Even if you’re a “people person” who is good at sales, it’s important you include networking in your bigger picture effort to increase your profile and expand your opportunities.
While networking and being social are important in all aspects of business, their importance cannot be over-emphasized when you’re an insurance agent or broker.
The more people you talk with, the more chances you have to sell yourself and to pitch and close new business. Your professional networking can enhance your personal brand, significantly boosting your future sales opportunities.
What are the best ways to build your network? Below are some tips.
Your current customers can be your most important advocates. Having good customer relationships can go a long way toward boosting your credibility if one or more of your customers will go on the record and provide an endorsement of your service.
Just ask; don’t be afraid. The worst your client can say is “no”; however, if he or she agrees, you can use the endorsement in a variety of ways – on your website, on your prospecting messages, etc.
Meeting and Events
In spite of all of the emphasis on social media and online communication today, face-to-face meetings and events are not dead. In fact, they can be a wonderful way to meet others focusing on markets that differ from your own.
By taking part in industry meetings, conferences, and trade events, you can meet many new people. Community events may also be a way for you to network with business leaders in your community – setting yourself up for an outreach later to discuss how you might help them with insurance for their business and/or their employees.
You might also be able to build a rapport with other professionals with whom you could trade leads.
In your follow-up outreach, consider a one-on-one for coffee or lunch. If you’re both on social media, be sure to connect there, too.
Don’t dismiss anyone you meet because you believe they may not be important. Everyone should be viewed as a potential connection or referral source. They may know people who could benefit from your services in the future.
A great place to develop your business network online is through LinkedIn, which is among the most important, and most prevalent, professional networking resources out there. While, admittedly, not everyone on LinkedIn wants to network (some are online because they’re expected to be; they don’t want to build their network further). It is a good way to connect with former employees or colleagues as well as prospects and customers. What is essential, though, is a complete, updated profile. It can make it easier for others to find you – and you can use your profile to further build and enhance your online reputation. That happens when you comment on posts by others.
You can also use Twitter and Facebook to increase awareness of your business, particularly if you link your posts back to your blog. Using a blog on your website has proven to be an effective way to reach customers and prospects. It can also enhance your credibility and position you as an industry expert.
Ask for Referrals
As mentioned before, your current customers can be your biggest advocates – and they can often be a source for future business. They often know others who have similar needs and who could benefit from your expertise. Ask them if you may use their name when you reach out to their referrals – whether it is by phone, email, or written message. You are likely to get a warmer response when your prospect hears or reads the name of someone they know.
Start today by putting these tips to work for you. You’ll find they can help broaden your network and aid you in attracting new customers.