Just like larger companies, micro businesses also need small business insurance. However, their unique needs call for a tailored marketing approach that prioritizes empathy, respect, and understanding. In this blog, learn how to market insurance to micro small businesses.
Small businesses may be (relatively) small in size, sales, and footprint, but they make up a massive portion of the U.S. economy. In fact, the Small Business Administration finds that small businesses comprise 99.9 percent of all businesses in the U.S.
Micro businesses encompass a wide variety of industries, too. Independent contractors, freelancers, retail stores, solopreneurs, and sole proprietors may all be classified as micro-small businesses depending on their employee count, annual sales, and initial capital.
Unfortunately, for too long micro-small businesses have been underserved and neglected by insurance companies. After all, micro business accounts typically average for less than $2,500 in premiums; and with low commissions and lengthy underwriting processes, micro businesses struggle to easily get the insurance they need.
However, companies like Coterie Insurance are dedicated to making insurance easy for micro businesses and want to provide some tips for insurance agents and brokers to market commercial insurance to them. How do you approach an owner or stakeholder with so many other responsibilities on their plate?
- Start by addressing the unique needs of micro small businesses
The needs of micro small businesses — some with no more employees than the owner themselves — differ greatly from larger small businesses that employ one or two dozen employees if not more.
Adjust your marketing strategies to meet the unique needs of a micro small business. Start by considering that a micro business owner is likely even more of a jack of all trades, with less time and resources available for their insurance. They need to clearly understand the insurance they need, why, and be able to purchase it quickly.
For example, a micro business operating with a single employee — the owner — may not need or be required to have a workers’ compensation policy.
Micro businesses may also have grown from a hobby or side hustle that, over time, grew enough to become an established business without checking off every item on the “essential business to-do- checklist.” You may need to spend a bit more time on education with these businesses.
Take time to identify and understand the unique challenges, requirements, and pain points felt by the micro small business owners you’re targeting. Ask questions, listen to their story, and then develop an actionable marketing strategy that fulfills their needs.
- Respect the time of micro small business owners
Owners of micro small businesses often wear multiple hats. An owner is responsible not only for providing the business’s products or services but for duties such as:
- Advertising, marketing, and operating social media accounts
- Bookkeeping, accounting, paying bills, and invoicing
- Customer service
- Hiring, training, and managing any employees
- Outsourcing tasks to contractors
- Inventory management and order fulfillment
In other words, micro small business owners do it all by default. Even if they have a few contractors or employees helping, there are likely more tasks to handle than there are people.
Acknowledge this by respecting the time of micro small business owners. Prioritize quick and simple methods of selling commercial insurance. Offering, binding, and issuing same-day insurance coverage helps micro small business owners satisfy the need for commercial insurance without siphoning time away from their daily responsibilities.
Consider quoting with tech-forward companies like Coterie, which takes just seconds and you can do it while you’re on the phone with the client.
Focus, too, on the ways your policies and processes support an ultra-busy owner. Emphasize the helpfulness of your customer service team, the knowledge of your agents, tech tools that allow business to be conducted in the evenings or weekends, and the rapidity with which claims are processed.
Knowing that your agency responds quickly to a micro business owner’s questions and concerns ensures they are not kept from other duties longer than is necessary, and they have the support they need.
- Develop authentic relationships with micro small business owners
Micro small business owners may be busy, but they want genuine relationships. Developing authentic relationships with colleagues and other professionals is an integral part of operating a small business.
79 percent of business buyers believe salespeople should serve as trusted advisors and not just sales reps. Position your agency to be a trusted source for guidance and information about small business insurance and how insurance helps protect micro businesses. Provide helpful information such as disaster prep and share best practices you may have learned from working with other micro small business owners.
Remember to focus on building a relationship, not pushing products for the sake of sales. Compare the benefits of your policies vs. the policies themselves: why does a plumber need a Business Owners Policy compared to a General Liability policy? What extra protection would he receive? What’s the likelihood he’d experience a claim covered by a BOP but not by GL insurance?
Nurturing an authentic relationship with micro small business owners can have a ripple effect on your agency, too. Since micro businesses often network with one another, a good experience with your agency may encourage your clients to refer others in their network to your agency as well.
In fact, a whopping 83 percent of B2B customers are open to referring a business after a successful transaction. Additionally, 78 percent of those referrals amount to viable leads. Your efforts to develop a genuine relationship with micro small business owners may continue to pay off further down the road.
Connect with micro small businesses through your agency website
Your agency’s website serves as its digital footprint. Given that 69 percent of insurance customers conduct an online search before buying a policy, it’s a no-brainer that your agency needs a website to market commercial insurance to micro-small businesses.
A 2022 report found that only 14 percent of small businesses purchased commercial insurance online. However, those who purchased online were generally very happy with the experience.
Further, almost 90 percent of B2B sales have shifted to teleconference, phone, or web avenues.
In many cases, an insurance agency’s website is the first step in the sales funnel. After familiarizing themselves with your agency and its offerings, micro small business owners are still likely to pick up the phone to speak with an agent.
But that doesn’t discount the usefulness of your website. A powerful, easily navigable website serves as a portal for clients to manage their policies, access documents (such as their certificate of insurance) and interact with your customer service team.
As a result, an insurance agency website can make it quick and convenient for a micro small business to purchase and manage an insurance policy without needless complexity.
Partner with companies that focus on serving micro small businesses
Because micro small businesses are so underserved, it may benefit your agency to partner with a company built around fulfilling their needs, such as Coterie.
Coterie allows insurance agents and firms to determine if a given micro small business is in appetite, then quote, bind, and issue policies in a matter of minutes.
You’ll also have access to Coterie’s world-class customer support to ensure your clients’ questions, concerns, and issues are quickly rectified and solved.
Partnering with a company like Coterie allows your agency to satisfy the unique needs of micro small businesses and provide them with the commercial insurance they require while eliminating or avoiding the time-consuming frustrations so common in the typical insurance-buying process.
Market insurance to micro small businesses by showing empathy, respect, and understanding
Selling a policy to a micro small business is likely one of the more personal interactions you’ll have as a B2B insurance agent or firm. You won’t be put on hold as you skip through half a dozen departments, pawned off to someone who lacks any authority to buy from you, or asked to run through reams of bureaucratic red tape.
Instead, you’ll be speaking with micro-small business owners themselves or, at the very least, someone fairly close to the owner. Demonstrating your genuine interest in the success of the business and empathy for its struggles can go miles. It also helps you lay a foundation to offer a value-based solution to the business’s concerns and worries.
Market insurance to micro small businesses by empowering your product knowledge and sales skills with your humanity. You’ll be doing the business owner a great service they will come to appreciate and be grateful.