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Better Marketing for Commercial Insurance Agents (With Michael Jans)

Better Marketing for Commercial Insurance Agents (With Michael Jans)

Imagine you’re a 28 to 32 year-old commercial insurance agent going after accounts anywhere from $7500, up to $30,000 in revenue.

How do you position yourself to set more appointments with these types of prospects?

The answer: BETTER MARKETING!

Join Randy Schwantz and insurance marketing LEGEND, Michael Jans, as they take a deep dive into becoming a better marketer to set more appointments.

Video Transcript:

Randy Schwantz
Hey everybody, Randy Schwantz here for another episode of agency growth machine. And I’ve got a rockstar with us today Michael. Jan’s is to insurance who Bob Dylan is to music. I mean, a legend, a folk hero, somebody who’s been around for a long time influenced 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of lives, for the better. Say hello, Michael.

Michael Jans
Yeah, well, Hello, are you making me feel like I’m really old? Okay.

Randy Schwantz
Well, I’m not as old as me. Hey, I don’t think you have to be. Oh, yeah, I see the book on the shelf there. Now.

Michael Jans
There are lyrics behind me.

Randy Schwantz
Well, it’s not so much the age is the the the impact you’ve had on people in society. It’s been really big. I mean, tell me if I’m wrong. I know. You’re gonna be humble as you say it. But I mean, you kind of invented this genre of marketing within the insurance world. I?

Michael Jans
Well, interestingly, I had a conversation this week with George Nordhaus. So yeah, let’s give credit where credit is to George made a contribution to the industry before I was even in the industry that I think is tremendous. So I’ve had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of a lot of giants, some in the industry, and certainly a lot of them. My mentors, the people who guided me, trained me coached me in the early days of my career. They were some of the greats in the marketing industry. And so they had some influence. So I, I just had the opportunity to bring some of what I knew two people that I really cared about, you know, yeah, so I have, I’m not sure I’m quite dealing, but I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years, right. I ran the PGA affiliates on the west coast, you know, or more than 25 years ago. And it was from that. And the story behind it was, when I was hired to take those affiliates over, I discovered that they were really rapidly losing money. And I thought, Oh, my God, I should have done a little more research on this job before I took it. But I dealt with some turnarounds before I was a mate, you know, I was I’d been a CEO before, and so I was ready for the challenge. It was just scary. And, and so I had to grow it. And I got I did get advice. I was lucky that I just found some mentors that really knew how to grow organizations. And so we grew, we grew fast. And interestingly, you know, that like the first played my background prior to that was nonprofit management. Okay, so I got into the anti-poverty agency in the Portland metropolitan area and the refugee resettlement agency in the Portland metropolitan area. I mean, I was, you know, that was my, you know, my, my previous career. And so when I knew that I needed to grow the trade association, I thought, well, I should ask my members, insurance agents, like, how do you grow? And well, you know, the kind of answer is probably no surprise, it would be like, well, we take really good care of our customers. And I was like, that’s the best you could do. It’s like, nobody else thought of that one, or we’ve been around since 1937. So we have a good reputation. And I’m thinking, Okay, this is not what I’m looking for here. And then I said, well, like how fast did these agencies grow? Right? Well, you know, the average was like, 5% per year, but like, the real killers were like, 10% per year, and I’m thinking, I am, I’m not living long enough for 10% a year to satisfy me. So that’s when I went outside the industry to look for the marketing geniuses. And I found them and I was able to bring some things.

Randy Schwantz
Yeah, so talk about Who were some of the marketing geniuses outside the industry, that really influenced you in the early days.

Michael Jans
Number one, I think my first real serious mentoring relationship was with Dan Kennedy. Yeah. And so I and this was when Dan was, you know, really relatively new, okay. He, he, he and I, and, and a colleague of mine, like gave me one of Dan’s early, like manuals, and it was like, you know, photocopied and plastic binder and I looked at it was some interesting stuff in it.

Randy Schwantz
A lot of filler in it.

Michael Jans
And I went to realize what he was charging for it. It wasn’t like 19 bucks for a book. It was like, you know, $1,000 for an ugly book. I got to get to know this guy. Right. And so he was coming to Portland where I was living and I called Carla, his wife. They said, Hey, Carla, I didn’t know Dan or Carla, but I got Carlos nowhere. I said, Hey, I’d love to like, Oh, he’s flying into Portland. And then he’s going to sun River. Oh, great. I volunteered to pick them up at the airport and drive them to set River. Well, she gets back to me a few days later. He’s like, Nah, Dan, Dan’s not. He’s not gonna do that right.

Randy Schwantz
Now for that one. Yeah.

Michael Jans
Like, yeah, he might be another one of these whack jobs. So then I hired Dan. And then I ended up in his mastermind group and spent years as a client. So Dan really had an understanding of how to market. Another great mentor was Gary Halbert, probably the greatest copywriter of his generation, I think, also did some training with Ted Nicholas, who’s a little less well known. But he grew up in a direct response Empire with the company corporation that was, you know, that was legendary in its day, and he was a world-class copywriter. And then I participated in Dan Sullivan Strategic Coach for 11 years, and I got really, really solid insight on entrepreneurial behavior, best practice behavior from Dan. So, you know, yeah, those were those were some of my early mentors that really had a lot of influence on me.

Randy Schwantz
Big time. So then, and by the way, kudos to Jordan or George, too. When I first got into the business, my first client said, you ought to meet this guy named George Jordan Nordhaus. I called him he was really friendly. And he said, write an article, if I like it, I’ll publish it is the first article I ever wrote called the the buck stops here, the art and science of doing deals. Off of that, I got two or three new insurance agency clients. And that’s when insurance became my niche. So great. Thank you, George. Good,

Michael Jans
Good. All right.

Randy Schwantz
So Michael, here’s the question I want to ask you, I want you to imagine that you are a 28 to 32 year old commercial insurance agent, going after accounts that produce from, say, 7500, up to $30,000 in revenue. You know what you know, now you got all this experience from, from Dan Sullivan and Gary Halbert, and what you learned from Dan Sullivan, and all that sort of stuff, you get to bring all that stuff to the table, you are a niche, you can pick any niche you want. What I want to know is now how would you become? How would you use what you know about marketing to position yourself to ultimately, in my mind, the game is to set more really high quality, qualified appointments, so you can go sell it without the income and when the business grows, as you might guess, book? So what would you do with all that knowledge and experience to position yourself using those marketing tools to build a set, more, better appointments?

Michael Jans
Got it. Okay. I’m gonna break that down into a couple of chunks. And the first one is I want to kind of set aside and eliminate any misconceptions people have about marketing, as if marketing were somehow a magical way to manipulate other people’s psychology and get them to do things they don’t want to do. That’s not what it is at all. Great marketing is like a great conversation. And it’s a great conversation with the marketplace of your choice. And so, the first thing that I would do, is what you may think that’s not marketing at all, but it’s really fundamental to it, which is a sort of an internal self examination. And I know that you teach this to your customers because we’ve talked about this to your clients. It’s, it’s to be able to answer the question. If I were a prospect, why should I do business with you above any and all other options, period, right, because I have choices. And today the consumer, in some ways has more choices than they’ve ever had before. Okay, I think we haven’t quite seen the explosion of choices in commercial lines. But, you know, the commercial lines arenas changing too, you know, mean, clearly on the personal line side, we’ve seen, like, the direct channel is like, you know, grow it grows every single year, and it’s, you know, a serious competitor. And in the, in the commercial lines arena, you know, who knows what we will see. But, you know, I’m in touch with a half dozen different inshore tech companies, who are really, really interested in getting that commercial lines customer, and some of them will go through an agency, right? They’ll run the insure tech through an agency, but there are players out there, and there’s venture capital out there that’s just really interested in disintermediating. And so we’re in a position right now, where largely because of the explosion of technology, the Locus of Power is shifted from business more and moreover to the consumer. The consumer has more choices. They can, they have, they have power tools, you know, in This thing, right? So they can like instantly see, you know, how many reviews do you have? What do people have to say about you? You know, like,

Randy Schwantz
Yeah, so let me jump in here. So not only has the power shifted, say from corporations to the consumer, the power is also shifted from the corporation to the salesperson where it used to be not that long ago, if you wanted to market yourself, I mean, you’d have to spend billions of dollars on equipment, stuff. And now just like me, like, you know, anybody instead of doing podcasts for 500 bucks,

Michael Jans
Here’s, here’s the distinction I’d make. Okay. Is I would say, I would say that the consumer really isn’t a very strong position of power, right? They might have because they’ve got choices, they have access to information, they can do research and etc., right? Yeah, yeah. But all of those tools, which panic to the industry, in the 2000s, you know, the Oh, the internet is going to disintermediate the agent and take them away completely, all of the tools that are available to the consumer for communication, research, and publication, they are available to the business, okay. And so the business can grab that power, and, and use it and what makes it powerful, is that it can enable them to connect deeply and meaningfully with the customer. And so and so I’ll agree with you 100%. If the business person or the salesperson, once they like to be in an equal position of power with the consumer, well, they’ve got the tools to be able to do it. They just need to be able to do it the right way.

Randy Schwantz
And yeah, and so maybe I’m just going to redress that question. Maybe they’re not going to be in equal power with the consumer. But how do they get power over their competitor? And so the competitor is going to come in in two things. One, you’re talking about the insurer tech, and they’re trying to dis disrupt the industry and stuff like that. And so far, in my humble opinion, I haven’t seen much of it happen in that upper commercial space, just haven’t seen it happen. Sure it’s going to come. I mean, someday everybody’s going to have a series sitting on their desk, and they’ll be able to say to Siri or Alexa. Hey, Alexa, is this thing covered? And Alexa built to give better answers than any broker would. But that’s not there yet. Or doesn’t seem like it’s there. But what I’m really more interested in is, again, you’re a 28 to 30 year old person. In this case, you’re a man you 28 to 38 year old man. And you’ve got your niche. Now with all the tools out there, you’ve got, you got email tools, you got YouTube, you can create, you’ve got podcasts, you can do you got letters you can write, you’ve got all those things that you as an individual can use with that being the context. Now, how would you go leverage, what would you leverage? How would you leverage it to go make something fantastic happen for you and your family?

Michael Jans
Okay. Well, you had said something in the setup. That’s fundamental to the success, which is I guess a niche. Yeah, okay.

Randy Schwantz
Yeah. Good. Awesome.

Michael Jans
Yeah. Okay, so boom, we, you know, we, we want to start there, and I think,

Randy Schwantz
Explain why a niche is so important.

Michael Jans
Yeah, from a marketing point of view. It’s important for so many reasons that I am going to lose track. Okay.

Randy Schwantz
Just do the top three, then.

Michael Jans
Yeah. Okay. So, I had mentioned earlier that like, great marketing is, like a great conversation. And so if you can imagine, me having a conversation with somebody, I can do, I can do it with, like, it’s so much easier to do it with a niche or people that have, you know, like-minded concerns and issues and problems and solutions than I could with kind of, you know, a bunch of people that don’t have anything to do with each other. Right. So So that’s, that’s the first part is that I can actually say something meaningful, right? Otherwise, if it’s like, hey, yeah, I’ll write business for anybody who’s got a commercial lines policy. Let’s talk about insurance. The fact is what you’ll quickly discover is that nobody wants to talk about insurance right? But if you’ve got, you know, let’s say a niche of contractors largely focused in let’s say, Central Oregon, okay. Boom, we have things that we can talk about, you know, right away. How do you know when you have a great conversation? It’s when, when both parties are listening to each other, and they develop some intimacy over time, and where I say something to you, it resonates with you. But also, when you say something to me, it resonates with me, because it gives me a better understanding of you. I did a training with my clients yesterday on a tool I called the mind-reading survey. And it’s a one-question survey, it’s actually it’s, it’s a great tool that I’d love to share with your customers. It’s a one-question survey. And I used, I use myself as an example. So I’m going to walk through my example. I logged on because I’m launching an online marketing course. I wanted to make sure that I knew what to say. I mean, you know, I’ve been writing marketing copy for over 25 years, but I’m not, hopefully, I’m not arrogant enough to think that. I just know what to say. Because I’ve been saying things like it for 25 years, I recognize that this is a rapidly changing world. It’s a pretty turbulent industry for the insurance agent and agency. And so I reached out to my marketplace, by email, in social and with an email that largely said, “Hey, I wonder if you can do me a really big favor, because I need some advice from you on launching this course. And I want to make sure that in the course, somebody’s addressing your biggest problem, would you be willing to like answer one question for me?” And if you do that, one, I’ll be super grateful. And I really mean that, too. I’ve got a little gift that I want to give you. And it’s a good gift, right? It’s a copy of my guidebook, the four stages of the marketer in the modern Insurance Agency. So I got a lot of responses back. And the question was, when it comes to growing your agency, what’s the biggest challenge, biggest obstacle or challenge that you face? Boom, I didn’t ask for anything else. I asked for their name. And, and then I got the email because I wanted to send them the gift. So you know, I got a lot of value out of that. Yep. And then I also sent them to my waiting list. But what they told me were real, emotional, full of emotional content, real feelings about issues. And the end, the end, the issues were, they were in their own words, I got a lot of long responses back to that one question. And there’s essentially, you know, maybe I could look at, let’s say, I mean, I, I went out to some 1000s of agents, but I picked the top 20% that gave me like the most in depth answers. And that basically, they told me exactly, not only what I need to put in the course, because these are the issues that they’re facing. But they also told me what to put in my sales letter. Right? They, they, they kind of wrote half my sales letter for me. So you know, I really want to emphasize that part of it. If somebody is thinking, Oh, because yeah, Michael is going to talk about lead magnets and funnels and technology and automation and, and, and, and bottom of the funnel, middle of funnel, top of the funnel concept and all this the architecture of marketing, yeah, I can talk about that till I’m blue in the face. But if somebody is thinking, oh, gosh, you know, I’m gonna sit my ivory tower, and I’m gonna, like, look around and say, Ah, I want to dominate that marketplace. You know, and I’m gonna do it real cool. You know, marketing is a bit of a wet sport, right? It’s wet work. You know, it’s like, you need to, you need to know the heart and the mind of the people that you’re that you want to have a relationship with, right? And it’s much better to be to not think I want to dominate those people or that market, it’s really much healthier to be thinking, I want to have a genuine, meaningful relationship with them, where we both extract value.

Randy Schwantz
Yeah, fair enough. Good. So then the first thing you said was, find a niche, so that you can engage in that conversation in order to know how to engage in a conversation. You use the deal of ask them one question like, what what what’s the biggest problem going on your industry do that. Now you get the mind of the buyer, you get the communication going on. And then are the Skype talking the other day? His name’s Ken Pollard. I interviewed him and he was talking about how a lot of our proposals and things like that are me centric rather than you centric. So rather than talking about what’s important to you, I’m talking about how great I am in essence, right? So when you get what is going on with people, you can talk in their language about what’s going on with them and it resonates better is that what you’re saying?

Michael Jans
Yeah, you can I mean, from a marketers point of view, or a copywriters point of view, you could use their exact language you know, so in the sample when I did the training yesterday, I said, Here, take a look at this answer that I got from a client or from a form from somebody who share their response with me. And, and I looked, I said, boom, let’s pull out three things in that one response, that can be the subject line of an email that are intended to drive people to where I want them to go. He’s just given me the exact language and, and you know, and some of his language was like, gosh, I wish I knew how to track and measure the results of my marketing, boom. Okay, so I know how to solve that problem. So, so think about this, I can put it as the subject line of an email, do you want to track and measure the response of your marketing and your agency? Because there’s a lot of people that responded to that, but I can also put it in my actual solution, and build my course around that kind of stuff. Okay, so from a from an agent’s point of view. You know, I sometimes agents think that the the, oh, you know, the product that they sell is the thing that they get from a carrier. Right? Well, if that’s all that it was, then fine, you know, gee, I then I would just long for the day, we could go directly to carriers and buy it because the agents don’t add value. In fact, that reminds me of a conversation I have with Sam Friedman, at Deloitte. And he put out a report about this two or three years ago, where they surveyed commercial lines, customers, and 60% of the respondents said they got no value from the agent, other than buying the policy. I thought Jeepers, well, there’s an industry that’s in trouble. Oh, yeah, I’m in that industry, I guess I better pay attention to it, right. And I thought, wow, six out of 10 feel like they get nothing. So So what good is the agent just to sell a policy, if that’s all they’re doing, then I would say that’s a really vulnerable relationship. Because the the client is thinking his relationships mostly with the product. Right? And maybe, and, and, and if they’re selling on price, then it’s even worse. Because now it’s not just that it’s my relationship is with the product, my relationship is with the price. And so if I see a more attractive price come along, then I’m willing to go. So, you know, when when I when I think about an agent, and I and I’m still on your question about niching, by the way, all right, when I think about like an agent, you know, so let’s say an agent has a niche, and you know, whatever contractors in Central Oregon, what have ya, they really do need, now they’ve got some expertise, they really do need to think about what else can they offer to the customer beyond what they get from their supplier, if all they’re doing is passing it on passing something under from the supplier, the value of the entity that we call the insurance agency, or the agent relationship is really minimal. On the other hand, around around the product, you know, there’s service and around service, there’s sort of the totality of experience. So So number one, is having a niche, it allows me to have it gives me permission to have a conversation. And it accelerates my ability to not just declare but to really demonstrate authority. Right. So if I’m so thinking of it this way, let’s say a producer has, you know, has this niche. And so, during the course of their week, they’re having conversations in that niche all the time.

Randy Schwantz
Right, right.

Michael Jans
And so they’re there, they’re getting, they’re getting a rapid education in authority building, because they know so much about it, if they’re jumping from one niche to another, that they have zero authority.

Randy Schwantz
So you made your case on niche. Okay, you made some niche, you made your case on I want to use my words getting inside the mind of the buyer, what is going on with them? And what is it that that that is bothering them about? And I think of it this way, what if I’m asking my clients to become the buyer, be them and sit there and just go. What do I hate about insurance? Well, I hate the things I don’t understand and therefore can’t control and costumes because we feel victimized and so you just go through all that stuff that’s really hard to understand. Alright, so then that gives you a lot of that topical headlines content, things to talk about because most buyers like go back to your Central Oregon contractor. They don’t understand the experience mod they don’t understand the reserves that are set on claims they don’t understand, you know, the fluffy language and contract there’s a lot of things like that, that then you become the authoritarian or the authority, because you can now talk about those things. So now let’s suppose we got somebody that understands our marketplace. Now. Enough To be an authority and be able to communicate in the mind of the buyer. Now, now you’ve been at 28 to 30 year old kid that’s trying to grow your book of business. And you know, this, you, you know that you’ve got the authority know, the mind to the buyer. And once again, you’re bringing all that Dan and Nicholas and Gary Halbert, and Dan Sullivan, and all those guys touch you. Now, your goal is to get really high quality appointments with those buyers; how would you use what you know about marketing to get it to the point of on the books and appointment and forget about it? I mean, we can need to do virtual things like this or be face to face? Well,

Michael Jans
Yeah. I think producers should go all-in on virtual to the nature works for them. You know, so yeah, I mean, you and I have talked about this? Like, like, you know, I could have a half a dozen, like serious appointments in a day on, you know, digitally or virtually, whereas, physical world?

Randy Schwantz
Well, it’s not to drive time. Right.

Michael Jans
Okay, so, I have a, I have a couple of, you know, a couple things that I would share on that. One of them is this kind of standard funnel. So let me let me give a little bit, just a design the architecture of a decent funnel, not they’re not complicated. They require some skill, a little bit of technology, but it’s not beyond the scope of any producer. That’s, that’s genuinely serious about dominating the market. And again, everything everything comes back to your your really your profound understanding of what’s on the heart and mind of the marketplace. So

Randy Schwantz
Yep, yep.

Michael Jans
All right now and and your capacity to create a unique selling proposition or, or some value proposition that matters. Okay, so a really standard funnel is, first of all, you need to know where they are, where do they hang out? Okay. I mean, it’s, it is possible that you don’t have an email list, which is the holy grail of marketing, if you could get an email list of prospects. Particularly, when they have an email list, you earn not an email list you buy or rent, okay. An email issue earn, which means that at some point, they raised their hand, and they said, Amen.

Randy Schwantz
Yeah, they opted in on something, not something a premium, and they go, I want it, so they give you an email address.

Michael Jans
There’s no 28 or 30 year old, you know, that might be listening to this. And there’s no 58 or 68 year old that’s listening to this, that hasn’t at some point said, as an opt-in, right, right, right. And then like, and then like, you know, two or three months later, they’re looking at their email, they’re saying, Oh, my God, we’re all these emails come from? Well, the opt-in on something, right. And so, you know, the standard opt-in, like at the lowest denominator on opt-in, is to trade your email address for something you want. And, you know, if you want it bad enough, you might sometimes you might trade more, you might trade a phone number, okay, that’s a, that’s an option. So in any case, I can solve a problem for my marketplace. And so now, I want to make that problem, that solution available, maybe in a guide book, or an E-book or something really simple. Maybe, maybe a one page cheat sheet. Okay. Something is super, super, what marketers call snackable. Right? Something right, Mike can digest in less than five minutes, right? Or I can swallow it right now. Yep. And so first of all, we do know, we need to know where they hang out. If they’re hanging out on LinkedIn, then I want to start growing my connections on LinkedIn, using posting, but they’re also I mean, they’re there. They’re also some, there’s some techniques that we just I don’t have time to get into probably today. But there are ways to draw people out of LinkedIn that are a little more aggressive, but really very powerful. And so over time, you can build up a decent email list you can and by attracting people with what the industry calls a lead magnet, write up something that’s so a magnetic, it’s so attractive, that some people just can’t avoid being, you know, drawn to it and they’re willing to opt-in for it. And then kind of the standard format is once they’re in is to have a series of automated emails that follow up with them and continue to establish authority. Continue to give lots of value so you’ve got the law of reciprocity, so people are they like you give generously to them.

Randy Schwantz
So let’s stop right there. And let’s talk about that a little bit. Got it? Cuz that’s another thing. I struggled with that and then I got over the struggle. I mean, because I heard it enough to go, okay, just surrender to it. But there’s a, you for some, and it was for me, there’s that fear that you’re giving away your best stuff. Right? I mean that it’s a fear whether it’s true or not, you’re giving all your stuff. And if you give all your stuff, why would they need you? But that’s not true. Is it?

Michael Jans
No, you’re right. So let me let me ask you this question. Okay. Because you, you’re, you’re a good example. And I’m a good example, too. I got a lot of free stuff out there, right? Yeah. But people still want a relationship with me for a different reason. They can have a relationship with my guidebooks or my ebooks or my website. But that’s not the same as having a relationship with me. You know, it’s, it’s not if they want, you know, so So in any case, so let me ask you a question. As you started giving more and more of Randy’s genius away. Did your business go down?

Randy Schwantz
No, it’s interesting, because that book right there the wedge,

Unknown Speaker
Yeah.

Randy Schwantz
Man, I break it down. I’ve got you know, so I’ve got, I think I’ve sold about 60,000 copies of that. And I get people every year, that will say to me, somewhere along the way, unsolicited, man, I read your book, 12 years ago, I read it every year, and you’ve made me a lot of money, it was the best $30 investment I’ve ever made in my whole entire life. And so then sometimes I think, Oh, I gave too much away. But for every one of those, there’s a guy that guy or gal or firm that comes in and pays me $30,000 to help them right on. And so I think in this context, you know, when you get into and you talked about the concept, I got no my buyer, and then I got to bring some value that that value, the more you start to break it down. And just little tidbits, checklists, whatever teach people how to how to review their own deal. As you’re doing that, they’re also making that comparison in their mind to what they’re getting from their current supplier, ie agent and go wine. The fear is if I tell you how to do it, you’re going to tell my competitor how to do it, my competitor is going to do it for you’re going to be happy. But if I keep feeding you all sudden, you’re going to go my agents not doing that for me and the SAM Friedman 60% not happy that things gonna start to tilt in my favor, right or wrong?

Michael Jans
Yeah, absolutely. Right. You know, like in my world or your world. What people can get that they can’t get from our books is speed. Right? In other words, yeah, you can read the book and figure it out. And there’s a lot there. But if but if you want, if you want to accelerate the speed, there’s no way to deliver that except through human relationship. Well, what an insurance consumer could get from a consumer or from from an agent that is, you know, genuinely better by our definition, is that they’ll, they’ll actually get what they want. Right? They’ll get but, you know, I Bain did some terrific research on what what the insurance consumer wants, what the modern consumer wants, right. And they identified that they fall into three buckets. There there is there’s a bucket that wants price. Best Price, there’s a bucket that wants convenience. I want speed. Okay, and there’s a bucket that wants peace of mind. Yep. And you know, on on analysis, if you look at those, well, you got the price buyer in the in the personal lines arena, for example, can we hear like a day will not go by in the life of an American citizen where they don’t hear more than once? That price is the distinguishing factor aggressive Geico

Randy Schwantz
State Farm.

Michael Jans
Yeah, though, if you listen to state farms, you know, advertising they do they lean, you know, like with the with the Chris Paul commercials, they do lean towards data protection and value. And, and, and the good neighbor thing, there’s some real value in that right. And so, those price shoppers, they exist, you know, like just people are everywhere. They exist in commercial lines, as well as personalize it as far as customers go. I don’t even want them, you know, I wouldn’t even want them. They’ll they turn fast, they tend to be problematic. There’s so many more of these now, convenience. This research was done a few years ago, convenience was a bit of a distant third, and as it as a channel, we’re not great at it. You know, we’re getting better but we’re not as convenient as you know, like it as some other channels are. But yeah, in regards to like the third value of peace of mind, there’s no channel in the world that delivers it like the agency channel. Why? Well largely, you know anthropologically psychologically We are a tribal species, you know, that’s if you look at Maslow’s hierarchy, like, virtually everything we want, comes from having relationships with other people. And so, you know, and to be separated from people, you know, shunned or excommunicated, that those are, you know, like the cast into outer darkness, right. So, being a part of a tribe is alike, psychologically of supreme importance to human being, well, there’s nothing that makes it an insured feel like, they’re part of something, I got a guy, you know, people, somebody’s looking after me that nothing delivers peace of mind, like the agent, like the agent channel does so. So that’s the demographic that’s best suited for this channel, just because we’re not as good as the others doesn’t mean we can ignore it. And it’s where the money is. And so if we can demonstrate to that demographic, that we can take care of them, where we will provide advice to them, and advocacy for them. And if we can deliver that, I mean, this is, you know, I know, your your your clients are as concerned about retention and keeping customers as they are, you know, like getting new ones. Yeah, if we can invest in, in existing relationships, they will reward us really generously. And so that so and the reason I’m sharing this, I just don’t want to lose this point. We talked about creating content, you know, with a lead magnet or what have you. And there are lots of other ways to do it. That content, that delivery of value, and meaning and some humanity some delight, throughout the year using technology, small investments, deliver a remarkably huge return. That I mean, the in this industry, the money is in the relationship, and we have to invest in those relationships.

Randy Schwantz
All right, so let me again, hopefully all potentially tied into what we got going on here. It’s, it’s interesting for me, personally, you know, when I’m looking for when I’m searching, I see, maybe I’ll see the lead magnet you’re talking about, I’ll click on that. I’ll get something from them. There’ll be a click through, I’ll go watch a video. And then I get to see just like I’m seeing you right now so we got it’s obvious you don’t take yourself too seriously. If you did, you wouldn’t be wearing that hat. So I go that’s my brother. I’ve had two haircuts since COVID started and the last one you took yourself too seriously then you either slick it back or some I go that’s a real guy, right? That’s a real guy. Yeah, I could like him, so my question to you is, but my expectation is that that video youtube, that sort of stuff, has people go see it and give you a chance to be educating yourself and things like that. What do you think about that video in terms of the media you got? You got emails, you got text? You got video? You’ve got colorful graphic little cartoons or whatever, I don’t know how many different mediums there are.

Michael Jans
How about infinity?

Randy Schwantz
Okay. We could we can draw on a color and put it in an envelope send it off to them, but how do I mean, how would you rate the video period? Do you have a very high end here?

Michael Jans
Here’s why it is the fastest growing marketing media right now. It’s it’s so important that in my training with agencies in the next two and a half months, I have to have the best video guys, you know, different approaches to video. As guest experts delivering a masterclass, it’s that important then I was just looking at have developed a presentation called seven secrets every agency must know to grow 25 to 40% in 2021 video, and it’s not that it’s the seventh most important it’s just sequentially where you get comes out is number seven is easy, but persuasive video, and it’s because one, you know it’s a kind of an interesting, interesting element of timing. Video is so easy to produce right now. That that you got to pay attention to it. You know, like the barriers to creating video are gone. There’s like no excuse so then the question is, okay, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean that I should do it. So should I? Well, video does deliver something that well as, you know, as a career copywriter. You know, from a copywriter’s point of view, Damn, it’s really hard, right? I’ve got to, I’ve got to get people engaged to get their attention, I need to deliver a sense of humanity. And I need to do it in a way where there is no human, right? It’s just words. So, so video delivers two things that other media typically don’t. Number one, it delivers the human face, which is the first recognized pattern in the developing human brain, it’s the first pattern that a human infant can recognize. So it’s, it’s imprinted on us as something that, you know, delivers something really, really, really powerful. And so we’re able to read faces, in a way that there’s, we gather so much information at an unconscious level, that’s number one. The second thing that it delivers is the human voice, which actually, also transmits more information, like the memory of a voice if you if you’ve heard, like, in, you know, police put, you know, police crime shows, right? It if you’ve heard this before, it’s a true fact that a, an eye witness is not nearly as valuable as our reliable, accurate as an ear witness, because there’s really much information that gets transmitted through the ear, a motion, tonality, nuances, right? And so we’re able to, like in a two minute video, you’re able to, like just dump, you know, like a lot of humanity and a fair amount of value. And you know, how long it takes to produce a decent two minute video, two minutes, right? You. And so it’s, it’s become not only acceptable, but in many ways preferable to to create a low production video, over a mid or high level production. What I mean, like the distinction is, if I’m going to go to like a mid-level production video, you know, I could shoot it on my iPhone, but I got to throw in a bottom third, and maybe a logo and you know, maybe maybe scripting or something like that. If I’m going high production, I’m bringing in maybe one or two videographers, and I’m spending $10,000 or more, right? There’s something about the low production video that just delivers almost unvarnished humanity. And so so provided you are trustworthy, you’re going to earn it.

Randy Schwantz
Yeah. So So you’ve you’ve used the word humanity about 18 times already.

Michael Jans
Okay?

Randy Schwantz
No, that’s fine. That’s fine. So So when you say humanity, what is it you’re really talking about here? I mean, I know the word human, you know, but, but But what is it? What’s the essence? What are you trying to get across to us? When you’re talking about delivering humanity? What is it you’re trying to get us to get out of that,

Michael Jans
I do think it matters everywhere. But I’m going to really stress the importance of it in the agency channel, right. And so, you know, if you think about this, let’s go to the direct channel. Take, let’s take take progressive, progressive direct channel. You know, the big, the big disadvantage that they have is that, you know, a consumer realizes that they’re not going to have a relationship with a person, they’re going to get a product out of it, but and all of the advertising, they’ve created a character or in this case, now, two or three characters that have a real, you know, it’s funny, it’s quirky, it’s, you know, it’s not real, but it’s hard not to laugh at, you know, they’re like, flow. And, you know, the her sidekick, Amy like, yeah, Jamie right. And so how to deliver, they deliver a character that, that people like, kind of they like, right, and so they recognize, you know, progressive advertising, you know, the whoever they’re hiring to do their advertising. You know, they like most corporations, they recognize that they have to make themselves relatable, well, there’s nothing as relatable as a person and so to, to deliver that peace of mind. That’s so meaningful to the highly loyal insurance customer, be a real person, you know, because they could get their product somewhere else, right. But the reason that I’ve stayed with, I’ve been with my agent for probably 20 years, and I’m in Arizona, I moved here three and a half years ago. I’m still keeping Rex up in Central Oregon. Right? Why? Because there’s a sense of human relationship and and I believe in it. So like, like, people reach out to me on LinkedIn, and they’re like, hey, Michael, I see you’re in Arizona. Can I quote your insurance like, dude, you haven’t earned the permission to ask that question.

Randy Schwantz
Alright, so can I ask you a question? Yeah, here it is. We an average salesperson, whoever we are, we get on video, and I’m going to do a video. And, you know, self consciousness kicks in, which is the antithesis of, of, well, I don’t know, I don’t know, if it’s the antithesis or not of water, it’s gonna we’re gonna call relatable and human and all this sort of stuff. But I want to impress you, I want you to know that I know what I’m talking about. But and so then I create this pressure that I come across, either I come across like a robot, or I’m trying to prove that I’m going to die that I do have authority. And then and then it’s just the opposite of it’s not genuine again. So what would you say is the mindset that when we turn on that camera that we go, what would you say?

Michael Jans
Yeah, okay, I do think that’s, that that’s a really valid question. And I’m sympathetic to the person that isn’t comfortable in front of a camera. So here, here’s the mindset behind it is, I think, is this that, you know, the, the, the novice marketer thinks about that marketing is all about how much can I get out of the marketplace, the advanced marketer thinks that marketing is all about how much can I give. And so if you can, you know, turn on your turn on your, you know, turn on your iPhone, maybe plug it into a $29, Lavalier, you know, so you can set it over there. So the sounds a little bit better boom, if what you’re attempting to do is, you know, let’s say in a two minute video, so I just want to deliver one nugget to you, right, one thing that matters to you, and you put your attention on them, then, I mean, that’s the mindset that that that can be cultivated. It may not happen the first time. That’s okay. You know what, I’ll share this with you too. It was, you know, the founder of LinkedIn said, if you’re not embarrassed by your first launch, then you waited too long to launch. Right? And I thought, Oh, well, I launched a church tech company agency revolution, 10 years ago, when I look back now, my God, the quality of the product, I wouldn’t be embarrassed about that. Now, when I compare it to what, you know, what it looks like. Probably the same thing is like, yeah, you know, don’t wait until you’re perfect. You’re never going to be perfect. And in fact, not everybody’s gonna like you. I mean, you know, that’s solely okay. That’s all right. At some point, they’re gonna know you, right? And the ones the ones who would be attracted to your message, and your willingness to put yourself out there. They’re gonna move your direction. Yeah. And so you, you, you mentioned, like, oh, they’re all these different media. Videos are really powerful media. And it I think no longer can be ignored.

Randy Schwantz
And so therefore, to do videos, should I just set up my own YouTube channel? Or should I set up Vimeo and pull them on there and put links in there? What do you recommend on that?

Michael Jans
Yeah, that’s a good question. It does depend a little bit on where you’re going to use it. You know, the nice thing about YouTube using YouTube is that, you know, it’s, it’ll, it will likely assist with your SEO, your search engine optimization, it’s owned by Google. And so Google respects that, you know, but you do want to make sure, regardless of where you host it, you want to make sure that people see it. And so, so that may mean, you know, if you’ve got a commercial niche, LinkedIn is a is a is a good robust platform, you know, I would say that your clients should learn to learn to suck some real juice out of LinkedIn, because it’s just waiting there. So you know, know where your audience is, if they’re on LinkedIn, you can post it, you can post a video there. And it does, it just takes a couple of minutes. But also, you can use it in email, you can use it on your website and drive people there. If you have a YouTube channel, certainly you can have an email and drive people to your YouTube channel. And then conceivably, they could see some of the other things that you have to say. And there’s no shortage of stuff to say, right? Right. Right. I mean, it’s like, one survey will get you a ton of responses back but also, you know, if you’ve got, if you’re meeting with clients, you probably should take a notebook or something writer, you know, or on your phone. Like after that meeting is over, jot down two or three things that you know, like these are questions that they had or if there are account executives or or CSRS that are also servicing them, ask them, like, keep track of the questions for a week or two, boom, you’ve got, you’ve got stuff that’s going to engage the marketplace. And at some point, you’re going to find something that gets a spike inactivity. And now you want to pull that off of the shelf, and, and find ways to repurpose that. turn that into the guidebook, a video series, maybe, you know, we talked about, you mentioned podcasts that, you know, we can talk about that, but there’s so many different ways that you can take the same message and deliver it through different media and different people will be attracted through that media.

Randy Schwantz
Then here’s, here’s kind of my closing question. With all this stuff. I picked a niche I got into the mind of the buyer. I am I’m genuinely, you know, just want to give them that one nugget. And whether I do it by email, or voicemail or YouTube or whatever I’m doing that. And then last piece is you know, I’ve been using a tool called calendly. You know, where now it’s out there and then click on it, and then go book book a call with me. Yeah. Which is, which is really the I mean, if you’re, if you’re with the right niche, it’s the ultimate…

Michael Janes
It’s good. It’s beautiful.

Randy Schwantz
So then, do you have any advice on that? Because basically, we got to somehow move the where, and when possible, move the prospect to action and the action that again, the way I set you up? You’re 20 to 32? Oh, Mel guy, you’re going after contractors? And you want them to say, I’d like to, I’d like to have an appointment with you. Yeah. So any idea on how you would style that or put that out there? Or make it to where it’s not like your, you know, you don’t look needy? I mean, do you just have any comments or counsel on that?

Michael Jans
Well, it’s it is a good technology that happens to be, you know, there are a lot of calendar appointments. But calendly is the one that I happen to use. I think its facility is great. Yeah. So yeah, typically, nobody gets into my calendar without access to my calendly and I don’t just throw it out. It’s just not available, not widely available, it’s usually in an email only. And so in an email stream, like, you know, let’s say there’s, you know, seven or 10 follow up emails, I think, the calendly appointment setters, it should be there in overtime, it should be more aggressive, you know, and, and it should, it should coincide with the message and so, you can go, you can go I would say hard or soft and let me make the distinction, like a hard offer. You know, if you want me to you know, develop a proposal for your insurance, like you’re ready to buy, you know, center appointment with you and I’ll you know, I’ll walk you through it, or you can go a little softer with a you know, an audit or review or, you know, a seven-point checklist where I can determine where you’re most want, you know, something a little bit softer, I would test those out depends on the niche and see what works. But yes, I would definitely let people schedule appointments when it’s convenient for them. And for you, and, you know, have calendly make sure you set it up this way. It can, it can set out you know, reminders, right, so the likelihood that they’ll show up is greater and then I connect my calendly always to zoom I don’t do phone calls, I get lousy reception out here I got rid of my landline so that means that it’s really hard to call me and so I connected to zoom. So like, you know, be like this if somebody has an appointment with me. And frankly, you know it as many sales people have learned like the closing ratio goes way up when you got video, not just audio.

Randy Schwantz
Right. Right. All right. All right. So everybody, this is Michael Jan’s, as I said, the Bob Dylan of insurance. I mean, he’s a legend. He’s helped 1000s of people. And you’ve also got an online marketing course that I think somebody asks you, you know, because I think you’ve retired or semi-retired, you’re out in the desert, laying in the sun, killing armadillos and stuff like that. But you decide to put together an online marketing program, and that’s going to be available sometime in the near future. Anything you want to say about that?

Michael Jans
Well, I was you know, I sold agency revolution three and a half years ago and we moved out here to the desert. I live next to 3 million acres of national forest and so I enjoy a quiet lifestyle. Okay, I enjoy nature and I enjoy my seclusion and my solitude and, and I got COVID and I had some long haul symptoms for a while. I’m just super grateful to be able to say they’ve finally resolved themselves. But I was in communication with a client. And I said, you know, maybe, you know, it’s time for me to get another dog and walk out into the desert. And he said, No, you know, you can’t go away. I said, Well, he said, at least do a major brain dump of what you know about insurance marketing. And I said, Let me think about it. And so as I thought about it, I came up with the idea of delivering live because I think there is value in like, a real sense of relationship and spontaneity and the ability to, for people to ask questions and be to give answers. So I’ve developed a 12 week curriculum, that really it does cover virtually everything. We’ve talked about how to attract a high quality clients into your funnel, and how to how to get the best conversion, and how-to, you know, generate more revenue per customer and using exit using contemporary media. And so it’s a 12-week course that starts on April 1. A few guest experts bring in My three guest experts have chosen to help me with that. And yeah, boom. So it’s 12 weeks, and then you know, the course is over. And the idea is to give people the tools that will allow them to accelerate their business and be ahead and no longer be concerned or worried about falling behind anymore. Yep. Awesome.

Randy Schwantz
Michael, thanks for being with me today. I mean, just a plethora of ideas and information to help producers, and again, my whole goal is to help them set more appointments. So I think they got there’s a bunch of gems in this table to help them with that. So one thing I don’t much.

Michael Jans
Alright, pleasure talking to you, Randy. Thanks so much.

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