11 Critical Lessons We've Learned From 15+ Years of Experience Scheduling Insurance Appointments
Updated: May 23, 2022
We’ve been setting appointments for insurance agents since 2006.
From January through September of 2021 alone, we scheduled over 73,000 appointments.
To say we’ve learned a lot would be an understatement.
From our experiences, we’ve gained insight, come up with new ideas, tried, failed, adjusted our process, and we continue to build upon the knowledge that comes from our experience in the industry.
Learn from our successes and failures without having to go through them yourself by reading these 11 critical lessons we've learned:
Lesson #1: A general calling script works best.
A few years back, we decided to do a life-specific appointment script in an effort to help agents sell more life insurance.
The concept seemed solid, however, we quickly learned that these life-specific phone calls performed poorly in comparison to the general insurance review calls we were making.
When I say they performed “poorly”, I mean, people were almost literally running for the hills.
Most of the time, people just don’t like to be sold to.
Since then, we’ve stuck with the general policy review script.
When agents have goals to increase their life production, we recommend that they send a targeted list for life insurance.
We stick to the general script and leave it up to the insurance agent to pivot and sell the way they see fit.
It’s best to invite people in for an annual policy review where you’ll review their policies, check for discounts and gaps/overlaps in coverage, and then steer the appointment in the direction you think is best.
Lesson #2: Part-time appointment schedulers perform much better than full-time.
I started at Engagex about back in 2017 as a full-time appointment scheduler.
Since then, we’ve stopped hiring full-time callers for a lot of reasons.
These types of phone calls are very simple.
We don’t deal with angry people very often, the purpose of the call is straightforward, and the script we use is easy to execute in a friendly, professional way.
Because it’s such a simple call though, the work can get monotonous.
Like I said before, I was a full-time caller.
Within about 3 months, I was simply burnt out.
Thankfully, I was promoted to another position so I could continue full-time employment with Engagex.
But the reality is that sitting for long hours making these simple calls gets tough.
Our part time callers are scheduled to work just a few hours each day. This keeps them sharp, friendly, and professional.
The quality of the phone calls is much higher than they would be if they were dialing for 8 hours a day.
When finding someone to make these calls for your agency (if you’re not outsourcing to Engagex), hire a part-time caller to ensure high quality interactions with your customers and more appointments for your agency.
Lesson #3: People don't like to be sold to.
As we’ve mentioned numerous times throughout our blog, one of the most common responses we get from people when we’re scheduling appointments is something along these lines:
“Is he/she going to try to sell me more insurance? I don’t want to buy any more insurance.”
“Last time I came in for a review, he/she just tried to sell me more insurance the whole time! I don’t want to come in for a sales meeting.”
While cross-selling and upselling are vital to your agency’s success, it’s important that you don’t come across as an insurance salesperson.
Read more about that here: How to Sell w/ out Selling - A Guide to Closing Sales w/ out Looking Like an Insurance Salesperson
Lesson #4: Software matters.
Making the amount of calls necessary to set appointments takes time, and it will take a lot more of your valuable time if you don’t have the appropriate software tools.
At Engagex, we have our own software and system that allows us to make the amount of calls we do (around 120,000 to 150,000 dials each month).
Without click-to-call capabilities, that number would be much lower.
Make sure whatever software you use allows click-to-call, can track important call information and results, and can run reports.
Lesson #5: Assume the appointment.
Assuming the appointment is kind of like assuming the sale.
Our script is written so that instead of questions like,
“Would you be interested in coming in for an appointment?”,
we use questions like,
“Would a morning or an afternoon appointment work best for your schedule?”.
When given the opportunity to say no, people usually take it.
We’re not pushy when we make the calls, but wording things this way allows more people to agree to an appointment, and more people that you’re able to get in front of as a trusted insurance advisor.
That leads us to number 6.
Lesson #6: Don't be pushy, but have responses ready for common objections.
There are many common objections and questions people have when it comes to annual insurance reviews.
Our callers are trained to respond to these objections in a friendly, inviting way that helps explain the importance of the meeting without pressuring your customer into making an appointment.
Here’s a free download of 20 common objections to customer insurance reviews (and appropriate responses)
Or you can check out the common objections on the blog:
20 Common Client Objections to Annual Insurance Reviews
Lesson #7: People like options.
Whether it’s various appointment times available, or different formats for the meeting (virtual, office, phone, etc.), people appreciate options.
Having a good amount of morning, afternoon, and even a few evening appointment options makes scheduling a lot easier.
Having the option for a virtual appointment brings many customers relief especially in the age of COVID-19, but also for other reasons!
Being able to do an appointment virtually from their car on their lunch break can be the difference between you meeting with them or not.
Lesson #8: The amount of dials per hour matters.
With click-to-call capabilities, our callers are able to make around 40-50 dials per hour.
On average, it takes about 14 dials for every appointment we set at Engagex.
Yes, there are other factors that play into whether we set the appointment or not, but consistently dialing is vital to a consistent flow of appointments.
Lesson #9: Agents who consistently hold review appointments have better success rates than those who don't.
I remember being an appointment setter and getting excited when certain agents came up on my screen.
I was excited, because I knew from past experience that customers from this specific agent were usually enthusiastic about coming in for a review!
They knew what the review was, because they had been in for reviews before, and they had a great relationship with their agent.
By consistently holding review appointments and inviting your customers back each year, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Your customers will be happy to come back and review their policies with you because they’ve experienced the benefits before.
Lesson #10: No-shows happen, but there are ways to minimize the amount.
Within the first year of an agency holding regular insurance review appointments, the no-show rate is typically higher.
We have seen that when agents stick with the program through the first bit of no-shows, their no-shows end up decreasing over time as a result of a few factors.
Ensuring that reminder/confirmation calls or texts are made, emphasizing the importance of these appointments, and even sending relevant information before the meeting are just a few things that have helped agents get through that rough patch of no-shows.
Check out 9 Ways to Reduce Insurance Review No-Shows to get more ideas.
Lesson #11: Many people have never had an insurance review with their agent....EVER!
Many people we call have no idea what an insurance review is, let alone how important and beneficial it is.
Especially within the first year of holding customer insurance reviews, an agent will probably find that it’s no easy task to set appointments.
People need some warming up to the idea of an appointment to review their insurance, so as long as you keep at it, results will come.
Use some of these tips to prepare your clients: Laying The Groundwork for an Effective Annual Insurance Review Program: Preparing Your Clients
A regular customer insurance review program isn’t a quick fix by any stretch of the term, but it will pay off down the road exponentially.
We hope you find these lessons helpful, or at the very least interesting. What lessons have YOU learned from scheduling appointments for insurance reviews?
Let us know in the comments below.
And don't forget to share this post with your fellow agents!