A phrase far too often uttered among established businesses is, “We’ve been doing business the same way for years, why change now?”
What many businesses don’t understand is that over those years, processes are refined to fit the changing world. And guess what? The world is still changing!
Today, there is more technology available to streamline your sales and service process than there’s ever been. And if you haven’t updated your business strategy to include some of these tools, you might be missing out on time-saving, money-making ways to move your business forward.
How connected are your customers, and how mobile do you need your business to be? The answer is very.
When you look at the future of technology in your business, here are the two most important things to consider. First, how connected are your customers? Second, how mobile do you need your business to be?
The answer to both questions is always the same: very.
According to the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of U.S. adults use the internet and 77 percent of U.S. adults have a smartphone. And, embracing these type of tools is not just a younger generation thing. The organization also reports 66 percent of seniors use the internet in 2018 — that’s a 52-point increase since 2000.
People want the ability to get information and shop for themselves on their own time. Don’t be afraid of this! Convenience doesn’t have to be the death of the personal sale. In fact, it’s just the start. Technology doesn’t remove you from a sale — it just gets you in at the most opportune point.
Technology doesn’t remove you from a sale — it just gets you in at the most opportune point.
For insurance agents, the value of online quoting and enrollment cannot be overstated. One Forrester Research study found more than three-quarters of 57,499 online U.S. adults surveyed had ordered products or services online during a mere three-month period. Additionally, almost one in three consumers surveyed in Life Happens and LIMRA’s 2018 Insurance Barometer Study purchased or attempted to purchase life insurance online. Even if your clients don’t complete the entire process online, they want the tools to get started.
The final transaction is simple when clients research and shop on their own because so much of the work is already done. When your customers can learn about a product, find the best fit, and connect with you — their local licensed agent — all from the comfort of their own home, your business is performing at its peak.
Working On the Go
Back to our second consideration: How mobile do you need your business to be? Let’s do a quick consultation.
Your future clients are starting the buying process online. And how do they get there? From their mobile devices.
In 2015, Google announced that more searches take place on mobile devices than on desktops. It’s not just how people are searching; it’s how people are accessing the world. Media and news are now consumed on the go, and business transactions are no different.
Your business website is the first impression you make with some clients. It should be mobile-friendly and functional, no matter the platform.
If your website is strong, how about your personal skillset? Mobility gives brokers the chance to interact with prospects and employees in the field via insurance-specific apps and client portals. When you have a smartphone or tablet on hand, that information is always at your fingertips.
Additionally, many carriers provide agents with electronic enrollment apps. Become an expert with these tools and clients will keep coming back because they’re so satisfied with your processes.
Here are some tools you should be comfortable with to work better on the go and reach your clients online.
No matter the operating system, these phone/computer/camera/atlas/scanners-on-the-go are a must-have in bringing your business into the new age. The products and services you sell probably have mobile apps that let you get work done anywhere, so get to know them well.
And don’t forget the core use of a smartphone: phone calls! Keeping in touch with your clients and being available at any moment goes a long way in establishing strong relationships.
Agency Management Systems
The benefit of a secure company-wide organizational system hosted online is invaluable to a growing business. An agency management system (AMS) centralizes company files into a single, backed-up location, accessible by everyone within an agency. Think of it as your Rolodex and a filing cabinet-sized book of business, but stored online where you can access it at lightning speed. A good AMS will improve your agency’s ability to automate processes and improve efficiency, which will increase your profitability.
Within an AMS, client relationship managers (CRMs) allow you to pull down important information for any client at any time. A good CRM allows you to quickly send, share, and retrieve files from a secure location on the web. Plus, you can identify and mark clients who may need a plan review or are a perfect fit for a cross-sale product. If you work within an agency that has multiple agents and even more clients, these tools are essential for quick communication and collaboration.
Never before has accessing all of these files been so simple, or even possible, when you’re outside of the office.
Whether you build your own or link to an outside tool from your website, a quote engine will add dynamic functionality to your online presence.
Websites are a great contact point and educational tool for your customers. What sets one apart from another is how well the site engages a customer and provides a service. In your case, a quote is the service you want to provide, but you can let the computer do all the work!
Additionally, when a user can save and share a quote with you, it makes the appointment and enrollment a breeze.
Thousands of words can be written about how to make the most of social networks to grow your business (and we went ahead and did just that!). To simplify things, keep this idea in mind: Businesses thrive on networking and referrals.
Creating profiles for your business on the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) will put your name out there at no cost to you.
Keep this idea in mind: Businesses thrive on networking and referrals.
You can invest as much or as little time as you want in building your presence online and using your accounts to market your services. Just remember, you’ll only get out of it as much as you put in.
Every business works differently and relies on their strengths to continue moving forward. If your strength is adopting new technologies into your business strategy, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a lot of recent success.
If you’ve been hesitant to open your business to new tools, it’s not too late. We all start somewhere, and with these tools, we’re all moving forward.