I'll Have the Purple One: How Much Variety Do Your Clients Need?
You focus on auto insurance, but your customers are always asking you about home insurance products as well. If your insurance business is focused on a smaller number of areas and your customers are seeking variety, how much variety should you provide? Is it worthwhile to expand your insurance products?
Go Deeper Into Your Specialty
You need to know what your customers want, who they are, and why they buy what they buy. Sometimes, what your customers want is not more variety across different insurance categories but more depth within your existing area of expertise. For instance, if you are an auto insurer, you could gain more customers by expanding your business to offer insurance products for classic cars or tractors rather than expanding outwards into new areas of insurance. This allows you to create insurance jobs that are more specific and hire employees who are topic experts. Do your research before you decide to go this route to ensure that there is a market for your proposed specialty insurance products.
Choose to Focus
If you feel pushed to expand, you can choose to research one area at a time. According to the Harvard Business Review, "The discipline of putting a hard limit on what goes into a product-development pipeline often results in sharper focus and clearer priorities." It's all right to focus your business, and when you're looking at expanding, it's also all right to focus on expansion into a single area. This allows you to build more competence for your customers so that you feel more confident expanding into this one area rather than many areas at a time.
Diversify Your Customer Service
Sometimes, it's not access to new products that your customers need - it's access to new customer service options. For instance, if you're working with a group of customers who really value text-based customer service, providing this option can set your insurance business apart. Hitting the mark with your customer service is just as valuable as providing a different product option. Have an ongoing conversation with your insurance clients to determine how small changes can lead to greater customer satisfaction and retention.
Your Customers' Needs Will Change
Your business doesn't need to offer insurance policies to suit every specific circumstance. The evolution of your insurance products should be an interactive process. Your customers ask for a new product or a variation on the existing ones that you offer, and you determine whether it's possible for you to offer that product. You need to be responsive to your customers, and through those responses you'll develop the variety that your customers need right now.
Consider How Expansion Will Feed Into Your Larger Mission
Why does your company exist? According to the Harvard Business Review, many companies today embrace a mission much larger than making money: "...producing goods and services that improve the lives of users; by providing jobs and enhancing workers’ quality of life; by developing a strong network of suppliers and business partners; and by ensuring financial viability...." As you examine the possibility of expansion, consider how that expansion will feed these goals or detract from them, and remain focused on your overall business mission.
At American Agents Alliance, we want your insurance jobs and your business as a whole to stay strong. Whether you're looking for business development advice or you need E&O insurance for your agency, contact us. We're here to support independent insurance businesses.