Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Chapter 5: Telemarketing & Appointment Setting

Posted on July 5th, 2011 by John Scranton

In chapters 3 and 4, we discussed insurance agency eMarketing and web seminars respectively.  These powerful tools that technology has made so easily accessible offer a tremendous opportunity.  Targeted emails and potent webinar presentations will generate sales activity and pour prospects into your funnel when properly executed.  However, it is my personal preference to use the aforementioned initiatives to enhance the effectiveness of a telemarketing and appointment setting campaign by creating warm calls.    There is no substitute for a direct conversation with your coveted prospects, and effective Insurance Agency Telemarketing & Appointment Setting campaigns will create that opportunity.

Appointment Setting Cold Calls

Since every salesperson will not have the campaigns under motion to generate warm calls, we will begin by discussing traditional cold calling campaigns that everyone can launch immediately.  Producers with aggressive sales goals should not be investing their time in making these calls personally, they need to delegate the task to someone who can deliver quality new business activity while they are out closing.  Here are 3 key tips for increasing call efficacy that can be instituted quickly and cost-effectively:

  • Ladies First – We are not sexist, but all of our callers are women.  Over many years and millions of dials, it has become abundantly clear that women deliver superior results.  The reason for this could be as simple as ladies are often more pleasant on the phone, or as complex as a chromosomal advantage.  Regardless, it is proven fact, so hire wisely.
  • No Bullpens, No Dialers – Do not hire callers in a bullpen or those who use an automatic dialer.  The background noise, the delayed answer, the dropped calls – these are all issues that highlight the lack of professionalism associated with telemarketing.  Provide your caller with an office (or home office) that is quiet and require that they dial every call.  This will create the appearance of a professional person working within your business.  Much better than a college kid in a bullpen.
  • Simple & Concise Pitch – Get to the point quickly.  Intro, 3 key differentiators, call to action.  A 3 to 5 sentence pitch that can be delivered in 20 to 30 seconds is most effective.  If your caller is reaching out to busy executives, a concise delivery will not only be appreciated, but it will be required for success.  

Appointment Setting Warm Calls

Now, as promised, the technology driven gold mine that is appointment setting warm calls.  The prospects which click-through and open your email campaigns, and those who register for and attend your web seminars all provide a unique opportunity.  These prospects are in-profile (otherwise they would not have received your email message or web seminar invitation), and they have shown some level of interest in your expertise (as shown by their click-through or registration).  This makes your appointment setting call very warm, and exponentially more effective.

These calls are so effective that I continue to devote an hour of every workday to them even though I am filling an executive level role.  In fact, prospects that came from warm calls to email opens were my richest source of prospects and closed sales in 2010.  The method I deploy is to cherry-pick the warm call prospects I want and that I have time to call, and assign the remainder to my staff of callers.  This way, every opportunity is followed up with a call within the same calender week.  The result of this program is consistent appointments with prospects who can and will buy – the exact goal of my marketing campaigns.

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Insurance Agency Telemarketing & Appointment Setting – Tips, Tricks, Samples and Results

Posted on May 19th, 2011 by John Scranton

I was recently speaking to a prospect about telemarketing firms.  We discussed how typical organizations administer a cold calling campaign, and then how our services are different.  He thought the differences were significant and compelling, so I thought I should share a few ingredients to the secret sauce.

We use senior level telesales professionals for our insurance agency appointment setting campaigns and can integrate comprehensive insurance agency web marketing programs to optimize the effectiveness of your unique insurance agency marketing plans. We can work from your insurance agency prospect list or generate a comprehensive list targeted for your producers. Insurance agent leads are an important component of your agency’s success, and StartUpSelling can customize an insurance agent lead generation program that’s a compelling fit to effectively deliver your value proposition to your targeted prospects.

Appointment Comments (information gleaned by our appointment setters when they schedule an appointment):

Prospect, Kim R. (Owner), who discussed the idea with Debbie J. while we were on the phone. Debbie, VP of HR, will be expecting the call. They have 52 participating employees on their health plan. Call her at 1pm, she might have Dave K., COO with her on the call.

Prospect has 10 tractor/trailers and some vans mostly hauling heavy equipment and lumber. Radius of operation is the entire 48 states. They have 13 employees. They are gathering information now for a May 1 renewal and are currently covered by Main Street Insurance.

We spoke with Kim R. (Owner), who discussed the idea with Debbie S. while we were on the phone. Debbie, VP of HR, will be expecting the call.

Prospect has over 25 employees on health plan. Lois A. requested a reminder email the day before the appointment. They are not happy with their current agency and would like more alternatives for carriers. They renew January 1st. Call Monday at 9am sharp.

They have 118 Tractor trailers that haul general merchandise. They travel nationally, though they have extensive operations through PA and NJ. There are 235 employees and are currently covered by Progressive. He mentioned that they also run school buses. Call is at 1pm, they asked for an email invitation. Joe T. COO, Mary B. VP of HR and Bill S. Director of Safety will be on the call.

Snapshot of a successful Midwest telemarketing project
(4 months into their 6 month project):

Week #15

  • Over 4,000 calls made
  • 27 calls per hour
  • 115 conference calls set
  • 21 email requests
  • 139 total requests for contact
  • 1 request for info or meeting per hour
  • 5 sales closed
  • Many sales pending
  • Hundreds of emails gathered for eMarketing campaigns
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From the Archives: Performance Enhancing Drugs for Your Pipeline

  • Posted on March 24, 2014
  • by John Scranton

Performance Enhancing Drugs for Your Pipeline

Posted on April 4th, 2011 by John Scranton

During my years as an insurance agent and throughout my tenure working with StartUpSelling, I have experimented with a seemingly infinite number of different initiatives, sales tactics,  and marketing concepts in an attempt to quickly boost my sales activity.  Just like an honest athlete knows, there is no way to skip the hard work required to improve your pipeline and reach your goals.  Unless you are Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens – who appear to have broken the rules but have no problem flatly denying any wrongdoing – the hard work required makes reaching your destination much more fulfilling and rewarding.

But what about when you need a little boost?  When I’m not feeling great I might take an extra multi-vitamin or a vitamin C pill.  This will not have a dramatic effect on my long-term health, but it will help a little bit this week.  So when my pipeline needs a little kick – a legal supplement – the tried and true remedy that has proven to work for me in different industries, different verticals and to reach a variety of titles (account managers to c-suite) is a blend of eMarketing and telesales.  The right cocktail of these performance enhancers can quickly jumpstart your production.

The method is simple – send professional emails to target prospects, then call them.  This email can be a large scale send from an eMarketing engine, or a series of direct emails from Outlook.  The calls can be made by a professional telemarketer, or by the sales executive.  Whenever I see the top of my pipeline looking a little thin, I immediately inject it with these two supplements, and the results are always positive.  When properly executed, an email campaign and follow up calls are so effective they should be illegal.

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Webinar: Review 3 Trucking Lead Gen Case Studies in 15 Minutes

  • Posted on September 4, 2013
  • by John Scranton

Learn how to develop a successful trucking agency lead generation campaign as we review three case studies in just 15 minutes. Our expert guest speaker will provide keen insights explaining how and why the agencies profiled in our case studies benefited from an additional five in-profile prospect opportunities per week. Topics include:

* 3 Trucking Agency Appointment Setting Case Studies
* How Prospect List Management Impacts Results
* Why Lead Handling is Critical to Success
* Leveraging eCollateral to Close More Business

Date & Time: Wednesday September 11th at Noon EST

To Register:

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From the Archives: Our Days of Cold Calling are Over

  • Posted on August 26, 2013
  • by John Scranton

Our Days of Cold Calling are Over

Posted on July 28th, 2010 by John Scranton

Do you like cold calling?  I know there are some of you out there who truly enjoy cold calling.  It can be exciting, and if you can deal with rejection, it will eventually be effective.  But in my estimation, most salespeople view cold calling like eating their vegetables: it is not something they enjoy, but understand it is required for growth.

However, the owner of an agency recently told me that “our days of cold calling are over.”  How?  Is he going out of business?  Actually, he is experiencing significant growth and looking to add producers.  Insurance agency marketing without cold calling, but how?  An effective web marketing strategy that includes:

  • eMarketing
  • Web Seminars
  • Content-Rich & Current Website
  • eCollateral
  • Client Testimonials
  • Website Video
  • Social Media
  • SEO

Insurance agency lead generation no longer has to revolve around telemarketing.  In the web 2.0 era, agencies both large and small can embrace the cost-effective tools available to us to expand their pipeline without spending hours cold calling.

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Recent Insurance Agency Marketing Project Highlights

  • Posted on July 16, 2013
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency Website – Benefits Agency in Michigan

  • Clean, current and professional look & feel
  • Responsive Design
  • Insurance Agency SEO
  • Launched in under 60 days

Insurance Agency eMarketing Campaign – Agency in California

  • Customized, Branded Blog to Provide Collateral
  • Bi-Weekly Email Campaigns to Clients & Prospects
  • Very High Click and Open Rates
  • Convey Value Proposition and Identify Interested Prospects

Insurance Agency Leads Appointment Setting Campaign – Trucking Agency in Colorado

  • 9 Appointment in First Week of Calls
  • Lead Handling Process Assistance
  • Pitch Refinements for Different Prospect Profiles
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