Every year at Q4intelligence, we choose a theme for the year. We are just finishing a year focused on “relevance” and the year before that was a year we committed to “simplify” everything we do.
Our themes aren’t a random, feel-good idea; they are all born out of our observation of what is needed in the industry and our commitment to helping the industry be more successful.
The theme drives our actions for the year.
We are in the midst of the greatest disruption our industry has ever witnessed. Navigating change successfully requires discipline, it requires intent. There are a lot of great things you can say about our industry, but being “intentional” isn’t one of them. It is for this reason that we are going to spend 2017 focused on the areas in which we all need to be more INTENTIONAL with our actions.
Are you accidental or intentional?
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
A producer has great success in building a book of business. Eventually, they get tired of making so much money for someone else and decide to go out on their own and take a favorite account manager along for the ride.
The producer continues to sell and grow the book of business. A second account manager becomes necessary and then a third. Eventually, they hire a receptionist and a bookkeeper and, in order to “really grow this thing” another producer or two. One day that producer (now owner) wakes up and realizes they have, almost by accident, actually built a business; a business that needs to be run as a business.
Holy crap, I built a business. Now what?
So many agencies are basically “accidental businesses”.Not only are they developed “accidentally”, they continue to be run in accidental fashion. There is no business plan, no annual plan, there aren’t even annual producer plans to guide their actions.
There is no intentional plan to grow, to market themselves, to evolve their value proposition, to sell more effectively, to renew accounts, or even to generate a profit. In many ways, agencies have survived in spite of themselves.
And, that worked in the past. But, given the challenges and disruption that we’re facing, we can no longer survive in spite of ourselves. We must start running our agencies as the businesses they are. We must become more intentional in everything we do.
Just stop for a moment and reflect on the ways in which the current wave of disruption is demanding a more intentional approach.
Disruption to the rhythm of doing business
There has been a disruption to the rhythm of how you do business. It used to be that you had both sales and service activities all year long. But, now, 4th quarter is focused on keeping the business you have. You spend too much of 3rd quarter preparing for 4th quarter and too much of 1st quarter recovering. As a result, your sales year has become dangerously short.
You have to be INTENTIONAL in getting back to a rhythm that has sales activities happening all year long.
Disruption to the flow of revenue
Too many agencies depend completely on the carrier’s commission schedules as the sole source of revenue coming into their business. But, now, because of MLR we see bonuses getting eliminated and commissions getting cut and that is a trend that will continue (regardless of any repeal/replace efforts).
You have to be INTENTIONAL in ensuring you are compensated fairly for the service you deliver to your clients. Yes, this means you have to believe in that value enough to discuss and charge reasonable compensation.
Disruption to the product you deliver to clients
Too many of those same agencies depend completely on the carrier’s insurance product as the sole deliverable they take to their clients, at least the only one for which they actually get paid. And now, because of Exchanges and carrier selectivity, many agencies no longer have access to products in the way they have in the past.
You have to be INTENTIONAL in expanding your value proposition so that you are not dependent on a single solution.
You’ll hear a lot more from us throughout the year discussing what it means to be more intentional as an organization: intentional with your prospecting, marketing, sales conversations, and client experience.
The key, as we hope you now agree, is to not leave your story to chance. It’s up to you to be intentional in writing this next chapter. Just be sure to make it a chapter others will want to read and emulate.
May 2017 be your most successful and INTENTIONAL yet!
We’ll be along for the ride. We are intent on helping you become a more intentional organization.
Photo by © Arip Santoso.