Car Wash Clients

6 Jun

While at a CE class yesterday, I met a guy who began talking with me about a few marketing techniques he was looking to try out but, unfortunately, the agency owner where he works wouldn’t let him.  During our conversation, I happen to come up with an idea to share with him and now I’m sharing it with you…

It seems as though this time of year is the best time of year for getting your car washed at a car wash.  And every time I drive by one, I see a line around the block waiting to go through the soapy brushes.  So, I thought, why not offer these people a free car wash if they agree to do a free quote with you?  This would most likely work best for those soliciting life insurance or personal auto insurance and for those who have an app on their phone or ipad in order to complete this.  And, of course, you’ll need to be in a state where rebating is allowed.

Here’s how it would work:

First, you would need permission from the car wash owner in order to do this.  If he/she agrees, I would also ask for a discounted rate for those who you give a free car wash to.  You may also need to sell this idea to the owner by telling him/her you will market for this event which will ultimately bring more customers to the car wash as well.

Second, market, market, market.  You may want to hang fliers in the area offering the free car wash, post it to your social network pages, tell friends and family about the event and announce the event on your website and through press releases.  The more people you get to attend (even if they are only looking for a free car wash at first) is ideal.

On the day of the event, you’ll want to collect all the necessary information from the attendees as they are waiting in line for their car wash.  You may want to get an assistant or even another agent to help you out with this.

Then, when they exit the car wash, the idea is to have his/her quote ready.  If the potential client likes the quote, be prepared to have him/her do an electronic signature right on the spot or set up an appointment with you to discuss, sign and collect payment.  Of course, it’s always better if you can take care of everything on the spot.  If the potential client does not like the quote, you still have his/her contact information and you’ll be able to drip their email and snail mail with information or give them a call in a few months to try and solicit their business at a later date.

Your turn:  Have any of you tried something like this in the past?  How did it work out for you and do you have any tips for those of us who haven’t tried this yet?

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979


Benefiting from SMS Marketing

30 May

Marketing expert, Dan LaCob of Tribal Style Marketing, has once again agreed to share his expertise with us.  I hope you all will gain valuable information from his article.   And, when you are done reading, be sure to follow his marketing blog (link is at the bottom).  Enjoy!

How Insurance Agencies Can Benefit From SMS Marketing

Insurance Agencies may struggle from time to time with acquiring new clients.  Speaking with many of them, whether they be Independent or Franchised behind a big name, much of their marketing methods include TV Ads, Radio Ads, Direct Mail, E-mail Marketing, Paid Internet Search, Social Media & Blogs, & of course the dreaded Cold Calling…brrrrrr!

Breaking down the numbers in each method gives us this data:

  • TV Ads:  Very expensive & with DVR’s it’s very questionable how many people are actually watching your commercial these days.
  • Radio Ads:  Again, very expensive & also questionable about how many people could be listening at any given moment.  Just like TV with Nielsen Ratings, Arbitron Ratings are only a prediction based on a small sample size.
  • Direct Mail:  Typically generates 1%-2% response rate according to the Direct Marketers Association (DMA).  This means that you’d have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, to receive a few qualified leads.
  • E-mail Marketing:  Generally averages around 15%-20% response rates according to eMarketer.
  • Paid Internet Search:  3.81% Response Rate with average cost per click @ $3.79, according to the DMA.
  •  Social Media & Blogs:  While the jury is still out on Social Media ROI, it certainly can help with exposure & word of mouth.  Every business should have a Blog though.  It pulls in potential clients searching online through optimized SEO.  If you have a nice landing page where you can capture those leads & follow-up with e-mail, all the better.
  • Cold Calling:  Has the highest cost per lead @$309, but also has a higher response rate @ 6%, (DMA).
  • SMS Marketing:  97% Open & Read Rate. (Cell Carrier Research) Even if you’re bad at math, you can see the difference!

So how do we implement SMS Marketing within Insurance Agencies?  For starters, we will tell any new appointments that we will need their mobile phone number so that you can send them an appointment reminder the day before.  Now, even if these potential prospects do not initially turn into clients, you’ve got their mobile number to follow-up with them a month or two later.  This will allow you to stay “top of mind” with them should their insurance needs change.  Also, this automated SMS will reduce no-shows & save your agency representatives time & money.  This type of system will pay for itself using this feature alone.  What is the value of your time during a no-show?

Another way Insurance Agencies can utilize this technology is to send out a Text message for insurance renewal dates.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to renew my insurance because the notification they send goes to my “other e-mail”.
(Yes I have a few e-mails, & I just signed up for SMS alerts through my Auto Insurance!)

Additional Coverage Options are also a great message to send out to prospects & current clients.  Once a month you could even send out an “Insurance Savings Tip”, a notice about a company picnic, regulatory rate changes in your state, a current news headline about Insurance, or news about your own agency.  You could send out a mObile newsletter within an SMS message.  In that message, you could link to a mobile landing page or even your own mobile web site.  The content you send out should be relevant to your customers & clients whether it is Auto, Life & Health, Commercial, or Home Insurance.

All of the above solutions deal mostly with current clients but what about new clients?  It costs an average of about 5x more to acquire a new customer than to keep one.  Focusing on your attrition rate first, will increase your revenue faster than acquiring new clients.  Reactivating old leads & clients that have moved on to other providers is much easier to do when you have their mobile phone numbers.

Let’s talk about Lead Generation with SMS now.  One option is to add a Keyword to any piece of marketing that you’re already doing.  For example, “Text ABCINS to 11111 For A Chance To Win A Gift Card From AJ’s Steakhouse!”  You could really go wild with something like this.  Raffle off prizes to gain leads & since you can apply a different Keyword to each Print & Digital Advertisement, you can track your opt-in success rates.  You could use this method at a Trade Show Booth collecting mobile phone numbers of those interested in your services for follow-up.  Using a different Keyword for different booths, locations of signs & ads, helps to track your mobile marketing efforts.

There are many ways to use SMS Marketing for Insurance Agencies today.  These are only but a few simple ideas & there really is no one size fits all anymore.  If you want to “Brand Yourself” or your agency, you’re going to have to work hard at communicating your brand’s message across multiple channels, multiple times per month.  Customers & clients are moving targets in this fast paced & ever-changing economy.  3 things we always take with us when we leave the house are keys, wallet, & our mobile phone.  Let’s face it, if we get a Text message on our mobile phone, we read it.  In this day & age when so many consumers are shopping on price, you’ll want to make a connection with your clients that lasts well beyond a rate quote.  SMS mObile marketing can do that because it is a very personal medium that can strengthen your relationships, & enhance your brand’s identity.

If you would like more ideas about how to use SMS Marketing for your Insurance Agency please click here to sign up for my mObile marketing newsletter.  I specifically outline ways to increase your leads & customer loyalty that you can implement today.

Dan LaCob is a mObile Marketing Consultant & Blogs@


Your turn:  Do you currently use SMS marketing?  What have you found to be the most useful and the least useful methods?


Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979

Family Day Marketing

21 May

My family and I attended Edison Family Day yesterday in Edison, NJ.  This event was held in a large convention center with about 100 vendors in attendance.  The vendors included everything from party planners to restaurants and health care centers.  While it was meant to be a fun day for our local families, it was more of a large marketing event with everyone handing out coupons, prizes and business cards.   While I was walking around with my family, however, I noticed there wasn’t a single insurance company represented at the event.  So, of course, it got me thinking…

Since this event is held every year (and maybe there are events like this in neighboring towns), I’m thinking of renting a table to promote myself, NJ’s Business Insurance Lady.  While I’m not a restaurant giving away a food sample or a bowling alley giving away free games, I’m sure I can come up with some way to get business owners to frequent my table.  Even if they are just the business owners of the other businesses attending the same event, it would certainly be worth it.  Here are some ideas for getting said business owners to come to the table to chat:

  • Raffle off a basket of something like gourmet coffees and hot chocolate with a fun mug or two.
  • Raffle off a gift certificate for a professional photography session for the person’s business.  (Maybe I can get a photography business to donate this since it will be promoting their business as well.)
  • Raffle off a gift certificate for marketing materials and use that to promote my printing business as well (Your Life In Print).
  • Use a fishbowl to collect business cards for those who wish to be in the raffle (instant leads!).

Of course, the goal would be to make the table fun, engaging and useful for business owners.  I’d also include posters or poster boards with tips on insuring a business properly or questions to ask an insurance agent before switching over to a new agent.  And, at the event, everyone walks around with plastic bags they look to fill with anything they can so I’d probably put out pens or frisbees or something with my name and logo on them.

Your turn:  Have you ever set up a table at an event like this?  If so, any tips for those who’d like to try this type of marketing?

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979

Do you have the GUTS?

16 May

While reading around on one of the insurance forums that I frequent, I stumbled across a video of Claude Diamond.  He’s the founder of the GUTS sales system.  The video I watched basically shows Claude and a client role playing different scenarios and how to integrate the GUTS method of cold calling.  The part I enjoyed was learning how to get through the gatekeeper and straight to the decision maker or owner of the business.

I spent the day yesterday using this method (or a variation of said method) while calling large self storage facilities.  These are places I’ve called before but go nowhere.  Yesterday, while using this method, I was able to obtain the name and direct phone number of the person in charge of the company’s business insurance.  Was I actually able to speak to the owner?  Only a handful of times.  But, in my opinion, this method helped me get several steps closer to obtaining the sale.  Especially since I wasn’t able to get past the receptionist/office manager in my previous calls.

Here’s the video:   Oh, and if you go to YouTube and search GUTS sales training, there are many more videos there to learn from.

By the way, I have no affiliation with Claude Diamond or the GUTS Sales Method.  Please use his methods at your own risk.

Your turn:  After you’ve tried this out, let us know how it went.  We’d love to hear from you!


Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979

Blogger Mistake

9 May

Just a quick note to apologize to all those whose blog comments got stuck in my spam queue.  I had no idea this was something I should be checking every day so my apologies to all the great comments who went without a response for so long!  But, they all have responses now. 🙂

Thanks for understanding this blog newbie’s mistake.

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979

What Does Your Office Space Say About You?

8 May

The first thing potential (or current) clients notice when they walk in your office is how it is decorated.  You know that saying, you only get one chance to make a first impression?  Well, what impression is your office giving to your clients?

An organized, well decorated office space can say a lot about one’s success in this business.  Generally, if you look like you make a lot of money and take care of your space, you will come off as being more successful then you may be.  If, on the other hand, your office space is unorganized with a mish-mash of furniture and paintings, it will give off the impression you are a newbie and obviously not very successful.  Which person would YOU want to work with?

So, how do you create a space worthy of your biggest clients?  Here are a few tips for creating the look of success:

*If you don’t own your space, be sure to get permission from your boss before decorating.*

  • Give your space a fresh coat of paint.  Some people swear by light, airy colors that give the client a happy feeling while others, like myself, prefer to create a warm and cozy space with browns and golds.
  • Get furniture that matches and at least looks new.  Nothing says unsuccessful like an old green chair with a hole in it, a desk with a leg duct taped on and paintings that were picked up at a yard sale.
  • Create a feeling of comfort.  Bring in a lamp or two with soft lighting to create a homey and comfortable feeling.
  • If you have room in your space, create a seating area.  Even if there is a seating area in the main lobby of your building, you’ll want a comfortable place for your clients to sit with you.  A few chairs and a table should do the trick.
  • Add a matching throw rug to tie it all together.
  • Add a plant or two and pictures of the family.  Nothing says, “I am responsible.” like a thriving plant and pictures of a beautiful family.

Your turn:  What have you done in your space to create the picture of success? Any other ideas to add to my list?

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979



The government will help you find clients?

7 May

I’m always online researching new marketing techniques, looking up lists of businesses in my area, etc. and I stumbled across a government website listing all the businesses in my state who are currently on the state plan for worker’s compensation.  The website is The New Jersey Compensation Rating & Inspection Bureau website.    In New Jersey, those on the state plan are automatically charged an additional 15% premium as a fee for being on the plan.  So, if I’m able to get these people off the state plan, I should be able to save them 15% off of what they are currently paying right off the bat.  The goal, of course, would also be to quote their liability and commercial auto policies as well and create an overall better package for their business.

Here are some other helpful things I’ve found though this website:

  • Current agency each business uses.
  • Worker’s Compensation renewal dates.
  • How much each business is currently paying in premiums.
  • Experience modification numbers.
  • And I was also able to narrow searches down by county, experience mod numbers, renewal dates, name of business, etc.

Your turn:  If you’ve found the equivalent website for your state, please share the link below so others may benefit as well.  Or, if you’ve found a great website with other helpful information, please share that too!


Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979



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