Online Marketing Strategies for Independent Insurance Agents

Marketing has always been an essential component of success for independent insurance agents. In the last few years, how agents market themselves has changed dramatically.  An industry that was once defined by mailers, brochures, telemarketing and billboards has now transitioned to digital means. Today, independent insurance agents have the luxury of marketing themselves online, with many of these avenues free or at least inexpensive.  Below are some online marketing strategies that independent insurance agents should follow. 

Convert Visitors to Clients 

A well-designed website is a great marketing tool in and of itself. Consumers often use the internet as their first point of contact with a business with which they are unfamiliar, which makes your insurance website a crucial tool for providing information about you, your agency and the products you offer.  Your website doesn’t have to be just a passive marketing tool, though. You can collect high-quality information about potential customers through various forms.  Agents should set up contact forms where people can input their basic information to receive a call from you about the products you offer. You can also provide them with downloadable materials once they fill out this form. And, you can take it a step further and create a weekly email newsletter that is sent to everyone who signs up.  In these ways, you can use your website as a tool to convert website visitors into paying clients. 

Be Active on Social Media 

Designing a basic and functional website that looks good is a relatively minimal investment, compared to some other marketing avenues. Social media is even better in this regard, as it costs you nothing to set up a profile, build it out and start connecting with people.  Once you have your website designed and launched, make sure to create social media profiles on the platforms that make the most sense to you, which should be based on where your target audience spends its time. Drop links to these social media accounts on your website so that people can easily find you.  Then, make sure that you are active on the platform. Post there a few times a week, so that people see that you’re active, as they’re more likely to engage with you if you are.  Your posts don’t have to be obviously “salesy,” either. They can be as simple as photos of you in the office, messages about things going on in your community and even educational materials about insurance products you offer.  Active social media profiles help engender trust among your prospective clients. 

Create Digital Content 

A big part of converting prospects into clients is gaining their trust. And a great way to do that is to position yourself as an expert in your field. If people believe that you know what you’re talking about, they’re more likely to purchase insurance products from you rather than someone else.  One of the most effective ways to do that today is to create digital content that you post on your website and link to on your social media pages. This content shouldn’t push the insurance products you sell. Instead, it should educate your prospective clients about various topics that relate to insurance.  For instance, you might write a blog post about the top five things drivers should consider as they’re shopping for auto insurance. Then, at the end of this post, you can drop in a short message about how you offer auto insurance and would love the opportunity to talk to people more about it.  This digital content can serve as the backbone of your online marketing strategy. Just make sure that you post it consistently and cover a wide variety of topics that relate to the products you sell. 

Don’t Forget Search Engine Optimization 

Whether you’re found online depends a lot about how well you handle Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO. When your website has good SEO, it’s more likely that your webpage will appear near the top of search engine results.  This is crucial, as most people who search for terms online will only click on the first few results that pop up.  Content will go a long way in boosting your SEO, as search engines consider it to be high-quality and relevant. There are many other components to SEO, including keywords, how user friendly your site is, the metadata you use on your pages and the external and internal links to and from your site.  You could do some of this SEO work on your own, but if you find that you’re struggling to figure it out, or if you’re having trouble ranking high in search engine results, then you might consider hiring the help of an SEO company. 

Discover the Good Life

Doing your own marketing can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be when you have the right support. At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced insurance sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and experienced agents. To learn more about us, remember to explore our business support services. Or, to speak with a member of our team about your journey to becoming an independent agent, contact us today!

10 Networking Tips for Insurance Agents

Selling insurance is as much about building relationships in the local community as it is about offering the best products. When people trust who they’re working with, they’re more likely to not only purchase insurance policies from them but also stick with them for the long term.  Networking is one of the best ways to build these relationships. It’s especially important for independent insurance agents, who don’t have the backing and support of large insurance carriers.  Below are 10 networking tips for insurance agents.

Create Networking Goals

Many people dive head-first into networking without really having a plan for what they’re going to do, how they’re going to do it, and even what, specifically, they want to get out of it. You should approach networking like any other business endeavor.  Create a plan, include measurable KPIs, and track your progress toward your goals. This will allow you to assess what is working, what is not and how you might be able to adjust to be more successful. 

Join Local Business Groups

A key to success in selling insurance is making in-roads with leaders of your local community. Business owners are very often seen as some of the most trustworthy members of the community, and their long-time customers value their opinion.  When you get to know other business owners in your community, you’re increasing your chances at gaining referrals. In addition, you’ll be learning the ropes of the community and business in general, which can only help further your agency. 

Volunteer

A great way to become known in your community is to volunteer. You can attend local clean-ups of parks and public places. You can volunteer at a food bank or for a local youth sports organization.  When you put yourself out there, not only are you serving a great purpose for the community, but you are engendering trust in the people around you. If people begin to recognize you, they are more likely to come to you for their insurance needs. 

‘Buy Local’

When you purchase supplies or services for your business, do your best to do it from other local companies. This helps to boost your local economy, and can also lead to great relationships with these business owners.  You can take this a step further and frequent local restaurants and bars. When you spend your money locally, other people take notice and try to return the favor. 

Attend Insurance-Specific Events

At the same time, it’s a great idea to attend insurance-related events such as seminars and trade shows. You can learn a lot when you attend these events, plus you can meet a lot of people who are in the same position as you are.  These connections could prove extremely valuable to you, as you exchange tips, ideas and maybe even collaborate on projects in the future.

Remember People’s Names

You can make a really big impression on people when you remember their names. It can be easy to forget someone’s name when you are meeting many people in a short amount of time at networking events or when you’re out and about, but this is a very important aspect of networking.  Pay attention to a person when they introduce themselves. Make eye contact and repeat their name in your head when they say it. Come up with clever ways to associate their name with their face so if you see them again, you can smile and say hello to them with their name.

Create a Strong Social Media Presence

A significant amount of networking today can, and should, happen online. This all starts by building out a strong presence on the social media platforms that make the most sense to you.  Depending on what type of insurance products you sell, and who your target audience is, this could include Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), TikTok and more.   Consumers do so much research about a business online before making a purchase decision that it’s essential for you to have a strong presence there.

Create Memorable Marketing Materials

Marketing materials come in all shapes and sizes. It can be anything from a logo to a slogan to business cards. Whatever you decide to do, make it memorable.  When people leave your website or social media page, or leave a networking event with your business card in hand, you want them to remember you. Make an impression by creating memorable marketing materials.

Don’t Push Products

No matter how you’re networking, it’s important that you don’t always push your products onto people. Sales are obviously your ultimate end goal, but the people you’re networking with shouldn’t feel as though that’s all you care about.  Display empathy and compassion to people, and turn the conversation to how you can help them when it’s appropriate.

Never Stop Networking

Networking isn’t something with a start and stop time. It isn’t something that you only do in “formal” settings such as an event or get-together.  There are elements of networking that you should be doing at all times. Even when you’re talking with current clients, you can network in a way that can lead to them purchasing additional products or referring new clients to you.  If networking is always on your mind, then it’ll be easier for you to do consistently. 

Discover the Good Life

We understand that networking can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be when you have the right support. At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced insurance sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and experienced agents. To learn more about us, remember to explore our business support services. Or, to speak with a member of our team about your journey to becoming an independent agent, contact us today!

Tips for Young or Inexperienced Insurance Agents

Starting a career as an independent insurance agent is exciting. The benefits that come with running your own business are endless, as are the possibilities of success. At the same time, it can be very challenging to succeed as a young or inexperienced insurance agent. Yet, by following some tried-and-true tips of the industry, you can put yourself in the best position to achieve all you want to achieve. Here are some of the top tips for young or inexperienced insurance agents.

Network

Much of the insurance business revolves around building relationships. Whether it’s with your clients, colleagues or others in your business community, establishing solid relationships is key to finding success in the industry. One of the best ways that you can build solid relationships as a young or inexperienced insurance agent is to network. You do this by joining formal networking groups such as your local business association, an insurance-specific group or even a young professionals group. It’s a good idea to join multiple groups, in fact, as this will allow you to meet as many diverse people as possible. In addition, it’s important to engrave yourself as part of the local community. You can do this by volunteering at local events, joining a local community board and much more. Networking helps to build your brand, and gives you more opportunities to meet prospective clients and gain referrals from those you meet.

Focus Goals on Behaviors

Goal-setting is a crucial part of success in any business. Many times, though, goals are set around the “end-game.” In other words, a goal might be to reach a certain revenue number or open a certain number of new accounts. Young or inexperienced insurance agents need to start a little more basic than that, and they can do this by focusing their goals on the behaviors that will get them to their “end-game” goals. For instance, set goals for how many cold calls you’re going to make in a day, how many new connections you make on LinkedIn each week or how many new people you’re going to meet at a networking event. Focusing on the behaviors that drive the conversions will help you actually achieve your goals.

Get Comfortable with Rejection

Like any sales position, rejection is just a big part of the game for insurance agents. In fact, you’re going to be rejected a lot more than you’re going to be successful in converting prospects into clients — and that’s OK. It’s important to get comfortable with rejection if you want to be a successful insurance agent. Doing so will take time and practice, but anyone can do it. One way to do this is to not view rejection as a complete failure. Instead, use it as a learning experience that you can build on over time. When a prospect says “no thank you,” ask them why. You may be able to glean valuable information from what they say that you can then use to improve your sales pitch, your business model or the products you’re offering. Getting comfortable with rejection will help you persevere and keep picking up the phone when you receive no after no. Eventually, if you keep at it, you’ll start hearing some yeses.

Identify Your Target Audience

When you’re just starting out as an insurance agent, it’s so important to hone in on what you want to sell and who you want to sell it to. Are you going to focus on auto and home insurance, or do you prefer life insurance? There are so many different insurance products to choose from that it can get confusing if you don’t start small and grow. By approaching insurance sales this way, you’ll be able to become very knowledgeable about all the ins and outs of the products you’re selling, essentially becoming an expert in your field. What this also does is allow you to identify your target audience, which is a vital aspect of sales. By identifying the people who are most likely to purchase your products, you’ll be able to cater your branding, marketing and sales efforts directly to them. Creating a customer persona for your target audience will make it even easier to understand who these people are and what makes them tick. When you put in the appropriate time and effort into identifying your target audience upfront, you’ll actually be reducing the amount of work you’ll need to do later, since your entire sales process will be streamlined. This is something that all insurance agents should do, whether they’re young and inexperienced or have been in the industry for many years.

Discover the Good Life

We understand that all of this information can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be when you have the right support. At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced insurance sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and experienced agents. To learn more about us, remember to explore our business support services. Or, to speak with a member of our team about your journey to becoming an independent agent, contact us today!

Tips for Generating More Local Insurance Leads

Generating local insurance leads is a vital part of building a profitable and sustainable insurance business. Without leads, after all, it will be hard to consistently attract new clients, which will make it hard for your business to survive over time. While this is an essential aspect of any insurance business, generating leads is also very challenging. Below are some tips for how you can generate more local insurance leads that can lead to a bigger client base.

Brand Yourself in the Community

If you want people in your local community to notice you and turn to you when they have insurance needs, you’ll need to make yourself known in the community. Marketing and advertising will help in this regard, but you can also brand yourself by being active in the community. You can do this by volunteering at local events or at local food pantries and other service events. You can join business and community networking groups. Or, you can sponsor a local youth sports team. There are countless different ways that you can brand yourself in your local community, so get creative about how you do it.

Create a Referral Plan

Referrals can be some of the greatest leads you’ll receive. They are considered high quality because they typically come from someone that a prospective client trusts. For instance, when a satisfied client refers someone else to your business, they likely have already told that other person all the great things you’ve done for them. This makes the job of converting a lot easier for you. While they are among the highest-quality of leads, referrals aren’t easy to generate. You can sit back and hope that they’ll come your way, but to really have leads come in this way, you need to create a plan. One example is creating a rewards program for current clients who refer a new client to you. This could come in the form of a reduced monthly premium or other rewards that are a benefit to them. The better incentives you provide, the more likely you’ll get referrals.

Go Digital

The internet has made branding and marketing easier today than it ever has been. You can reach your target audience in more effective and efficient ways today, meeting people where they are. To do this, you need to first build out a solid online presence. This should include a well-designed website that provides not just all your information and what you sell, but also positions you as an expert in your field. A great way to do this is to write a blog where you provide tips and guidance on insurance-related items. In addition, you should create social media pages on all the platforms that make sense to you. Instagram, Facebook and X — formerly known as Twitter — are a great place to start, and you may also consider TikTok depending on your target audience. It only takes a minimal investment to create a good-looking website and active social media pages, and the impact can be enormous. And once you have a solid presence established, you can initiate digital advertising campaigns on search engines and social media platforms to generate solid leads.

Don’t Forget Tried-and-True Marketing

While a lot of the focus on marketing and advertising today is on digital means, it’s also a good idea to not forget about the classic marketing avenues. This could prove to be especially important if your target audience is older and not as digitally-savvy as younger generations. You can generate solid leads through advertisements in local newspapers, on billboards and even on TV or radio. Printed mailers sent directly to people’s homes is also a great way to stay top-of-mind when people may have an insurance need. You can either send out generic mailers to a massive list, or you can send specially-targeted mailers to smaller lists. For instance, you can scan marriage announcements or new home sales and send mailers to these people with the products you’re offering that can help them in their new life situation.

Host Educational Events

After you’ve established yourself and your business, you can also generate leads by hosting educational events for the community. You can invite a select number of prospects to a luncheon event, where you provide them with a free meal in exchange for educating them about a specific insurance product that you sell that could help them. This could be a great opportunity to generate new leads because you’ll get to meet and talk with new people in person. If you make a good impression on them, they could serve as good referral sources, even if they don’t purchase an insurance product from you.

Discover the Good Life

We understand that all of this information can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be when you have the right support. At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced insurance sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and experienced agents. To learn more about us, remember to explore our business support services. Or, to speak with a member of our team about your journey to becoming an independent agent, contact us today!

Buying Insurance Leads: The Pros and Cons

Solid leads are the lifeblood of an insurance agent. To grow your business successfully, you will need to constantly fill the top of your funnel with new leads that you prospect to convert into customers. When you are a captive agent, most — if not all — of these leads are given to you. But, when you are an independent agent, the majority of this duty falls directly on you. There are many ways to increase the number of leads you have so you can increase your customer base, and one of the most common ways is to purchase leads. Is buying insurance leads worth it, though? Below is a list of some of the pros and cons of doing so.

How Can You Buy Insurance Leads?

Insurance agents can buy insurance leads through companies whose job it is to compile lists of people who might be good prospects for one of your products. By purchasing leads, agents can get a head-start on converting these leads into active customers. This is especially important, as generating leads is often one of the biggest challenges that independent insurance agents face. Lead providers come in all different shapes and sizes, and the leads that you can purchase from them do as well. You can buy leads that are exclusive to your company or also sold to other companies. You can buy leads that are “aged,” meaning they came from someone who filled out an online form, for instance, at least 30 days ago. And you can even buy organic leads in real-time. The better the leads are considered to be, the more expensive they will be to purchase, generally speaking.

Pros of Buying Insurance Leads

There are many advantages to buying insurance leads. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that buying leads can save a lot of time, effort and potentially even money. When you generate leads on your own, you have to first come up with a marketing plan for how you’re going to spread your message. In addition, you also have to figure out how to collect information from people who viewed, engaged or responded to those messages so that you can place them into your sales funnel. Any time that you spend on generating leads is time that you can’t spend on other important things for your business, including but not limited to actually working the leads you have to convert them into customers. And since time is money in business, buying insurance leads can actually be very cost-effective. Another major advantage is that when you buy insurance leads, you’ll be delivered contact information for people who are more likely to purchase a product sooner. Cold leads — or those that haven’t been “worked” or vetted yet — take much more time to convert. If you’re able to purchase “warm” leads, you completely eliminate that step in the process. Many newer independent agents will turn to buying leads because of this fact. Branding and marketing can take a lot of time, and that can cause challenges when you’re trying to start a business. Buying leads can help you jumpstart your business and get you on the fast-track to positive cashflow.

Cons of Buying Insurance Leads

Of course, buying insurance leads isn’t always a slam dunk. There are many factors that go into whether it’s a good idea for your business or not. A common con of buying insurance leads is that not all of the leads that you buy are going to be quality. Some of the leads won’t be good prospects for your business at all, which essentially means you will be throwing your money away. Some leads may contain contact information that isn’t correct or that is old. This can happen if people enter fake information just to get through an online form, or if the leads are older. When you’re considering buying insurance leads, it’s important to work with a reputable provider. There are some companies out there that don’t provide quality leads, or enough quality leads to make it worth your while. In addition, if you don’t work with the provider to set the best criteria for your agency, then you could end up getting low-quality leads that are hard to convert. The biggest factor that turns a lot of agents off from buying insurance leads, though, is the cost of doing so. No matter what the quality of the leads are, all will require you to shell out money upfront without any guarantee that you’ll get a return on your investment. This can be a daunting undertaking, especially if you’re a newer independent agent or don’t have a lot of extra budget to spare. As such, it’s important to weigh all options before immediately buying insurance leads.

Discover the Good Life

We understand that all of this information can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be when you have the right support. At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced insurance sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and experienced agents. To learn more about us, remember to explore our business support services. Or, to speak with a member of our team about your journey to becoming an independent agent, contact us today!

Strategies for Cross-Selling to Current Clients

Insurance agents should always be looking to maximize their sales as much as possible. The more efficient agents can be when doing so, the more profitable their business will be as well. To that end, one of the most effective ways to create an efficient sales operation is to cross-sell to current clients. That’s because cross-selling doesn’t require you to find a new prospective customer and take them through the entire sales journey. Instead, you’ll be selling new insurance products to current customers of yours. In this way, you can maximize your revenue while reducing your customer acquisition costs. Here are some strategies for cross-selling to current clients to make your insurance sales operations more effective and efficient.

Educate Customers on Your Products

The best place to start with cross-selling is to simply educate your customers about all the different insurance products you offer. It’s very possible that some of your customers don’t purchase a product from you because they didn’t know that you offer it. Some independent insurance agents start off by only selling one type of insurance or a small suite of insurance options. Over time, though, you may decide to expand your business to offer new products. Any time that you add new products or insurance offerings, it’s a good idea to let all of your current customers know about it. You can do this through passive marketing flyers and branding efforts, to direct calls or emails to them.

Know Your Clients

The best way to cross-sell to your clients is to know who they are, what they need and what makes them tick. By understanding the details of your clients’ lives, you’ll be better prepared to cross-sell them other products. If you know that your clients own a boat, for instance, then you could identify a cross-sell opportunity to help them protect their valued possession. If you don’t know whether they have a boat or not, though, you could end up looking silly if you try to sell them boat insurance. You can get to know your clients by asking questions and displaying empathy for their situation. This will show them that you care genuinely about them and their future. Doing so helps to build trust with your clients, which makes them more likely to want to purchase additional insurance products from you rather than another agent.

Push Opportunities for Savings

“Bundling” is a big catchphrase in the insurance world, and for good reason. Insurance carriers use bundling as a way to incentivize people to purchase multiple insurance products from them. In return, the insurance carrier typically provides a rather significant discount on the monthly premiums. For instance, if a customer purchases both home and auto insurance from the same insurance carrier, they may receive a discounted premium of up to 25%. That’s a huge savings for the customer, and one of the biggest incentives for them to buy multiple products. At the same time, it’s a huge boon for insurance agents.

Push Other Benefits

There are other benefits that bundling provides to customers, and you should educate your customers about these, too. Being able to receive one single bill for all your insurance premiums is a huge benefit to many people. It simplifies their expenses and makes it easier to stay on top their expenses. In addition, if customers ever need to contact their insurance company, they won’t have to reach out to multiple people. This saves a lot of time, headaches and confusion for simple things such as updating contact information and changing car details, to more complex tasks such as filing an insurance claim.

Don’t Be Too Pushy

While it’s important to “push” the savings and benefits, it’s also essential to not be overly pushy. You need to gather as much information about your clients as possible to cross-sell effectively, but you also don’t want to pry too much into their lives, especially if they don’t seem open to sharing. Some customers may be hesitant to purchase additional products from you if they don’t have a long-standing relationship with your agency, or if they have been purchasing a particular product from another company for a while. This is OK. You want to communicate the benefits of consolidating their insurance products with you — or purchasing additional products — of course without being too forceful. It’s a fine line you must tote in order to not turn off your current customers.

Discover the Good Life

We understand that all of this information can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be when you have the right support. At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced insurance sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and experienced agents. To learn more about us, remember to explore our business support services. Or, to speak with a member of our team about your journey to becoming an independent agent, contact us today!

How to Ask Insurance Clients for Referrals

One of the biggest challenges that independent insurance agents face is gaining new clients. Marketing, branding and advertising campaigns are all effective ways to draw new clients to your business, but they aren’t always the most efficient or inexpensive, either. Many seasoned insurance agents will say that some of the best clients they’ve attracted over the years have come from direct referrals. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that referrals are more organic than other forms of marketing. In addition, referrals typically have a higher rate of conversion and will usually not only stick with you for longer but also spend more with you than other customers you obtain through other means. With all this in mind, gaining more referrals is key to any insurance agent. Here are some ways you can ask insurance clients for referrals.

Create an Official Referral Program

New business initiatives are almost always more effective when you create an official plan for them. The same goes for referral programs. If you’re looking to drive more referrals to your business, create an official program that outlines how you will reward the people who contribute to you gaining new clients. You can create rewards for both the clients that refer other people to you, as well as the other agents who work under you — if you have any working for you. By having a clearly-defined referral program, it’s something that’s much easier to push while you’re dealing with clients. Plus, it gives people an incentive to actually refer clients to you.

Ask for the Right People for Referrals

One often overlooked aspect of referrals is making sure that you’re attracting the right type of client. Remember that when you ask for referrals, you’re essentially empowering people who don’t work for your business to speak about your business. In other words, you are putting your trust in the person who will be talking with their friends, family members and colleagues about your business. If you don’t trust that they’ll convey the value of your business or you as an agent, or that they would refer the wrong type of client to you, then you shouldn’t ask for a referral at all. So, before you ask for referral, make sure that the people you ask it from are the type of client that you want to attract.

Network with Other Business Leaders

Referrals can also come from other business colleagues. A great way to do this is to build relationships that are mutually beneficial with other people in your community. For instance, you might build a solid relationship with a banker who could refer clients to you for their insurance needs. The same could be done with people outside of the financial sector, too, of course. When clients trust someone they do business with, they’re much more inclined to trust that person’s word, too. So, if they are referred by a financial advisor they trust to you, they’re more likely to actually follow through if they have a need. You can build these types of relationships in many ways — by attending local community events, by volunteering, by serving on a local board and by joining various networking groups.

Track the Success of Your Programs

There is immense power in data nowadays, and it’s easier than ever to use information you can glean from data to make informed business decisions. You can do this for every aspect of your business, including your marketing and advertising programs, your social media marketing and even your referral programs. Once you’ve put an official program in place, figure out how you can gather, track and analyze that data. It’s very important that you are able to measure the effectiveness of the program so that you can see not only whether you need to tweak it, but in what ways you need to tweak it. You can break down your referral program into separate buckets based on where the referral came from. Are new clients who are referred from current clients converting at a higher or lower rate than those referred by members of the business community? Are they spending more or less, and staying for longer periods of time? There are many different things that you can track. The important thing is that you define the data points that are important to your program, and assess them. By doing this on both a micro and a macro level, you’ll be better equipped to make your referral program the best it can be.

Discover the Good Life

There are many ways to ask for referrals from clients, and it doesn’t have to be an excruciating process. We understand that all of this information can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be when you have the right support. At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced insurance sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and experienced agents. To learn more about us, remember to explore our business support services. Or, to speak with a member of our team about your journey to becoming an independent agent, contact us today!

How to Choose the Right IMO for You

Being an independent insurance agent can be a challenging job. Even though you’re out on your own, you can still get significant support, guidance, resources, and tools by partnering with an Insurance Marketing Organization, also known as an IMO.

With so many IMOs on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one would make the best partner. Below, we dive deeper into how to choose the right IMO for you.

Know What You Need

Different IMOs specialize in different things and provide different resources, support, and tools to the independent insurance agents with whom they work. So, before you can really start your search in earnest, you need to figure out exactly what you need out of an IMO.

Do you need guidance and support directly related to sales, including software packages that make your job easier? Do you need someone to help create marketing materials that you can distribute to attract new clients? Are you looking for a partner that offers a wide range of different insurance products from a variety of carriers?

Once you figure out what you need in an IMO, you can narrow your search to those firms that provide that.

Evaluate the Technology

Advanced technology has helped make the job of an independent insurance agent easier today. Being able to access top-of-the-line technology tools and resources is one of the biggest factors in running an effective and efficient agency.

All IMOs will likely provide a suite of technology and tools to all the agents they work with, but how advanced is that suite? Does it fit your needs? Will it help take your business to the next level?

This technology should encompass everything from support with social media and websites, digital marketing, CRM systems, enrollment platforms, quoting systems and much more.

Research Their Backgrounds

While there’s nothing particularly wrong with partnering with an upstart IMO, there are many advantages to working with a company that has been around the block. After all, one of the biggest benefits of working with an IMO is the years of experience they have in the field.

After you narrow your search down to a handful of prospective IMOs, it’s always a good idea to do research on their backgrounds. Understand all the services that they offer, of course, but also investigate their reputation in the marketplace.

Do insurance carriers like working with them? Do other independent insurance agents have positive things to say about them? Ask all prospective IMOs for referrals so you can speak directly to those you’re interested in.

A big part about partnering with an IMO is the relationship you will build with them. So, understanding how well they do at client services is a huge part of it.

Figure Out the Commissions

At the end of the day, what really matters to independent insurance agents is how much they’re going to bring home in their pockets. Most independent agents love the freedom of being able to earn higher commissions by working for themselves rather than being a captive agent.

That being said, each IMO might have a different commission structure that will ultimately dictate how much money you can make off each sale and renewal. That’s why it’s important to figure out the commission structure that the IMO offers and weigh that with everything else that comes with the partnership.

For instance, some IMOs might have higher commissions in exchange for providing fewer resources and less direct support.

There is no one “right” balance, as this is a personal decision that you must weigh for yourself and your operation.

Read Through the Contract

Every IMO requires their partner agents to sign a contract to work with them. It’s very important that you thoroughly read through every detail included in the contract and make sure you understand everything completely. If there’s anything you don’t understand or are unsure of, make sure to ask the IMO directly.

If you feel uncomfortable about anything included in the contract, it’s best not to sign it until you get clarity. You may even want to have an independent attorney read through the contract to ensure that everything is “up to snuff.”

This contract is one of the biggest determining factors in your success, as it will explicitly lay out what you will get back from the IMO partnership and what they expect of you. Make sure that you are only committing yourself to an IMO once you’re completely comfortable with the contract you’re signing.

Partner with the Best

Many independent insurance agents find it challenging to get their business off the ground because they don’t have that support backbone. Working with an IMO fills that gap and provides many benefits to independent insurance agents.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you establish and grow your insurance business!

Make the Most of Annuity Awareness Month

June is Annuity Awareness Month, which means there’s no better time to share the recently updated Balanced Accumulation brochure with your clients. It shows the part an FIA (fixed index annuity) can play in an overall portfolio, offering balance with the potential for growth. 

​​As an insurance agent, you are always looking for ways to provide your clients with the best possible solutions for their financial needs. Annuity products are a great tool for your clients to secure their financial future. However, many people don’t understand what annuities are, their benefits, or how they work. That’s why Annuity Awareness Month is so important. In this blog post, we’ll explore what Annuity Awareness Month is, why it matters to insurance agents, and how you can take part in spreading awareness about annuities.

What is Annuity Awareness Month?

Annuity Awareness Month is held every June to bring attention to the benefits of annuities and to educate the public about these financial products. It’s an important month for people to learn about how annuities can provide a guaranteed income stream for life that can help protect their financial future.

Why is Annuity Awareness Month important for insurance agents?

Annuity products can be a valuable addition to your clients’ portfolios. However, many people are not aware of how annuities work or how they fit into their overall retirement plan. By taking part in Annuity Awareness Month, you can help educate your clients about the advantages of annuity products and how they can benefit your clients’ overall financial goals.

What can you do to take part in Annuity Awareness Month?

There are many ways that insurance agents can engage in Annuity Awareness Month. Some examples include:

  • Social media: Share informative posts about annuities, their benefits, and how they fit into a retirement plan. Use hashtags like #AnnuityAwarenessMonth to spread the word.
  • Webinars and workshops: Host a webinar or workshop to educate your clients about annuities.
  • Newsletters: Send out a newsletter to your clients about Annuity Awareness Month, explaining the benefits of annuities and how they can be a valuable addition to their retirement plan. You can reference resources like the newly updated Balance Accumulation brochure.
  • Personal follow-up: Contact your clients individually to explain the benefits of annuity products and to encourage them to consider adding them to their retirement plan.

The Bottom Line?

Annuity Awareness Month provides insurance agents with an opportunity to educate their clients about the importance of annuity products and how they fit into a comprehensive retirement plan. By taking part in Annuity Awareness Month, you can help your clients make informed financial decisions that will last a lifetime, while also building trust and credibility with your clients. So, take the time to spread awareness about annuities this June!

Discover the Good Life

As a leading Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO), Good Life Insurance Associates (GLIA) provides a full range of insurance products, services and tools to support your individual clients’ wants and needs. We provide financial advisors and insurance agents in our network across the country with access to a full range of premium carriers, expert support services, and an industry-leading compensation plan. Learn more about joining GLIA today! 

What Is a Medicare Marketing Organization?

Due to the aging population and rising healthcare costs, Medicare spending is projected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2031, up from $829 billion in 2021—an increase of 117%.

That provides a lot of potential for any agent who wants to sell Medicare insurance. Yet, selling Medicare can be pretty complicated for independent insurance agents, simply because Medicare itself can be quite complicated.

That’s why working with a Medicare Marketing Organization, also known as an Independent Marketing Organization (IMO), can be helpful. Below, we dive deeper into what an IMO is, how it can help independent agents succeed in selling Medicare, and what to look for when choosing a Medicare IMO.

What Is a Medicare IMO?

A Medicare IMO is an organization that works to provide support for independent insurance agents as they look to build their businesses. Unlike captive agents who work for one insurance company—and are supplied with all the support, training, and tools they need to do their job—independent agents are on their own.

In essence, independent agents are small business owners; this provides many benefits, such as the ability to set your hours, build your business the way you want to, sell the type of insurance you want, and be your own boss.

However, challenges to being an independent agent include not having a large organization on your side providing you with constant support; this is where a Medicare IMO can step in.

A good Medicare IMO will provide you with all the training, marketing, recruiting, contracting, and support you need to run a successful operation. In addition, an IMO ensures that independent agents are never truly “on their own.”

In addition to all these vital resources, IMOs have established contracts with Medicare carriers. The independent agents who work with the IMO can then gain access to the Medicare plans that some of the top insurance carriers in the country offer.

Here are some of the main benefits a good IMO can provide independent agents, specifically regarding Medicare.

Insight into Plans

Medicare can be quite complicated to understand, as there are four “parts.” For example, original Medicare consists of Part A and Part B, providing hospital and outpatient medical coverage. Entering 2023, there were 35 million Americans subscribed to these plans.

Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is private insurance that includes not just Original Medicare but also some coverage that Parts A and B don’t have. For example, Medicare Advantage includes some coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision, and other medical care. Part D is the prescription drug program and can be added to Original Medicare plans.

Knowing what makes up all the parts of Medicare—who’s eligible for what, what the different plans offer, how much the plans cost, etc.—can be challenging for even the most experienced agents. Experienced Medicare IMOs provide insight to independent agents so they can become more knowledgeable about the products they can sell.

Access to Plans

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported recently that the average beneficiary of Medicare has 43 Medicare Advantage plans they can choose from in 2023, 35 of which include coverage for prescription drugs. That’s a lot of plans, to say the least.

Each of those plans offers slightly different coverages and costs. As independent agents know, being able to provide multiple insurance plan options helps to attract a broader base of customers.

Yet, contracting with the multiple insurance carriers that offer those 43 Medicare Advantage plans can be challenging; this is another significant benefit of working with a Medicare IMO. Experienced Medicare IMOs will already have Medicare Advantage contracts so that independent agents who work with them can immediately offer them to their customers. A Medicare IMO also removes a lot of painstaking work at obtaining these contracts with insurance carriers, allowing them to hit the ground running selling the plans.

Legitimacy

Customers today want to know they can trust the people they work with. However, building trust is challenging for any small business owner, especially for independent insurance agents. Fortunately, an experienced Medicare IMO can give you that legitimacy to build trust with current and prospective customers. This is done in several ways.

First, the simple fact that you will have multiple Medicare Advantage plans for your customers to choose from will add to your legitimacy. When you can show them available plans from some of the top Medicare insurance carriers in the country, they will know you aren’t a “chop shop.”

In addition, the marketing and sales support you will receive from your Medicare IMO will help you build a solid brand for yourself. You won’t be going it alone. And, after you build this brand, you will be recognizable as you use the sales tools you’ve received from your Medicare IMO to land new customers.

What to Look for When Choosing a Medicare IMO

Now that you’ve decided that working with a Medicare IMO would benefit you, it’s essential to understand what you should look for when searching for the best fit. You’ll likely have a lot of choices in this area, so whittling down the list to the most crucial ones is vital, as is understanding how to vet a Medicare IMO properly.

Insurance Carriers

One of the most critical factors in choosing a Medicare IMO is the insurance carriers that they offer. The IMO you work with should provide an excellent selection of insurance carriers that you can offer to your clients, including many that are well-known by customers in your area.

In addition to analyzing the carriers, you want to explore the specific products they offer through their IMO. If you don’t believe their products are competitive, they might not be the best IMO for you.

Experience

You should always look for a Medicare IMO that has been in the industry for a while and has the experience you need to grow, learn, and succeed. While it’s not necessarily wrong to work with a new startup company, there are many advantages to working with an IMO that has been around the block.

When a Medicare IMO has been in business for a while, it gives credence to its success. However, you shouldn’t just look at how long a Medicare IMO has been around; you should also figure out what their track record of success looks like.

Support

Each independent agent will need something a little different. For example, whereas one agent might need extra sales support, another may need more marketing support.

To establish an effective working relationship with a Medicare IMO, aligning your needs with their specific support is essential. To this end, check out the different programs they offer to independent agents to find out whether the company can give you what you need most.

If you have any questions about how the programs work specifically, don’t hesitate to contact someone at the Medicare IMO to gain more insight before applying to work with them.

Testimonials

One of the best ways to understand what it’s like working with a Medicare IMO is to reach out to other independent agents who work with them. Sometimes, you may be able to find colleagues in your market who work with Medicare IMOs. Other times, you can access these agents through the IMO itself.

Don’t ignore the importance of what insurance carriers think of the Medicare IMO, too. You can always contact them directly to see if the IMO you’re considering is worth partnering with.

Join the Good Life!

You’ll have many choices when searching for Medicare marketing organizations to partner with. However, choosing the right one is essential to running a successful independent insurance agent business.

Here at GLIA, our team has years of experience working with independent insurance agents and the leading Medicare Advantage carriers in the U.S.

Partnering with us gives you access to these carriers and the impressive suite of tools, training, and support we provide to all agents. To learn more and get started offering Medicare Advantage plans from some of the top carriers in the country, contact us today.

Again, thank you for visiting our blog, and we hope to work with you soon.