Case Study: How Colvard Insurance Group Tripled Its Monthly Referrals

Clay Colvard, owner of Colvard Insurance Group in Alabama, has had his agency for 7 years. With two small-town locations, Clay has experienced the same difficulties as most agency owners. Perhaps his biggest challenge: obtaining quality leads on a consistent basis.   The Merry-Go-Round of Buying Leads Clay spent a lot of years purchasing leads. At $20-$40 a pop, he frequently found himself paying $5,000-$10,000 a month. The problem with this?

  • With such a huge outlay of cash, he had no resources to do any other type of marketing
  • The leads were very poor quality
  • His closing ratio was only about 1-2%

Clay finally gave up; it was simply too costly and time consuming for such little return on his investment.  

The Necessity of Quality Referrals

Of course, as a smart businessman, Clay realized that referrals were by far the best way to go. They have a significantly higher closing rate and far greater retention. But he and his team were only pulling in 16-22 referrals a month in their small market. He didn’t know how to get those numbers up and wasn’t sure how to make his agency stand out. They were stuck. Then another agent steered Clay toward Agency Marketing Machine.  

Becoming Agents of Change                                     

The cornerstone of AMM’s marketing program is their Agents of Change movement, which turns clients into superheroes within their community by raising money for local worthy causes. In exchange for a customer or business partner submitting a recommendation, the agency makes a $10 or $20 donation to a local nonprofit organization or family in need on their behalf. Between their first two community cause campaigns, Clay and his team raised $3,050 for local nonprofits and received 92 recommendations. Instead of purchasing low-quality leads for the same amount, Clay now takes that same money and watches it do some good for the people of his community, while garnering high-quality recommendations.

“I’d be more than happy to pay $5,000 toward a Community Cause just because I know the recommendations are coming in and they’re good leads, unlike the internet leads we were getting.”

 “It’s definitely been a game changer for us.”

Clay fully embraced his Community Cause campaigns right out of the starting gate, calling a team meeting to explain the new marketing program and set the following into place:

  • Each team member has the opportunity to select a Community Cause in turn
  • Each team member has a monthly goal for obtaining recommendations

Clay selected the agency’s first Community Cause beneficiary himself, which was an organization providing essential services to help local people break out of the barriers of poverty. A staff member selected the second cause, which was a home for abused and neglected children.

“We’ve really caught hold of this! Getting the staff involved with what they’re raising money for with the causes has really made the difference in seeing our recommendations grow. They’re raising money for something they’re passionate about. They don’t want to let the organization down and they’re getting involved and doing all the things they can to really make a difference.”

In the past, Clay tried to get his team to ask for recommendations, but it just didn’t happen with any regularity. Now, the team talks about their Community Cause campaign during every customer interaction, trying to do their best to raise money for the organizations about which they care so deeply. And showing customers and prospects their monthly magazine featuring the cause makes it all so easy. Setting goals and maintaining accountability has proven to be a key factor in Clay’s success. In fact, it’s all going so well that Clay is considering increasing his team’s goals soon.  

The Charities Pitch In

Their current organization is trying to help them raise as much money as possible by getting their own people involved in recommending people to the agency. As a result, Clay thinks they’re likely to greatly increase their recommendations during their next Community Cause cycle.  

What about the Closing Ratio of Those Recommendations?

The beauty of worthy cause marketing is that people are much more likely to follow through with a quotation because they’re helping out a local organization or family in need. People tend to give more than one recommendation for the same reason. Everyone can see the good that is being done in the community and feel like they’re part of it, without having to reach into their own pockets. So what about the recommendations Colvard Insurance has been getting? Are they good quality? In fact, they quote more than 70% of the recommendations they’re given and according to Clay, the closing ratio is great.  

The Importance of Business Partners

Another AMM concept Clay and his team have run with is the Concierge Program – a network of business partners they include in their marketing efforts while expecting nothing in return. Program partners become a vital value-added service of recommended local businesses for the agency’s loyal customer base. Although Colvard Insurance had some partners previously, they’ve modified their approach and made a concerted effort to add more. The agency currently counts 32 businesses in their Concierge Program. Clay’s team members make weekly visits to build relationships, and take copies of their monthly magazine to both business partners and prospective partners. The result? Clay estimates that the majority of their recommendations are now coming from their Concierge partners.  

The Upshot

Clay feels that thanks to AMM, his agency is in a much better position to weather any storms ahead. There are so many things he has no control over. But by building credibility as a Trusted Advisor to his customers and his community, Colvard Insurance now stands out from the crowd. His team, customers and business partners are enthusiastic about the good they’re doing in the community, and it shows.

“There are a lot of things we can’t control – whether rates or guidelines or whatever – but just being involved with the community and helping out these causes really sets us apart from the competition. In our small town of 15,000, we’ve got close to 40 different insurance agencies. But we’ve done away with internet leads. This is the way we’re going to make our business and our agency grow. By making a difference.”

  Bravo, Colvard Insurance! Thank you for joining our #Agents of Change movement to make a real difference in your community and grow your business as a result. __________________ Want to learn the details about exactly what Clay and other AMM clients are getting more of the best type of leads on the planet? Just schedule a 30-minute consultation call with us and we'd be happy to show you. CLICK HERE  

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