Who is a good Brand Ambassador?
The quick answer is – anyone who has been a successful spokesperson for another product, organization, or brand. Unfortunately, those people are not all that common to find in our communities. Your next best option, individuals who represent the brand of another organization in a leadership level. Typically, larger well run or well managed organizations invest in the training of their management teams. A fast-food manager might have been to several classes on representing the brand and working with others to train and communicate their value to the community. These individuals often find it easy to talk with people and feel comfortable in an active environment.
One of the best places we have found for Brand Ambassadors – former professional sports cheerleaders! It might not sound like a good fit at first glance, but very often these women have been coached and trained as much or more on how to represent the ownership of the organization than their craft of cheering and creating the hype! Studies also suggest that women are better at starting conversation and developing a relationship than most men. With a natural advantage, combined with their experience and coaching, this suggestion seems to make more and more sense at every turn. The core of the issue, the best Brand Ambassador knows what it means and is willing to do their part to represent the organization in the best way possible.
What are the key components to look for?
It would be negligent to not discuss a key consideration surrounding the potential success of a Brand Ambassador:
Who is the customer? AND Who do THEY want to talk to?
Consider the demographic of your customer and the best individuals to connect with them. Evaluating the tastes and preferences of your target market will help you find a person that will be the right fit for your agency and for the target market. A simple example, while running the risk of following too many stereo types, your traditional auto body repair shop owner is more likely to stop what they are doing to take an impromptu meeting from an attractive female brand ambassador. Much the same way a salon owner would be willing to sit down with an attractive male brand ambassador.
Now clearly every generalization has its exceptions but based on the key characteristics of your target market customer, you can find a good fit brand ambassador. Pharmaceutical companies, restoration companies and even big car companies have been doing this type of market matching since their respective industries began. Since you know who your customer is, it is not difficult to find the right kind of matching personality to open up doors and build strong relationships.
How does it work?
The Brand Ambassador is focused on opening doors and introducing the team. In smaller organizations, the team might be lean, but an insurance expert is needed to back up the Brand Ambassador. You have the list of where your prospects are, and you have the materials to help tell your story…let those be the tools used by the Brand Ambassador to open doors. Every door opened is an opportunity. Rate the opportunity using the rating system and begin the follow up process to create the right timing to make the ask for their business. The stronger the system and follow up, the more likely the prospect will ask the agency for help to do business together even before you do.
One important note – the Brand Ambassador is not an insurance person per se. Perfectly capable people with no insurance knowledge are successful brand ambassadors for an agency…however, the best ambassadors will learn the insurance business as they go to make those initial conversations with the prospect even more productive. The goal is never to make insurance experts out of your door openers, but rather equip them with a few extra words to help approach the different insurance opportunities from all possible angles. It makes for a great training step in the program for the Brand Ambassador to go on calls to existing customers in the target market with the agency principal. Those “ride-along” opportunities will provide tangible demonstrations of the agency’s culture and value in the relationship between the customer and the agency.
What should we expect?
This program is activity based, meaning you first track and measure the activity. How many people on the list need to be contacted each day can be the first measurable and track-able item. From there it’s simple sales management, complete with closing ratios and average customer revenue forecasts. Based on the geographic density of your prospect list, you may be able to see multiple prospects in one day. Determine the right level of activity on the front end and follow it through the system OR determine what kind of result you want in your book and work backwards to determine how much activity is needed on the front end. Either calculation will give you a strong estimate for the potential revenue that is possible from this approach and the added work that is needed from the team.
All of those resource constraints should be considered thoroughly, including what will be available to pay the Brand Ambassador for the activity. Some agencies are able to commit to multiple Brand Ambassadors actively working full time, while others may employ only one on a part-time basis. The concept can scale up or down easily based on the defined opportunity of the target market and access to the prospect and data.
Committing to the whole process provides the highest likelihood of success for you, your agency and the members of the team. If something doesn’t work perfectly the first time through – make an adjustment and push forward. There is no need to start from scratch if you have carefully stepped through each part of the process.
Finally, not everyone on the team will understand what you are trying to do with this program. Take the time needed to properly communicate to your team each of the parts to this process and how the responsibilities will be broken out. Once everyone is on board, you can really begin to build your business!