Back to the Basics


By George Nordhaus of 


Three types of customers


In a speech I heard years ago, the main speaker talked about “The new age of marketing.”

Yes, this was before the Internet, before social networking, before the word “Millennials” had even been invented.


I have no way of knowing whether his percentages have remained the same over the years.  But even if the numbers are not 100% accurate, the concept of understanding the three classifications of customers is timeless:


1.   17% of all customers are the “carriage trade”.

These are the people you are already selling. They are going to stay with you. High premium or low, they are yours. They might want to avail themselves of your increasing technology; but as long as you provide them a reasonable premium and comparable coverage, they are not going anywhere.


2. 27% are the people who will buy direct, and/or online.

They are totally price-driven on all products. They were/are early adapters to technology. They already think insurance is a commodity. Every day that the Internet, direct sellers and everyone else in sight continues to beat down price, they are more and more convinced. They don’t have a relationship –or don’t even look for one.  They are transaction people.


3. 56% ….your clients of the future.


Your future, that is, if you are willing to take it. These are the people out there who haven’t made a decision on how to buy.  They may already be buying from you or somewhere else. They are definitely value-added customers. They are “two-step” clients who are willing to deal with a middle man (or woman) if that extra value can be perceived. These are the people to whom you don’t just sell insurance – you sell what insurance does.


Chances are your future is based on how you learn to deal with this 56%.





How you  combine these basic tenants of marketing your products, your agency, will determine the hit rate on the 56%.


Coordinating these three necessary ingredients to a profitable future will be the continued theme of this column.


And to lay even more groundwork as we meet these challenges, I leave you with George Bernard Shaw’s statement:


“The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”


If he had it to say over again in 2013, doubtless he would have said that this same concept also applies to marketing and technology…where we have only just begun.


For additional information, contact George at X210 or or (888)985-3331 X210 –




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