Business journals bedazzle us these days with stories of ‘unicorns.’ Startups you never heard of suddenly skyrocket at 10X growth rates.
Many are software companies, but not all. While they may not be software companies, they very likely use software as a critical element of their value proposition.
But it’s not likely you’ll see the covers of Fortune, Wired, or Inc. proclaiming fast-growth stories of insurance agencies.
Outside of ‘growth by acquisition,’ the stories of accelerated growth are all too rare.
But – as in every industry – innovators and marketers do break growth records.
How do they do that?
Not by proudly proclaiming they’ve ‘been in business since 1937.’
Not by proudly proclaiming they serve the community with ‘trust, integrity, and care.’
Not by proudly proclaiming they ‘care about their customer.’
Rather they do it by:
- Connecting with their customers and marketplace, not just
connecting with technology, but connecting with their hearts
- Using those connections to deliver an overwhelming and
ongoing stream of value.
This positions the agency uniquely in the marketplace. The ideal customers – the ones who want an agency relationship – get touched where it matters.
In their values.
Done right, customers don’t forgive or forget their marketing.
They thank them for their marketing.
The rewards are tangible. What happens when customers are consistently grateful?
- They give more referrals
- They buy more insurance
- They stay longer
That’s the trifecta of insurance marketing.
The agency doesn’t have to sell on price. They can sell products at the right price. With margins that let them invest more in relationships, more in service, more in delivering value… and still have higher margins than price-driven agencies with price-driven customers.
This approach delivers a hidden benefit. An agency built on ‘astounding growth through overwhelming value’ aligns the entire team on something they feel great about.
Making a difference. Changing lives. Delivering the ordinary (insurance) in an extraordinary way.
This kind of culture supports the best of what an insurance agent could want: Clients who love you, and a team that’s excited about what it does.
But how is this possible? When the average agency records growth at a measly 4% or 5%, how can some agencies achieve 10X industry averages?
In my podcast with Chuck Blondino, Director of Agency Capabilities and Programs at Safeco Insurance, he reported on some mind-boggling research his company did on their fastest growing agencies.
Their 240 fastest growing large agencies grew at 26%. Their 240 fastest growing small-to-medium agencies grew at 83%.
How? By my analysis, the answer is simple. One, they made the commitment. (Don’t underestimate the importance of that little decision!)
And two, they communicated more with their customers and marketplace, and they communicated differently.
Perhaps not that much differently than many other companies or industries across the business landscape but different than most insurance agencies. (Though, as ‘old school’ methods of marketing, communicating and delivering value are rapidly under-whelming insurance consumers, more and more agencies are turning to this ‘new content marketing’ – and discovering the benefits.)
I can’t guarantee an 83% growth rate. Or even a 40% growth rate.
In fact, the ‘magic number’ I guide members of my private client group towards is 25.89%, if only for the sheer elegance of the number. That rate of annual growth will 10X an agency in ten years. A laudable goal.
Yet, a number of my clients ‘turn the volume down’ on their growth rate, if only for their own composure. Even positive change can be stressful.
Marketing has always had a bold promise. Because it allows you to communicate one-to-many, not just one-to-one, it holds the promise of scale.
As the independent agency channel faces increasing competition, scaling your agency may be a mandate.
Whatever your growth goal, my intent is to unlock the secrets of ‘the new marketing.’
Ultimately, I offer this as a guide. A guide to an agency where customers don’t just feel loyal. They act loyal. By reciprocating with an ongoing stream of positive benefits back to you.