We recently ventured to the Big Apple for an incredible podcast session at Vayner Media world headquarters with the one and only Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee). Bradley Flowers and Scott Howell, aka The Insurance Guys, led the interview, and Andy Priesman of Cover Desk and Todd Sorrel of ePayPolicy added some commentary around the impact of InsurTech across the industry.
With the focus around personal branding, innovation, and strategy, this 40-minute podcast is a must for all the independent agents out there. Here are just some of our takeaways from the in-depth discussion.
The insurance agent of the future (not to mention every day, right now) should be high tech and high touch. That combination is a win/win strategy.
What do we mean by high touch? High touch means engaging in human to human interaction that builds trust. Since you’re selling a product that protects people, it’s important to genuinely like people. (Of course you do, but if you have anyone in your agency who doesn’t like people, perhaps this is not the field for them.)
You should give without strings/expectations. Gary Vee pointed out the difference between authentic selflessness vs. selfish selflessness. Selfish selflessness is verboten in Gary’s world, and ought to be in yours.
A practical application of high touch is to follow up after binding a policy. Not with any agenda – just to check in. Mention something personal you remember about your customer: ask about a pet, a hobby, a family member. Show you’re not just there to make the sale and move on.
I think of branding as residing in both realms. It is the linchpin between high touch and high tech. And it is essential. Note that branding is a key theme in my post about seeking inspiration outside of the industry. When you are marketing something you’re not in control of, you are not in control. While this part of the discussion centered mainly on captive agents, it’s still a truism of all branding. If you don’t control your brand, it will be controlled for you.
Now here’s something I suspect many of you have either never considered –or have spent hours worrying about. Or, you may already be doing it. If so, that’s awesome. Per branding maestro Gary Vee, one way everyone should be putting themselves out there is by creating content. For those who are not comfortable doing a vlog, do a podcast, or write articles for LinkedIn. This is not optional. If you’re not differentiating your brand through content, you’re becoming irrelevant.
Inevitably, the conversation turned to high tech and its profound influence on our industry. Gary Vee pointed out that Amazon is entering the insurance market in a big way. They’ve hired more insurance actuaries than any other company. Should you be afraid? Gary says no. He said Amazon entering the industry should not be scary — unless you’re not willing to put in the work.
What else? Imagine customers asking Alexa or Siri for an insurance agent. Will Alexa or Siri pick you?
Next, the subject of buying insurance online came up. Just like we at ePayPolicy advocate that customers should be able to pay for insurance however it’s most convenient for them, Gary Vee says we should let consumers buy insurance online if they want to. It’s all about being customer centric.
Finally, the topic turned to outsourcing. Gary’s all in favor of outsourcing functions that are not your core competencies. This goes for administrative functions like payroll and virtual support (nod to here to Cover Desk). It goes for payment processing. It could also involve seeking outside expertise and tech channels to build your brand through social media. If these are not core competencies that you possess within your agency, by all means seek out experts to help you build and manage your brand.
In summary: Insurtech is exploding. We’re witnessing a true revolution. These tools are there to make your life easier and your office more efficient. But never forget you’re selling to people. When you put your customers’ needs first, when you seek to delight them and spread love instead of fear, everyone wins.
These are the highlights that jumped out at us. Be sure to tune in to the podcast for the full interview. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the spirited discussion and valuable business insights.