Melinda Stivers, US Assure

48. Strengthen Your Online Reviews. One of the best ways to expand your insurance agency’s client base is to elevate your online reputation. Clients can help you do that by submitting positive online reviews. Heather McIlhany, Pie Insurance

49. Is Your Heart In Your Brand? Think of your insurance brand as a lively, pumping heart that invigorates your business. Your personal and company brands must pump the red stuff of vitality each day, every day, 24/7. Charles Wasilewski, Aartrijk

50. Focus on Current Clients. Stop hunting for sales outside of your office. The opportunity for new business sales lays with your current clients.

51. Plant the Seed. Do they really know what your office sells? Maybe they think you only sell homeowners and didn’t think about you for their auto insurance. Or maybe they don’t realize that they need a personal umbrella policy. Plant the seed of curiosity. Send an email with case scenarios or include these case scenarios in your newsletter. That will help them understand the coverage and their exposure. Dulce Suarez-Resnick, Acentria Insurance, AIMS Society board member.

52. Avatars. Use software tools to create animated avatars of your key people to teach difficult concepts or promote unique products. [For example, see below the avatar of National Alliance Commercial Lines expert Paul Martin teaching the insurance concept of personal property.] Paul Martin, The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research

53. Do the Right Thing. Do what is right, not what is easy. I was taught this at a very young age, and it has certainly helped me over the years. I always go above and beyond to sell the right coverage, not the cheap and easy coverage. Many of us wholesalers have the same carriers and capacity, but making sure to use them correctly for each particular client will help get you the deal even if it is the more difficult road to sell. Abby Daugherty, All Risks Ltd.

54. Current Book of Business. I’ve found that working on my existing book of business is the best way to both grow my business and fully service my clients. The key for me has been fine-tuning our Client Needs Assessment, a fact finder of 10 questions we use to identify the needs of the client. One year after using the CNA in our agency, our agency’s production doubled. One of our most successful agents saw an 88% increase in her sales over the course of a year. The CNA has allowed me to be a million-dollar producer, and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with other agents in the senior market insurance industry. That CNA has been the single BEST sales tip for us by a long shot. Michael Sams, New Horizons Insurance Marketing

55. Make Friends with the Gatekeeper. The person at the desk knows everything about the company and all its internal struggles. They can connect you with the right people and help navigate for new opportunities. For new opportunities, a gatekeeper can be your Trojan horse into keeping your name in front of the right people. For existing customers, a great gatekeeper will protect you from the competition. Instead of figuring out a way to get past the gatekeeper, focus on a way to get to know them each time you call or stop in. Chris Beardslee, Allied Insurance Managers Inc.

56. Multiple Channels. Make sure you are offering your services through multiple channels — website, social media, email, telephone, video conferencing, and face-to-face (where feasible in our COVID-19 world). Even clients who purchase insurance online want personalized advice from a broker. Margaret Woodruff, Victor Insurance Holdings

57. Specialize. Be a coverage specialist in a specific industry or sector. Write articles and follow leaders in the marketplace. Get your name and personal brand associated with the things you are most invested in and you will never work a day in your life. Damon Johnson, Westfield

58. Consumer Experience Has Never Been More Important. Technology is the cornerstone of consistently excellent customer experiences. Insurance is a low-touch industry. This term refers to industries that only require annual attention. Because the process only occurs once a year, consumers are more likely to notice a poor experience. Your customer experience must be smooth and seamless to convert modern insurance shoppers. Zach Weeks, ITC

59. You’re Fired! Fire your worst customers, making room for better customers. It’s OK to say no. Craig Most, Most Insurance, part of the InsureOne family, AIMS Society past president

60. Activate Community Involvement. Many agents are already involved in their communities in some way: volunteering, donating, offering their expertise. However, not enough agents are talking about that involvement, often out of fear of coming across as disingenuous. Keep it authentic by making any promotion around your involvement more about the nonprofit or cause than your agency. Tell stories on your blog about the impact being made in your community, highlight milestones of the nonprofit in your newsletter, or even offer charitable donations through your referral program. Shannon Chatman

61. Complete Submissions. The more information you can offer upfront, the better. In addition to completed applications or loss runs, it is always helpful to include a summary of the risk and target premiums. This allows underwriters to determine whether or not they can be competitive, and will slice through some of the back and forth. Underwriters also tend to treat full submissions with priority. Danielle Fitzsimmons

62. Right Platform. Be intentional in choosing a review platform to invest in and invite satisfied clients to write reviews for you. Always follow up and let them know you value their feedback. Heather McIlhany, Pie Insurance

63. The Journey. Keep the consumer journey in mind. Customers want choice, quality, and fast service. Exceed their expectations to keep your customers and gain referrals. Katie Curvel, We Insure

64. Offer Everything. Make sure that the insured knows the scope of what you can offer. Not long ago, as a favor to a landlord client, we wrote a little GL policy for a tenant of his who needed the GL to comply with his lease. I spoke to the tenant and explained that we can write everything he might need. Turned out that he had a Lloyd’s of London homeowners for his beautiful brick townhouse in a lovely neighborhood in Brooklyn. We rewrote it and his auto, umbrella, etc. as well. The premium is over $10,000. Annually. Marty Lebson, EPIC Brokers, AIMS Society past president

65. SMILE! Even when you are on the phone. You can tell when someone is smiling or if they are dreading the conversation. Meagan Mariotti

66. Solar. Most homeowners and some business building owners neglect to increase their Replacement Valuations AFTER installing Solar Panels. Worthwhile asking clients during an annual review. Warren Wettenstein, Wettenstein Insurance

67. Listen More than You Talk. The best way to sell yourself is to make sure others enjoy doing business with you. Most people like to talk about themselves, so ask questions! You will learn more about your client and be better prepared to service them well by understanding their needs. Stephanie Moose

68. Reach Out. Many insurance professionals may be hesitant to communicate with their policyholders, fearing that they may “poke the bear.” But having recently surveyed over 2,000 U.S. auto insurance consumers, we have discovered that the reverse seems to be true. It seems that if you’re quiet too often, your customers might quit. 74% of respondents said that they want to hear from their insurer at renewal in addition to receiving a renewal notice and just over half (57%) said they are open to outreach at other times during the term. Most startling was the stat that 47% of policyholders who switched carriers said that the insurer’s failure to reach out influenced their decision to switch. Ian Griffin, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

69. Get to Know Your Clients. Get to know your clients beyond talking about exposures and coverages. Give the human aspect to the client along with your insurance services. Building a foundation of a relationship beyond coverages helps to make you the client’s go-to person for your field of expertise. It also makes it more difficult for the client to shop their business when they have a connection to you other than just talk of insurance. Find out their hobbies/interests and implement that into your meetings with them whenever possible. Ashlee Paieda

70. Low Hanging Fruit. New business opportunities were hard enough to secure prior to Covid-19. Now many businesses have eliminated visitors altogether. Reviewing your existing book of business to cross-sell other lines of coverage and revisiting accounts you had worked on in previous years can help increase your new business activity. Chris Wilfore

71. Art of Persuasion. Sales methods may change over time, but the principles never will. The art of persuasion is something to pursue for a lifetime if you desire to be successful. Frank Cox, MarshBerry

72. People Skills. People eventually do business with salespeople that they know, like, and trust. The speed at which you build trust with a new prospect is highly contingent on your people skills. Frank Cox, MarshBerry

73. Spend the Time to Fill Out a Thorough Submission. Having seen hundreds of submissions that come in, I know that taking the necessary time to prepare a thorough submission is well worth it. I know we’ve heard this before, but it can make a huge difference in the underwriter’s ability to understand the risk and place it effectively. The more info you can accurately convey, the better the underwriter understands the risk, which makes for clearer communication before and after the sale. Hand-written submissions with several blank spots are like resumes written in crayon. J.D. Babuder

74. Prioritizing. If you want to be punctual with your clients, make sure to take the time to create a to-do list every day. Make sure to list the importance of each task and do the important ones first. List no more than six tasks in total daily so you’re not overwhelmed. You’ll find you get what needs to be done on time completed, and what’s unimportant gets prioritized accordingly. J.D. Babuder

75. Retention. Your account managers control a huge part of your revenue growth. Reward them for improving your retention. Set a goal to beat last year’s retention, track your results every month and bonus them based upon the improvement. Everyone wins when you save dollars from going out the door. Diane Hipp

76. Thank You. Start every communication, letter, text, or email with the words “thank you.” It demonstrates appreciation and will transform relationships favorably. Skip Rawstron

77. Build Authentic Connections. When it comes to communicating with current and future customers, the message matters much more than the channel. Authenticity is essential, and showing the unique personality of your agency and your agency staff in all communication helps build stronger client relationships. At the end of the day, people like doing business with people they connect with. Nick Andrews

78. Open Communication. Different levels of communication are applicable to different types of accounts and situations. Sometimes an email isn’t effective in communicating details on an account, especially if the account has a story behind losses of unique exposures. But on more straightforward accounts, an email or two might be all that is needed. Regardless of the type of communication, it is always important to communicate openly and to be honest and forthcoming with information. Time is valuable to everyone, so openly and effectively communicating is a win-win for everyone. Danielle Fitzsimmons

79. Watch Your Words. We in the insurance industry use so many acronyms. We understand our own terms, usually. But think of customers or prospects who don’t work in our industry. Does it make good business sense to invest the time in a customer relationship to explain terms and why they’re relevant? Charles Wasilewski, Aartrijk

80. Always Have a Plan. When it comes to digital marketing, always have a plan. A social media calendar and a strategic pay-per-click campaign go a long way. The best plans win. Zach Weeks, ITC

81. Mine Your Resources. A few ways agents can spot builder's risk opportunities include: identifying clients with homes built one decade ago or more and proactively contacting them about future projects, researching public permits, and asking clients for friends and family referrals. Mary Stiglic, US Assure

82. Adjust. Track what’s working and continuously adjust your processes accordingly. Kitty Ambers, AVYST.com

83. Positive Reviews. Ask every customer for an online review. Earning positive reviews takes effort, and most customers do not share feedback unless they have had a bad experience. Set up an automatic request via email to make it easy for your customers to review your agency. Katie Curvel, We Insure

84. Building-Less. Expand market area without brick and mortar. An emerging opportunity from the pandemic is that prospects and customers are willing and able to engage virtually, which can provide new market opportunities for producers and agents without investing in fixed infrastructure.

85. Agency Value. A value proposition is an authentic representation of the unique capabilities that agents bring to customers — a true reflection of significance. When you define your agency value proposition, be sure it is based on actionable ways to address both employee and customer needs. It will be the foundation upon which agents can differentiate their business. Craig Welsh, Westfield

86. Understand the Problem. Every client comes to us for a solution to some type of problem. Listen to them with kindness and empathy. Offer sound responsible advice and do your best to make sure they understand you. Ariel Rivera, Deer Insurance Agency LLC and AIMS Society board member

87. Get Personal. Let clients and prospects get to know your brokers to facilitate stronger relationships. Post short profiles on social media, including what they like to do in their off-hours, how they got into insurance, etc. Margaret Woodruff, Victor Insurance Holdings

88. Upfront. Put your value statements upfront. Many salespeople begin talking about themselves or their services, or even off-topic (sports) to build rapport. One of the worst phone opening statements is, “Can I have 30 seconds of your time to discuss my product?” You already wasted a third of that asking permission. People are busy. Begin the conversation with three ways companies like your prospect have benefited from working with your agency. Quantify with examples of dollars gained. Then back up those claims with details later in the conversation. Steve Pearson, ISU Insurance Agency Network

89. Develop Communication Skills. The vast majority of salespeople are bad listeners, and in turn, have poor communication skills. Do you want to differentiate yourself from your competition? Try actually listening to what your prospect is telling you and focus on your ability to acknowledge the conversation at hand. Zack Pittman, MarshBerry

90. Be an Expert. Build a reputation as an expert. If you are active in commercial sales, it pays to invest in becoming a go-to expert in a particular sector or industry and its associated coverages. Obtaining certifications and education valued in the industry will earn additional credibility with customers and place you at the center of the consultative sales process. Industry associations and groups can be a starting point to set you on your way.

91. Be Patient. When you get a lead, that becomes your baby, and you have to work and take care of that baby until they are fully mature. Patience and dedication are what people give up on. Even if it doesn’t work out, still be kind because when they’re up for renewal, they will want the best service. Kitty John, Prestige International Insurance Group Inc.

92. Networking. Referrals, introductions, and networking have never been easier. Catching people when they are available, meeting new people on their time in the ways they want to interact just takes a little patience. Building your network is critical to attaining and maintaining good business flow. Damon Johnson, Westfield

93. Choosey. Successful sales organizations allow their team members to choose whom they work with and when. This allows you to identify quickly who on your team is good at the various roles. The best closer will always get more opportunities than the one that thinks they are the best. Ben Swann, MarshBerry

94. Communicate with Policyholders on Their Terms. There is something about email that puts the reader in control. Phone calls and text messages are immediate, but you may end up being perceived as pestering. Policyholders want engagement but they want it on their terms. Our recent consumer research showed that over 90% of respondents said that email was their No. 1 preference for communication from their insurer. Now there are some caveats to that — 55% of older respondents said their second most preferred method of contact was a phone call, whereas mobile app notifications rated high with younger respondents. Either way, you can’t go wrong with email. Ian Griffin, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

95. Listen Proactively. Chances are, we likely will not write every account that comes our way. Sometimes helping an agent can just be about listening to them. Giving your client suggestions on situations, or respectfully giving them a quick declination, can often help save them time. With so much being done via email and not by phone or in-person anymore, taking the time to get to know each other better helps to build a stronger agency relationship. Your client will feel more confident working with someone they know and trust when the next opportunity arises. Sandy Higgins

96. Ask Again. Don’t be afraid to ask again with better information. It will not be to your long-term benefit to challenge every declination. However, sometimes your underwriter’s decision can be changed when presented with additional information. If you find out something new that paints a more favorable picture of the risk, don’t be afraid to ask your underwriter to take another look. Stephanie Moose

97. Leave Them with Valuable Knowledge. You’ll find not only success but a sense of immense satisfaction by talking with your clients in great detail. Take all the time necessary to make sure the client completely understands the purpose of your questions. By sharing your expertise, you will gain their trust, bring in more referrals and leave them with valuable knowledge. Susan Loving

98. Grow with Your Product. Insurance, like everything else, is constantly evolving. Laws change, technology advances and consumer needs expand. Ten years ago, we would have never fathomed we’d need an insurance solution for rideshares or marijuana stores. Think outside the box when you see a new class of business instead of shutting it down when it doesn’t fall under your standard guidelines. Julia Vogel

99. Stick to Your Plan. Have a written sales plan and don’t cut corners executing it. Many people who are good “talkers,” think they can cut corners and either “wing it” or don’t follow their plans. Sale is a process, and that process needs to be followed EVERY time. Jim Mitchell

100. Build Relationships. Go beyond just grinding out submissions with quotes or declines. Reach out to your agents throughout the year to check in on how they are doing and to see if there is anything you can help with. They might have something on their desk that they didn’t think would fit, but after chatting, you might be able to offer a solution, even if it is only to point them in the right direction. Danielle Fitzsimmons

101. Be More. Help your clients grow their business. Understand whom they sell to, get to know their business development team and make meaningful introductions. Be more than just their “insurance resource.” Eric Kuhen, MarshBer


This article was originally published on August 24, 2020
Insurance Journal West Magazine

Topics: Customer Service, B2B Sales Strategies


Written by Parvind

A seasoned technology sales leader with over 18 years of experience in achieving results in a highly competitive environment in multiple service lines of business, across the Americas, EMEA & APAC. Has a strong understanding of international markets having lived and worked in Asia, the Middle East and the US, traveled extensively globally.