I was at the gym and saw one of the funniest t-shirts I’ve seen in a long time: it said, “World’s Okayest Brother."

The absurdity of the guy so loudly proclaiming his mediocrity was hilarious. I mean, who does that?!

Oh wait, there's a good chance YOU are making the same proclamation. I’m serious.

While I doubt you have t-shirts proclaiming "World's Okayest Insurance Agency" or "World's Okayest Salesperson," I can almost guarantee this is your message. It's on your website, in printed materials, and you’re likely even saying some of these things in presentations.

Phrases that imply you’re just like everyone else

I’ve seen and heard it all from agencies of all sizes, even those with their own marketing departments or those using outside marketing firms. How close do those seemingly harmless phrases the industry has used for ages hit home? The reality is they are telling people you are the “okayest.”

“We’re free”

These are the two most dangerous words in the industry’s vocabulary. Promoting yourself as free is like apologizing in advance for your mediocrity. Besides, clients don’t expect free; they expect great results. Choose to be great; there’s much less competition.

“Click here for a free quote”

Really? If you tell people you want to be a trusted advisor, but your primary call to action is offering a free quote, your messaging is completely disconnected. People looking for a partner (trusted advisor) do NOT find them by filling out a free quote form. Offers of free quotes scream mediocrity.

“In business for 112 years”

So what? All that tells me is that you are likely entrenched in the antiquated ways of the industry, and I don’t want to do business with you. And, besides, if your 112 years is a supposed reason to do business with you, does that mean someone with 113 years is a better option for me?

At best, these messages establish that you don't suck. Nothing about them provides a compelling reason for a buyer to think you're different enough to warrant their consideration.

People, you can do better than this

We are not an “okay” industry, but arguably the most valuable business relationship business owners have. You significantly impact the most critical aspects of your client's business.

  • I have seen you impact them financially.
  • I know you help improve their operations.
  • I watch you help them craft their strategy.
  • I have witnessed you strengthen their bond with their employees.

I'm unsure if we wear the "badge of okayness" out of laziness or humility, but it has to change!

Our industry's financial reward for mediocrity has always been excessively high, but the last few years have changed that. Not only will mediocrity no longer receive the high financial reward it has in the past, but mediocre agencies/producers will not survive.

And it’s not a matter of whether you deliver mediocre or exceptional value to clients; it’s what you tell prospects to expect in the first place that will determine your fate.

If you communicate “world’s okayest agency” in your marketing message, you will never get a chance to deliver exceptional value because you'll never get a chance to compete for the business.

Now, look at your website with unbiased eyes and tell me what expectations you're setting. Go ahead; I dare ya!

Set expectations with your marketing by taking a peek at our Marketing Planning Guide, available below. 

Defining Your Business Brand 


Photo by lightfieldstudios