One of the most self-damning aspects of the insurance industry is that the financial reward for mediocrity has been too high. It has allowed us to succeed, often times in spite of ourselves and without a focus on growth. That’s changed. Growth is no longer a luxury. There have to be growth goals, aggressive goals that come with accountability.
I recently had the pleasure and opportunity to participate in a webinar conversation with Brett Rosen, VP of Mergers & Acquisition at Digital Insurance. During our conversation we discussed the “5 Surefire Ways to Catapult Your Benefits Business”.
There are certain things that high-growth insurance agencies are doing to drive success, and through a series of blog posts, I will address each of those five ways. I will also share some action items you might use to help catapult your own business.
Surefire way #1 - The best agencies embrace collaboration.
In an industry that has historically operated with a “lone wolf” mentality, what are the changes that are now making collaboration so critical?
Clients need strategic help
Despite countless predictions that our industry is going the way of buggy-whip salesman, business owners need our help more than ever before. However, the help they need has shifted dramatically.
In the past, they depended on us to educate them on insurance policies and to go get quotes. Of course, with fewer options, the policy advice – although still extremely important – has become much more commoditized. And, when everyone delivers the same price on the same policy, there is no differentiator in delivering those quotes.
However, the help clients need now is much more strategic in nature. It’s driven by many factors such as new compliance requirements, risk finance considerations, the need for higher levels of employee engagement, the need to communicate more effectively at a time when communication is becoming more difficult, and the list goes on. Their world is more complex and they need strategic help to make it a little simpler.
A new focus
To be able to deliver that strategic help usually requires a shift of focus for brokers.
Most in our industry have felt “in control” because every business owner has to buy the insurance we sell, maybe not legally, but as a part of being in business. Rather than focusing on the fact that business owners HAVE to buy insurance, the best agencies focus on what those owners really WANT when they buy it. Owners may have to buy insurance, but what they WANT is to be seen as an Employer of Choice.
The best agencies help their clients define what being an Employer of Choice means to them and then take responsibility for helping make that a reality.
Of course, there is no single insurance product, or combination of insurance products, than can make a business an Employer of Choice. Yes, insurance is still an important part of the answer, but it is the way we communicate with employees, the wellness programs and employee engagement strategies, in addition to the insurance, that results in being an Employer of Choice.
Most of us aren’t able to deliver all of these answers on our own; this is where collaboration comes into play. The best agencies create partnerships with others who specialize in each area and collaborate to bring a more complete answer to their clients.
You may be thinking that your clients won’t accept these outsourced solutions from you, but I disagree. In fact, you have always outsourced the very insurance product (to the carriers) on which you have built your business. Clients will gladly accept a collaborative effort for anything that satisfies a need they have.
Be the quarterback
The best agencies embrace collaboration and see their primary role as the one who: 1. Creates, for each client, the vision of what it means to be an Employer of Choice ; 2. Builds the collaborative team who can make that vision a reality; and 3. Serves as the quarterback of that little team to ensure the client gets the results they need.
You can use this same proven strategy to catapult your own business. Here are a few action items to get you started down that path.
- Make a list of what your clients truly need/want in order to become that Employer of Choice. If you aren’t sure, or even if you think you are, go sit down and ask them what they need to be more successful. If you do, they will tell you exactly what they will buy from you if you will simply bring it to them.
- Identify which of the items on your list can be delivered directly by your team. For each, document what resources you need and establish an implementation plan to help drive success.
- Identify which of the items on your list you will need to collaborate with someone else in order to deliver it to your clients. Identify potential partners and establish a vetting process to determine where you have the best alignment.
Yes, this is going to be hard work, but it is this kind of hard work that is catapulting others to unprecedented levels of success. One of the partners you may need is someone who can help you make this kind of transformation. If you feel that’s exactly what you need, give us a call; we may have a few ideas of how to catapult your business and make you a feared competitor in your market.
Photo by fizkes