If you’re a commercial insurance broker (producer) struggling or dissatisfied with your prospect pipeline — or you manage someone in this situation — it’s a great time for a reboot. As in, let’s get going NOW in a better direction before 2018 gets away.
For most producers, the prospecting well runs dry periodically. I’ve never heard a producer complain that they have too many great, qualified prospects.
Struggling with a thin pipeline, producers tend to overwork unqualified prospects that won’t turn into clients. That wastes everybody’s time and effort and creates a doom loop of frustration and failure for the producer.
How can a producer with a thin pipeline kick-start their prospecting?
We recommend that a producer prepare a 90-day producer plan. Why 90 days? It’s a tight, manageable time frame. Not too short. Not too long. If you steer wrong or go off course, you fix it next quarter. It’s about 1% strategy and 99% tactical. Separate the strategy and the tactical. Spend one day (today would be a great day) to strategize. Then spend the next 89 days, doing what you planned.
The format is not important. It’s your thought process. You need a straightforward game plan for how you will prospect to fill your pipeline with qualified prospects that ultimately can become clients (and grow your book of business and your agency/brokerage).
90-Day Producer Plan Breakdown
We recommend your 90-day producer plan contain 4 elements:
- Target Markets: Focus on 3 niche markets – What niches will you prospect? It’s easier to be successful when you focus on specific industries. Identify industries where you want to build a clientele and be known as a risk management and insurance expert. Find industries you like to work with, where you already know people, where your firm has proven success and that are widely available in your local market.
- Target Accounts: 26 Prospects – 13 weeks – you need to meet with 2+ prospective clients each week. Who are the target accounts that you will meet in the next 90 days? This is laser-focused and tactical — name the specific businesses you will meet with this quarter. If you can continuously set 2+ qualified new business appointments per week, you’re going to be well on your way to success as a producer.
- Centers of Influence: 13 people in your sphere of influence – explore one relationship each week. Who are the people that can give me leveraged referrals to prospects? List the names of people you’re going to contact. Think: accountants, lawyers, bankers, local networking group members, niche industry association group members, your LinkedIn connections. Talk to your COIs about mutual shared success.
- Prospecting Campaign: You have 90 days. What strategies are you going to use to open doors? Be a prospecting animal. No prospecting method works perfectly but everything works so don’t over-analyze. The phone is still the most ruthlessly efficient. Make warm calls if you can; make cold calls if you must. Face-to-face canvassing may work too for some types of business and it’s a nice change of pace from phone work. For sure, use LinkedIn, the social media power tool for business development. Harvest referrals from clients. Participate in or host local events or seminars. Be active in local business networking or niche industry association groups. Do direct mail or email campaigns.
A successful producer develops the discipline to continuously self-generates prospects and sets first appointments. That’s what the 90-day plan focuses you on doing. Work a 90-day plan and start the habit of building one every quarter. Don’t surrender on 2018 if you’re off to a slow start. Crank up the sales prospecting engine and fill your pipeline.