Let’s get started with what is NOT a commercial insurance prospecting plan. Making 50 calls a day or scheduling 5 new biz meetings per week is not a plan. Making calls is an activity that is or should be a component of your plan, but not the plan itself. A plan involves some strategy, actively seeking or creating opportunity. Chances are you know what your standard markets are competitive on and what they’re not. Within that you know the competitors that are tough to beat and those less reluctant to ‘fight’ for an account. So start here, with your own experience of the present market conditions to lay some ground work.
Next, have you asked your underwriters what they need, now? And I don’t mean a recent ‘hit’ list, which is often misleading and lets them off the hook. I mean call up your favorite 2-3 u/w’s and ask them what they NEED NOW (applies especially going into the 4th Q). Just like you they have a book to maintain. Do they need to keep pumping premium into their sweet spot or diversify a bit with some select classes? Maybe your hottest u/w has exceeded his or her premium goals and isn’t inclined to get aggressive on new biz. You won’t know until you get a weak quote back, unless you’re keeping in touch.
Side note: ever have one of your carrier reps come in and tell you they’re non-renewing a particular class or industry of business due to loss experience or some other circumstance? It doesn’t happen to often, but if it does you better be the one to put 2 and 2 together. As soon as the meeting ends go to your Dashboard, run a search for those classes insured with that market and start calling because you now know they’re going to be orphaned upon expiration…might also be a good time to play defense and secure some markets for your clients soon to be non-renewed too…
Not every prospect out there is a perfect opportunity or situation, actually most are not. And to say you can gauge opportunity based on the incumbent carrier and your market awareness alone not what I’m saying to do. What I am saying is to apply ‘layers’ to your marketing plan.
For example your u/w at Westfield tells you he needs manufacturers, specifically metal. You know Westfield beats the pants off of CNA, Zurich, and Hartford any day of the week but doesn’t do so well against Erie or Penn National. Does it make more sense to just call every metal mfr out there or start at the ones with those weaker markets and then call the rest of them?
A plan doesn’t need to be overly elaborate, but it does need to lay out what your targets are, the activity involved to hit your audience, and accountability. Some producers live and die by their marketing software. It tells them when letters have been sent, when to call, when to follow up, drips emails, etc and it tracks everything. Others use a whiteboard. Keep track of initial calls, follow ups, appointments, active quotes and W/L. How else are you going to know if what you’re doing is effective production or an effective waste of time?
Side note: I used a white board to keep track. Every day I walked into the office I saw how I was doing in black and white, and so did everyone else.
Are your numbers where you want them to be? If not, figure out where the breakdown is occurring. Maybe the rookie has 10 new appointments a week and quotes most of them, but never lands the deal. Is he calling large car dealerships insured with a market that has a 1.00 LCM filing and a dividend program? And he’s quoting them with First-Comp who has a 1.50 LCM and no dividend to offer? He obviously has no problem with calling, getting in and quoting, but clearly lacks direction…adjust accordingly.