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New Workshop: Nailing Large Accounts In the Workers Compensation Space

 nailing large accounts workshop july 21-22

Establish a new value proposition that will get you in large accounts.

Uncover why incumbent agents in large accounts are so vulnerable.

Learn about the “big agency” tools & resources now available to you.


Nailing Large Accounts
​In The Workers Compensation Space

Chicago, IL July 21-22

learn more and register


Are You Losing Out on Large Account Sales?

  • Tired of losing out on large account sales because you can’t get in the door?
  • Do the large accounts you have tried to sell end up staying with the incumbent or a larger agency?
  • How do you disrupt the status quo in large accounts and start helping companies protect themselves?
  • Are you fearful of losing the large accounts you do have to your competitors?

Click Here To Get The Full Workshop Details


Join us in Chicago for our 2 Day Large Account Workers Compensation Work Shop

Registration Is Now Open!

 

 

Beware of the “Hail Mary” Trap

We have entered the second half of 2014, and many Producers are not half way to their annual new business revenue goal. As a result, in the process of trying to catch up, we see Producers start chasing low probability opportunities and throwing “Hail Mary” passes toward the end zone. This pattern frequently repeats itself year after year and creates stress for the Producer and less than satisfactory results.

It’s tough to get off this treadmill, but at some point it is necessary to take the plunge. We encourage Producers in the last half of a calendar year to make certain they are positioned to open the next year strong. If a Producer can write 2 to 3 large accounts on January 1, the whole world changes for them. Entering a year strong allows the Producer to better select their prospects and gives them the “walk away” power with low probability prospects.

Typically you don’t open a new calendar year strong if you wait until 90 days before renewal to get engaged with prospects. Start now and sift through 10 to 15 suspects that renew on January 1. Determine which ones are the best fits to move forward, and gain agreements to do business before the holidays.

We encourage you to endeavor to avoid the “catch up” game. You may take a short term hit, but if you open the new year strong you can change the game for many years to come.

Can You Sell a 20 Minute Meeting?

In this crazy, harried world of time starved and distracted buyers, it is increasingly vital for insurance agents to be able to prompt a decision maker to take a 20 minute meeting.  Most business leaders and decision makers are defending their calendar like a rabid dog with a bone.  You don’t get on it, unless the decision maker feels they will get value from the first meeting with you.

Ask yourself the following questions before you pick up the phone to contact a prospect:

• Why should someone meet with you?
• What will they get from the first meeting?
• Why would they want to take the next step which is likely an assessment?

The days of, “I am an insurance agent and I would like to come by and introduce myself and discuss your insurance program,” are long gone.  Decision makers can stick their foot outside their door and trip insurance agents walking by that can deliver on that promise.

Decision makers don’t have time to waste.  They don’t need friends or new relationships.  They need people who will help them learn what they don’t know and to see around the corner at risks off their radar screen.

So, tell me.  What value will I get from a 20 minute meeting with you?

Are You Making This Dangerous Assumption?

Client retention is an important component of an agency’s long-term profitability and stability, but too often, agencies invest a lot of time and effort into building initial client relationships and not enough time ensuring that those relationships are being continually nurtured over time. For example, in an article on Sales & Marketing Management, Rick Reynolds warns businesses not to make an assumption that we often hear:

“My clients would tell me if there was a problem…”

In reality, just like your prospects, your clients likely aren’t recognizing issues or problems that they’re currently experiencing or that might pop up due to things like marketplace disruptions or compliance requirements arising from new regulations. And if they are, and you aren’t proactively evaluating the relationship, you’re leaving the door open for a competitor to step in.

As a partner and advisor, you have the opportunity (and responsibility) to periodically assess your client’s needs, hidden or otherwise, and their expectations from the relationship. Reynolds says: Just like in any relationship, this becomes a refreshing dialogue once you get past the upfront discomfort of having such an honest conversation.”

Are you taking the time to assess your current relationships with clients? Are your goals and objectives still in alignment? Have you gained new capabilities that might be beneficial to them? By asking yourself these types of questions, you’ll increase retention and perform at your best.

Ask Yourself Smart Questions

Inc. contributor and Sales Source blogger Geoffrey James recently wrote a great article on why the quality of the questions business owners ask themselves determines the success of their business strategies. For example, consider the following two questions:

“How can we beat the competition?” versus “What do we do that is uniquely valuable to customers?”

So, how would your answers and subsequent business strategies differ for these two questions? The first question is the wrong one to ask because it directs your attention away from your customers and toward your competitors. On the other hand, the second question is customer-focused and it helps you find out what’s distinctive about your process and offerings. James also explained: If you ask Question #1, your strategy will probably involve dropping your price. If you ask Question #2, your strategy will be to emphasize more strongly whatever it is that makes your company special.” And, understanding what differentiates your agency is the first step in building, following and believing in a strong and consultative approach to selling.

Here’s another example to consider: “How can we make our numbers better?” versus “How can we serve our clients better?”

Agency owners and sales managers: Are you asking smart and client-focused alternatives to common questions business leaders ask themselves? What questions have you asked yourself in order to help you improve your business strategies? Share them with us in the comments.

Are You Taking Advantage of This Untapped Opportunity?

Last week, we discussed Al Lewis’ dynamic presentation at our recent annual event, but we also wanted to share an opportunity touched on by two other engaging speakers. Don Phin and Joy Justus of ThinkHR encouraged the group to think about the impact uninsurable HR related risks have on employers and how agents can step in to help them mitigate those risks.

Consider these questions:

  • How much did bad hires cost your employer clients over the last 12 months?
  • How much did losing any good employee cost them over the last 12 months?
  • What would be the bottom-line impact of improving total productivity by only 5%?
  • What is it costing them to keep poor employees?
  • What added costs are your clients paying due to poor risk management or return to work practices?

If they have employees, your clients are facing these issues. Are you ready to have a conversation with them around HR Risk Management to position yourself as an advisor, bring more value, and build a consultative relationship?

Most Hunters Aren’t Farmers

Today’s buyers are busy, complacent and are being constantly bombarded with “marketing-speak” emails that don’t resonate with them. And, they are often tuning out the noise rather than actively looking for value. So to successfully get through these natural barriers requires an effective attraction strategy that includes on-going research, consistent and targeted messaging, and lead nurturing calls occurring on a regular basis. Think of these as “farming” activities.

This is why there are so many agents still struggling to get in the door, because it takes a huge amount of effort and requires them to engage over a long period of time and in a systematic way—something that most aren’t naturally wired to do effectively or to enjoy. Producers aren’t farmers, they’re hunters…they are outgoing, smart and likeable individuals who are capable of developing relationships and, most importantly, they are able to connect a prospect’s issues with the resources and capabilities of your agency to write business.

Individuals who are good at thinking on their feet, and engaging consultatively at a high level don’t typically possess the strong follow-through instincts needed to capture the attention of today’s prospects. Seth Godin explained the difference between hunters and farmers in his blog: “A kid who has innate hunting skills is easily distracted, because noticing small movements in the brush is exactly what you’d need to do if you were hunting. Scan and scan and pounce. That same kid is able to drop everything and focus like a laser–for a while–if it’s urgent. The farming kid, on the other hand, is particularly good at tilling the fields of endless homework problems, each a bit like the other. Just don’t ask him to change gears instantly.”

Many technology companies and other sales organizations have recognized this twofold need on the sales continuum, and so they’ve brought on a new role that we think deserves some contemplation—an Inside Business Development person.

He or she would be responsible for helping to create new business opportunities on a consistent and predictable basis, and support producers in ensuring that their pipelines remain filled with qualified prospects. This way, producers would be positioned to have more effective first meetings and could focus more closely on moving prospects through the sales process, while inside business development teams would play a critical role in attracting right-fit opportunities.

What are your thoughts on utilizing “farmers” to create an optimized agency structure?

Is Your Prospect Really a Prospect?

According to Inc. contributor Geoffrey James, “finding out who is not a potential customer is just as valuable a discovery as finding out who is one.” In fact, if you take the time to assess whether or not your prospect is truly a right-fit for your agency, you’ll avoid wasting valuable time and resources pursuing an opportunity that doesn’t exist.

So, where do you start? Consider this:

- Unless the organization is ready to do business with you within the next 90 says, then they aren’t a real prospect. If they’re dragging their feet and you don’t have a commitment after 90 days of assessment, it might be time to walk away.

- Are your business objectives aligned? For example, if they aren’t interested in a consultative and collaborative relationship remember that they are the commodity, not you. Don’t let a prospect take control of the sales process and move it in a negative direction. If it comes to a point where they are insisting on the lowest price or are unwilling to explore your process, know that there are plenty prospects out there that will.

- Do they have a need for what you can offer? And even further, are they willing to make agreements around what issues are most pressing and put in the work necessary to improve their outcomes?

The most effective producers understand the importance of gauging the long-term probability of engaging in a business relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself: “Is my prospect really a prospect?” in order to make sure you’re not leaving too early or staying too long.