Producers Must Learn to Set the Table

Today, I’m going to talk to you about what you should be doing when all your client wants is a quote or having you compete against other brokers in what seems to be a never-ending spiral of quoting and hoping.

I hear it all the time. People are so irritated that their prospects want to know if you’re going to “bid their insurance” or offer up a quote. We run through the cycles to get quotes, and we hang our ability to get paid on an underwriter’s ability to deliver both in coverage terms as well as pricing.

Here’s the thing, people. We shouldn’t be irritated at that prospect. They don’t know any different. Let’s face it. The last time I checked, there was no high school or college course called “how to procure insurance for my business.” They’ve learned from who they’ve learned from us. We’re the ones that are to blame for their behavior. We’ve conditioned them to do the things they do because of how we act, competing to get business. We’re so focused on whoring ourselves out to sell products that we don’t take the time to solve a problem. Problems are where you not only make your money, but you make your retention numbers, and clients don’t leave you because you are truly valuable to their organization.

Let’s face it. There are so many flawed things in our industry that we can change, and it starts with educating the consumer on how they should be buying. If you sit down at a meeting with a buyer and you’re competing against three other agents for their attention, your one job, more than anything else, is to get the other three people fired. And the way you do that is you educate the buyer on why broker selection is the best option when buying insurance.

Now, if you’re dealing with a public entity or have a board of directors and they’re required to get three quotes or whatever else, that’s an entirely different story. And honestly, that’s your decision as to whether or not you want to engage. That’s not who I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the people we call on every day that we accuse of “wasting our time.” You’re wasting your time. You’re wasting your time because you’re quoting and hoping, and as my good friend, Josh Gurley, likes to say, you’re doing the old hump in the leg approach.

But at the end of the day, if you take your time and you talk about your value proposition and what you can do from a human resources perspective, from a risk management perspective, from a loss control perspective, and you lay out a strategy that shows that you have value, not only to diagnose the problems in an organization, but the treatment plan to fix it, you’re going to win way more business than you’re going to lose. You’re going to do that because you will get hired, the other agents will get fired because all they want is to sell a policy and not solve a problem.

If you want to change your game in 2022, you got to learn how to set the table and set the table from the very beginning. Once you determine the rules of engagement and lay those out, it’s up to you to ensure that that client or prospect follows them. And if you choose to continue the engagement, when they violated the rules you’ve laid on the front end, that’s on you, nobody else. Change the way you think about this stuff. Become an educator, become a problem solver, and you are going to kill it in Commercial insurance in 2022.


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