Super Agent

Archive for April, 2016

Setting Benchmarks-Getting Started

As an industry we are seeing a dramatic shift towards utilizing data analytics. As insurance professionals it’s important to have tangible measurements to understand the impact our strategies are having on our clients business.

Benchmarking allows us to focus on best practices and strive towards continuous improvement with our clients. In addition, because it is used far to infrequently by agents, it is a significant differentiator and competitive advantage.

Selecting the right benchmarks to be measured should be a collaborative process between and your client. There are a number of different benchmarking strategies that can be considered:
• Competitive benchmarking: This is done when a company wants to compare their performance to other businesses within their industry and when trying to attain industry performance standards.
• Strategic benchmarking: is used when identifying and analyzing world class performance.

While these types of benchmarks are important, we believe internal benchmarking is most often the best place to begin. Helping your clients to understand their current performance, setting strategies to improve and developing benchmarks which will measure performance is a necessary business process and one in which you can bring leadership.

Getting started requires that you
• Agree on objective and the scope of the project-making sure leadership is committed
• Agree on the metrics-what is to be measured
• Agree on the benchmark-the goal you are trying to attain
• Develop a data collection plan – what data is to be collected and who will be responsible

Give it a try-your clients will benefit from your leadership and appreciate your guidance in helping them measure and improve their performance.

Helping Your Prospects Overcome ‘Good Enough’

Understanding the Real Competitor

Why don’t your prospects move to you and your agency? Is it because they’re receiving the best consulting and services the marketplace has to offer? Or, is it because they’ve engaged in an effective process to buy insurance and manage risk? Likely, it’s neither. The fact is most businesses stay with the incumbent not because of what they are getting from them, but rather, because of what they aren’t getting from you.

It’s easy to fall into believing that your biggest competitor is the larger more sophisticated agency or the agent who is a brother-in-law or golfing buddy. The truth is your greatest competitor is the status quo. And, your toughest job is helping your prospects overcome it.

In many cases your prospects believe that where they are is ‘good enough’. And why shouldn’t they?
From their perspective, nothing bad has happened and so their belief is, why should I fix what isn’t broken. Unfortunately, it’s that complacency that is putting their business and maybe their personal assets at risk, without them even knowing it.

So, how do you overcome ‘good enough’? First, you must recognize that your prospects don’t want to make a change. Business owners are time-starved and overwhelmed and would rather focus their attention on issues that seemingly are of a higher priority. Secondly, and this is a tough one to swallow, they aren’t expecting you to bring any real value or insights. See, your prospects likely believe that all agents are the same. And if the one they have is ‘good enough’, why change?

Show Them You’re Different

The human brain, even with all its complexity, can be triggered to respond in your favor if you know how. One way is to demonstrate contrast: Our Approach vs. Their Approach.
Ask your prospects the following, “would you please share with me your current process for buying insurance and managing risk?” What response do you think you’ll get? Often times, it will go like this, “we typically bid it out every year or two, just to see what the market has to offer.” They may make it sound a little more sexy and sophisticated, but chances are it’s the same process that you’ve encountered time and time again. A process that you know won’t help them and certainly doesn’t favor change to you. In fact it is flawed and dangerous. But, by asking that question, you’ve perfectly positioned yourself to show them an alternative process, your process.

Notice it wasn’t suggested that you tell them you’re different, but rather to show your prospect that you’re different. Saying, “we’re different, we don’t bid and quote”, will mean nothing to your prospect, in fact, chances are they have heard that before. True contrast comes from your demonstration of differentiation. Here’s how:

1. Share a graphic overview of your process. This creates an anchor. Not only are you sharing what your process is, you’re showing them that it is tangible. Visual impact is another trigger. By having a picture or flow chart of your process, you create a greater impact and impression in your prospects mind.
2. Lead them through your process. It’s probable that your prospects have been following their ‘flawed and dangerous’ process for years. Not because it’s effective, but because no one has showed them an alternative approach.

Your prospects believe that where they are is good enough, because no one has challenged their status quo. And as a result they are assuming risks they don’t know about. Your job is to change their perception and move them from believing they are ‘good enough’ to “we are at risk.”

This can’t be accomplished by the typical producer who allows the prospect to follow their flawed buying process and then tries to ‘wow’ them at presentation. At that point it’s too late, and they’ve already acted like every other agent.

The next time you find yourself in front of prospect who believes they are ‘good enough’, take it on. They don’t know what they don’t know and likely have never been challenged to think differently. If you want to be treated differently, then you need to act differently.

Inspire Your Prospects with Email Messages About Them!

One of the biggest challenges facing producers today is developing enough quality 1st appointments. And it’s no wonder why, prospects are busy, distracted and overwhelmed. Capturing the attention of prospects has become increasingly difficult, leaving many producers frustrated and asking the question, “How do I fill my pipeline if I can’t get my prospects on the phone?”

To break through the noise producers and agency owners must evaluate the strategies and messages they use to get in the door. One thing is for sure, messages that are about you, your agency and the resources you have won’t inspire your prospects to meet with you.

So, what does work? To pique the curiosity of your prospects your messages should focus on them, their interests, concerns or industry.

Let’s take a look at 2 different types of email messages that will help to differentiate you from your competition.

Trigger Event Messages

Trigger event messages are messages that focus on the news of the day. For example, let’s say you are focusing on developing restaurant and hospitality prospects; one of the big stories of the day is food contamination. The recent outbreak of E. Coli linked to Chipotle restaurants has been all over the news. A quick email to your prospects with a subject line of: “Would Your Restaurant Survive?” is likely to spur your prospects interest. In the body of your email you could share a link to a recent article on the subject and invite your prospect to consider if their current risk management strategies are adequate.
Closing your email with an invitation to continue the conversation demonstrates that you have knowledge and something to offer.

Congratulatory Messages

Everyone likes to get noticed. Savvy producers know that following their prospects on LinkedIn and through Google Alerts is one way to keep abreast of what they are up to. If you receive an alert about a recent bid your prospect was awarded or speaking engagement they recently conducted, let them know you noticed.

A quick email with a subject line of: “Jim, Congratulations on Your New Client!” will certainly prompt your prospect to open your email. In the body of your email you can share a message of how you’re impressed with the quality of work they do (as long as you’re sincere), and congratulate them on the big win. Close with a desire to learn more about the project and why you’re interested in learning more.

For example, “I’m interested in learning more about how you landed that account. We also focus on mid-size [account type] and enjoy working with businesses of that caliber.”
This strategy aligns your objectives with your prospects’ and creates a common bond.

It’s important to remember, that there is no one ‘silver bullet’ messaging strategy. But, we do know that a steady flow of messages focused on your prospect, rather than on your agency, are far more likely to resonate. Give it a try!