The most confusing excuse that I have heard for not having a strong website is “we want to choose with whom we do business”. While I certainly understand the value of writing profitable business and doing some front-end underwriting, I believe that this statement has an inherent misunderstanding of the role of your website (or your online presence or even of branding in general).
But let’s focus on the website. I suspect that this thought process is a byproduct of people removing the riskier business than can come with some more storefront agencies. And because a lot of internet leads in the past were identified as more of a shopper type mentality, it was easy to make the leap comparing a website to an “online storefront” that was driving undesirable leads.
This can be true of certain agency websites. For those agents that are looking to drive leads and are focused on SEO through strong content and relevancy, a certain segment of lower profitable business is going to locate your website. However, this is certainly not the only point of having a website and there are better ways to reduce the potential hit to your loss ratio or additional service that can come with undesirable leads.
So, what is a website when it is not being utilized to identify and convert leads? Think of your website as your biggest advocate. Even some of your best referral sourced leads are still going to look at your website before they contact you. Even these leads are going to look at your website and determine if you are a good fit for them. Having a strong brand message, a custom built website that shows that you are unique, good strong and relevant content, as well as specific information about the agency (Agency Story, Team Members, Community Service) will ensure the prospects that you do want are contacting you.
A lot of time I speak to agents who say that they have a good (90%+) close rate. While that is obviously excellent, unless you are content with your current growth and aren’t looking to write more new business, it is less about the close rate and more about the quote volume. Your close rate does not tell you how many people chose not to contact you. This could be for reasons more than a poor website, but that is certainly not helping.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this is about more than a website. At Agency Appeal, we recognize that your website is more than a storefront. It is a part of your brand. It is the middleman between your referral source and you. However, it is not the only component to your brand. Any message, ad, post, blog, article, etc. whether online or offline drives what people think about you before you get to speak to them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are controlling the sales process before you even get to talk with a prospect unless your brand and your website is saying something pretty special about you. Let your website be your biggest advocate and increase the number of leads. If you are worried about losing control of the type of leads, implement some front-end underwriting and qualification tactics to ensure you are not wasting effort or hurting your loss ratio. Don’t lose the potential growth opportunity behind a poor website.