Many insurance agents are retiring and through succession planning redirecting their clients new agents. These tips may help to ensure a successful transition that leads to improved business results through sustainable business growth.
- Communicate your retirement earlier. Give your clients enough time to accept the transition and allow another agent time to personally contact your clients.
- Provide a mechanism to allow clients to stay or to leave to another agent. Since the bottom line is not to lose a client for the insurance carrier, provide a strategy that allows the client to freely change agents within the same insurance company.
- Relationships are the key. With all the insurance companies offering similar if not the same products, keeping clients are all about relationships. Working those relationships through individual calls, individual handwriting notes to full color stationery (not black and white form letters) are just examples to building and reinforcing existing relationships.
- Support staff are a key to customer loyalty. The support staff within any insurance agency is many times the reason why the clients stay loyal. These front line customer service representatives are the ones who take payments, check policies and perform the necessary day to day business tasks.
- Keep policies or procedures consistent. When an agent retires and his or her business is succeeded to another agent, make sure all policies are consistent and again well communicated. Changing policies in mid stream will only confuse, frustrate and potentially irritate existing clients.
- Be professional. During the success process, stay professional. Refrain from blaming other agents or individuals for clients not wanting to stay with you.
- Relationships are not transferable like pieces of paper. Since relationships are all about people, they are not easily transferred as a car title or deed to a house. Presuming because the insurance carrier has not changed, the current client will follow the new agent is a fatal presumption.
These tips have been developed after personally experiencing all of the ways not to ensure a successful insurance agent success. What surprised me is the audit of the new agent expecting the clients from the retiring agent to readily transfer their relationships. This new agent who was a previous regional manager for the same insurance carrier ignored the golden rule in today's marketplace that selling regardless whether it's insurance, manufacturing, professional services, retail or technology is all about relationships.