As an industry, we have to start delivering more value. Anybody in this industry who doesn't, won't find themselves in the industry much longer.
By its purest definition, value is getting something of equivalent worth compared to what we pay. In the book "Go-Giver", the authors define the Law of Value in the following manner: your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment. By either of these definitions, I would argue we are not an industry that truly delivers good Value.
Let's start off by talking about the payment side of the equation
First of all, let me ask you a question:
How many people do you have that do any work for you that you don't know exactly how much you pay them? I'm guessing it's a very short list.
Now another question:
How many people do you work for who have no idea at all what they pay for you? If you are like most brokers, and are being honest, that list is way longer than it should be.
The reason is, in our hearts, we don't believe we aren't a good Value for our clients. If you believed you were, you would have no problem going into that $40,000 account and having an open and honest conversation about what you are getting paid and, more importantly, what you deliver in return.
If your business model is like too many, what you are doing for that $40,000 is placing the insurance and then fixing the problems that arise from those same policies. It would be hard to argue that many are truly doing $40,000 worth of work, much less delivering more than what is being received in payment.
So, it appears that if you want to be someone who is considered a good Value, you need to adjust one side of the equation or the other. I'll argue that the right answer isn't on the payment side. If you take that route, you will be setting yourself up to compete against those competitors who will always do it for less. That's a race to the no-profit zone.
So let's focus on the delivery side of the equation
The business model of the typical agency needs to be overhauled. To that point, a future blog will explain what I mean in more detail. I will tell you that it has to stop being about selling insurance and has to start focusing on how to improve the business of your clients. However, even before you start overhauling your business model, there are opportunities at every step of the current way to deliver more value than your prospects/clients are expecting.
Here are a few examples:
Marketing – Look at your collective marketing efforts: brochures, website, LinkedIn profiles, blogs, etc. Do you sound like most every other agency bragging about your 112 years in business, offering a free quote, and listing the carriers you represent? Or, do you demonstrate how you truly understand the issues being faced by your clients and make it clear you can offer a solution?
Value test in Marketing – Even if the audience never engaged you in a face-to-face conversation, they should have learned something that will help them in their business as a result of your marketing efforts. Especially with your social media marketing, you should be a regular stop as they look to build their own business acumen.
Selling Process – This is a natural extension of your marketing efforts. Your selling process has to be focused on the needs (known and otherwise) of the buyer and be more of a process of education than anything else.
Value test in Selling – Someone would write a check to go through your sales process. (Don't snicker, I see it happen all the time.)
Customer Service – I know that many of you provide countless Value Added Services to your clients. You probably think that this makes you the exception to the Value deficit I have described. It doesn't. Most of your VASs never get used and therefore have zero value. Worse than that, the frustration that comes from them not being used actually hurts you.
Add value by ensuring that every VAS you offer to your client is implemented and executed as intended. If you aren't going to have a formal implementation plan, then don't even offer the VAS.
Value test in Customer Service – If asked what you do for them, your clients would state the implementation and execution of your Value Added Services ahead of quoting insurance and fixing problems.
No matter what you do, there is always an opportunity to add more Value than was expected, especially if you're in the insurance industry. Be a Value Driven producer/agency and you will quickly become invaluable to your clients. You might even be able to ask for a raise.