We are truly in a time of significant change in the employee benefits world. It’s not just ideas and fears being tossed around that never panned out like we’ve had in previous generations. No, this started a decade ago with directives from congress that required substantial change, and now the change is coming from grass roots efforts from those within the industry itself.
All of this industry change requires meaningful focus on your own business and the businesses of your clients. Without constant education, monitoring, and adjusting, agencies run the risk of falling behind.
We hear a lot of producers saying, “People just aren’t making changes.” But it’s likely not because they don’t WANT to make a change, but rather, they haven’t been given a compelling enough reason to make a change YET. You’ve got to get real about your story and the story of the buyer to convince them that you’re a better solution. Not just a better version of what they already have.
Here are some articles to help you navigate this journey of change within your own organization.
Ah, the constant apologizer. Whether it’s in your personal or business interactions, it’s easy to fall in the habit of apologizing for yourself. A little “I’m sorry” here and a “Thank you so much for your time” there doesn’t seem like a big deal. But add them all up, and you may find you’re telling a different story than you intend.
Having a theme may seem a little odd at first explanation, but when you create a meaningful theme and incorporate it into the fabric of your company communications, it can be powerful. Without focus, we’re all prone to wandering, which can lead to falling short of our goals. And that, friends, should be unacceptable for any of us.
Who wants less money and more stress? Yeah, didn’t think so! Building a business takes a lot of ongoing effort, and continually making your business more sophisticated in your strategy and operations is probably NOT what most agency owners signed up for. But that tide has turned and owners must be active participants in constantly monitoring their agency's performance and adjusting accordingly.
This is a hard reality for way too many sales-types to appreciate and accept. Talkers are often drawn to sales, but buyers are more attracted to question-askers and listeners. Huh, seems like a bit of a disconnect, doesn’t it? Read on and try the test included to see if you tend to overtalk your welcome with prospects and clients.
Service is a critical part of your business, 100% agree. But to claim it as your “differentiator” makes you sound just like every other agency. True story. Check out your competitors’ websites. See how much talk there is about service. And how little talk there is about how they work. Service is a PART of an overall client experience, but it isn’t the entire experience.
Our Q4Live networking conference is a great event where our member agencies come together, and we invite vendors and other agencies to join us as well. We get real by sharing our stories of successes and “learning moments” and encourage everyone in the room to participate. We all leave better prepared to help our prospects and clients make better, more informed decisions. Key learnings shared within.
Turnover for insurance agency producers is notoriously high. Owners will say, “I’m going to hire five new producers this year, and hope one or two stick.” Wow. Those are huge time and financial investments owners are making that they’re actually expecting to fail. Stop hiring producers with the spaghetti-on-the-wall approach. You can do better than that.
The survival of the fittest! We’re not all meant to continue on in our businesses, maintaining them year-after-year because change is always required, and well, change is hard. Especially if you and your team are not used to it and prepared for it. So, in the spirit of the Darwin Awards, “We commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.”
Believe it or not, employers want to buy. They really do. They want to buy the services of a professional who will guide them and help them make better decisions about their employee benefits program. But you have to show yourself worthy of being that guide. And if you wait to demonstrate your guiding ways until you have a conversation with them, it’s probably too late.
Rockstars, ninjas, gurus. Is that who an employer really wants to hire to be their professional advisor?? And an advisor of something as complex as self-insurance? Probably not. But they likely do want a heavy dose of education.
The best advisors and sellers of advisory services are NOT pushy, arrogant, and insulting of the buyer. Instead, they’re listeners, question askers, and educators. When you drop the stereotype of selling and change it to educating, you’ll be amazed at how many more “sellers” you have on your team.
There continues to be a lot rally cries around value-based insurance design in the industry. And while knowing about and exploring all options for the best healthcare plan possible is good for your clients, don't fool yourself into thinking that’s all that matters. Because it's really the experience you create around that program that makes or breaks it.
Being as generic as possible and trying to appeal to everyone in your marketing message is a strategy that just doesn’t work. You make yourself sound so generic and watered down that you actually end up appealing to no one. Instead, get clear about your offering and the people who benefit the most from what you do.
Photo by airdone.