Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it?

Sure it is!  So why does every insurance agency in existence (practically) look the same (to the prospect), say the same things about itself (best service, choice, lowest cost, etc.), offer the same products, use the same means of communication, etc.?  If they do, and they do, are there really any differences between agencies?  As we have been exploring, if there is no difference, then the value proposition is price and the agency is commoditized.  

So, what does the typical agency look like to the consumer?

It has an office.  There is a receptionist.  There is an agent or a customer service representative (customer service agent anyone?).  It sells insurance.  It provides free quotes.  It has confusing jargon (special form, HO3, combined single limit, liability, comprehensive, and on and on…).  

It is open from 8 until 5.  Or maybe 9 until 5.  It is closed at some arbitrary time for lunch.  It is open Monday through Friday.  It is not open in the evening.  It is not open on the weekend.

If you want to do business with it you must do so during “business hours”!  Here’s a question for you:  What is the prospect otherwise engaged in during your “business hours”?

It has a telephone system that can take messages when it isn’t open (which is most of the time – think about it).  It has email and can receive communication sent in off hours (not “business hours”).  It probably has an auto responder that tells the prospect “how valuable” their communication, business, relationship, etc. is.  

It sends things to its customer in the mail.  That wonderfully efficient 17th century technology! It requires customers to send it things in the mail to be effectual.  

It has a website which prospects can see 24/7.  (OMG!  YOU don’t even have a website?).  But it’s really a static, never changing advertisement isn’t it?  Is there any way a prospect can communicate with the agency (in real time) through it?  No.  Does it offer any meaningful education to the customer?  No.  

It represents a cluster of insurance companies who all offer identical products. So, the only real difference is price right?  

If this is how the “typical” insurance agency looks to prospects and customers, is it really unique?  Is its value proposition really any different than any other?  No.  It is a commodity.

Let’s take a look at some things you can consider to change this perception of your agency next time.