1) Retain Current Customers
It takes five times as much time, money, effort and energy to get a new customer as it does to retain a current one. Current customers are your foundation and the first step to building a business is keeping that foundation firmly in place. You keep that foundation in place by regularly communicating with customers, delivering top-notch customer service, and overall making sure your customers are extremely happy with you and the service you are providing. You should be asking, and otherwise surveying customers, on a regular basis as to what they like and what they think you can improve upon. When you do speak with customers, let them know you appreciate their business. Never take customers for granted or let your service slip.
Do what you can to build a personal connection with customers. Send thank-you notes, cards on special occasions, and find other ways to add that special touch and let customers know you care. We know that people do business with people they know, like, and trust, and in fact, studies show that 97% of people list that as the number one reason for doing business with a particular company. It's simple, before a friend leaves you for a better price or perceived better service, they will at least pick up the phone and call you.
Note: I realize there may be some customers you don't want to retain and that's fine, just make sure to remain professional and above-board. You don't want to tarnish your image or give anyone any unnecessary ammunition against you.
2) Review Coverage
Not only is reviewing coverage on an annual basis the right thing to do for your customer, it can also provide the opportunity to increase coverage and add other items thus adding premium dollars. Of course you only suggest increasing coverage if it is necessary, never in an attempt to simply increase premium and make more money at the expense of your customer. In addition to opportunities for more business, reviewing coverage helps ensure that both the customer and you are covered in the case of a claim, as most complaints come from inadequate coverage and a lack of communication.
Studies show that the average policy holder has 6-7 policies while each agency has only 1.5 of those policies. During your annual review and other conversations with the customer, you want to inquire about other policies the customer might have that you can get.
For over 20 years I had my auto policies with one agent, my home-owners with another, and several other policies in other locations. This was due to several reasons, but it is clear that I am more the rule than the exception. Not once in that twenty-year time frame was I asked by any of my agents about other policies I had elsewhere. Not once. If they were trying to get rid of me, I would understand however, due to the fact that I have never had a claim, pay my above-average premiums in full with the first invoice, and am otherwise a good customer, I can only assume that they are missing the boat. If someone has a home-owners policy, there is a very good chance they at least have an auto policy or two. It's as simple as saying something along the lines of, "By the way, if we bundle your auto and home-owners I may be able to save you some money. Can I simply give you a quote if for no other reason than to keep the other guy honest?" With one or two simple questions during each review, it's entirely possible to double your business.
4) Pursue New Business
This one is pretty self explanatory and should go without saying. In addition to adding new customers to your current base, you will occasionally have to replace customers that die, ones you decide to let go, or ones that leave for some other reason.
Start by deciding how many new customers you would like and then determine how many prospects you need and how you will get those prospects. Break your annual goals down to monthly, weekly, and daily activity and then get to work. These days, with the average agent and agency cutting back, it's a great time to go get new, competitive business. And remember, you're in sales and sales is a numbers game. While it's true that you need quality behind the numbers and the eventual relationships, in order to get the relationships, you need to talk to lots of people. It's simple, the more people you talk to the more business you will do. If you talk to enough people during the day, you will eventually run into someone who says, "I need what you have" or, "I know someone who needs what you have."