Super Agent

Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

3 Tips to Stop Being Commoditized

How can producers facilitate dialog to help prospects uncover risks and reduce the possibility of being commoditized? Here are three tips:

Tip #1: Follow a Process 

Developing and following a repeatable process will allow you to build conversations utilizing the kind of disruptive dialog necessary to facilitate change behavior in the buyer and help them self-discover risks to their business. It also helps to sharpen and strengthen your brand, and it ensures that each prospect who engages with the agency has a similar experience.
An article on examines the importance of subscribing to a process:  “For successful businesses, the sales process has become a communications process that evolves through a series of decisions both you and your customer will be making. At each decision point, you will be achieving mutual understanding and establishing clarity about what you are saying to each other and how you will proceed.”

Tip #2: Understand Your Why

Ask yourself and your colleagues this question: “Why should a prospect engage with us instead of our greatest competitor?” Knowing why your agency engages in the way in which it does is essential. Simon Sinek explains: “Those who know their Why are the ones who lead. They are the ones who inspire.” Is it because you are certain your process is more effective and will yield the best outcomes? Is it to help employers select the right-fit carriers, or help them more effectively navigate the complex buying experience? Whatever the reason, producers must know the answer to this question and be able to convey it to prospects.

Tip #3: Believe

Do you believe that most employers follow a flawed process to manage risk and buy insurance that is potentially harmful to their organization? Do you believe most prospects are underserved in the marketplace? Developing a belief system in what you do and why you do it will help you stay motivated throughout the year to help your clients achieve better outcomes.

It’s All About Shared Value

Many agencies aren’t taking advantage of existing opportunities to create, communicate and deliver value to clients, but doing so remains a top objective of most. One of the best ways to build long-lasting, collaborative relationships with clients, maximize profitability and ensure sustainability is to focus on creating shared value. Shared value is a concept that was first introduced by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer and was discussed in depth in their Harvard Business Review article “Creating Shared Value”.

So, what is shared value and why is it an important idea to consider?

Shared value focuses on the connection between competitive business advantage and social or economic issues. According to the article “there are numerous ways in which addressing societal concerns can yield productivity benefits.” Some of the strongest shared value connections are the connections between company productivity and worker safety, employee skills, or employee health.

For agencies specializing in Workers’ Comp, the opportunity to create financial value for both parties increases if producers are also focused on workplace safety and risk management. Porter and Kramer assert that if business leaders are committed to “reimaging value chains from the perspective of shared value [it] will offer significant new ways to innovate and unlock new economic value that most businesses have missed.” Realizing the social impact of your day-to-day work will not only give you a sense of purpose and motivation, it will increase new business opportunities, lead to the development of innovative solutions and processes,  and help you create mutually beneficial partnerships with clients who are being financially impacted by problems or risks.

What Insurance Agents Believe

I have asked countless insurance agents the following question.  Do you believe the vast majority of employers manage risk and purchase insurance in a way that is flawed and potentially harmful to their business?  A resounding “YES” is the typical reply.

So, if so many insurance agents believe that employers are executing a flawed process, why do so few take on the issue and invite the employer to engage in a conversation about it?

The rationalizations are many, including but not limited to:

  • “I might offend the decision maker;”
  • “I will follow their process at the early stages and try to pivot later in the sales process;” and
  • “I am trying to give them what they want.”

We encourage insurance agents to lead and take on the tough conversations.  Allowing an employer to follow a flawed process is like letting your children play in the traffic.  They may not get hit by a car, but they are at greater risk and danger. 

Ask yourself, are you enabling risky behavior, or are you leading employers to a better and safer future?

First Appointment Tension

Insurance agents like to be liked.  As a result, they tend to avoid engaging in conversations that might elicit tension or consternation on behalf of the prospect.  However, it there is not the least bit of tension during a first meeting, then it is unlikely the agent is bringing new ideas. 

Employers want, if not demand new ideas.  They don’t have time for the same old story.  They are too busy and stressed to listen to a pitch they have heard countless times.  They may not tell you, but they want to be pushed out of their comfort zone and see their challenges in a new way.

Ask yourself, is there any tension in the room when you are engaged in a first meeting?  If not, how are you different from every other agent?  Why should the prospect continue to engage with you?

Creating some tension does not mean you should be arrogant or prickly.  It just means that there is rarely positive change without some uncomfortable moments.  Your tonality and body language will provide the cues that it is safe to take on the tough issues with you.

Can you create tension without alienating the prospect?  If not, this is a critical skill you must enhance.


Primary Objective of Insurance Agents

When we strip down all of the expert opinions, training and consulting we find that the primary objective of insurance agents is to facilitate change behavior.  Most employers are facing risks unknown to them.  Insurance agents must assist them to move from a dangerous place to a safer one.

The process to facilitate change is well researched and rooted in neuroscience. Its not about gimmicks or manipulation.  If you don’t understand how the brain processes information that triggers change then you are swimming against the tide.

As mentioned in a previous post, there is a big gap between what science knows and how agents sell or initiate change.  Why does this gap exist?  Lots of reasons, but primarily due to a lack of awareness or understanding of the latest research.  Plus, too many people have an investment in the old and  ineffective way of doing things and are relunctant to let go.

We encourage insurance agents to embrace the science of driving change.  All stakeholders will benefit.


Intrinsic Motivation

To be successful in the insurance or any other business, it is critical to be motivated beyond carrots and sticks.  If your only purpose is to make your numbers, then you are likely going to struggle.  Your purpose must be much larger than just making sales.

So, what is your purpose beyond hitting the numbers?  Do you endeavor to:

  • Create greater opportunies for your family and children;
  • Contribute at a higher level to a charity or cause of your choice;
  • Create greater opportunities for your clients;
  • Protect your clients’ businesses beyond the placement of an insurance policies;
  • Facillitate better care for injured employees.

Your purpose will drive you when you hit a rough patch, but your purpose must be greater than just making sales.  Think big.  Dream and imagine.  How are you going to “make a dent in the universe,” and leave this place better than you found it.

A bigger purpose will change you and all of those around you.