Education Leads to Domination
The number of times I’m in an internet forum and hear agents complaining about their clients and prospects blows my mind. Last time I checked, they pay us, don’t they? If you have a problem with the prospect and how they want to engage in business with you, that’s not their problem; that’s yours.
Learn How to Deal with People
Call me old-fashioned. Call me old school. Don’t call me late for dinner. Anyhow, I grew up in the grocery business and retail. Everybody should go through that exercise because it teaches you how to deal with the public at their absolute worst. If you don’t think I believe in that, my oldest son went through the same process before letting him start with me here at the agency. I needed him to see how to handle people, period.
The Internet has Made Agents Weak
I think that the Internet has done a lot of excellent stuff for insurance agents all over the country, but it has also created some problematic situations. My biggest pet peeves are the gripe fests about prospects and clients in these agent forums. Here’s a challenge to everybody out there: if you have a problem with the prospect and how they do business before you go on the Internet and start complaining and looking for sympathy from everybody else who doesn’t have things figured out, why don’t you stop and reflect inward and say, “What could I have done to make this smoother?”
Quit Complaining and Start Educating
One of my favorites is when I hear somebody complain, “I did all these quotes for a prospect, and at the very end, they told me, ‘Well, we’ll let you know when we’re ready. We’re not moving for a while.'” And this is relative to homeowner’s insurance. What would’ve happened if you asked that prospect on the front end, “When do you plan on relocating?” Or, “When do you plan on closing on your new home?” You’d have gotten the answer instead of waiting until the very end. You didn’t ask one of the most important questions until you did all the work. That’s one of the reasons why we at Killing Commercial, and especially here at Florida Risk Partners, don’t quote for practice. That’s why. We get all the discovery out of the way, lay out our value proposition, and educate our clients and prospects so that they automatically conclude they want to do business with us.
Let’s say that somebody wanted a quote because they wanted to see how much it would cost to relocate to a different part of the country in a couple of years. If you ask them when they plan on relocating, they will give you the answer. That allows you to take the extra two seconds; it’s not even two minutes at this point, the extra two seconds to educate them on all of the reasons why it doesn’t make sense to provide a quote right now. It could be that the roof will be out of age or underwriting appetites change, and we all know here in Florida, the rates are through the roof already. Who knows how those rates will look in the future? Why commit to something that’s not going to be relevant? The problem is, your prospect doesn’t know. Why don’t they know? Because you never told them. And guess what? That’s the only way we’re ever going to change our industry.
We must look at our processes and ensure we’re asking the right questions early in the conversation. That’s why they’re called disqualifiers. You can’t ask a disqualifier when you’ve already done all the work. You ask for a disqualifier so you don’t waste time doing all the work. Get the process dialed in, and then fill that in with a nice amount of education to explain precisely why. Another one that I’ve always seen people complain about is, “I don’t want to take the meeting; he’s got three other agents he’s working with.” Or, “She told me I could come in, but I’m only going to get one or two markets, and that’s only if somebody else hasn’t already reserved them.” I will always take the first meeting.
Take the Meeting
My good friend Dan Smith put it out this week, I’ve seen it a million times on the Internet, but Wayne Gretzky’s quote says, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” And for all you haters out there that will tell me, “Michael Jordan said,” Michael Jordan copied it from Wayne Gretzky. “I know because Snopes told me.” Anyhow, you do you. Go to the first meeting every single time. It doesn’t mean you have to stay there the whole time. Ask your disqualifying questions. If they don’t answer them correctly, cut bait, kill the meeting, and move on. That prospect may come back to you down the road because they respect the fact you’re so committed to your value proposition.
There are only going to be so many times that agents can quote business and win. There’s a floor to premium, and we all know that. We need to drive value and educate why. Total Cost of Risk and value is the way to go; you can’t do that unless you’re at the meeting. So take those first meetings. People, get out of your own way here—process and education’s easy. Everybody can do it. You have to decide if you want to. When you do, you’re going to kill it in commercial insurance.
I hear it all the time, “David, I just don’t believe there are people on every corner waiting to hand out their business to you