We have all read countless articles discussing the power of using questions when selling. We see this advice as often as we do for good reason – questions are powerful and help the prospect start to see the need to do something different.

You need that same perspective for yourself.

Given our industry's challenges, we must consider what our businesses need to look like tomorrow. This means you must ask yourself the tough questions to help gain the proper perspective and start identifying what "different" may need to look like for you.

So, knowing how powerful a motivator fear is, let’s use that as the basis for the first question we need to consider:

When you think about the future of your business, what is your biggest fear?

Before reading further, think about this question and write down your answer.

This isn’t the time for false bravado; we all have something that scares us. And now, more than ever, if you don't have some fear for the future of your business, you're not paying attention.

As I talk to owners and producers daily, I ask this question at every opportunity. The responses are always interesting as the answer alone tells me how successful that agency/producer will be a little way down the road.

Let me give you a couple of examples. Even though the exact words vary from conversation to conversation, the following two paraphrased answers capture a few of the fears I often hear.

Answer 1 – I worry that my competitor may be offering a product I am not yet offering or don't have access to. These kinds of answers are often very tactical. 

Answer 2 – I fear becoming irrelevant and that I won't meet the changing needs of my clients. These kinds of responses are often more strategic. 

What a contrast! There is no way to summarize more succinctly why some agencies/producers will be lucky to survive (Answer 1) while others still have their best days (Answer 2).

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Answer 1 exposes the frailty of the typical agency model. Too many agencies feel their value lies in a product. They are searching for a holy grail of a product that doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as product exclusivity. Oh sure, a specific vendor may grant you exclusive rights to their product in a given market, but a dozen other vendors are offering an almost identical product/service to your competitors.

Agencies whose fear centers on a product are conceding their inability to control their destiny. They will always be at the mercy of that someone else if they believe their success depends on someone else's product.

They may have periods of success with a product, but their run will come to a screeching halt when there is a better or cheaper product or the provider takes the right to distribute the product away from them.


Now, contrast that to the Answer 2 responses, whose biggest fear is irrelevance. These are individuals/agencies who recognize they control their destiny. They understand that maintaining the status quo while the world changes is the quickest path to the irrelevance they fear. They know the value they bring to their clients lies in the knowledge, advice, and consultation they provide. They understand that a product is simply a tool. Their ability to build something special with that tool keeps them relevant.

Fearing irrelevance should be the strongest motivation there is to change. Knowing your relevance is tied to the needs/demands of your clients will ensure you remain relevant (assuming you are willing to do the hard work that follows).

Agencies who fear irrelevance and use that as motivation to be focused on their clients' needs will run circles around those agencies who are, instead, focused on finding the next vendor offering the next “best product ever.”

One of my all-time favorite quotes seems appropriate.

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less. – Gen. Eric Shinseki

Someone else’s product will NEVER ensure your relevance, only their own.

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Content provided by Q4intelligence

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