5 Tools Every Producer Must Possess
Do you have the right behaviors to succeed in the commercial insurance game? I don’t know. You’re the one that’s going to have to answer that question, but today I’m going to give you five behaviors every successful producer should have, and then you can let me know the answer.
Know Your Ideal Prospect
If you’re going to be a successful producer, there are five things that you have got to do imperatively. Otherwise, you’re going to lose to your competitors who are already doing those five things. The first thing you need to do to be a successful producer in the middle market is to identify your ideal prospect. How much time is wasted in our industry just going out and competing for quotes on business, selling hard price, whatever comes in, we’re going to quote it, throw it against the wall and see what sticks?
While that may give you some level of temporary gratification for the long haul, it’s a horrible strategy for you to perpetuate your book. Focus on what you want to write, and stay in your lane. Don’t write anything else. Is it difficult to say no? It is. But what I do know is that after looking back five years and staying in my lane, I’m far ahead of where I would have been if I would’ve just written whoever asked me to quote their business and compete on price.
The second thing you have to do is you have to prospect aggressively. There are all kinds of things we can do for marketing these days. We can have inbound leads come in. We can do direct mail. We can have people call and market on the telephone. It never ends. But we have to prospect aggressively. If we’re the ones who are determining who our ideal prospects are, we should be the ones to prospect those people and do the research necessary to decide whether or not we’re going to put them in our pipeline.
As we’ve talked about before, I’m not a big fan of a sales funnel. I want a sales cylinder. So prospecting and researching correctly only puts the good stuff at the top, which means the good stuff comes out of the bottom, and you don’t have to worry about weeding things out and losing time because time is money.
Have Channel Partnerships
Networking is huge. Channel partnerships are one of the top ways that you can get business in the middle market. The problem is you’re not going to do it in a month. You’re probably not even going to do it in a year. After two to three years of being in this business, if you’ve taken the right steps to build a channel partnership with several people, attorneys, accountants, bankers, other business to business and salespeople, focus on that.
Many times as producers, we’re so worried about marketing and prospecting directly to the person that we want to get in front of that we completely neglect the importance of a good network. I have said all along that I would rather make one phone call to get ten appointments than ten phone calls to get one appointment. You can do that when you have an effective network of professionals that refers business back and forth to each other.
Marketing is number four. You have to understand marketing as a producer. You can’t just rely on the agency to do all the work for you. A personal brand is every bit as important as an agency’s brand. And I know that I’m not going to get a lot of traction with agency owners out there who want you to build a brand for them, but at the end of the day, people are buying you. If the agency’s taken care of your compensation the right way, and they’ve given you a path to equity, there’s no reason for you to leave and hang your shingle, and your brand is going to help them as much as it’s going to help you.
Build Your Personal Brand by Branding Your Process
Focus on marketing and building your personal brand, develop and market your process. Don’t always rely on the agency’s name. Some of you are from Main Street agencies that would never get an opportunity in the middle market, based on name discrimination. I hate to use a term like that, but let’s say you’re John Q. Smith Insurance. You’re going to go in and compete against Willis, Marsh, and USI. You’re not going to get a seat at that table because people don’t know who John Q. Smith Insurance is. John Q. Smith Insurance does not sound like it belongs in the peer group with those as mentioned earlier. Brand yourself, brand your process and don’t rely on the agency brand.
Also, don’t exclude it. If you’re going to brand yourself a new process, you need to do it the right way, and you need to make sure you do give kudos to the agency that’s giving you the platform and the value proposition. So I always recommend that you say “powered by your agency.” So, for example, you could have excellent risk solutions powered by John Q. Smith Insurance.
That’s a hokey name, but it’s an example to get the point across. The last thing, the number five behavior, that a producer needs to have is that they have got to get on the phones. They’ve got to beat on those phones every single day. And I’m not saying you need to work like you’re a telemarketer in a call center, but what you do need to do is make an effort. Everybody hates the phones. I’m not too fond of the phones, but I beat the phones when I need to beat the bushes for business because it’s an easy way, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to make that first contact or make follow-up.
Here’s a bonus tip: listen to the recordings of you on the phone. If you have a system that allows you to record your calls, listen to them. What could you have done better? What did you do well? What opportunities did you miss based on contextual clues in that conversation? Simply picking up the phones and making a hundred calls is worthless if you’re not going to learn from the experience. Learn from when you lose, and learn from when you win. You can learn from both. But if you can do these five things, by putting these behaviors into the mix as a producer in 2021, you’re going to absolutely kill it in commercial insurance.
David has 15 years of experience providing clients with creative solutions to more effectively manage their total cost of risk. He specializes in commercial property and casualty insurance for middle market companies and has specific expertise in under-performing workers compensation programs.
David is a CIC and CRM. He is the principal of Florida Risk Partners, founder of Killing Commercial Insurance Training and co-host of the Power Producers Podcast.
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