Pretend you just bought a franchise restaurant (since we are pretending you can own your favorite one). You need to get insurance for your restaurant so you start to look online for insurance agents. As you search you find a local agent in your area and another agent a little further away who came up when you searched “franchised restaurant insurance”. The local agent didn’t have good website, but you have heard of the agency’s name before. The other agent had a website and blog devoted to restaurant insurance. Many of the questions you had about restaurant insurance were addressed on this agent’s blog. You instantly gave credibility to this agent.
The next day you contact both agents and set up an appointment with each. The local agent discusses general information about insurance and gives you some brochures about their agency. The local agent is a nice guy who says he will get some quotes. In general, the meeting went very well.
The other agent who specialized in restaurant insurance came in next. You mentioned that you read his blog the night before and you instantly have a positive connection. The restaurant agent discusses some risk management and other ideas that provide value above and beyond an insurance quote. The agent has several testimonials from other franchise restaurant owners who give this agent glowing reviews. The restaurant agent also explains some specific coverages and options specific to the restaurant industry that the local agent failed to mention. Needless to say, you are impressed.
Both agents come back with quotes. The local agent provides a good quote that is actually 10% less than the restaurant insurance specialist’s quote. However, the restaurant specialist agent has several solutions and coverages that are important to you and not addressed by the local agent. The restaurant specialist agent also gives you confidence and had credibility due to his knowledge and expertise in your industry.
Who do you choose? There may be few owners who would go ahead and choose the local agent due to the 10% in premium savings or maybe because he is local, but I think the majority of savvy business owners would choose the restaurant specialist. Why, because this agent “owns” their niche.
Since I started in the insurance business in 2000, I have read hundreds of articles, heard from insurance sales experts, and discussed with partner insurance companies about developing a niche.
A niche makes sense and sounds simple, but for most of my career I never really had a true niche. Sure, I have certain types of businesses that I work well with and have written a many accounts in the same industry, but it wasn’t a true niche.
Why? Because I didn’t “own” my niche.
I know many agents who do specialize in certain industries or coverages, but most of them don’t really “own” their niche, the just rent different ones from time to time. What is “owning” you niche?
- Owning your niche is when someone thinks of a certain type of business or line of coverage, the think of you.
- Owning your niche is when someone Googles your niche it’s your name that comes up.
- Owning your niche is when you build a tribe of followers that know, like, trust, and refer you.
As insurance agents, we all too often write about any business we can get our hands on. I know I did.
You can be successful when you are a generalist, but I don’t think you can dominate. When you are a generalist price often times becomes more od deciding factor than expertise. I don’t know about you, but I value my expertise.
As agents, we are all professionals, yet we often don’t treat ourselves as such.
Think about it like this. If you have a very specific medical condition that needs attention who would you rather see? A doctor who treats all kinds of patients and has read about your specific condition a few times in medical journals or the doctor who specializes in this specific type of ailment and is recognized as the leader in their field? What about if the specialist costs a little more? It probably wouldn’t matter right?
Who do you think makes the big bucks in the medical field, the specialist or the family practitioner? That’s right, the specialist. That’s not because the generalist doesn’t provide a tremendous service. It’s because the specialist can provide something no one else can.
As insurance specialists in a certain niche we can treat or our customers insurance symptoms with confidence, expertise, and a high level of reputation. The issue of price becomes less important. Not because a competitive price isn’t important, but because our level of knowledge and expertise is more important.
A niche doesn’t have to be one specific industry or type of coverage, it could be anything from a type of service your provide to the way you qualify your prospects that work best with your strengths.
Whether you currently have a niche or a working on developing your niche, remember the most important thing is to “own it”.