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Old 06-23-2017, 08:51 AM   #1
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How Are You Picking Up Groups How Are You Picking Up Groups
Hello,

I'm curious to know what strategies other agents are using for picking up new business in the employee benefits world. Here is what i'm curious about.
  1. Size of the agency you work for
  2. Main source of new business
  3. Method of tracking your productivity

Maybe that is too much information to ask for, but i'm just too damn curious to not ask it. I work for a small family owned independent agency and I just want to know how things work for other agents.

Thanks
Ben
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Old 06-25-2017, 11:26 PM   #2
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How Are You Picking Up Groups Re: How Are You Picking Up Groups
Our agency is also a small family-owned agency. We have 15 employees and we do mainly commercial insurance. I have transitioned over the last 3 years to almost 70% benefits.

I am a big believer in making lots of in-person cold calls and email marketing. I make a lot of phone calls why I drive around all day too. In my opinion, you must set up a pipeline manager/CRM and track everything! You can also create email templates which makes cold/warm emails much easier to duplicate.

As far as how am I selling groups...I lead with ACA and ERISA compliance, ben admin assistance, and helping employees understand their benefits better...its been my experience if you lead with a price and a spreadsheet you will lose almost every time...especially since 50 and under pricing is the same for all agents.

I also show the clients how much their current agent makes on their group, and then ask them how much service are they really getting for all that commission. Other agents seem to really dislike that, but it has worked very well for me.

I really like Zoho CRM, but you have to spend a lot of time setting it up. Pipedrive is another really good and easy way to track calls. I have seen some interesting sounding CRM's on the Tech Forum too.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:32 AM   #3
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How Are You Picking Up Groups Re: How Are You Picking Up Groups sbg_ben is the thread starter for: How Are You Picking Up Groups

I really appreciate your reply CrainGroup.

Our agency has about 6 employees and we focus on employee benefits and then we do individual health, life and medicare based on referrals only for the most part.

I would agree that cold calling in person is much more effective in the benefits market. I actually do a lot with my local Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador that helps me get into businesses to talk to people without coming across as a sales person. I am not doing much email marketing which is something that I can probably improve on so I appreciate the information.

It sounds like you are using pretty similar selling points as us with the exception of mentioning the amount their agent is making. We usually do bring up that their agent is getting paid commission on their business every month though and ask what they are doing to earn that money. I also agree that selling on price makes absolutely no sense, especially in the age rated small group market.

We don't currently have any CRM software and although I notice the need for it, the other agents I work with wouldn't be interested in getting it. I've been trying to find alternative methods to use for myself that don't cost any money.

I guess the whole point of this post for me is to try and audit myself and my agency and make sure we are on the right track.

Thanks for your response,
Ben
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:56 PM   #4
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How Are You Picking Up Groups Re: How Are You Picking Up Groups
Originally Posted by CrainGroup View Post
Our agency is also a small family-owned agency. We have 15 employees and we do mainly commercial insurance. I have transitioned over the last 3 years to almost 70% benefits.

I am a big believer in making lots of in-person cold calls and email marketing. I make a lot of phone calls why I drive around all day too. In my opinion, you must set up a pipeline manager/CRM and track everything! You can also create email templates which makes cold/warm emails much easier to duplicate.

As far as how am I selling groups...I lead with ACA and ERISA compliance, ben admin assistance, and helping employees understand their benefits better...its been my experience if you lead with a price and a spreadsheet you will lose almost every time...especially since 50 and under pricing is the same for all agents.

I also show the clients how much their current agent makes on their group, and then ask them how much service are they really getting for all that commission. Other agents seem to really dislike that, but it has worked very well for me.

I really like Zoho CRM, but you have to spend a lot of time setting it up. Pipedrive is another really good and easy way to track calls. I have seen some interesting sounding CRM's on the Tech Forum too.
Do you also share with them what you'd be making with their group?
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:07 AM   #5
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How Are You Picking Up Groups Re: How Are You Picking Up Groups
Originally Posted by sbg_ben View Post
I really appreciate your reply CrainGroup.

Our agency has about 6 employees and we focus on employee benefits and then we do individual health, life and medicare based on referrals only for the most part.

I would agree that cold calling in person is much more effective in the benefits market. I actually do a lot with my local Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador that helps me get into businesses to talk to people without coming across as a sales person. I am not doing much email marketing which is something that I can probably improve on so I appreciate the information.

It sounds like you are using pretty similar selling points as us with the exception of mentioning the amount their agent is making. We usually do bring up that their agent is getting paid commission on their business every month though and ask what they are doing to earn that money. I also agree that selling on price makes absolutely no sense, especially in the age rated small group market.

We don't currently have any CRM software and although I notice the need for it, the other agents I work with wouldn't be interested in getting it. I've been trying to find alternative methods to use for myself that don't cost any money.

I guess the whole point of this post for me is to try and audit myself and my agency and make sure we are on the right track.

Thanks for your response,
Ben
You could build your own CRM using excel and outlook, not saying it is the greatest thing in the world, but it is free and easy. It all depends on the size of your activity and what you want to spend.

Outlook could be used to schedule your calls (tasks) and you could create/store customer information in their contact entry. Depending on what metrics you want to track, you can build an excel doc to track.
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:42 AM   #6
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How Are You Picking Up Groups Re: How Are You Picking Up Groups
Of course....and then I show them all the additional services they are getting from us. The whole idea is to get the client disturbed at the high hourly rate they are paying their agent...its part of a strategy to move towards being a fee-based adviser.

This only works of course with agents that aren't in the account very often.
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Old 06-27-2017, 12:18 PM   #7
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How Are You Picking Up Groups Re: How Are You Picking Up Groups
Originally Posted by sbg_ben View Post
We don't currently have any CRM software and although I notice the need for it, the other agents I work with wouldn't be interested in getting it. I've been trying to find alternative methods to use for myself that don't cost any money.
There are free CRMs out there. They wont have all the bells and whistles of premium CRMs. But they will get the job done. Agile CRM has one of the best free versions of a CRM I know of. If you want desktop based and not cloud based, try "Chaos Free CRM". Both of those work well for groups as well as individuals.

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Originally Posted by CrainGroup View Post
Of course....and then I show them all the additional services they are getting from us. The whole idea is to get the client disturbed at the high hourly rate they are paying their agent...its part of a strategy to move towards being a fee-based adviser.

This only works of course with agents that aren't in the account very often.
Are you not taking commissions on the benefits plans you sell the group? You take a flat Fee instead?
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Old 06-27-2017, 12:36 PM   #8
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How Are You Picking Up Groups Re: How Are You Picking Up Groups
We use https://www.agencybloc.com/ for CRM and commission tracking, it is a great system if you need to track and pay benefits commissions.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:37 PM   #9
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How Are You Picking Up Groups Re: How Are You Picking Up Groups sbg_ben is the thread starter for: How Are You Picking Up Groups

CrainGroup- How are you finding out how much their agent is making in the small group market? I'm guessing that would only work once you have a release of information/okay to quote letter?

To everyone else- I really appreciate the replies regarding CRM. I will look into some of the options you mentioned. I like the idea of making my own in excel and outlook in terms of being able to really make it my own.

Thanks
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