Articles

Attracting New Customers

March 29, 2018 / Guest Author

Attracting new customers is not an exact science. It’s more of an art – it’s hard to say what exactly makes it work.

Attracting new customers is not an exact science. It’s more of an art – it’s hard to say what exactly makes it work. However, it is almost never accidental. Attracting customers always takes some deliberate thought and effort – the question is whether that thought and effort is part of your business process. If it is, you’ve got nothing to worry about. But if it isn’t, or if you aren’t sure, it’s well worth your time to think about why people become customers – their thoughts on insurance, how insurers fit in, and what it takes to be recommended.

How customers feel about insurance

Insurance is seen as something of a utility – necessary, but the cheaper the better. One survey found that North American insurance customers are particularly willing and able to switch providers, and tend to do so on the basis of cost or benefits alone – personal relationships with brokers help, but cost is still king. Besides cost, being “easy to deal with” and “responsive” matter. All this adds up to suggest that what clients are looking for is the best value for their dollar as well as their time. The more you can demonstrate the value in what you’re offering, the more loyal your customers will be – strive to demonstrate expertise, trustworthiness, diligence and attentiveness, in every interaction, so the worth of your advice is clear.

How customers want to interact

Some customers prefer a face-to-face, person-to-person interaction – the old-fashioned way of doing business. Other customers prefer keeping things online or over the phone – in particular, younger customers raised with the internet. Online interaction – over social media, for example – is a new medium for insurers, but it allows for regular, consistent communication with customers, and is a great way to share information and demonstrate the benefits of your products.

Actual interactions are a precious commodity. The survey mentioned above found that 54% of North American insurance customers had had no interactions of any sort with their insurers in the previous 18 months. Customer engagement is low enough that they are unlikely to reach out to you with their questions or concerns. There are two main implications: one, every interaction, even small-seeming ones, matters; and two, increasing customer engagement such that they come to you, rather than a third-party source of information, is a very good idea.

                                  

How to grow an audience from an existing one

Your existing customers are your best asset for finding new ones. They all have friends, family, coworkers and more – but your customers will have to do at least some of the reaching-out. Make it easy for them – have shareable content in a form they prefer: offer brochures or infographics; offer no-pressure educational meetings or phone calls; or maintain a vibrant social media presence with a steady stream of information and advice. Since every interaction matters, make sure you have as many as you can, and they’re as worthwhile for your (potential) client as they can be.

And, given the turnover rates in the industry, just because a client has left doesn’t mean they’ve left for good. Consider reaching out to old clients every now and then (try to keep a “former client” list of contact information) – times change, talking points improve, and an established connection is invaluable.

Brand power and community

Now, more than ever, brands are personalities (and vice versa). They each have their own persona, their own ‘feel’, and their own way of being perceived by the public. This is especially true on social media, where brands can talk (in character as brands!) to the public. As a result, many brands have developed communities of fans, united by their need for information, giveaways, fun, or whatever the brand specializes in.

Developing a brand and an engaged community is a significant marketing undertaking that requires time and effort – a sustained campaign of promotions, advertisements, social media, and more. But it offers a means of customer engagement beyond the one-on-one meeting – a light-and-easy way to keep in touch with existing clients and meet new ones.

Our long history, name recognition and record of advocacy give every broker a head-start in any community outreach – you’d do well to take advantage of them, as part of the CAA community. Remember: if you represent CAA, you represent expertise and reliability.