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3 Tips to Help Producers at Small Insurance Agencies Close Big Deals

Posted on April 21, 2016 by Mark Sonders

Sonders' Selling Tips

To close a big deal, you have to know what a big deal is. What is a big deal for a producer?

Well, this depends on who you ask.

For smaller agencies, a policy generating less than $10,000 in premium could be considered small, while a larger account may be in the $45,000 to $100,000 range. Agencies vary on their commission splits with producers and whether or not you have a vested ownership of your book of business. For example, if you get a small base salary and a 40/60 producer/agency split, it is going to make the most business sense for you to try to land those larger accounts. You can use these three tips to help get you kick-started on the journey to closing more big deals.

Closing big deals

1. Don’t Skip Trade shows/Conventions

To close the big deal, it makes sense that you must first—find the big deal! Get yourself in front of as many trade and business association meetings/conventions as possible. If your agency is fortunate enough to secure a booth at one of these trade show conventions, come armed with plenty of giveaways and business cards. Even in these increased days of social media networking, which indeed has an important place in the modern insurance sales process, there is something to be said for good old-fashioned “word of mouth” referrals and meeting potential clients face-to-face, armed with information about what you can do to provide their insurance needs.

I know a small agency producer who made his way through one of these trade shows and landed a meeting with a large oil/gas company. He ended up writing all lines of coverage; well in excess of $100,000. This kind of deal isn’t going to fall into your lap every day, but you never know unless you put yourself out there.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at Insurance Journal's insurance industry events calendar. Interested in Vertafore Events? Check out our extensive list of insurance industry events here.

2. Identify the Decision Makers

For the sake of our story, let’s call the small agency producer who landed the big oil/gas account above “Johnny.” 

How was Johnny able to close the big deal?

He had to identify and zone in on the decision makers of the company.

To sell yourself to a large company, you are going to have to know it inside and out. Do your homework. Who is making the buying decisions at the firm? You may have to start your meetings at first with a purchasing department and work your way through Human Resources, Safety/Risk Departments and then finally on to the owner or partner who makes the final purchasing decision. It could take multiple visits on multiple levels, so stay persistent and prepared.

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3. Provide the Total Package

What else did Johnny do to close the deal?

He came prepared with the total package.

This includes being prepared to offer policy options for all lines of coverage along with possibly providing additional risk management, claims, loss control, human resources and safety services. If you can coordinate the right mix of products and services large clients will need, you become the client’s one-stop source for all things “insurance.” Meeting the needs of these large clients may involve collaborating with professionals outside of your own agency. However, this extensive effort pays off in account retention. It becomes a very huge deal and disruption of his business for the large client to shop and place his business elsewhere.

Just because you may have been told in the past that large accounts aren’t out there, doesn’t mean it’s true. You may just have to look harder (and smarter) for them. Large accounts can’t make up your entire book of business but they should be a big piece of the puzzle. Writing more big deals means you need the right technology and agency management tools for the job. It is essential in retaining these large accounts to service your book of business and keep on top of policy renewals and other policy services you’ll need to perform on a regular basis. Happy customers equate to large account retention and increased profits for you and your agency. You’re going to have to expend more effort to land these big deals and then to service them; but your reward will well outweigh your efforts in the long run.

Do you have any tips for your fellow producers? I'd love to hear stories about how you closed your biggest deal in the comments. 

Good luck!

Mark Sonders

Mr. Sonders is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Vertafore. With over 25 years of sales, marketing, and financial experience at companies like Thomson Reuters and Kaplan Financial, Mark’s career has focused on delivering long-term success for his clients in order to help them get the maximum value out of his organizations products and services.




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