Just because you understand the total cost of risk doesn’t mean that your clients and prospects do. There are several things you need to do
Quit Complaining When you Lose an Account
I’m going to warn you today, people, I am fired up. I am so sick and tired of insurance salespeople making excuses for losing deals. People who have a real value proposition don’t belong in the marketplace and shouldn’t take their accounts. Guess what? If you sell a product, you are at risk. Somebody who solves problems that has a value proposition and accountability measures in place to make sure that they deliver on that is going to take your accounts every single time.
When you’re in the middle market, you got to be prepared to take your lumps. I know, it sucks, but every single one of us loses at some point. The idea is we have to do what we can to keep from losing more in the future. Been there, done that myself, and I always look at my losses as opportunities, and the revenue lost becomes tuition to learning how not to have that happen again.
This morning I read an entire thread where a gentleman had lost an account. The account had grown from $15,000 to $100,000 throughout his tenure as the agent. He alluded to the fact that a large brokerage came in, they had all kinds of risk management resources, claims handling, and other things that they represented they could do for them at the point of sale, and the client left this agent paid $5,000 more and hired the larger brokerage.
What commenced is what I would have expected to begin in a group of insurance agencies. Commiseration, oh, you’ll get ’em next time, bud. This situation sucks. They don’t have any substance; it’s all fluff, it’s all smoke and mirrors. You shouldn’t have lost it; the client screwed you over. We work our tails off for them, and then they leave. There’s no loyalty.
The Unpopular Opinion
Guess what, guys? Somebody needs to say the unpopular opinion. You have to transition from being an insurance salesperson to a trusted advisor. If you’re going to play in the middle market, you got to be ready to fight. You have to up your game to a level higher than ever before. Today, I want to talk to you about three things that you can do to make sure that the big boys don’t come in and scoop up your accounts from you.
Number one, you have to set expectations appropriately. Now, the only difference between a legacy player and a new agent coming in to try and steal that business is that that new agent is going to try and drive wedges. They’re going to find the weak spot in the fence, and then they’re going to exploit that. While all of us can agree on the fact that they’ll exploit it by using concepts and fear, at the end of the day, they still have to deliver.
They can set the expectations to get the deal, but if they don’t deliver those expectations, then they lose the deal the next year. If I’m in that situation and I lose that account, the very first thing I’m going to ask that ex-client of mine is what accountability measures did the other firm put in place to make sure that they are delivering on the results that they promised?
If they say they’re going to give quarterly reports or monthly dashboards in real-time, you have an uphill battle ahead of you. The only thing you can do at that point is follow up every month to find out just how much they’re doing that they promised they would do. If it’s quarterly, follow up every quarter. At some point, they’re going to let their guard down. You have to understand customer service does not cut it in the middle market. I know that if you’re a personal lines agency or small commercial, that customer service means getting mortgagee endorsements taken care of, getting certificates out, or whatever else. Still, you have to bring a whole different game to be in the middle market.
Formalize Your Processes with Graphics
The second thing you can do is you can look at your processes and procedures and see what it is that you were doing for those clients. Here’s a news flash people, you might be busting your hump for them, but if you don’t have a way with graphics, paperwork, and a presentation to articulate what you’re doing for them, they don’t know. We might know, we’re the tacticians, we’re the people that get paid to know this stuff. But if you don’t show them and you don’t follow up with them, they aren’t going to know.
Guess whose fault it is when you lose that account? It’s not the other agent. It’s their job to take your business. It’s your job; you’re the one that’s at fault, you’re the one that’s failed. So if you lose accounts, quit bitching about it, quit licking your wounds and go out there and modify your processes and get it in such a way that you can present that to your clients and have them to understand.
Provide Accountability Measures
The third thing you can do is what I tell you to do. Try and drive a wedge, have accountability measures in place, and then deliver the results you promise on the expectations that you set. If you don’t have accountability measures in place, what the heck are you measuring? Do you measure the things you can’t touch and feel? Because if you allow this to be an insurance transaction, that’s what it’s going to be on your end.
Someone with a value prop position is going to come in and talk about things like total cost of risk, the indirect cost of claims, putting things in place like behavioral-based safety programs, incentive systems, management accountability programs. I can go on and on and on. If you don’t think I’m getting amped up, you’re kidding yourself because this is where I live every day, and this is how I take business from other people. It irritates the living daylights out of me when I see agencies out to do nothing except moan about the fact that they lost business because their client wasn’t loyal. Guess what? You sold them a product, you didn’t solve a problem, and you lost the account.
Go out there, put these things in place, and you’re going to kill it in commercial insurance. But if you don’t, you’re the one that’s going to get killed.