Sticking to the generalist mentality is the way many agents operate. However, it has been well documented that a great way to grow and develop your commercial footprint is to dive into a niche and specialize in serving, selling and growing a target market. If you are looking to take the leap and start establishing yourself in a commercial niche, we have outlined some tips for you to distinguish your sales process and help boost your opportunities.
To determine which niches are best suited for you, you’ll have to ascertain market availability, your ability to serve those industries and access to these niches based on location. Once you decide which niches you’ll pursue specializing in, you need to start developing your sales strategy.
Become Part of Their Community
Every industry has a community. Think of Insurance Nerds—there is a website, email list, blogs and even a Slack Channel. If you want to target this industry, you need to be involved and active in the areas where they spend time. It’s important to note that you don’t want to dive into these communities (both digitally and in person) with sell, sell, sell, pitch. Instead, as the newbie, take stock of the community.
Use these communities to be a watcher: understand what they are talking about, what they are interested in and what problems they face. By learning and watching, you can understand how you may best serve them. You will also pick up on valuable language and trends. By being a student, you can start understanding how the industry works and who the players are.
Another advantage is you can start to identify the other well-liked vendors that serve the industry. Building relationships with other vendors targeting the same group can be very beneficial for referrals, references and assistance at networking events.
Over time you can build value in who you are and what you provide by offering up value in these groups. Sharing blogs, information, vendor referrals and other useful things will all help you build value. You can find communities by looking on Linkedin, where there are some great industry groups you can join. Find associations that you can join and get on their email lists to stay on top of industry trends, or you can attend networking events.
Even if you are more of an inbound agent, signing up to get valuable information on the industry will help you speak their language and understand the industry’s challenges.
Clearly Identify Your Industry’s Key Challenges
Every industry has challenges. This could range from staffing, legal changes or changes due to technology. Owners of businesses enjoy understanding the challenges and learning how other companies are rising to tackle these challenges. A great way to start is to write a clear list of their top challenges that you can bring up when speaking with them. Of course, you want to focus on a few insurance challenges you can insert!
Identify Your Competition
Research who your key competitors are in the industry and what they offer. When you are working to attract larger commercial accounts, no doubt the competition and the offerings will be high-stakes. Don’t get blindsided when talking to a lead about what the competition is up to. Connect with your competition on social media, their blog and website to make sure you are up to speed.
Break New Ground
When cracking into a niche, you need to break new ground. That means being different. You have to work to develop your unique selling proposition that will get attention. When you are working on your pitch, start with how you will be different—if everyone is offering certificates in an hour, risk management and claims management, you can’t say that! You need to identify how to be you and share what you do better. It could be something like this:
“I wanted to call you today to share something with you about XYZ industry. Are you being affected by…. INDUSTRY CHALLENGE? We hear that all the time. Being an independent insurance agency, we actually have some solutions that have been working fantastically for other companies in your industry. I’d love to see if these solutions are a good fit for your agency. How many employees do you have?…”
Now you can get them talking about themselves vs. pitching you!