PF&M at a Glance
Business building letters
Effective written communication is a technique used to impart one person’s ideas to another. Although a mere 10% of communication is based on the written word—90% comes from tone of voice and body language—it still must be delivered clearly and succinctly. Especially in the business world, poorly written messages can be confusing and fail to achieve their intended purpose.
Although many people are intimidated by the thought of having to write, there are times when that is the best and only way to get your message across.
Some tips for effective writing are:
• Clearly identify your goal or reason for communicating.
• Thoroughly explain what you expect of the recipient.
• Outline the benefits of responding as you have requested.
• Establish your credibility while also showing respect for the recipient.
• Choose the appropriate written communication medium. While e-mail is rapidly replacing formal business letters in many situations because of faster turnaround time, these tips apply equally to both.
Two of the most common barriers to successful communication are message overload (when a person receives too many messages at the same time) and message complexity. Keeping correspondence short, sweet, simple, polite, businesslike and to the point, while still being friendly and personable, is the best approach.
Once written, words cannot be taken back, so choose them carefully. Written communication is more concrete than verbal communication and allows little room for error and even less for mistakes in wording. This means that spelling, grammar, punctuation, writing style and actual wording must be crafted deliberately and accurately.
Many people rank writing right up there with public speaking, long prison terms and root canals, but it doesn’t have to be that way! The Rough Notes Company’s Producer Online offers an extensive array of products and services for insurance professionals, based on more than a century of experience. One of these is Business Building Letters. This is a compilation of more than 300 professionally written sample letters that are designed to enhance the way you prospect and develop accounts, create and maintain relationships, and service your clients.
If you want to avoid the embarrassment of poorly written letters, it makes sense to have a professional writer compose and prepare them for you and your staff. Business success depends in part on the ability to communicate by writing effective letters in order to generate business and/or goodwill.
Business Building Letters has sales, survey, cancellation, claims, anniversary and special event letters that can be customized and used for your agency’s clients and other purposes. While most of these letters are designed for property and casualty customers, a number address life insurance and financial services.
Business Building Letters covers four general categories:
Prospecting letters are designed to help you begin a contact program with the goal of developing relationships with potential clients. The system reaches out to these prospects from three to six times a year with the goal of turning cold leads into hot prospects. Keep in mind that you need a well-defined, qualified list of prospects to begin with. “Shotgun” approaches waste both your time and your marketing dollars. Effective prospect contact programs should concentrate your efforts on specific targets.
Account development letters focus on maintaining and retaining the business you already have. Systematic use of these letters helps you improve your retention ratio, keep coverages current, and increase revenue by writing every coverage that a given account needs.
Account activity letters accompany newly issued policies or endorsements and are reactive as opposed to prospecting or account development letters, which are proactive. They are a way to keep your name in front of the client and say you care instead of simply mailing the policy or endorsement. These letters also give you the opportunity to enhance your professionalism and increase your credibility.
Special events letters are intended to help you make and maintain active contact with your clients all year long. They involve general announcements, address specific topics and provide other information without asking for business. They give your clients the impression that you are interested in them in ways that go beyond providing insurance coverage in return for a premium and a commission.
These letters turn prospects and clients into friends who in turn are more willing to avail themselves of your services. Using these letters is part of building a relationship with them.
Make your letters interesting by avoiding the appearance of form letters. Today’s technology makes it easy to customize and personalize letters. Doing so doesn’t take much time, and the potential rewards in terms of revenue and goodwill are significant. Each letter can be modified to correspond with a particular situation’s unique characteristics. Look at each letter as a sales opportunity and, when appropriate, include an agency or product brochure, questionnaire, survey, business reply card, or a promise to take action.
The benefits of using Business Building Letters in a systematic, planned correspondence program include:
• More effective coordination of your sales and service efforts
• Sharper focus on sales
• Spending more time meeting potential clients and making sales and less time in the office
• Proactive letters will result in reactive sales.
• Your agency will be more professional and customer-focused.
For more information about Business Building Letters and Producer Online, go to www.roughnotes.com, click on Rough Notes products, then Rough Notes Products Catalog and Producer Online.