About a year ago, I wrote an article on x-dating for insurance agents which garnered some rave reviews from professionals within the industry. As such I wanted to re-visit this topic since I do a lot of consulting for many agents and brokers. Below are some key points/ideas to keep in mind when x-dating/setting appointments.
- First for those of you new to the term; ”x-dating” is the act of knowing when a prospects insurance policy comes up for renewal. This applies to all insurance regardless of whether it’s Liability or Health insurance. Why knowing and acting on this information may be clear to the seasoned broker but still bears mentioning. Let’s say you have 100 prospects in your database that typically renew their health insurance in July. If the agent waits until July to try to get the prospect’s business it will be too late to close the deal. The reason being it takes time to work up a proposal, set up a meeting close the deal etc. Also if you know when the renewal date is, chances are your competitors do too. And don’t think they aren’t calling the same prospects. The key here is to call 2-3 months prior to the renewal date to set up a meeting or give a quote.
- Don’t worry about the timing- Most agents worry that meeting with a prospect before they’re ready is a mistake. While I agree with this strategy to a point-there are some advantages to meeting sooner rather than later. For one thing you establish a rapport with the prospect by setting up an “intro meeting”. This will hopefully establish the tone for future meetings for when the prospect is ready and open to receiving a quote.
Here’s a great example. I had a client who wondered why I was scheduling a meeting with a prospect who wasn’t due for renewal for several months. Here’s why I did it. The last time the agent was scheduled to meet with her was in Nov. 2006. However it was too late (according to her) to bid and she didn’t think the meeting had happened to begin with for some reason. So although the prospect starts the bidding process in Nov for Health for 200 employees it was a good idea to establish some kind of rapport with her sooner since the agent has no history and therefore a smaller chance at closing the deal.
Positioning early wasn’t a bad thing particularly since it was too late to do anything with her the previous year. She thought it was a good idea as well. Too soon is sometimes better than too late.
More tips next column