If you are connected with us on LinkedIn, you know we regularly share our perspectives on just about anything and everything that affects the health of the industry. For your convenience, we have pulled a few of them together in one place. What can we say, we're givers! 😏
And, if you're not following us on LinkedIn, please fix that today.
Prospecting is a fundamental responsibility of producers. But, I DON'T mean for the obvious reason of it being your job.
If you and your team are genuinely capable of delivering better results and helping clients be more successful because of your ideas and solutions, you have a fundamental responsibility to make that available to prospects.
When you don't, you're cheating them out an opportunity to be more successful – shame on you for not sharing.
As soon as your prospect senses you are there to push your agenda rather than further theirs, game's over, you lose.
Here's the litmus test. If you are arriving fired up to tell prospects about a new idea/strategy/solution, they will see it as YOUR agenda. If you show up curious to learn if they may benefit from your growing collection of ideas/strategies/solutions, it's THEIR agenda.
Curiosity doesn't kill cats; it wins deals.
On being different
I keep hearing producers use the COVID crisis as an excuse for empty pipelines and a lack of new business production. They say nobody wants to talk or make changes right now.
That's partially true. Employers are VERY reluctant to bring any additional disruption to their employees. However, that doesn't mean it can't/won't happen; they just have to see that the upside far outweighs the disruption.
Positioning yourself and your solutions as better versions of the broker they already have won't cut it. If you want to get a prospect's attention and their commitment to change, you have to position yourself in a different category of advisor than what they currently have.
Look at your marketing messages and your sales process. Are you simply telling people you are better, or are you demonstrating that you are measurably different?
Change is never easy, but if you think you are too busy to do the hard work necessary to drive change, pretty soon you will find yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands.
I was attending a training seminar many years ago. There were three guys from the same agency who showed up with agency-branded golf shirts (what else right?). Under the agency name, it said, "Exceeding client expectations."
A couple of hours in, the gentleman leading the session approached them and asked, "Who are your top three clients?" Without hesitation, they rattled off the three names.
The next question he asked was, "What are the most important expectations each of them has of your agency?"
After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, one of them mumbled, "I guess we don't know."
Last question, "How can you claim to exceed a standard that hasn't been established?"
Don't be a cliché.
On advice and results
Those of you convinced this is a "relationship" business are about to be run over by those who have figured out it's an "advice and results" business.
I'm not saying the relationship isn't important but, now more than ever, business owners have to make the best business decision first.
Trying to run a sales organization without a commitment to marketing is like taking a road trip without a commitment to gas in the car. You may be able to get started, but you'll never reach your destination.
From the great philosopher (and a pretty good boxer 😏) Mike Tyson – Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
The thing is – whether it’s in business, sales, or life in general – you’re gonna get punched in the mouth. That doesn't mean having a plan is a waste of time and effort; it merely means your response to the punch (and avoiding as many as possible) has to be part of the plan.
On sales process
Lies benefits brokers tell themselves #5: It takes two - three years to develop a new client relationship.
If it does, you're doing something wrong. Your primary job (through your sales process) should be to identify if there is an opportunity for meaningful improvement to a prospect's HR/benefits program. Assuming there is, it is then your job to show them a clear path to addressing their needs and getting better results.
I can't imagine any responsible business owner or decision-maker wanting to wait, much less for two years, once they understand their business is broken and solutions are known, available, and manageable.
When you think back on your biggest business regret of 2019, what comes to mind? I'm guessing it isn't something you did that didn't go as planned. Instead, I bet it is something you know you needed to do but found countless excuses not to get it done.
Don't have the same regret next year. Hell, don't have that same regret tomorrow. Take action today.
Hey benefits professionals - You don't care about the procedures your physician can perform or the prescriptions they can write until you realize you have a problem that makes them necessary.
So, what makes you think your prospects are interested in hearing your capabilities presentation before you take the time to figure out what problems they need to have solved?!
The role of a leader isn't to keep their people comfortable with where they are today. The leader's responsibility is to bring a healthy level of discomfort today so their team can become comfortable and confident with the more difficult challenges of tomorrow.
Be the leader your team needs you to be.
On what to do with the above
You can either make excuses or you can make shit happen. Kind of ironic which of these stinks.
We hope our perspectives help you to see your future opportunities in a different light. It's only when you see things differently that you start to think differently. And it's only when you begin to think differently that you are driven to act differently.
The successful pursuit of tomorrow's opportunities requires actions different from those of today.
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Photo by zamuruev