In the last few weeks, I’ve been again making the case that the insurance distribution, and even the insurance manufacturing business, is going to undergo a radical and rapid series of changes in the next several years. I’ve given examples of how the technology and business models are already in the midst of sea changes, which will fundamentally change the way agents and their employees, not to mention their carrier partners, do business.
I’ve tried to communicate my excitement about the opportunity this brings and give some suggestions as to how to prepare for it. I’d like to give you a checklist of things to take action on to virtually guarantee your future success. Everything on this list is here based on my belief that relationship with clients is the key and that having relationships, lots of them, is the key to a long lasting business.
-Understand and know your client. Really know them deeply and not superficially. Know what makes them tick, what they worry about, what their dreams are. If you know them that well it will be hard for a digital human or algorithm to displace you. Quit selling on price! But understand that low price is table stakes. You must have that, of course, but you must offer more to survive. Use technology to make this easier.
-Offer your client everything they could possibly need in the way of insurance or financial products. Make it completely unnecessary for them to ever go anywhere else. Build, buy, broker or buddy with others to solve all your customer’s needs. Use technology to expand your capabilities.
-Define your business differently. Most agents operate in a tiny slice of geography. Use technology to expand your reach.
-Control your costs. Its clear compensation is going to continue to head south. It’s also obvious that the future requires investment. You can’t plant a future if you eat your seed corn. Focus on efficiency now to prepare. Use technology to drive expenses down.
-Increase the number of clients each person in your agency has a relationship with. By creating multi person relationships you make them stronger. By using technology to be more efficient you can have more relationships, and those can be at a higher revenue level. Use technology to help accomplish this.
-Work on your business, not just in it. This is trite I know but it is more critically important than ever before. You must set aside time to educate yourself and stay on top off, or in front of, coming changes. Use technology to gather the information you need to stay informed.
-Make sure that everyone you employee is selling or marketing all of the time and that their compensation is tied to that. Service is over. You can outsource that. But skilled relators and convincing sales people will be worth even more in the future. Use the vast amount of technology now available to help you hire smarter, train more efficiently and reward for results.
-Align with innovative insurance companies committed to staying at the forefront. Ignore lip service and look for investment. Abandon carriers who don’t offer state of the art assistance with Social Media, Service Centers, 100% pass through rates, rapid market adjustments, minimal input rating systems, etc. If a carrier’s technology isn’t state of the art get rid of them.
-Partner with those committed to your success. Dan Sullivan says you can’t be more successful than your five closest relationships. Now is the time to partner with others who are focused and driven to win in the future and who are putting their time and money into it. OAA is one of those companies.
As it always has been, the future is there for the taking. But many will be taken down instead. Which kind of agent are you? Your actions over the next twelve months will begin to give you the answer. With that thought I wish you a tremendously successful, and Happy, 2018!