They have a very specific plan for the client experience—a map for the journey they’ll take their clients on. Their standards ensure that every client receives the VIP treatment. This is reflected in the quality of service provided and in the overall agency attitude: how the phone is answered, how quickly calls are returned, agent follow-up and follow-through, product quality and much more. A well-planned journey makes VIP clients feel valued and appreciated. In turn, they tend to be extremely loyal.
In keeping with their high standards, the best producers work only on prospects that are referrals or introductions. Of course, that doesn’t just happen overnight by proclamation, but that’s their mindset. While they may use social media for positioning, they believe their next great new client wants to meet them through a referral or introduction. After all, when you’re looking for services, isn’t that really what you want—a name from someone you trust? For example, would you rather find a new doctor from a Google search or on the recommendation of a friend who’s a satisfied patient?
They never guess their numbers, their Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. They know them and they hold themselves to higher standards. Every month they know the difference between their outcome stats (gross commission income, net new revenue and client retention) and their performance stats (revenue per client, closing ratio, conversion ratio, number of first appointments). Beyond knowing their numbers, they know what behaviors and strategies improve their actual results.
Insurance (the risk-transfer mechanism) is one of the solutions they provide, but it’s not the only solution. We all know that. However, the best of the best hold themselves to a standard that every client gets an industry-specific annual risk survey.
Over the years, I’ve talked about the importance of risk surveys thousands of times and yet I am continually stunned by how infrequently they’re done. Recently, on two different occasions, top executives from insurance companies were discussing the concerns they had with the distribution system. When I asked what their biggest problem was with agents, they said what they always say: the lack of complete information on submissions. My next question: What percent of your submissions (on the commercial side) have a risk survey? It’s something like 2%!
Although risk surveys are a cornerstone of every insurance program, most clients have never seen one. A risk survey allows the producer to know the coverages and identify coverage gaps. Further, it gives the underwriter a better feel for the risk. Because they price the account based on what they know and what they don’t know, a risk survey helps them do their job.
I don’t know how you could possibly assess risks until they’ve been identified in a formal, industry-specific risk survey. What’s more, these surveys are readily available. In fact, The Rough Notes Company has identified more than 700 different classes of business and offers risk survey forms for each one.
Once you’ve identified the risks and agreed to address them (through a wellness initiative, employee safety training, loss control, disaster planning or some other appropriate mechanism), lay it out in an annual services calendar. This will clarify what you’ve committed to do with the client over the next 12 months—a client journey itinerary. Even if there is only a handful of events or activities spread out over two or three months, put them on the calendar. Also be sure to include stewardship reports, meetings and visits, which need to be scheduled ahead of time.
The best producers know that time is their only diminishing asset and that how they spend it largely determines the degree of their success (or failure). They realize they must focus on the four key money-making activities: sales, relationship management, continuations and pipeline building. They examine everything they do and then plan and debrief on a weekly basis. Their goal is to spend at least 80% of their time in those four key areas. To accomplish that, they’ll outline specifics—exactly what they’ll be doing in each area and how much time they’ll allot for it.
In his Strategic Coach program, Dan Sullivan has come up with the four habits that will garner referrals:
I really believe that personal accountability is the key to being the best of the best and the fact that the best producers hold themselves accountable to these four habits is further evidence.
I will never stop talking about this one. The best producers never lose a sale to a competitor who is better prepared.No matter what, they will always out-work and out-prepare their competition. Consequently, they usually come out on top. The
If you don’t have these standards, you’ll still do okay. And while you’ll probably be in hysterical activity on the way to the grave, you’ll still do okay. But if you’ve gotten this far in the article, you probably want to be better. If so, then the minute you as an individual producer or your entire agency sets these types of higher standards that you will hold yourself accountable to, the results are very predictable. In fact, they’re guaranteed. It’s your choice.
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