Super Agent

Archive for January, 2012

Insurance Selling 101: Cold-calling Leads to the Cold Shoulder

Developing a new commercial insurance client is job one for agency Producers. But how exactly is the best way to engage with an opportunity if you’ve never met them?

If you’re calling a prospect with the goal being to generate a 1st appointment, you can’t call them cold. The quality and quantity of your research prior to your first call will determine if you’re likely to pique their curiosity.

Buyers don’t have time to explain to you what they THINK they need, and WHO THEY ARE, when you call them. There is an increasing expectation that you have this information in advance of your call.

If you don’t know how you can help improve their business sustainability, profitability and business opportunities, don’t bother calling…you’ll just get the cold shoulder!

 

 

The Agent’s Opportunity: What Is to What Can Be

Insurance agents often complain that their prospective and current clients “go out to bid.”  Most employers think “bidding and quoting” is an effective method to managing risk and buying insurance.  Let’s accept that for most employers’ that is “What is.”

Agents have an extraordinary opportunity to share the flaws and dangers of “What is” and share a vision of “what can be.”  One of the most powerful catalysts for change is to craft a narrative of “what is” versus “what can be” and the path to move from one condition to another.

Embrace and relish “what is” because most employers’current state is fraught with peril.  Assist the employer to discover the risks of “what is.”  Then, guide them through a storyline that shows them “what can be.”

Build into every decisionmaker’s DNA is their inherent desire for a brighter and safer future. Tell them a story on how they can build it with you.

What’s Your Agency’s Differentiator?

Here’s something to ask your Production and Service Team:  “Why should an insurance prospect engage with us, rather than our greatest agency competitor?”

Then look at your top 3 competitors’ website…..what makes them different?

If you all mentioned access to markets, great service, easy quoting process,and we’ve been in business for over (fill in the blank) years.

Creating marketplace differentiation is not easy, but Employers are seeking it.

If you can’t articulate clearly why doing business with your agency is an advantage for them, why should they change to you?

4 Strategies Agencies Must Embrace to Create Exceptional Insurance Producers

One of the unfortunate aspects of our industry is that far too frequently agencies hold on to under-peforming Producers for too long.
Equally as unfortunate is that few agencies have a process or plan to improve producer performance. I’m not sure why this is the case, the cost in lost opportunity, time and resources is significant.

There are a number strategies that agencies can incorporate into their producer on-boarding process that can enhance producer performance and reduce the costs associated with Producer under-performance

Strategy #1 Define Expectations

Often, agencies focus on the revenue expectations only. We believe that revenues will be met, if other more fundamental expectations are insisted upon. They include,
adherence to a sales/agency culture and working with only the types of clients the agency has the capability to service consistently and effectively.  In addition, agencies must hold Producers accountable to a effectively implementing the agency’s adopted sales process (if there is one). While these are fundamental expectations, unless they are communicated and measured, Producers performance is likely to wain.

Strategy #2 Demand Performance

Here again, revenue is the outcome achieved when producers have successfully performed their role. Some performance activities that we believe are non-negotiable are the development and execution of a Producer business plans, alignment with internal and external stakeholders goals and objectives and continuous self-improvement through on-going education and professional growth activities.

Strategy #3 Measure Performance

If revenue is a lagging indicator of success, what key performance activities are Producers required to perform in order to reach their financial goals and objectives. How many phone calls, first appointments, messaging campaigns, and networking opportunities need to occur in order to meet revenue goals. How are agencies validating Producer capabilities? Skills validation must include not only a revenue component, but a Producer’s ability to advance the sales process.

Strategy #4 Intervene

For heavens sake….Intervene! Is there an agency plan in place to coach up under-performing producers or are they left to wither on the vine? Is there a strategy to liberate Producers that just can’t produce regardless of the resources thrown at them?
Like all important initiatives, creating exceptional producers requires planning, goal setting and implementation!

What Agents Can Learn From the Bridge that Fell Down

Engineers say that they learn more from 1 bridge that falls down than from 100 that stay standing. They suggest that we learn more from failure than from success.  We believe the engineers are correct and their position applies to insurance producers.

Much can be learned from failures to create new business relationships, or lose existing ones.  However, too often producers tend to blame the buyer.  Comments include:

“They just didn’t get it.”

“I got beat on price.”

“They hired a new CFO, and he just wanted to make changes.”

Thoughtful reflection will likely identify breakdowns in the producers process.  Debriefing the process with associates and principals can illuminate how the failures can be addressed and create future succesful business relationships.

Pay more attention to the bridge that fell down.