This story is the fourth in a five-part series (read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) to help agents develop a personal brand. We are all “branded” by those around us based on their experiences with us. While simple on the surface, developing a personal brand requires differentiating yourself and delivering on promises. Deciding what that promise should be is the trick that trips up most agents. We hope you enjoy the series and would love to hear your comments.
This piece of the personal branding puzzle is hard.
Building an effective personal brand is about bringing unique benefits that customers want.
“Unique” is only good if someone wants it. And defining those one or two unique differentiators is not an easy task.
I heard a great phrase the other day: empty differentiation. Our industry is full of it: personal service, low rates, full service, etc.
Do you think that’s what clients really want?
I think these capabilities masquerading as differentiators are simply the ante to the game we’re all playing. If you don’t have them then you won’t get in the game.
It’s like clean floors in a grocery store. Imagine what we would think if we saw this headline in a grocery store ad: “We have the cleanest floors in town.” Well, what do clients think when they see “we give clients personal service” in an insurance ad?
Real differentiation occurs at a higher level of needs (or wants) for clients.
What insurance marketing organizations can learn from some of the superstars of differentiation:
- Starbucks. It sells coffee and delivers a community-type customer experience. It is a place to be seen. A place to meet. A place to work. A place to relax. All with an expensive cup of coffee in your hand.
- Harley-Davidson. It sells a promise of freedom and camaraderie. If all Harley did was sell motorcycles then Sturgis might just be another small town in the middle of nowhere.
- Whole Foods. It encourages customers to rise to a healthier lifestyle by being more informed about and engaged with what they eat. It is a trusted authority in its space.
- Airstream. It delivers a “silent luxury” to its cult-like target audience that doesn’t scream rich until you’re inside. It caters to those who don’t need to tell everyone they can afford the best.
So, where do insurance agents start to find that magic spot in our highly competitive business?
Insurance industry research a couple of years ago uncovered some startling data which I believe points to a big opportunity for agents to differentiate themselves and turbo charge their insurance marketing and selling efforts.
More than 70% of U.S. households have some type of life insurance, but more than 80% of those with life insurance say they do not have a personal agent to turn to for help.
Think about that: that life insurance agent goes to all the trouble to make a sale but obviously doesn’t have a bit of worry about increasing client retention. Not even a refrigerator magnet!
I’m not shocked by the facts. It says only about 20% of people with insurance have a trusted source. What does shock me is that more agents aren’t racing to fill the void for the “other 80%”.
While the “trusted source/advisor” phrase is a little overused/abused, its goal is crystal clear.
There is no ambiguity in the word trust. It is what we at Redbird Advisors chose from day one as our unique differentiator for our direct clients, the agents. It required we partner with agents who believed that pledge.
To attract those agents, it required that we deliver a greater level of expertise, support and attention to detail than other insurance marketing organizations.
Take this insurance blog for example… we take time out of every week to bring independent agents a point of view about insurance marketing and learning how to sell life insurance.
For us, we are searching to meet independent agents who share the desire to learn, improve and provide great customer service.
It’s our challenge to provide enough value so we are one of their trusted sources.
Your clients are begging for help and, if you believe the data, much of the insurance industry has turned a cold shoulder to service in favor of the next sale. I believe this is your opportunity to differentiate. You must walk the talk!
I’m passionate about this subject and always open for a lively discussion. Call or email me.
Product of the Week: United Home Life Provider Whole Life
United Home Life is more than just a final expense company. United Home Life specializes in simplified issue life insurance. The Provider Whole Life product is a great option for clients as it can be written for children and adults up to $150,000 with no medical exam. Even if your clients have been turned down before, United Home Life has a solution for almost everyone.
Below are some of the core benefits you can offer your clients with the Provider Whole Life product:
- No routine medical exams, blood work or physician’s statements.
- A simple phone interview with an experienced underwriter.
- Guaranteed death benefits and cash values.
- Affordable premiums that never increase.
- Coverage that cannot be cancelled as long as premiums are paid.
- Riders and benefits that can help customize products to meet your specific needs.
United Home Life has also recently released a new template lead card promoting children’s life insurance. Provider Whole Life product is perfect for parents and grandparents alike who want to insure the future for their kids and grandkids. A new mailer is available to help you prospect for new clients. It is available for order on United Home Life’s agent portal. You can even upload a mailing list and print through the website.
For more information about United Home Life and the Provide Whole Life product, please email us or call 866-547-8780 ext 102.
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