Category: <span>Free Stuff</span>

Start an Office Book Club

Start an Office Book Club

Here’s how to start a book club in your office.

  • Choose an easy-to-read business book and discuss assigned chapters at each meeting. Book recommendations below.
  • Keep participant group size between 6-8. If a second book club is needed, create a good mix of experience and job positions. Don’t forget remote workers! They can dial in or use Skype.  If there are two meetings scheduled, participants can attend the other meeting if their assigned meeting time has a conflict.
  • Meetings should last about an hour. Meeting over a lunch hour works well. Some groups meet weekly, some bi-weekly. Choose whatever frequency enables more people to attend.
  • Each participant leads a meeting on a rotating basis. Designate a leader to lead the first meeting. Have people sign up for specific dates to be the leader.
  • As a group, decide how many chapters should be read for the next meeting.
  • Discussion questions. Keep them simple. What did you take away from this week’s chapter(s)? What have you applied from ideas in the book? What was the result?


Book recommendations:

For managers

  1. It’s Your Ship by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff. This is a great book to start with.
  2. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  4. The Culture Secret by Dr. David Vik
  5. The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Ph.D and Spencer Johnson, MD

For all associates

  1. Fish! by Stephen Lundin and Harry Paul
  2. HeroZ by William Byham, Ph.D. and Jeff Cox
  3. Ubuntu! by Stephen Lundin and Bob Nelson
  4. Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles
  5. Selling from the Inside and Great Service Sells by Emily Huling


Coverage of the Month- Personal Lines

Following are samples of Coverage of the Month for Personal Lines CSRs to offer all clients he or she speaks with during that month. Even if the basic coverage form is not written by the agency (Homeowners or Auto), be sure the coverage of the month is mentioned using the “buy the way” technique, which will open the conversation about writing that line of business.

  • January- Scheduled Items Floaters
  • February- Flood and Earthquake
  • March- Home-Based Business
  • April- Umbrella
  • May- Recreational Vehicles
  • June- Sewer and Water Backup
  • July- Vacation homes, vacant land, rental properties
  • August- Computers
  • September- Automobile; added or customized equipment
  • October- Security devices; credits available
  • November- Domestic workers
  • December- Umbrella


Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Fax: 888-309-7355

Coverage of the Month- Commercial Lines

Following are samples of Coverage of the Month for Commercial Lines CSRs to offer all clients he or she speaks with during that month. Even if a basic coverage form is not written by the agency (WC, Package, Auto), be sure the coverage of the month is mentioned using the “buy the way” technique, which will open the conversation about writing that line of business.

  • January- Business interruption
  •  February- Flood and Earthquake
  •  March- Boilers and other machinery
  •  April- Umbrella
  •  May- Leased equipment
  •  June- Employment Practices Liability
  •  July- Intangible property such as trademarks
  •  August- Computers and other high-tech equipment
  •  September- Improvements to the premises
  •  October- Inventory increases
  •  November- Employee Benefits
  •  December- D&O, E&O, professional liability

Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Fax: 888-309-7355

Coverage of the Month – Life and Health

Life and Health

Following are samples of Coverage of the Month for Life and Health CSRs to offer all clients he or she speaks with during that month.

  • Long Term Care
  • Medicare supplement
  • DI-Long term & Short term
  • Dental
  • Business Overhead
  • Voluntary Benefits – cancer, travel, accident
  • Short-Term Health
  • Key Man Life Insurance
  • Buy-Sell Life Inusurance
  • Child Riders

Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Mobile: 704-516-5114

Zero Budget and Low Budget Marketing Ideas

By Emily Huling, CIC, CMC

A collection of results-producing ideas in no particular order. Hope you find a new nugget you can use!

  1. Be visible on social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube
  2. Post valuable, relevant, and fun information frequently
  3. Invest in quality staff pictures for your website and social media use
  4. Publish articles in local paper, trade and community business publications
  5. Send articles to your clients
  6. Be interviewed by broadcast media
  7. Speak to groups – Rotary, Chamber, etc.
  8. Be a Chamber Ambassador
  9. Volunteer and get involved in local business and trade associations
  10. Participate in trade shows
  11. Raffle a gift at a community event or trade show
  12. Attend trade shows
  13. Place brochures at Chamber office
  14. Place brochures in realtor relocation packages
  15. Join a leads group or networking club
  16. Make a donation to a charity in the name of a client
  17. Use clients in your advertising
  18. Provide business cards to all associates to promote confidence and pride
  19. Use press releases as often a possible
  20. Award a client with; Client of the Year’ designation – publicize it
  21. Use voice mail message to publicize new products; message on hold
  22. Call/visit prospects and clients when “in the neighborhood”
  23. Use note cards and thank you cards religiously
  24. Use new product stuffers in all your mailings
  25. Have dynamite business cards for all staff and use them
  26. Send birthday cards
  27. Send articles from business or trade magazines that are of interest to your customers
  28. Send claim follow up report cards 30 days after claim reported
  29. Use client satisfaction surveys
  30. Use lost account surveys
  31. Send newsletters – either purchased or created within the office
  32. Stay abreast of life changes; marriage, divorce, children, retirement, inheritance, college children; to review and recommend.
  33. Send “How are you getting along without us?” letters to business that you want to regain
  34. Contact lost business to survey why account moved and what can be done to regain their business
  35. Use Personal Lines and Commercial Lines exposure update questionnaires
  36. Offer a free gift (road atlas or advertising specialty item) to those who come in or reply to questionnaires
  37. Market within your office – name plates, offer food and beverage, have a central meeting area for walk-ins
  38. Create a logo or tag line that is image building
  39. Use testimonials – letters, videos
  40. Partner with a video/CD firm, appraisers to share referrals
  41. Send small gifts to referring customers and circle of influence people
  42. Create a “magnet program” to obtain new personal lines leads and serve existing customers
  43. Use e-mail and website wisely to market new products
  44. Create a client advisory boards for input from clients
  45. Have lunch once a week with a circle of influence person (banker, realtor, accountant, attorney, mortgage broker)
  46. Implement a “coverage of the month” program
  47. Create an insurance information relocation brochure for realtors and new community residents
  48. Have a “drive by sighting” contest for employees to generate leads
  49. Follow up with non-agency claimants after claim settlement
  50. Market to those you send certificate of insurance to for your insureds
  51. Offer a free lunch fishbowl drawing weekly at local restaurant
  52. Include “quick quote fax back fact sheets” in with direct mail
  53. Always include postage-paid envelopes with surveys and questionnaires
  54. Once a new producer account is written, have the CSR call to introduce herself, and follow up with note card with business card enclosed
  55. Always use e-mail signatures
  56. Be on a Board of Directors
  57. Teach a class
  58. Volunteer for Junior Achievement
  59. Write letters to the editors; be a guest columnist in the local paper
  60. Sponsor an “Athlete of the Month” or “Student of the Month” in your community
  61. Meet with newly-licensed drivers and their parents to establish a Youthful Operator Driving Agreement.
  62. Offer Commercial clients complimentary Personal Lines reviews for their employees during a lunch and learn
  63. Offer high school Driver’s Education programs a presentation on insurance facts and responsibilities and review the Youthful Operator Family Driving agreement

Updated 2016

Emily Huling, CIC, CMC
Selling Strategies, Inc.
PO Box 200
Terrell, NC 28682

888-309-8802 office

704-516-5114 mobile

How to Analyze Your Insurance Markets

How do you know the insurance carriers you represent are the right ones for your agency? Conducting an annual review of your markets will help determine if your partnership is mutually beneficial. The review process should involve all the individuals who have a relationship with your markets; owners and managers, producers, CSRs, account managers, marketing, and claim staff.

Use a spreadsheet format to organize the variables you are reviewing. Down the left-hand column, list your companies. Across the top, list the variables listed below. Complete the chart and you will have significant information about your companies with which to make important management decisions.

Company analysis factors

  • Lines of business they write; Personal, Commercial, Small Commercial, Life, Group Health, etc.
  • Do they offer Personal Lines or Commercial Lines Service Centers?
  • Billing terms or problem issues – finance charges, etc.
  • A. M. Best Rating
  • Relationship with automation vendor such as Applied, Vertafore, Hawksoft, EZLynx
  • Office location; local or regional – claims, underwriting, marketing
  • Local underwriting authority
  • Agency underwriting authority
  • Claim handling – based on your experience and your client’s experience
  • Company adjusters or independent adjusters
  • Organizational and management changes
  • Agency development support offered – education, co-op advertising, producer training
  • Profit sharing program; threshold, lines of business, bonus incentives
  • Commissions paid by line of business
  • Technology capabilities
  • Stability of underwriting market – in and out of classes or stable?
  • Professionalism and knowledge of staff
  • Elite or VIP agent status program offered; criteria to attain?


Updated 2016

Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Mobile 704-516-5114

Tips to Improve Your E-Mail Communications

1. Know when to use e-mail. Don’t use it to deliver bad news, reprimand, or persuade. Instead, pick up the phone or meet face-to-face.

2. Follow the Rule of Three when e-mailing. Send, reply, send, pick up the phone if another e-mail is needed.

3. Keep it short. Don’t expect people to read more than what’s necessary.

4. Don’t type in upper-case letters. It’s considered shouting and is very hard to read.

5. Don’t promote “spam.” It fills up recipients’ mailboxes and is unprofessional.

6. Create a meaningful subject line. Make sure those who receive too much e-mail read your message.

7. Tell the recipient what you want. Do you need a reply? By what date? What action do you want them to take? Is it a FYI only? Be clear in your message.

8. Proofread, proofread, proofread! This communication tool represents your image. Check spelling, grammar, and use of words.

9. Use “CC” sparingly. This can be a real pain for users who don’t really need to see your communication.

10. Use a signature at the end of all e-mails. The reader may want to get back in touch with you via phone, snail mail, or fax. Your message may be forwarded to another party who doesn’t have your contact information. Your signature should contain all the information your letterhead does.

11. Use attachments effectively. Some recipients may be unable to open your attachment. Attach only pertinent information. Avoid attachments that are too long and clog up the recipient’s computer.

12. Use the “out-of-office” auto response feature to alert those that send you messages that you are out of the office and when you’ll return. If you are checking voice mail while out, let the sender know you can be reached that way.

13. To avoid e-mail tennis, finish a message with “no reply needed,” or NRN.

14. As a company, establish purging criteria. An overloaded e-mail box slows down the whole system and makes retrieving mail cumbersome.

15. Change the subject line when you reply. Let the recipient know the new subject or if the content contains the reply or a question.

16. Don’t send an e-mail when you’re emotional about the topic.

17. Maintain standard business-writing protocol. Don’t use texting shorthand or cute artwork.

18. Only use the return receipt feature when absolutely necessary.

19. Be careful when forwarding e-mails. Content may be personal or confidential.

20. Check your junk mail folder regularly for important messages that should be in your inbox.


Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Fax: 888-309-7355

How are you getting along without us?

The primary reason former agency customers never return is that they are never asked!

Here’s a letter (US mail) to send three months after the business has been lost. By then your former customer will have a sense whether the change was right. At the specified time, reach out with a phone call and follow-up e-mail to personally connect. Be cheerful, friendly, and curious as to how things are going. Let them know that you look forward to doing business with them again!

Dear Client, (personalize it, of course!)

We miss you!

How are you getting along without us? Many who have placed their insurance coverage elsewhere for one reason or another, return to us. We’ve been told premiums are not as promised, coverages aren’t the same, and customer service falls short.

Previously we provided (lines of business) insurance coverage for you. We would appreciate the opportunity to do business with you again. Our goal is to provide you the most complete insurance protection for the most competitive premiums and give you outstanding service.

We’ll be contacting you (specific week or date) to see how we can do business together again.


Personalized signature and phone number


Updated 2016
Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Fax: 888-309-7355

Newly Licensed Driver Family Agreement

This agreement is between family members, granting permission for the son or daughter whose signature appears below, to drive the family automobile. These conditions must be upheld for the youthful driver to gain permission to use the family vehicle.

I, _____________________________, being a newly licensed driver, do hereby agree with my parent ___________________________________, that these are the conditions that must be abided by in order to drive the family vehicle. When driving, I will:

  1. Use the utmost care in my driving, as I realize that my parents may be legally responsible for my acts.
  2. Remember at all times that a car is not plaything, but a machine that has the power to injure or kill.
  3. Drive within the speed limit at all times, and never try to impress my friends with show-off driving.
  4. Never allow the car to be driven by anyone, including myself, who has been drinking or taking drugs.
  5. Never drag race or race with other cars, regardless of how much I may be tempted to do so.
  6. Never attempt to drive when I’m sleepy.
  7. Obey all signs, street and highway markings, signal lights and other traffic regulations.
  8. Use my seat belt at all times and be certain all my passengers do as well. Keep vehicle doors locked.
  9. Never permit others to drive the car except in an emergency or absolute necessity.
  10. Never drive distracted. This includes but is not limited to: Talking on a cell phone, texting, reading, looking for music on the radio, CD, or iPod, watching a movie, or doing anything that would prevent your full attention to the road.

I understand and agree that if I violate these conditions, I may lose the privilege of driving. In addition, I understand that if an accident or violation occurs through carelessness or negligence on my part, the violation will become a part of my driving record and consequently affect my family’s automobile insurance rates.

______________________________ ______________________________

Parent/Date Newly licensed driver/Date




Adapted from Family Agreement distributed by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers.
Updated 2016
Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Fax: 888-309-7355