Agents rely on many tools to build their business just like carpenters depend on a drill, tape measurer, saw, and screws to construct a piece of furniture. We’re going to reveal the nine tools that are must-haves for running your insurance business!
You’ve followed your state’s requirements for licensing, and now you’re ready to start filling your toolbox. But where do you start? Follow this shopping list to stock up on the essentials.
Note: This list is not exhaustive. There are many other useful tools you can and should use for your insurance business. These are just the bare essentials we think you can’t live without.
1. An FMO
Although not strictly a tool but more of a resource and partner that can provide tools, a field marketing organization (FMO) is one of your greatest assets, so it’s too important not to mention. Selling insurance is a lot easier with a good FMO by your side.
Your FMO should, at minimum, help you find, complete, and maintain contracts with carriers. The best FMOs, like Ritter, go beyond just contracting, however, and offer additional services, resources, tools, training, and technology. Joining one shouldn’t cost you anything, and you’ll reap the rewards of having support at your fingertips.
Curious to know more about FMOs? Learn about hierarchies and levels, commissions, what an FMO can do for you, how to choose one, and more in How Insurance FMOs Work.
One of the best tools an FMO can provide and that’s necessary for building a successful insurance business is training. You need to learn a lot as a beginner agent, like how to fact find, choose the best plans, sell the plan, submit business, and retain clients. When you’re a new agent, it can seem overwhelming, but it all can become more manageable by biting off small chunks of learning at a time and partnering with an FMO that cares about your development.
Ritter stands out against other FMOs by offering a plethora of training opportunities. We don’t leave our agents after contracting, and you’ll always have an open door to our sales specialists. Our specialists work one-on-one with agents all day and love to help beginners establish themselves.
Here are some of our training offerings:
- Knight School
- The Ritter blog
- The ASG Podcast
- A full library of free eBooks and guides
- Peer learning through our Facebook group
- Webinars and in-person events
Our self-guided Knight School training is especially useful for agents just starting out. We’ll walk you through each stage of the business with short videos and downloadable resources.
3. Lead Generation Capabilities
You have an FMO that’s helped with your contracts; now you need leads, or prospects, that are interested in your insurance services. You can generate your own through marketing (more below) or purchase leads from a reputable lead generation company or your FMO (if they offer them). Whatever leads you purchase should be exclusive and current, meaning they should only be sold to you, not other agents, and be between a week and six months old, depending on the type of lead (e.g., internet vs. direct mail). They should also be compliant, ideally verified by industry-leading compliance partners like TrustedForm and TCPA Guardian.
We recommend utilizing LeadCENTER, an easy-to-use and compliant lead platform created by our partner Integrity Marketing Group. Quality leads from a variety of sources will give your new business the boost it needs to secure those first prospects. Expect to enjoy these features of LeadCENTER:
- Interactive heat maps to zero in on specific geographical areas
- Multiple lead types for multiple products, like Medicare and final expense
- Exclusive, fresh leads managed with a built-in CRM
- Mobile friendly accessibility
4. A Business Website
Marketing your business holistically is important and a subject we’re very passionate about on the Ritter blog. With so many options for marketing yourself, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stuck. But to generate more leads and build your book of business, it’s imperative to create and stick to a marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Start simply with what we think is the most important foundational building block — a website. You have so many options when it comes to websites, from building your own from scratch using a website builder to paying someone to create one for you.
We recommend two options when creating your website:
- Working with AgentMethods, our partner specializing in insurance agent websites
- Using your own branded site from Shop & Enroll, Ritter’s consumer-facing quote engine, as a simple option.
Got your website figured out? Now it’s time to fill your toolbox with other marketing tools like social media management solutions and direct mailers. Check out The Ultimate Agent Resource List Pt. 1: Market Yourself for a full list of ideas.
5. Scheduling Software
With a website and lead generation, you’ll soon have prospects wanting to schedule appointments. An agent’s life can quickly become very busy with meetings, so use a scheduling app to keep yourself organized from the beginning.
If a planner and pen is your jam, then go for it, but if you’d like a digital alternative that your clients can use to book appointments themselves, choose one of these options:
- If you have a Google or Microsoft email account, consider utilizing Google Calendar or Microsoft Bookings for easy integration with email.
- Sign up for a third-party scheduling app like HubSpot Meetings Tool, Acuity, or Calendly.
Having an option that allows clients to schedule appointments themselves can free up your time substantially. Just make sure you update your calendar with any unavailability, so clients don’t accidentally schedule an appointment when you plan to be relaxing on a beach far away.
6. Quote Engine
You’ll need a comprehensive quote engine to utilize before and during client appointments. One of the biggest deciding factors for your clients will be the price, or premium, of a plan, so you need accurate and quick results. Choose a quote engine that can quote multiple types of products, like Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplements, and final expense, and has features such as comparison tools and filters for quick and easy use.
Learn more about the Medicare Quote Engine’s features and benefits in our guide, including built-in features, Drug Cost Estimator, and Provider Lookup tool.
Client relationship management (CRM) software is a must for keeping all your clients’ details organized. When you only have your first few clients, keeping track isn’t so difficult, but once you start seeing tens, hundreds, and even thousands of clients (yes, some of our top agents have thousands!), you need a tool that’s simple and intuitive. Make sure the CRM you pick is geared for agents working with Medicare products. You’ll want the ability to enter relevant information, like your client’s Medicare ID number, into their file. Just any old CRM won’t be tailored to what you need.
Some FMOs, like Ritter, offer a CRM. When you register with Ritter for free, you gain access to the Ritter Platform, a suite of integrated tools, including an impressive CRM along with contracting, quoting, and call recording functions.
Download the Ritter Platform guide to learn more about how this powerful tool can elevate your sales process!
8. Compliant Call Recording Software
Since CMS’ implementation of their 2023 Final Rule that requires agents to record marketing, sales, and enrollment calls, phone recording software has become another crucial tool to have in place before you contact clients. There are all sorts of ways to record phone calls, but we suggest using one that’s made specifically for agents. Look for features such as integration with your CRM!
Within the Ritter Platform, you’ll find CallVault, our CMS-compliant call recording software. CallVault conveniently allows you to make calls right from your client’s profile, record both inbound and outbound calls, and store recordings in your client’s file. You’ll be assigned a unique CallVault number, and when your client uses it, the inbound call will be automatically recorded.
Learn more about CallVault and why you need it in our extensive guide!
9. Commissions Tracker
Now that you’ve put in the hard work to market yourself, find leads, meet with clients, and close the deal, you’ll want easy-to-use software for accurately tracking your earnings. To save you a big headache, make sure you choose a software that automatically imports and tracks your commissions without you having to manually enter in anything. Ideally, your commission tracking software would integrate with your other tools and be housed in one place, like the Ritter Platform. To access your commissions in the Ritter Platform, click Commissions in the drop-down menu under Clients.
If you do like the control that entering your commissions manually gives you, it’s hard to go wrong with a simple spreadsheet setup. If you go this route, don’t forget to include information such as member name, Medicare ID number, date of birth, product type, date of application, date sent to carriers, and commission received. Another way to track your commissions is to check your carrier portals one by one.
Although many highly rated commission-tracking options exist, we recommend utilizing what’s available from your FMO or carrier, since they will offer software that’s compliant with CMS requirements. The commission-tracking capabilities housed in the Ritter Platform are compliant, simple to use, and free! All you have to do is register with Ritter.
These nine essential tools will lay the foundation for the long-term success of your business! They’ll help you gain knowledge and confidence, generate leads, meet with clients, and keep you organized and compliant. Here at Ritter, we’re obsessed with helping our agents thrive. When you’re a new agent, you might not know where to start. Partner with us for free and receive first-rate services, tools, and support. We look forward to working with you!