Surprisingly, 2018 marks the 40th year of selling and marketing in my career.
My original on the job training focused on sales methods and techniques. Naturally, I was introduced to the concept of center of influence for life insurance production. So, at the risk of boring you already here is a quick list of those original audiences recommended to me:
Business owners or leaders
Government, school, church officials
I observed many of my enthusiastic fellow newbies start building their networks of contacts. I also monitored the level of failure to reach the minimum goals. Most of the new recruits did not succeed.
Luckily, I was tasked with a national direct mail effort by the CEO within 30 days of my recruitment. And it opened my eyes to the ability to reach out to highly qualified contacts who I did not know. In my small world, I was always the number 1 salesperson due to this knowledge.
I normally state that if I had to depend on my center of influence that I would have failed miserably. I grew up in a rural area with lower socioeconomic conditions and very small population. There were 8 students in my grade throughout my K-12 education. In a job of numbers, that was very "slim pickins”
Utilization of data, technology and analytics afforded me an infinite universe of influence by comparison. After careful consideration of my firm’s product, my product knowledge and the economic concerns at that moment in time, I could select the audience most likely to:
a. need my services
b. to listen to my presentation
c. buy the policy and d. refer other buyers.
Let me pause for a couple of different examples
Agent, 22 years old. New BBA in Finance. No family/friend network.
Life Insurance firm—Good Brand recognition, excellent disability policy and cash value life products.
Selected the Surgeons in the radius area by the year graduated from Medical School. Used direct mail to present a major business issue for them—disability would cause a disruption in their cash flow which would possibly lead to loan defaults.
The mailer produced a 1 percent response, 10 doctors inquired. All 10 set up appointments and purchased disability policy. Then each doctor offered a referral to their fellow doctors in their practice. In this case that was an average of 5.
The agent had an ever- expanding circle of strong income professionals who would need his cash value solutions after the original loans for their medical school and practice were paid off.
Agent, 30 years old. BBA in Marketing, making a career change.
Senior market insurance services—Medicare supplement and retirement products
Targeted the turning 62,63, 64, 65,66, years old audience in the radius area. Used direct mail to invite them to a seminar on Medicare. Medicare choices are extremely confusing to most consumers compared to their use of group health policies for most of their lives.
20 to 40 attendees per session. 50 percent would request a follow up meeting by submitting a complete financial profile stating their primary concerns. The close rate for Medicare Supplement policies is very high. And the same consumer also seeks the alternatives for their retirement funds—money management, cash value policy or annuity.
The agent has an ever- expanding circle of satisfied seniors with retirement funds who eagerly recommend his services.
Today, I have many more resources at my disposal to create
a. custom audience
b. write a personalized message
c. conduct an omnichannel campaign
d. predict the premium production
I recommend that you build your center of influence by using data driven marketing. Direct Mail is the foundation of that effort as legislation has restricted initial contacts by phone or email. In the current digital age some young marketers dismiss the use of direct mail. I smile as I know that effective direct mail drives my digital flow of inquiries and initiates my center of influence.
Happy Hunting, as my original sale manager used to say!