Would you believe me if I told you next renewal season would be easier if you did two renewals for each client as opposed to one? Sounds crazy I know, but it’s true.

I know you are ridiculously busy with 4th quarter renewals. In fact, I’m surprised you found the time to read this post. But stop for a moment and reflect on what you’re renewing. Obviously, you are renewing their insurance policy. You are helping them make a decision about their carrier relationships.

No doubt, this is an incredibly important renewal, but what does it really have to do with you and your role as the advisor? Well, if this is the only renewal conversation you have with a client, the answer is “WAY too much.”

More can be less (stress)

Sure, the insurance advice/results you give to clients is critically important. But your clients also need your advice/results in so many other areas: compliance, technology, communication, attraction/retention, employee engagement, the list goes on. But, given the crazy busy schedule you are maintaining right now, and the level of anxiety your clients feel in facing their renewal, I’m guessing you are having ZERO conversations about these other non-insurance areas where you give advice/results.

Admit it, I’m right.

This is where the second renewal comes in, the one focused on your relationship with the client, not the carrier’s. You need to add a mid-year stewardship meeting where the purpose is to renew your relationship with the client.

When you compete for a client, you are looking to earn the opportunity to be their advisor. This shouldn’t be tied to the carrier decision. Admittedly, sometimes an employer is with the right carrier but the wrong broker/advisor.

When you tie your ability to earn a new client to the quoting process, you diminish your opportunity to stand out as a superior advisor. Similarly, when you tie the continuation of your relationship with a client to the insurance renewal, you leave yourself unduly exposed.

Stewardship?! We don’t need no stinkin’ Stewardship!

Oh yes you do, my friend, but I know you’re probably not delivering.

I am constantly surprised by how often I stand in front of a room of producers during sales training and mention stewardship reports and how many in the room don't even know what one is. I'm even more surprised at the others who do know but still don't use them. At best, I will have a couple who say, "We try to do them on our larger accounts."

In case you fall into that camp of not knowing what a stewardship report is, it is simply a summary/conversation about the significant ways in which you brought value to a client over the previous 12 months. In other words, it puts the focus on you and the value you delivered.

Isn’t this better than having your continued client relationship being on the line as they face one more double digit increase from the carrier? It ties you to the carrier in ways the client may not be able separate.

Basic responsibility

Seems to me that in an industry where you win business by making promises to deliver better results than your competition, it is a basic responsibility to hold yourself accountable and report on your delivery of those promises.

According to Zywave, your clients agree as well. In their recent Broker Services Survey, they identified that 88% of employers want/expect a stewardship report from their broker, but only 36% are receiving anything that comes even close. And, based on the conversations I have with advisors, the 36% seems surprisingly high.

I know that what keeps most agencies/advisors from delivering such a report is the belief that the assembly would be overwhelming. And sure, there are templated reports where that's the case, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming at all.

Honestly, it can be as simple as a list of bullet points. During the course of the year, keep a simple Word doc to track your significant accomplishments for each client. By sitting down with each client mid-year and spending five minutes in discussion on each item, you would have one of the most productive conversations of the year with that client.

And, if you use this conversation to intentionally renew your relationship and lay out a strategy for the upcoming insurance renewal, you will find next 4th quarter to be more manageable.

The Power of Pareto

Don’t let the number of accounts you have paralyze you into inaction on this idea. If your book of business looks like most, your top 20% largest clients are producing close to 80% of your revenue. Even more critical are your top 5% clients that may generate as much as 30% of your revenue. Get started by focusing your stewardship conversations with groups of top clients.

How much more relaxed would 4th quarter 2019 be if you had already renewed your relationships with clients who made up 80% of your revenue?

Photo by  By Ollyy.

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