Ok, so you’ve heard that brokers who specialize in a certain niche can be more successful than a generalist. You know specializing will help you stand out from the competition, become known for your expertise, gain more marketing opportunities, and offer a better customer experience. You may have even decided on a niche – but now what?
It’s time for the rubber to meet the road.
Here are our top tips for how the most successful commercial brokers establish themselves as specialists and build a healthy book of business.
- Educate yourself about the industry and your target clients.
Once you have identified your niche market, learn everything you can about it. Dive into industry stats, read industry publications, visit your existing clients’ place of business to learn more about how they work and what challenges they face. After that, get to know people within the industry (especially the big players if there are any!), find out where the businesses are currently getting their insurance from, and identify any gaps they might have in their existing coverage. Often, it is just a matter of finding the right carrier partners to demonstrate you can offer the value and coverage they need.
- Build relationships.
Shift from a transactional mindset to one of consulting and relationship building. You have the solution for your prospects’ problems – both those they know of and those they don’t. You must have deep knowledge of the insurance lines you are presenting and the ability to observe, assess, and determine their coverage needs.
- Demonstrate your expertise.
Show that you know what you’re talking about by teaching, explaining, and presenting a compelling case. It is also important to be able to translate complex issues into fundamental concepts and ideas, and to convert the insurance sector’s jargon and insider lingo to plain talk and general business principles. This requires deep product knowledge and your prospects will pick up on it right away.
- Develop a network.
Of course, you want to focus on building relationships with prospective clients, but there are many other constituencies vital to your success: insurance company underwriters, your agency partners and vendors, your internal team, and key leaders and influencers in the insurance industry. There are also key influencers in any niche target industries you serve. Broadening your network will help you nurture brand ambassadors, testimonials, referrals, and leads – naturally.
- Take advantage of the industry’s marketing channels.
Your networking should encompass both the industry you represent (insurance) and the industries that you serve. Besides reading industry publications, join trade associations and attend trade shows. Follow industry and insurance thought leaders on social media channels and in groups.
- Find a mentor.
We all need someone to look up to and learn from. It might be someone in sales, insurance, or just a wise and experienced business leader or entrepreneur. It is not uncommon to have different mentors at varying stages of your career growth, and while a personal or one-to-one mentor can be great, you can also follow and learn from thought leaders on social media and podcasts.
- Be a life-long learner.
Stay current on coverage and pricing trends, competitors, new products and services, and industry sectors that you serve. Make the time to read key insurance publications (Insurance Journal, Insurance Business America, Rough Notes, Risk & Insurance, for example).
- Cultivate your emotional intelligence.
It is a given that you need to be a commensurate professional in your dealings, but that isn’t always enough. You also need to develop your emotional intelligence (EI), sometimes also referred to as your emotional quotient. (EQ). Your EQ is frequently defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. It entails being a good listener, empathizing, discerning pain points and motivations, and being able to deliver bad news, as well as good. It is professional maturity.
- Practice humility.
It is not about you, it’s about the client. Also, your success in serving the client is not a solo endeavor, it is dependent on a team of others, from the marketers who help produce leads and the underwriters who generate the quotes you need to the CSRs who help maintain the ongoing service relationship. Be humble. Be appreciative. Share credit.
Want to learn more about why brokers who specialize are more successful – and how to find your niche? Download our guide today.