Show Your 'Benefit of Usage'

Analytic Brokerage is more than simply a bunch of meaningless data. It’s about client outcomes, proven, credible and focused around the client’s cost structure. It’s the ultimate sales powerhouse.

Now, you may say, “So what, why is this any different than what we're already doing now?”

Well try this on for size... What is it that any organization attempts to prove with its products or services? The answer: How much a buyer benefits from its usage. That is the ultimate differentiator.

When we as brokers speak about benefits of usage, we are not talking about claims frequency, loss ratios or even coverages. We certainly are not focusing on the commodity to fill the buyer’s basic needs. Frankly, those are all insurance terms that simply describe your results, they are not the benefit of usage.

So, let’s get something straight right here. Unless you can actually show the buyer how they benefited financially from working with you, it’s a move toward obsolescence. It just ain’t good enough anymore.

Here’s the deal... You now have the ability to show a buyer the specific impact your firm has had on their analytic and financial results. In addition, you can show a prospect what the results of your organization have been for other clients like them.

What? Am I telling you that you can actually use data as a sales process to prove your worth?  Huh? Is it really possible to determine anddemonstrate the financial impact of your representation? Whoa... Doesn’t that change the game forever?

Yup.  And it’s happening right now, in top performing firms across North America.

So, here are 3 Things you need to do right now if you don’t want to get run over:

  1. Change your perspective – Stop thinking about your delivery of a product and move into the buyer benefit of usage space. Ask yourself this question: If I had to prove our established value, how would I do it without making it about the transaction of insurance? By the way, that includes emod calculations, as they are simply part of the transaction.
  2. Truly understand your prospects and clients – Go where they really live. Embed yourself in their profit margins, growth goals, productivity and ownership value.

  3. Become committed to business excellence – This is a much different place than simply insurance brokerage excellence or risk management excellence. If you can’t prove what you have done, you can’t take credit for results in business.

As you will recall, I started this conversation around the idea of data, analytics and being able to prove your impact on a client’s financial outcome. Now let’s finish it.

If you don’t have access to the credible data you need, or the analytic output required to prove your worth, you can’t prove anything. Certainly not your ‘Buyer Benefit of Usage.’ You will continue to compete around the product and features, not outcomes. And you will be left behind.

Remember what Dr. Deming said: “Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.”

So, maybe it’s time for you to join your clients and prospects on their side of the table. Stop talking about meaningless features, commodity results and competitor shortcomings. Prove your worth and attract clients using your actual results.

Best Regards to Analytic Brokers™

Rob Ekern, CAB (Certified Analytic Broker™)
Chairman, TCORCalc®

Develop a Burning Sense of Urgency in Prospects

We have been telling you for some time about the difference between success and mediocrity in the brokerage and agency business.  If there was only one thing you needed to know, here it is… Highly Successful Analytic Brokers™ and agents know how to create a Burning Sense of Urgency in buyers.

Every other industry uses that simple and powerful technique as a pillar of their sales process. But, not the insurance industry. We make it about coverages, program analysis and other processes that are not quantified. Then, if we run into someone who does not share our passion for processes, we make it about the price and premiums (the only thing we have been taught to quantify!)

Then we wonder why we don’t get into more and better accounts. We pull our hair out because of the level of professionalism we offer, to a seemingly deaf audience.

Well, here is a little dose of reality Bucky... High level buyers don’t have time to learn your processes or provide you with review opportunities on their coverages, unless they think there is a problem.  There’s no sense of urgency in the passive delivery of coverages and services if the buyer has been well served in these areas (or if they feel they are well served.)

So, the highly successful agents and brokers make it about something else, something that they can control and know the buyer will respond to. They make it about improving the prospect’s EBITDA, Shareholder Value and productivity (if it’s a not-for-profit it’s about surplus and constituency service.)

These highly successful brokers discuss the Financial Leakage™ that is flowing from the prospect’s business model and how it impacts their profits and KPI’s. They show them in exact dollars how much they are leaking out the back door.

Then they ask one very important question... “Would you like to recapture those costs or continue to lose them?” What do you suppose the answer to that question is?

Now you have a Burning Sense of Urgency. The buyer is motivated to recapture the cost structure that is being wasted inside their organization and the broker is motivated to help. The proverbial Win/Win that we have all been striving for.

Oh, yeah and one more thing.  When they make their presentations, these highly successful Analytic Brokers speak very little about the insurance program. That’s a given. They spend their time showing the prospects how their resource capabilities and projects will change the buyer’s financial outcomes.

They also say … “Oh, by the way, we provide the correct insurance placements too.”

If you’re going to work this way and develop a burning sense of urgency, then you need to have data that shows the buyer beyond reproach what your quantifiable results will be. You need to provide them with an analytical path to their financial statement that shows what your results will be. After all, isn’t that what selling has always been about, showing the prospect how they will benefit from doing business with you?

When you can do that, you have a prospect with a burning sense of urgency!

P.S. Many of the highly successful Analytic Brokers™ and agents look to TCORCalc© as their source for data and Financial Leakage™ Reports... use the TCORCalc link on the menu bar above to learn more about TCORCalc and the Analytic Brokerage™ Platform.  

Best Regards to Analytic Brokers™

Rob Ekern, CAB (Certified Analytic Broker™)
Chairman, TCORCalc®

An Open Letter to C-Suite Buyers

Note: The following is an Open Letter that you should consider sending to your best prospects and clients. It will help them understand how Analytic Brokers focus on their key issues. We will soon be releasing our Whitepaper entitled, ‘How to Select Your Broker in the World of Analytics and Data.’ As a service to your buyers, we will be making this widely available to them.

Dear C-Suite Buyer:

I am writing you today to inform you of some tremendous changes inside the insurance brokerage industry. For years you have wanted a better way to judge the performance of your broker other than simply a pricing competition or how they work under the pressure of an important claim.

In every other buying decision, you look for providers who can help you drive your margins, earnings, productivity and shareholder value. Yet, when choosing your risk financing and services providers, you are given a very limited method of selection.

Here is a truth that virtually all brokers know... They are at the mercy of third parties such as insurance carriers and underwriters. Here is another truth… they all essentially represent the same carriers and providers. So, to choose a broker based upon ‘competitive’ pricing is both an antiquated and expensive way for you to make such a critical business decision.

Oh, and here is another something you should know...  Virtually all of the best brokerage firms have internal resources in claims, risk management and other ‘capabilities’ (or they have special relationships with other service providers.) So, selecting a broker based upon simply having these services is not the issue.

Look, I know you are frustrated with the outdated way the insurance brokerage world provides you options and decision support. Given the fact that you are spending considerable money and effort to create analytic dashboards that measure KPI’s and business outcomes, who could blame you for the frustration you are feeling?

Actually it is quite sad. Can you imagine investing tens of thousands of dollars (in some cases hundreds of thousands) in resources and capacity to improve how you serve your customers or constituents… and then not knowing how it actually impacted them? Or worse yet, can you imagine not maintaining your relevance with your best customers who are now requiring a financial approach to decision support?

First of all, it is not your broker’s fault. For over 350 years they have been trained to focus on coverage, price, policy surveys and insurance companies. Until very recently, with the advent of cloud computing, they really have not been in a position to provide you with much else. But that has changed.

Just like you, the smart brokers are investing in dashboard and technology capabilities to demonstrate and deliver a quantifiable ROI that goes well beyond the risk financing and third party costs. They are seizing on the capabilities of technology that did not exist several years ago. They know that without it, they won’t be able to keep up with your changing financial expectations.

Of course, some brokers will be much slower to adopt this. You probably should weed them out now, as they won’t be of much good to you in 3 years. Why? Because they don’t have a strategy or a plan, and they will never be able to catch up as the gap grows.

By the way, we will be releasing a Whitepaper shortly. It is entitled, ‘How to Select Your Broker in the World of Analytics and Data.’ We will provide you with the ability to interview and select the broker who best fits the direction of your company as regards business outcomes, analytics and financial results.

Thank you very much C-Suite buyer. I know that you agree wholeheartedly with my assessment of our industry’s prior failures to you. Virtually every other industry is providing you with ROI data and analytics for predictive decision making. But, again, it has not been the broker’s fault - up until now. The astute ones are changing and evolving rapidly to maintain your confidence and business expectations.

Best Regards to Analytic Brokers™

Rob Ekern, CAB (Certified Analytic Broker™)
Chairman, TCORCalc®

5 Key Points of Sales Analytics for Brokers

March 25, 2015

If you are a firm who represents itself as an organization that professes to provide client outcomes under the banner of aValue Proposition, please ask yourself these questions: “Is it my opinion, or fact? Can I actually demonstrate it on a client’s financial outcome using credible data, or is it just my opinion? Does my competitor share the same opinion?”

Here is what you can be certain of... every single one of your largest prospects are now running their business on analytics, outcomes, KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and financial results. Many make their business decisions based 100% around these principles. They call it Decision SupportThey want and need facts, not a salesperson’s opinion.

While you offer resources and client services, and you profess to be the “Broker of Choice,” as Dr. W. Edwards Deming once said:

“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.”

While you are at it, ask yourself this question: “How would my income increase if I could call on a new account and show them what their improved results would be by appointing us the Broker or Agent?”

Would you like to sell that way?

Of course you would. You would have done it a long time ago if you could have. But, the technical ability to do it did not exist. The facts are now arising from the world of Big Data and Cloud Computing and can’t be ignored. Imagine the power of telling a prospect as part of your close... “When you appoint us as your Broker, here is what you can expect your cost structure to reduce by. In addition, here is the how the reduction will impact your earnings, ownership value and production costs.”

So, here are some things that you should know about selling from this point forward. SELLING HAS CHANGED FOREVER. Data and analytics are not buzzwords, but outcomes. Without them, your entire business model is now on a shaky platform.

So, if you want to get out of the opinion business and into the outcome business, here is what you should know:

  1. The financial buyers of today do not buy processes. They don’t have the time to investigate the potential. You need to tell them about the outcomes first, then they will change a process.

  2. A prospect needs to understand quickly how your proposed outcome will impact their current metrics and KPI’s. Many are making all their main business decisions based upon how these key metrics can be improved.

  3. If you stay only on the insurance discussion, you will get stuck. Frankly, there is only so much you can do. Risk financing costs are just a small part of the client cost equation and don’t provide much leverage, other than moving from one mechanism to another (eg. First Dollar to Deductible to Captive, etc.)

  4. You already have impacted your clients’ outcomes and costs... you just don’t know what the actual impact is, and you can’t prove it. Any of you who provide clients with resources such as risk control, claims, third party resources or even carrier loss control, have an established financial outcome. It’s time to take credit for your hard work and expertise.

  5. If you are planning to stay in the middle and upper/middle market brokerage business, you need to start moving now. A recent Accenture/GE Capital survey indicated that 89% of business respondents indicated they were investing heavily in analytics and business outcome metrics. THOSE are YOUR prospects and clients! How are you going to support that?

So, here is the bottom line for those of you who are part of a sales organization... You probably need to change your sales platform to better serve your clients and prospects. Those brokerages that do this in the next 18 months will have a place at the table. Those who do not will be peddlers of their opinion, and you know what they say about opinions... everyone has one.

Oh and one more thing while I have you. It might be worth your time to check out the link I have embedded to TCORCalc®. TCORCalc is now providing Brokerage Analytics, Metrics and Data that answer the important question: “Why should I appoint YOU as our Broker or Agent?”

Best Regards to Analytic Brokers™

Rob Ekern, CAB (Certified Analytic Broker™)

Chairman, TCORCalc®