Old Cars Bring New Growth
Treasured things from the past are delivering good things for the present and future for independent agent Carl Reynolds of Reynolds Insurance.
Reynolds has boosted his personal lines client base significantly in the past three years using collector-vehicle insurance as a starting point to find and work with new prospects. And he has impressively done it all on his own – he’s the sole producer in his agency.
Working with collectors, Reynolds gains a special connection with consumers who appreciate an insurance professional who understands what makes them tick. He knows how important it is to put time and interest into being passionate about protecting their collector vehicles with the right coverage.
Carl’s quite a “catalytic converter.” He’s added new collector clients at a steady rate by connecting through car clubs near his agency in Lugoff, South Carolina, about 30 miles from the capital, Columbia. And when there are collectors, there are insurance needs, and not just for a specialty program. Each of these collector-insurance clients are open to listening when Carl talks about homeowners and other coverages.
The business of serving collectors is a pleasure for Reynolds. While he’s a lover of classic cars, he works to be active in local car clubs because he recognizes the opportunities and relationships that clubs provide. “… I go to the Friday and Saturday car shows we have here in the area. These are ‘drive by’ or ‘drop in’ shows where collectors congregate. There is always something going on,” he reports.
“You’ve got to be part of the community. You’ve got to give to everything around here. I don’t look at how much money I’d make off American Collectors. I do it [sell a collector-vehicle program] because it leads into other business,” comments Reynolds.
|The Takeaway: Reynolds Insurance connects with hobbyists at car clubs/shows to create relationships and sell a specialty program. The independent agency then builds the overall book of business using collector-vehicle insurance policies as a starting point with these new clients.|
Connect, Enjoy, Serve – and Repeat
By the time a typical Friday rolls around, Carl has lined up someone who’s eager to go along to the car event he’ll attend that week. “I have people that want to go with me every time I go — family members and non-family members and friends.”
Collector clubs such as Carolina Cruisers run these events. Explains Reynolds: “I’m a member of several of those around the state. Number one thing is they recognize me by now. So they pay attention to what I have to say. They have meetings to get together and eat. I go to those. I do that because I really enjoy it.”
After tooling his way to a show, Reynolds says: “I set up a tent. I have American Collectors stuff on the table, like brochures. I put up $50 and $25 drawings, maybe four or five times per event. I give away a lot of shirts. I give away hats. I do a lot of giveaways and I give them away to good people. All of that is good stuff.”
Word gets around, drawing traffic to his tent. By the time Carl leaves the show, he’s had multiple contacts with car collectors, including a few who want to know if they’re insured properly.
Reynolds uses his laptop computer to connect virtually and submit risks when he’s out of the office at a show or at a prospect’s home or office. “I’m using the American Collectors website. I do everything with a laptop. That works. Or I call and I can get the approval.”
Once he’s back at the office, Carl will reach out to these newfound fellow collectors. By that time, he says: “It’s more of a personal relationship because that’s where we sit down and visit.”
But it takes more than a program to make the sale and keep the collector client long term.“Service is the number-one reason people choose our agency,” Reynolds states. “They have discerning feelings as to who cares about their particular vehicle. I’m a Ford man, but I don’t know of an old vehicle that I don’t like. The Chevrolet people say the same thing. Same with those who love a Dodge.”
Working with a collector to provide specialty auto coverage “…automatically leads into another conversation. There’s a trust there already. There’s a connection because it’s genuine. You can’t sell it. They would automatically start listening to you about homeowners and [standard] auto.”
Being active locally still matters as much now for independent agencies as it did in the years when those classic Chevys and Fords – that his clients now prize as collectible – were prowling the streets as new cars, Reynolds contends.
To Market: Why American Collectors?
Reynolds has significant experience with collector-vehicle programs and actually maintains relationships with more than one market. So why does he steer business to American Collectors?
“I can get to a person with American Collectors right away. I can get answers pretty quick. I can get things done fast for my clients. Everyone at American Collectors knows their business. If they don’t know the answer they will get it. It just seems easier to do business with American Collectors.”
Reynolds sees collectors as terrific clients. “Most of the business that comes with antique vehicles, you could check the backgrounds. The credit rating is high. Very seldom do they not qualify. They’re great business across the board.”
Agencies like Reynolds Insurance that pay attention to valued collector vehicles from the past aren’t a throwback to the way things were, but rather a glowing example of the way things are working here and now both for the agent and the consumer.