Prospecting can be the most distasteful thing we do as insurance agents. It is the #1 complaint of failed agents everywhere: “I have no leads!” It’s also the most important thing you can do to grow your business. If you’re not doing the volume you want, the best place to improve is your prospecting.

The first thing you want to do, is set a non-negotiable start time for your day. Look at your week ahead and plan a time to start: not a time where you’ll be thinking about leaving your house – but the time when you will be walking in and approaching your first business. They say 90% of success is just showing up – and that’s especially true for us.

Second, have a non-negotiable number of approaches you will make before you quit prospecting that day. For new agents or new territory, we recommend 30/day. Go full-steam for blocks of 10 approaches at a time and only take breaks between blocks.

If you only take those two pieces of advice, you will change your entire business in 3 weeks.

Third, use your existing business network. To build up your list of referrals as quickly as possible, make a list of your existing “Power Base” – the people who know you and will take a look at our coverage because of your existing relationship. Most new agents are shocked at how many people they actually know and can reach out to immediately when they use our memory joggers.

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Fourth, get focused about the kind of businesses you want to approach. While every business can and should have our coverage (and are absolutely worth approaching when you’re referred to them), not every business down the street is a good candidate for us to make a cold call.

Low-hanging fruit to cold call (i.e. with no introduction/referral) share some characteristics:

  • The owner still works on-site and is depended on for day-to-day decisions
  • Some kind of manual labor – working with tools, climbing ladders, driving trucks
  • Growth – they’re making good margin and are mindful of their tax exposure
  • An open door – they’re used to people who don’t work there coming in periodically

What kind of networking groups exist in that market where those kinds of business people congregate? Use Meetup to find those groups and get plugged in.

Fifth, organize a target list of the businesses you want to call on. Use Manta or AtoZ Databases to pull a list of 100 businesses that fit that profile in the area you are working. Import that list into BatchGeo so they are all plotted on a map. First thing in the morning, drive to the closest pin. It really takes the brainwork out of your day and keeps you focused on where you need to go next.

Here’s an example of how to use ReferenceUSA to generate leads:

Every time you leave a business, look around and see if there are any businesses that look like they might fit the profile above. There’s real magic in saying you just finished meeting with the owner next door and wanted to check them out.

ASK EVERYONE for referrals – networking group, demo, buy, don’t buy – EVERYONE.

Print out the LinkedIn lists of your prospect’s connections before every meeting. Ask, “If I should bump into or call anyone on this list, is there anyone I shouldn’t mention your name to?”

Sixth, approach and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. We don’t always have one-call-closes in the business market. Many times there is a gap between approach and demo. The only way you’ll set that appointment is by staying on top of your new prospects with a consistent follow-up regimen of emails, calls and drop-ins.

Finally, rank your prospects and call on the highest-quality leads first and then work your way down. Consistently add new, hot referrals to the top of your list. Your time is the most precious resource you have.