“Justin, I’m doing a lot of quotes but I’m not selling enough policies. What should I do to increase my number of sales?”
I get asked this question typically from agents or sales specialists that tend to get their leads from sources like internet leads, cold calling, door knocking, etc. I’m here to tell you that these sources have their time and place but there’s a much smarter and efficient way to boost your sales numbers. That way is through developing COIs.
In the insurance world we call referral sources COIs. It’s an acronym - Centers Of Influence. The premise behind COIs is that if you build relationships with key referral sources or partners; such as mortgage lenders, your life as a salesperson will become a whole lot easier and your performance will improve.
Does It Work?
You bet. As an insurance agent, this was one of my best sources for new customers. In addition, I have seen it work for many top performing agencies. If it didn’t work, do you really think I’d be taking my time at 10:44 PM to write this? Of course not. I’d be watching basketball.
Is It Easy To Do?
It’s really not too difficult to do if you enjoy meeting new people and are good at building relationships. If you hate meeting new people and are bad at building relationships than this could prove to be rather difficult. My suggestion, learn to like meeting new people or quit your sales job. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Here’s How It Works:
Step 1. An insurance agent develops a relationship with a COI.
Step 2. A customer goes to the COI looking to purchase something like a home, car, boat, etc. When purchasing these items, the customer naturally will need to find insurance to cover their new prized possession.
Step 3. The COI has influence in the sense that she can refer this customer to the insurance agent to help the customer with their insurance needs. The COI usually refers her customers to an insurance agent that she knows, trusts, and likes - not just the agent that brings her donuts and business cards once a month.
Step 4. The customers and the insurance agents connect and the agent quotes the customer's insurance.
Step 5. The customer and insurance agent shake hands and exchange signatures and money.
Step 6. The customer is excited that they bought a new thing and got a great new insurance agent.
Step 7. The insurance agent jumps up and down with joy, after the customer leaves the office of course, because they just sold a new household without having to make a single phone call or wade through the never ending sea of invalid internet leads.
Oh My Goodness
Do you understand now why this process is so great? If you missed all of the great reasons, here are some of them:
#1 - The customer is already at a point in their life where they are actively looking for insurance - If you’ve ever made a single cold call you will truly appreciate this.
#2 - The COI set you up and all you need to do is spike it down. The COI probably even talked you up some and told them how nice your smile is or about the twinkle you get in your eye when you get to explain RC vs ACV coverage.
#3 - The customer wants to talk to you and will follow through with appointments because it’s required in order to purchase the other thing they want.
#4 - The customer is not currently receiving phone calls from every other insurance company under the sun as they will with an internet lead. Typically it’s just you or maybe one other insurance agent quoting the customer.
#5 - Customers that are referred to you by COIs are typically great customers. They are customers that can afford to buy big things and usually have multiple cars and toys to insure.
#6 - With customers’ credit scores being a large factor in determining rates nowadays, it’s important to find customers with good credit scores. Generally, people that are able to purchase homes tend to be on the better half of the credit score spectrum and will pay their insurance premiums.
Examples of COIs
The key is to build relationships with COIs so that your name is the one that spills out of their mouth when they make that referral.
The Next Big Question
“How do I best go about building relationships with COIs?” I’ll answer that in the next segment.
Have additional questions or comments? I'd love to hear them in the comments section below.