1. TARGET SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES. Over the course of several decades, Scirocco Insurance Group in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey migrated from being a generalist to being “a generalist with focus,” says John Scirocco, Jr., president & CEO. The agency’s producers specialize in industries ranging from medical professionals to landscapers.
“One of our producers developed a unique vertical four years ago because of his passion for camping,” Scirocco says. “Next thing you know, he’s probably the single biggest writer or campgrounds of any agent in the state.”
Similarly, Weatherby-Eisenrich, Inc., headquartered in Andrews, Texas, launches small business marketing campaigns aimed at niche markets. “We’ll give producers an assignment to go work on health and fitness clubs, or go work on small medical,” says Lloyd Eisenrich, president. “We recently went after 60-some church camps in a two-state area.”
2. GET INVOLVED LOCALLY. Strong community roots are the quickest path to a strong referral base of small businesses that are happy to sing your praises. “We rely very heavily on referral for small business,” Eisenrich says.
“They come from all over the place—existing clients, reputation, other agents.”
“It’s a natural connection,” says Mark Berven, president of Nationwide Property & Casualty. “Whether it’s in the local communities through chambers or other business gatherings and community events, there’s a large opportunity to connect locally and to do so through a trusted relationship based upon mutual interests.”
3. BUILD A STRONG DIGITAL PRESENCE. “There’s a whole new age out there that’s so much more technology-savvy than many of us,” says Kellie Kallhoff, vice president, property-casualty at Lanier Upshaw in Lakeland, Florida. “They’re used to going online and getting what they need.”
And if you’re not there, prospects may not be able to find you—especially entrepreneurs in the millennial generation. Tetrault Insurance Agency, Inc. in New Bedford, Massachusetts gets a lot of new business by showing up for insurance-related Google searches, says Jennifer Ciesielski, vice president.
“More and more, digital is a bigger piece of prospecting,” says Scott Franklin, president & CEO of Lanier Upshaw. “You’ve got to be there and be relevant just to have credibility. We’re in that transition right now where OK, we’ve got a presence, we put the information out there, people can look us up and find that we’re viable. But how do we really start conducting e-commerce? Right now, we’re not there yet. But we know we have to be.” – J.C.