In the insurance game, starting renewals in advance seems like a no brainer in retaining business, right? We all know that no matter what size agency you have or how big your book of business is, Q4 requires tons of time and diligent attention to the details. Some agents with small books of business can get away with starting renewals only a couple of months in advance while most need additional time. Instead of dreading the coming quarter for chaos, break up the whole year.
Q1 allows you to relax and reflect. What did you do right or wrong? What tools did you use? What were the significant errors or pain points that made the 4th quarter the hardest? If you are smart, you will start to look at benefit administration systems that allow you to “partner” with your clients in some (if not all) of the enrollment work. You have a whole year to organize, regroup, and prepare for crunch time.
Q2 is an excellent opportunity to make sure you are in front of carrier reps every chance you get. Stay on top of new products and make connections, so when you are ready to negotiate, you have a few new pals in the insurance business. Venture out and learn what is out there. Your competition knows. Plus, they will most likely buy you lunch. On second thought, make it happy hour.
Q3 is go-time. Treat this part of the year as if its Q4. Start talking to your groups and getting things ready. No, you may not have rates at this point, but now you can strategize. Game-time is when you SHOULD be getting creative. Give yourself space to demonstrate to existing clients what sets you apart from your competition. Last-minute negotiations with your finalist carriers are essential, and now is the time to do it.
Q4. If you did it right, Quarter 4 should be relatively easy. Now is the customer service and the data entry stage. Take phone calls, reiterate renewal information to your clients, and enter/update information as it comes along. Keep in mind, your clients have other jobs and don’t think about these details the way you do every day. Use this season to show off excellent customer service.
Now look, we are talking about tips to retaining business, but what would make any stressful time of the year a little easier? That’s right, wine and cheese. I’m just kidding. It’s new business. Although you should be evaluating and conditioning your team and your process in preparation for a busy Q4, you should be fighting for new business as well.
If you have a Q4 tip or short story of your own, share it here!