If you're an insurance agent, you know the importance of the review appointment. Whether you're after retention, additional sales, revenue, or social proof, getting in front of your clients is the shortest path to success. Plus, if you're like most successful agents, you feel a moral responsibility to protect your clients, and getting them into the office is the best way to do that.Yet review appointment programs rarely seem to thrive. They just sort of sputter along, never quite fulfilling their potential. Why? There are lots of reasons, some of these reasons include:
- Getting clients into the office involves a lot of low-value task work
- Other activities seem more urgent
- Telephones start to get heavy after weeks or months of calling
- Getting good results takes patience and consistency
- Coming up with tools for managing and measuring the program is hard
- Clients don't show up like they should
In this post, we'll share with you our recipe for a robust review appointment program that, rather than fizzling out, creates an upward spiral that drives your business. Here's how you do it.
Step 1: Define Success
When it comes to execution, nothing is as important to a review appointment as knowing what results you're after. Without a definition of success, a review appointment devolves into a box-checking activity. A few common examples for success include:
- Improving retention
- Getting as many appointments as possible
- Optimizing the scorecard
- Building rapport
- Dealing with price increases
- Ensuring renewals
Step 2: Maximize Output Statistically
By optimizing your review appointment program for a few metrics, you can immediately increase the yield of your existing program. There's no rocket science here, but it's amazing how much impact these tips produce. We're going to focus on the following 4 metrics:
- The number of clients being called as part of your program
- The percent of clients called 4 times each
- The percent of clients who schedule
- The percent of clients who show up
So using some hypothetical numbers on a book with 2500 clients, the math works like this:
- You allocate 100 clients to call this month
- You end up calling 60% of them (4 times each)
- 20% of the clients you call agree to schedule
- 50% of those actually show up
100 x 60% x 20% x 50% = 6 reviews. Now all you have to do is optimize each metric. For example, follow these steps:
- Since you have 2500 clients, you can could be calling 200 per month to get through your book in 1 year
- Then, you make sure that the team calls 100% of them
- Next, you improve your script and do some training to increase your appointment rate to 35%
- Finally, you do two reminder calls for each scheduled client (and maybe offer them a beverage selection or some other magnet), thereby increasing your show-up rate to 75%. What does the math say?
200 x 100% x 35% x70% = 49 reviews!
It's so simple that it seems crazy, right? But it works to significantly improve your review appointment numbers because it plugs the leaks in your program.
Step 3: Optimize the Review Appointment
Now your client is sitting in your office. The short-term goal of the review is to serve the client, and to find ways to provide them with more value from your portfolio. That means more sales for you now.
The long-term goal is equally important: you need to make sure that this client sticks with you, and that they meet with you next year for another review. Here are the minimum things you need to do to make sure that happens.
- Care about them and their future
- Demonstrate credibility by educating and empowering the client
- Serve the client's best interests, no matter what
- Multiline the client, ideally with life insurance
- Keep it simple and be authentic
- Focus on value, not price
- Thank them and mention the next review appointment in 1 year
Don't miss that last step. Always be paving the runway for the next review appointment. That's how you make sure that your program improves over time.
Step 4: Scale By Following Up
If your review appointment has provided value, and if your customer feels you care and trusts your credibility, you have a narrow window of opportunity to ask them to return the favor. You need to get on the phone with them within a week or so to do the following:
- Thank them for being your clients
- Reaffirm your commitment to them
- Survey them about their satisfaction level
- If they aren't delighted, stop! Fix it
- Otherwise, continue
- Ask them for referrals
- Ask them for social proof (a recommendation or review)
This takes so little time and produces such amazing benefits. Of course, getting referrals and Facebook likes is great, but there's more. When a client refers someone to you, they actually solidify their own commitment to you. Every time the client refers to you as "my agent," they're reinforcing the value of your relationship.
Moreover, if the client says something like, "My agent really cares about me and my family. She meets with me every year just to make sure that we aren't overlooking anything and that we're not overpaying," you just increased your scheduling and show-up rates for your review appointments.
Step 5: Pave the Runway
A good review appointment program actually gets better results over time. As your clients get used to meeting with you periodically, scheduling gets easier and metrics increase across the board. That said, one of the most common objections we hear when calling clients is, "I'd rather not. He only calls me when he wants to sell me something."
To increase your scheduling rate and your show up rate, you need clients who feel cared for. One easy way to do that is to call them out-of-cycle just to express appreciation (Care Calls ™). We recommend a call that covers the following:
- Expresses appreciation and care
- Asks about any concerns or help needed
- Mentions that you'll call back in six months or so to check in and review policies
Think of what this call accomplishes:
(a) it gets your name in front of the client frequently enough to insulate them from competitors
(b) it shows your commitment to the client without trying to sell something, and
(c) it builds alignment for the next time you contact the client to set an appointment.
If you're doing review appointment calls every year, you should consider this kind of call at the six-month mark.
A Few More Tips
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you bolster your review appointment program.
First, always mention the next review appointment. You need to train your clients to look forward to meeting with you.
Second, observe and train the people scheduling and conducting the review appointments.
Third, take time to calculate your expected workload. If you underestimate the effort required, your program will end up back where it started. A good estimate for an agency with 1300 clients that reaches out to 100 clients per month looks like this:
- 300 review appointment calls
- 60 reminder calls
- 15 reschedule calls
- 30 follow-up calls
- 250 Care Calls™
That's around 650 calls for the month, and they have to be spread evenly across days and weeks in order to be effective. (You can't call a client 4 times in one week without seeming pushy or desperate.)
Fourth, measure and tune. If you don't have don't have data to work with, you'll be guessing where to make improvements.
Fifth, be consistent. Really, this is the biggest factor in under-performing review appointment programs. For the whole thing to work, it needs to get done day-in and day-out.
Client Focus Can Help
Of course, if you want a robust review appointment program, but want to offload the calling rigor. We can typically follow this entire program for you for about half of what it will cost you to do it in-house. Either way, we hope this information will help you see the tremendous value in a good program and give you the tools you need to drive growth from within your book of business!
by Matt Wagner, Vice President of Strategy