Super Agent

Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

Why “Showing Up” Isn’t Enough

Seth Godin recently asked his blog readers, “What’s your job?” and ended the post by saying, “If your only job is “showing up”, time to raise the stakes.”

Is it time for you to raise the stakes?

We often talk about the importance of finding your “Why” and gaining a real understanding of your purpose in order to remain motivated, to be successful, and mostly, to stay fulfilled in your professional life. The good news about our industry is that we are doing really important work. We’re facilitating better care for workers who are injured on the job. We’re creating big opportunities for our clients to improve their outcomes and their business.  We’re helping employers drive innovation, mitigate risks and enhance efficiency. So, if you’ve been simply “showing up” recently, we encourage you to think back on a time in your career when you felt most engaged, connected and excited about your work.

If you get back to that place, we’ll bet that you’ll be more successful moving forward.

Turn Skepticism to Belief

In her recent column in HBR, CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern talks about her journey from the private sector to a non-profit. In her new role, after assessing what changes needed to be made within the organization, she and her team first came up with a logical restructuring plan to present to the board. But that plan failed to capture the interest of or change the minds of the board members. So, they decided to take a different approach.

At the “make-or-break” meeting, she instead delivered an emotional talk that pointed to recent disasters, how local chapters responded and asked the board to join her in saving the Red Cross. As a result, she saw skepticism turn to belief.

In her words: “Now I look back on my career in the private sector and realize how I should have been leading all along. Non-profits don’t have a monopoly on meaning…Your job as a leader is to tap into the power of that higher purpose—and you can’t do it by retreating to the analytical.

How are you leading prospects? Are you seeing skepticism turn to belief by tapping into the emotional drivers that cause people to make a change, or are you falling into the common logic trap?

In a first face-to-face meeting with a prospect, you usually have 20 minutes or less to move the sales process toward a business relationship; don’t let the prospect dismiss you by opening with information that requires heavy mental lifting right from the start. We’ve said it before—the most powerful way to lead and persuade a buyer to make a decision is by getting them to a point where they are emotionally engaged and can see and feel the value of moving forward.

But you have to see and feel it first. Ask yourself why you do what you do—what higher purpose or meaning is a part of your agency’s story? When you know it, and you believe it, you’ll be able to help prospects see it too.

Will You Be Bold?

As most of you have likely heard, CVS has made the decision to remove all tobacco products from its pharmacies nationwide by October 1st, putting 2 billion dollars in revenue on the line. Why? CVS President and CEO Larry Merlo said: “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health…put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

This is a powerful stand that many have commented on in the media, collectively wondering how the decision will impact the company, whether any others will follow suit, and what it all means for big tobacco in the U.S.

But the biggest takeaway here is this: what they’ve done is to assess whether or not their practices are in alignment with the “Why” of their organization, and then took steps to make a change that shattered the status quo.

Are you willing to do the same?

We often talk about the opportunities that exist for agents and agencies willing to be bold—those who understand their “Why”, choose to reject the status quo and develop the skills to offer new insights during sales conversations, ask disruptive questions and steer prospects away from the transactional process that leaves them at risk.

When was the last time you evaluated whether or not your day-to-day activities are in alignment with your purpose? If it’s been a while, don’t be afraid to take a note from CVS and start making changes.

Your Agency At Its Best

“Enterprise at its best:

An emotional, vital, innovative, joyful, creative, entrepreneurial endeavor that maximizes individuals’ growth and elicits maximum concerted human potential in the wholehearted service of others”.

When you first read this definition from management and business writer Tom Peters, it’s easy to dismiss it as idealistic or impractical. But, in his book The Little Big Things, Tom asks his readers to examine it one word at a time. He says that if your organization “is not aimed at mind-blowing development for each staff member and window rattling service for each customer…” then what’s the point?

We often encourage the agencies we work with to think big when it comes to their purpose. How would you define your agency at its best? If you believe in your definition and everyone in your organization lives it every day, it will drive you and your team when thing are going well, and keep you motivated when you hit a rough patch (as we all do). So, don’t limit yourself.

Why Should A Prospect Engage with You?

We often encourage the agencies we work with to ask this question: Why should a prospect choose to engage with us over our greatest competitor? If your answer sounds the same as the rest of the pack—we have excellent service, access to markets, we’ve been in business for X number of years … then you’re not answering “Why you?”. Instead, you’re playing into the prospect’s belief that insurance is a commodity, and that all agencies are the same.

“When you find yourself in the bake-off,” Corporate Visions explains, “your salespeople’s ability to deliver a highly-differentiated experience becomes even more important.” So maybe your answer is that you help employers reduce the number, cost and duration of employee injuries, or that you help employers to select right-fit carriers that focus on their specific needs. Whatever it is, producers must not only know it, they must also believe in it in order to convey it effectively to prospects.

The answer you come up with is your unique story, so take the time and energy to develop it. But, more importantly, continually assess whether or not everyone in your agency is living it. Management guru Tom Peters said “the development isn’t worth anything without the live.”

It’s one thing to say something once; it’s another to live it every day. How are you living your story? Let us know in the comments!

What Motivates You?

To be successful in insurance, or in any other business, it’s important that you stay motivated when you hit a rough patch. Often, especially when you’re behind on your goals, carrot and stick motivators aren’t enough to keep you going without a struggle. Your purpose has to go beyond just making your numbers in order for you to stay driven throughout the year. As we hit the mid –year mark, it’s easy to get caught up in “how” to be more successful moving forward, but we often forget to keep our “Why” in mind.

We’ve talked about the importance of your agency’s “Why”—if you know it, and you believe it, you’ll be able to convey it to prospects. But, your own “Why” is just as important to keep in mind.

So, what motivates you? Do you strive to:

- Protect your clients’ businesses beyond the placement of policies;
- Facilitate better care for injured workers;
- Create opportunities for your clients to see better outcomes;
- Create greater opportunities for your family;
- Contribute at a higher level to a cause that is meaningful to you?

If you find your purpose, you’ll actively seek learning and growth opportunities, and you’ll inspire those around you to find their own intrinsic motivation. And, don’t be afraid to think big.

“Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Understanding Millennials

Recruiting top talent into our industry can be difficult and costly—just last month, an article on Property Casualty 360 was titled “Insurance Industry Crisis: 400,000 Positions to Fill by 2020.” So, how can you make sure you’ll be able to successfully recruit and retain the next generation? Understanding the way they work, and what’s important to them is the first step. 

Here are a few characteristics millennials possess that can benefit professional, independent agencies:

  1. Millennials may be more in tune with working in a multi-generational environment—they work well collaboratively, and possess a strong sense of team unity.  
  2. They develop relationships via social communities and they share experiences through technology. So, they would have the confidence to use integrated and portable technology to engage round-the-clock with prospects.
  3. They feel the need to connect to a bigger purpose. According to an article on 99U, millennials are focused on “the mission, the underlying purpose, the reason why the thing matters.” So they will most likely be attracted to an agency whose value proposition is client-focused and outcome driven.  

Is your agency positioned to attract and retain the next generation of industry professionals and leverage their unique talents?

Why is Your ‘Why’ Meaningful to Prospects?

We often talk about the importance of understanding your “Why”—the reason you do what you do—an idea inspired by innovator Simon Sinek who says “those who know their Why are the ones who lead. They are the ones who inspire.” Maybe you want to help employers avoid risks, or create opportunities for their organizations in the marketplace that you feel is under-serving them?  Whatever it is, it’s important that you know it, and that you can clearly convey it to prospects.

In a recent conversation with a producer, she asked me: “What comes next? I communicated my Why, and I didn’t know where to take the conversation from there.” The producer reverted back to her old process and started listing off all of the great things about her agency: “We value our customers”, “We offer these services”, and so on. The problem? According to an article on Inc.com, “Most customers are drowning in a flood of information and time-stressed to the max.” Staying prospect-focused is one of the most important elements of your conversations. The prospect isn’t interested in you, they want to know what your ‘Why’ means for them.

You can’t assume that prospects will be able to make the connection between your ‘Why’ and their success, so you have to make it for them. Why is your ‘Why’ meaningful to them?  Tell that story, and you’ll be on the right path.