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Starting a business is challenging, but so is growing it. It takes effective planning, a clear strategy, and a willingness to learn and adapt to an evolving business landscape. If there’s one thing the past two years have taught us, is that it’s not an option but a necessity to re-fit your skills and your business to keep pace with the inevitable shifts happening in your environment. What do they say … the only constant in life is change. To stay competitive in a changing world, insurance intermediaries need to evolve too. Here are a few tips to help you expand into new markets without leaving your established clients behind.
Get to know your customers and understand their needs
With consumers increasingly expecting more personalised services and products, make sure you ask for their feedback through quick and easy online free survey tools such as https://www.surveymonkey.com/ or during one-one interactions. Listen to their experiences and opinions carefully and act on them – it's an effective way to retain clients and improve the services your brokerage offers.
Ask your clients the right questions. Remember that your role is much wider than selling insurance; your clients count on you to stay up to date with real understanding of risk and the ability to tailor relevant insurance solutions for client needs and to guide them through the complexities of the ever-changing risk landscape.
Focus on giving your customers excellent service
As you work to grow your brokerage, focus on establishing an active relationship with your clients and providing quality service continuously. Happy clients are more likely to stay with you and tell their colleagues, friends and family members about their positive service experiences. Referrals are a good business builder and can be a direct path to growth.
While traditional, in-person networking helps your brokerage grow organically, you can also strengthen relationships and reach new audiences through social networking. Make sure you are adept at using these platforms – they provide great opportunities for establishing yourself as a thought leader in your areas of expertise and gain access to online markets.
Extend value to your current customers
You’ve already built credibility with your existing clients, which means they’re more likely to remain with you or consider taking up additional products to meet their changing insurance needs. Explore opportunities to extend additional value to your clients by offering products and customising your services to fit their insurance needs – such value-add can also serve as a springboard for bringing on new clients.
Grow and equip your team
Keeping up with your clients’ changing insurance needs may require upskilling your team by providing them with much-needed industry-specific knowledge and expertise in areas such as cyber insurance, or hiring new members. Don’t forget to show your staff that you value their contribution by investing in their professional development. It’s also important to look for and share with your team new strategies that can help you stay up to date with changing trends in the insurance environment. Be understanding when your team expresses uneasiness around new ways of working – people tend to fear the unknown, which can make growth uncomfortable. Help your team to understand that growth is necessary for your business to remain viable – and that growth can be exciting and that clients are more likely to choose and stay with an intermediary who is an expert in their industry.
Expand and grow your brokerage
Don’t abandon what already works for you and your clients. Keep it simple – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Rather focus on how you can expand your offering and recommend additional products to your existing clients, or offer new products to new markets, like the youth for instance. Diversifying your portfolio not only positions your brokerage for potential growth, but it also gives you a competitive advantage over competitors. You need to look no further to grow your brokerage than Santam’s diverse product offering that extends into all areas of general insurance, across personal, commercial, agricultural and specialist markets. This diversity, coupled with Santam’s breadth and depth of expertise, can unlock growth possibilities for your brokerage.
Embrace digital channels
At the same time, don’t underestimate the importance of investing in new digital tools and online Apps that are available to ensure better engagement with your clients and enhance their insurance experience. Our digital world means that clients have become technologically sophisticated and expect services to be available at the touch of a button. Being able to manage their own products and expedite insurance processes have become as important to customers as the coverage options available in the market.
There are many benefits to expanding your portfolio and introducing new technology and business processes:
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Intermediaries are the cornerstone of Santam’s business. Without intermediaries, the customer relationship would cease to exist, and without customers, there is no insurance business. That’s why we invest in our relationships with intermediaries by upskilling you through broker training, helping you grow your insurance portfolios and ultimately assisting you to become risk advisers with strong product knowledge and immaculate record-keeping.
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