A key part of being a broker is deciding whether to call or email insurance agency leads. There is much debate on whether cold calling or emailing is the better approach.  However, when it comes to contacting leads, it’s common for agents to use both methods, depending on the particular situation and prospect. When deciding whether to call or email insurance agency leads, you should consider what approach works best for you and for your prospective customer. Read on for some tips on how to determine whether you should call or email insurance agency leads.

When is it time to pick up the phone?

Phone calls are often more effective than emails, even though some health insurance agents are reluctant to cold call their prospects. There are some compelling reasons for the continued effectiveness of phone calls, which include:

  • The average office worker receives 120 emails per day, which makes it harder to get their attention with an email
  • Many people immediately assume cold emails are spam
  • The response rate for a phone call is much higher than for an email, 8% versus 0.03%

So how do you determine if you should call a prospect? It’s helpful to begin by asking yourself what you hope to accomplish with this contact. Do you want them to agree to a meeting? Learn more about their insurance needs? If you want your lead to take some kind of action you need a chance to persuade them, which is often completed more effectively over the phone. On a call you can immediately respond to your prospect’s concerns or objections. For example, if they are worried about rising healthcare costs, review benefits that could alleviate that concern. You might mention high-deductible health plans or consumer-driven benefits like HSAs and FSAs.

It’s also important to consider whether calling will work well for a prospect. If your prospects work at the upper management level or in a customer-facing role, they are probably more comfortable talking on the phone. The prospect’s age can make a difference as well, as millennials tend to be less comfortable talking on the phone than previous generations in the workforce.

Another factor to think about is your prospect’s responsiveness. If your prospect doesn’t respond to emails or is uncertain about your services, you are more likely to have success with a phone call. In these situations, a call is more likely to save time and give you the opportunity to explain the benefits of working with your agency.

These are some situations when picking up the phone is far more likely to yield the desired results. If you are reluctant to cold call, these examples above are times when setting your reservations aside and making the call are likely to pay off.

When is it best to email your prospect?

Cold emails are more commonly used for making initial contact. A survey from Inside Sales found that 61% of respondents first contacted their leads by email. Only 6% of respondents tried cold calling. Cold emails have some advantages over phone calls. For example, if your prospects are out of the office, you can still reach them over email. You can also send out many more emails in a workday, and prospects are far less likely to screen emails than phone calls.

Many marketers recommend making initial contact with a prospect over email. With email, you can convey all the necessary information and tailor the message to the needs of their company. If you know the company is growing, talk about health benefits that can help them scale, like commuter benefits or worksite coverage. Your conversion rates are likely to be better with an email than a cold call. In fact, Hubspot created an infographic detailing various cold calling studies from Baylor University’s Keller Institute. The studies demonstrated that only 1% of cold calls resulted in a meeting, and just 28% of people who receive these calls will engage in conversation.

As with a phone call, think about your objectives for contacting your lead. If you have a simple request like getting feedback for content regarding benefit plans they are enrolled in, email is a better option. You don’t want to take up their time with a phone call when you can convey your message in an email. The same is true if you are trying to schedule a meeting, or answer a few simple questions.

If you are contacting a lead for the first time, or you need to share or request straightforward information, emails are often the preferred mode of contact.

Can customer behavior help decide whether to call or email insurance agency leads?

When deciding whether to call or email insurance agency leads, take behavior and personal preferences into account. Consider which method works best for the prospect and what they will be most responsive to. You can gain some insights by looking at data and research on your current customers.

Reviewing your agency’s buyer persona is an excellent place to begin. The persona gives you essential information about your ideal clients, such as their ages, their industries, and what jobs they hold.  They also provide you with clues about your customers’ preferred method of communication. For example, if your customers are millennials, they are much more likely to prefer email exchanges over phone calls. If their employees are largely millennial, they may be interested in benefits like telemedicine. Or if they have employees with dependents, they may be interested in PPO plans or voluntary benefits.

To obtain some additional data, you can also conduct your own research by utilizing both methods of communication with your prospects. Choose 10 prospects to email first, and follow up with a cold call. Note the results and then choose 10 more prospects to cold call first. Compare the results to see which approach is more effective with your potential customers.

Deciding whether to call or email insurance agency leads can be a bit confusing, especially since both forms of communication can be effective when contacting prospects for the first time. When determining which approach to take, it’s important to identify your objective and whether email or phone calls are preferable to your client base. These are some of the most important actions you can take to increase your chances of turning your leads into customers.