Agent Link - April 2020

APRIL 2020

sales teams put all their energy into the top of the funnel only to get burnt out and let prospects slip away because they’re exhausted just trying to find that opportunity. It’s a loss for everyone, and it’s something that Agent Link is actively working to end. If you’d like to know more about this subject, please reach out. We’re always happy to talk to you and share what we’ve found. After all, we do what we do to empower people who can change lives for the better. INSIDE 1. A Letter From Our President 2. Classic Comedies for Tweens and Teens 2. Inside a Customer Mapping Journey 3. New Top Producer Acquisition Strategy 6. The Most Important Question You Can Ask

if the vast majority of their time is going into just finding the prospect? This is how Agent Link helps its clients grow distribution. We take care of that first part of the funnel. We focus on getting agents engaged with your organizations so that your recruiters can focus on building a relationship with them. With the work we do on our end, IMOs can start working the opportunity, rather than searching for it, and ultimately close more agents to write business for them. Through our data, analytics, and marketing expertise, we help clients create a personal message that resonates with their ideal audience. We help them understand who that audience is through the process of developing a producer persona to figure out who's the best fit for their value proposition. Organizations that utilize our insight see a growth in their distribution channels. It’s a process, definitely, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s an effective process that delivers results. As you can no doubt tell, this is a topic I’m passionate about because I’ve seen too many

Over the last few years, marketing has changed dramatically. And more recently, the shifts appear even more significant. People who used to respond to direct mail are no longer responding. As a society, we’re inundated with more and more emails, and we have fewer and fewer quality interactions. Of course, if people aren’t responding, it’s because they aren’t seeing much that speaks to them. So, how do you combat this massive hurdle? One of the best ways is to have meaningful interactions with the right people. Your team must focus on creating a relationship with the producer by practicing follow-up that includes 12 positive interactions with them. Getting in front of the right people is all about understanding your audience. When it comes to growing distribution, the message has to be in front of the right audience in the right channel. This can be a challenge when recruiters are focusing on too many parts of the funnel. They fail to create a relationship, and positive interactions fall away after a call or two. When you look at most sales teams, they spend 60%– 70% of their time prospecting. How can they spend much time on meaningful conversations

1 +800 535 4545 -Senia Gramajo

What Is a Cus At first glance, a customer’s journey appears rather simple: You offer a service, and the customer uses it. However, since the advent of technology, customer journeys have become more complex and can have many variations. As you well know, insurance and financial services distribution channels are diverse. Your clients or customers can come into contact with your brand or company in a multitude of ways and from many different starting points. Marketing campaigns, referrals, online searches, social media exposure, quoting engines, or financial advice are just some of the many ways they might find you. Once they do find you, you want to make their experience as enjoyable as possible. To make sure no key interactions slip through the cracks, you need to map the touchpoints along the A Closer Look at This Powe

Laugh It Up With Your Loved Ones

customer journey. Map the Journey

Classic Comedies for Tweens and Teens

A customer journey map is a crucial framework for marketing strategy. It provides you with a visual representation of the experience your customers have with you. It tells the story of their experience with your company or brand, starting with them

For parents, movie selection can sometimes seem pretty limited. When your kids are young, you may feel shackled to the latest Disney animated features. But as they get a little older, you might want to introduce them to some real classic comedies. After all, who doesn’t like to have a laugh with their loved ones? Here’s a look at just a few side-splitting films that still hold up. ‘The Princess Bride’ Endlessly quotable and full of heart, this 1987 irreverent fantasy story is perfect for kids looking to graduate from fairy tales. While the dialogue contains a handful of swears and enough mild innuendo to earn a PG rating, most of the violence is played up for comedy rather than appearing gritty and real. Be prepared for your kids to repeat Inigo Montoya’s lines again and again. ‘School of Rock’ According to Common Sense Media, many parents choose to ignore the PG-13 rating on this 2003 comedy and show it to their tweens. Besides brief strong language and a few scenes with adults consuming alcohol, this Jack Black movie is surprisingly tame for being about rock ‘n’ roll. Beyond the endearing characters, Black’s hilarious antics, and an amped-up soundtrack, the movie lands its message of self-acceptance so well that you’ll be clamoring for an encore. ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ There’s nothing quite like the comedy of Monty Python. Surreal, witty, and unabashedly ridiculous, “Holy Grail” defies nearly every convention of storytelling and revels in doing so.That said, this film is recommended for teens since it has some strong elements of innuendo in one particular scene. Another scene contains over-the-top violence that is intentionally made to look fake, but it may still scare younger viewers. If you’re looking to show your teens a whole new world of comedy, then this 1975 classic will make their imaginations run wild. 2

stomer Journey Map?

erful Tool

• Exposing key influences that prevent potential clients from taking action • Allowing you to concentrate efforts and expenditure on what matters most to maximize effectiveness in sales and marketing ChangeWith the Times Technology is influencing consumers to shift from offline to online.They have a variety of digital tools at their disposal to help them with their purchasing decisions. As a result, online interactions grow in commercial importance. Your customer is likely to use search functions, online reviews, and social networks as tools to validate or justify a possible purchase. A customer journey map is a crucial step to staying on top of these changes. Companies need increasingly sophisticated processes and tools, and this need is likely to increase in the future. Your map may even help you identify ways in which technology can overcome challenges faced by your company. When done effectively, the insight you glean from mapping will help your sales and marketing teams align their strategies to improve the customer experience and bring in more business in less time.

being unaware of you and their own need and ending with them using your products and services and building a long-term relationship. See the Benefits Mapping customer journeys helps you gain insight into your customers’ expectations. It allows you to step into their shoes and see your company from their perspectives. The benefits of a customer journey map include: • Helping you see where and how customers interact with your business • Benchmarking the actual client experience against your brand promise • Finding what’s bringing about awareness of your company and what value your products and services are providing • Identifying patterns that reveal key circumstances and pain points that trigger a need for your company, from the perspective of real customers in real situations • Showing the gaps between the desired customer experience and the one received


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‘Start With Why’

And Better Business Will Follow

Talking about the “why” engages emotions; analyzing the “what” is purely logical. When you try to sell something to people based on “what,” you rely on specific manipulations like price and product details. But if you help people understand why you do what you do by revealing the real purpose and intention behind your reasons, you build a sense of trust. This trust leads to loyalty, and loyalty means that person comes back to do business with you and also refers your business to others.This is how businesses grow! Figuring out your “why” is a process of discovery, not invention. In order to discover it, you can turn to three key strategies. • Look backward at the original motivation for starting your business. What specific problem were you trying to solve, and why was it important to you to solve it? • Look outward by asking those around you why they spend time with you or why a customer buys from you. You can learn why people are drawn to you and your business this way. • Look inward by identifying a bigger vision that you wish to contribute to. What do you believe in? What really matters to you? “Start With Why” teaches readers how to go about discovering their “why,” then instructs them on how to effectively use that information to help their business. It also helps them unleash their business’s vast potential that has remained untapped until now.

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: You can manipulate it, or you can inspire it.” –Simon Sinek It can often be hard to clearly articulate what you do for a living.That means it can be difficult to explain your vision to potential clients and customers, which then makes it harder to convince them to purchase your product or services. In “Start With Why,” author Simon Sinek illustrates the importance of explaining to others why you do the business you do rather than explaining what you do or how you do it. Sinek argues that when people start figuring out the “why” in what they do, it inspires action from others in a way that discussing the “what” can’t.


Our Game-Changing Marketing Strategy No. 3: Mapping the Journey Win More Business From Top-Level Life and Annuity Producers

Before we jump into the third of three game-changing strategies (see our February and March newsletters for the first two), we have to face an unpopular fact: Not all producers are created equal. Take a second and consider this question: Who is your ideal producer? Whatever you just considered, I know this: It’s not everyone. It’s not all the producers you’ve contracted, and likely, it’s not even all producers who are currently writing business. In our work with hundreds of brokerage general agencies, carriers, and financial services organizations that play a role in the various distribution channels in the industry, there are certain core competencies that very successful organizations have. One is that they harness the power of focus regarding their niche and targeted market. Focus requires some exclusion. Honing in on the group of producers that best fit your company’s services — the type of producers you really enjoy helping and servicing — is a great way to grow. In fact, it’s the only way. Almost a century before I was born, an Italian engineer and economist, Vilfredo Pareto, made a startling discovery: 80% of the producing land in Italy was being worked by 20% of the population! In further examination, he discovered that the same pattern held true for other production systems, and the 80/20 principle of efficiency was born. The Pareto principle predicts that 80% of a group’s production comes from 20% of its producers.

strategy and will provide you with the type of actionable insight your team can use to really align marketing, sales, and client experience to win and retain more business from top producers. To do this, we have to acknowledge that with or without us, top producers are on a journey.This journey is prompted by their own desire to reach a certain goal.Those top producers who joined your ranks perceived your company as something that would help advance them toward these goals in their journey. One of the most impactful things Agent Link can do for our clients is to help them gain clarity about who their ideal producers are and what journeys these producers travel. Rooted in Adele Revella’s buyer persona methodology, Agent Link’s proprietary implementation of this methodology helps you take a deep dive into their mindset and get great results. The Power of the Buy-In Map and Producer Personas Think about this for a moment: Simply knowing what types of advisors you recruit doesn’t help your ability to think like them. But, suppose you could listen to their thoughts as they traveled that recruitment journey. You could listen in as they evaluated which brokerage agency to place their business through — yours or your competitor. If you knew these thoughts, you would likely devise a much better recruitment process, one that would win more contracts and producer activations and retain more of your producers. Many of us know intuitively that our target market is not the vast majority of independent agents, but what we often overlook is the undiscovered and unexploited insight available in our very own list of producers. Rooted in the buyer persona methodology, a producer persona report is an in-depth analysis of who your ideal producers really are. Through helping hundreds of carriers, BDs, and wholesalers recruit and with our 150,000-plus conversations and interviews with producers, we’ve gained unparalleled insight into what motivates

But here is the big question: When it comes to producer acquisition, which type of producer is your marketing strategy really geared to target? Who are you really acquiring? Wouldn’t it be nice to gain the ability to acquire more of those ideal producers — the 20% — versus just any producer? Mapping the Journey of Your Ideal Clients As we discuss on Page 3 of the newsletter, mapping your top producers’ journey is a crucial framework for your marketing


“When I was presented with the extremely compelling producer and advisor personas from the folks at Agent Link, it gave me tremendous optimism that we would be able to focus on the exact type of people who we want to work with at our company. Instead of casting a wide net, we are now able to focus on the candidates who are the correct fit for our company.” Then there is a national IMO that targets life insurance producers both in the insurance as well as financial services arena: “I thought it was a necessity. It gave us a different perspective on who we’re talking to. You think you know who someone is while you’re in the middle of marketing to them, but truly separating out each persona illuminated something different.” The actionable insight from producer personas allows you to focus your recruitment efforts and investments on the target most likely to give you a high return on investments. It pays to go through the customer mapping journey to understand your producer personas. Otherwise, how do you know who you’re even targeting? Reach out to us for more information on customer journey mapping and producer personas — we’d love to talk to you about our proprietary processes!

agents and advisors to make connections and write business. Essentially, we’ve mapped insights into what fuels independent distribution growth. We developed this proprietary process at Agent Link to help our clients gain more insight into their ideal producers’ expectations. Producer personas have been crucial in helping clients grow their distribution. Using producer personas, they can align their marketing strategies to win more contracts from the select types of producers they want to bring in. When we took the concept of buying personas and applied it to recruitment, we discovered an incredible tool for us and for our clients who hadn’t been getting the results they deserve. Often, our process of developing the perfect producer persona reveals strategy-changing insights that weren’t discernable before. Application and Results After this process is applied and we provide a report, clients are often surprised by what their producer personas look like. Take this response from the CEO of an independent BD-affiliated organization seeking to recruit financial advisors. When we showed his company their report containing three different producer personas, they discovered that the one type of producer they’d been targeting wasn’t even in their target sector.Through the process, they gained a new way to align their recruitment strategies.

4 +800 535 4545 -Stu Gramajo

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