The Insurance Agent Of The Future
Sounds very Rise of The Machines, doesn’t it? Well, in a way, it is…technologically speaking. But in other ways, the agent of the future will remain the same…just much cooler looking.
Here’s what I think the independent insurance agent of the future will look like. And why.
How Will They Prospect And Sell?
If you haven’t already felt the effects of social media as an agent, step into the light. It’s here to stay.
Even if Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn go the way of the dodo in the next few years, there will be new outlets to replace them. Now that humans have figured out how to stay in touch in real time over the Internet, that basic ability won’t vanish anytime soon.
- Prospecting: Insurance agents of the future will do a majority of their prospecting (at least the initial legwork) through social media. Right now, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook all make this way too easy. But right now, agencies are dipping their toes in the water, and agents themselves still have a lot to learn about using these tools in their everyday prospecting bag of tricks.
- Mobile Quoting and Application Submission: In the (not too distant) future, agents will sit across the table from prospects they found through social media. They’ll crank out an insurance quote on their iPad in a matter of minutes. If the prospect likes what he sees, he can sign the ACORD applications with his finger, and the agent can bind the policy on the spot. All before their second latte.
For the most comprehensive step-by-step approach to ensuring your insurance agency is set up to win in the digital age, your required reading assignment is Customer Service Is Just Foreplay: The Modern Customer Experience Will Separate You From The Competition by Jason Cass & Brian Appleton. These guys have nailed it by covering everything creating an online lead generation strategy to putting your cross selling on autopilot to accepting online payments and everything else you need to thrive in the modern age.
This IS the way it’s headed, folks. Companies like Applied Systems have already made part of this scenario possible through their Mobile Producer app for the iPad.
Where Will They Work?
The increasing us of cloud-based insurance tools means the agent of the future doesn’t have to come into the office every day.
Wait, haven’t I heard of this before? Oh yeah, remote worker programs. But that’s not for the insurance industry…or so you say.
Here’s why I think agents will work more remotely in the future:
- Agency Owners Buy-In: As they warm up to the idea of remote workers, owners will love the overhead cost savings. Less office rent, reduced furniture costs, fewer Keurig K-Cups (yes, our staff is addicted).
“But how do I manage my salesforce remotely?”
Don’t panic. If your producers are in the field with iPads and the like, that means you can Skype them anytime you need some Facetime (See what I did there?).
If it makes you feel better, schedule a regular video chat with them at the beginning of the week. Let this be your time to find out what’s on tap for them in the coming days. Although they might not say it, producers will appreciate both the accountability and the freedom that comes with this setup.
We’re already using Skype to keep in touch with some of our more remote offices. It’s free. And quite candidly, the slight awkwardness that’s unavoidable about being on camera encourages both parties get their points out and move on with their day. No more death by meeting. It’s a win-win!
- Agents Buy-In: Working from your house (or Starbucks) is what you’ve dreamed of, right? Okay, you won’t get to lurk in your CSR’s doorway whenever you want, but come on! You’re a salesperson. Get out there and do what you do best.
Seriously though, have you ever noticed how much more productive you can be when you step out of your cubicle and change your scenery?
Yes, it takes discipline to schedule time for paperwork before you go hunting for new clients. But, with coaching and encouragement from your sales manager, you’ll do just fine.
Where Will They Live?
Ever seen the movie Outsourced? It’s a must-rent B flick that will leave you in stitches (That’s old people speak for “funny”). Essentially, a mid-level manager in the U.S. gets sent to India to train his replacement. What ensues is pure comedy (and a little romance).
What I love about this movie is the bond that begins to form between the outsourced employees in India and their American customers, all through phone conversations. Here’s a short clip.
Now, I’m not suggesting that agencies of the future will outsource their producers to India. But I think it will certainly become more commonplace to find agents living in one state with a local insurance license who work for an agency in another state.
Or, if not another state, then at least 100 miles away from their agency’s nearest office (which, if you live in RI, would be another state).
The insurance agent of the future might not wear skin tight leather pants and ride a laser powered motorcycle (looking at you, Los Angeles). But they will certainly posses the high tech
tools toys and geographic flexibility to perform their job with more efficiency than today.
What do you think the insurance agent of the future will look like?
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