When you think about it, selling a client an insurance policy is the end result—the payoff—for the marketing work you’ve done to draw that client in and build that relationship. Strategizing how you’re promoting your insurance business and how you’re pulling in clients always needs to be top of mind if you want to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

That’s the bottom line from Chris Langille, a Philadelphia agent who sells home, auto, life, health, and long-term care insurance and is also founder of Advisor Evolved, a firm which develops websites for independent agents and agencies.

Rethink Your Role

“It doesn’t really matter what you sell, whether it’s insurance, whether it’s financial services, whether it’s hot dogs on the corner,” said Langille in the session “Make it Rain: Generating More (and Better) Leads for Your Agency” at Agency Nation’s Elevate 2018, which was held in Cleveland last June.

“You are not really in the business of selling insurance; you are in the business of marketing and sales. The transaction that compensates you is obviously insurance sales, but in order for that to happen, there has to be lead generation.”

Gotta Gear Up Your Web Game

While agents may know their product inside-out, they may not know the best way to sell it—and especially the best way to sell it today. Marketing is both an art and a science, Langille said.

Successful agents need all the attributes of any great salesperson; they have to know their product and be honest about it, anticipate a customer’s motivations, break the ice with the customer, and close the sale.

Don’t Get Left Behind

Now more than ever, to be a successful seller, you need to have or hire expertise in SEO, UX, website design, and you need to be able to present ad campaigns on multiple platforms.

If you don’t have these skills or don’t want to learn them, then you need to find someone who can do this for you, stat. Your agency’s survival depends on it.

Referral Generators

Agents who want volume of any sort also need a repeatable way to generate more leads.

Leads can come from car dealerships, realtors, or moving companies—but one of the best lead-generators, said Langille, are your own customers.

Good Idea

One of the best automated on-boarding sequences Langille found is asking for a referral at least twice in a customer’s first month with you. Programs like Active Campaign have prewritten step-by-step functions which will automatically send a customer an email or text asking for a referral.

Push your referral rewards program every time you see your customers, Langille said. “Even put it in your email signature: ‘Leave us a review.’”

The main take-away for referral requests: You cannot be afraid of being too aggressive, advised Langille.