Become The Broker That Roars

I wish I had a hundred dollars for every brokerage who has said this to me:  'We’re just as good as any broker. We have great resources, a smart team, and we’re really focused on our clients. It seems like we have difficulty getting and keeping the attention of the larger buyers. It has become hard to actually differentiate ourselves.’

Or, how about this one: ‘We have excellent resources in risk control and claims. They are the best. But, when we compete against others, many have similar resources... so we all look the same.’

Does that sound familiar to you? Come on now, be honest.

Here is your solution . . . Become the Broker That Roars!

First let’s agree on one thing. Your firm is just as capable as any other broker, and in many cases better. You have all the resources, brokerage skills, marketplace leverage and expertise required to do a better job for your clients. At the end of the day, if the prospect or client understands this, you are the obvious choice because of your ability to act nimbly on their behalf.

But, here’s your problem… you can’t prove that, so your voice is being lost in the noise of other firms who sound like you!

I hate to tell you this, but just having solid resources doesn’t make you the best . . . it’s what you do with them that matters. That along with the ability to actually prove your results!

So, here is how you become the Broker that Roars...  

  • You show your prospects and biggest clients what the analytic results of your firm have been (or will be.)

  • You take away the resource ‘feature’ language and replace it with your quantifiable impact.  

  • You redesign your large account strategy around the proven and known results of your organization.

  • You take it to the competition and make THEM prove what they have done.

  • You seize the initiative by forcing them into a position where they just can’t compete.

  • You make it ‘put up or shut up’ time for them.

Of course, some of you may be thinking, ‘This all sounds great, but we just can’t achieve all that.’ Well, you might be thinking it, but remember one thing... This is not 1975. You DO actually have the ability to do this if you understand Analytic Brokerage™ and work with TCORCalc® as your source for Analytics and Client results.

If you chose not to, that is your concern. But, know this, you will chose to continue to fight the same way that you have for the past 30 years. How is that working for you now with the latest C-Suite expectations around metrics and results?

So, it is time for you to stand up on your two hind legs and ROAR! You have the ability to do it. You have made the investment in resources, expertise and have a stellar reputation.  Your firm is one of the top brokerages in your region. Now you just need the skills of Analytic Brokerage™ powered by TCORCalc® to amplify your voice!

Go get ‘em Tigers.

Best Regards to Analytic Brokers™

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

Straight Talk to Brokers

It’s time for some straight talk, OK? Many of you have been reading the Consultative Broker™ Briefing for years (now the Analytic Broker™ Briefing.) So, I hope by now you know that we are one of the few voices in the brokerage industry that has consistently provided you with meaningful information on larger account production.

Ready for some straight talk? OK, here it comes.

Those of you who intend to be in the middle and upper/middle market business better hop to it! You need to change your entire perspective and do it quickly. The world of outcomes and analytics are here to stay, and most of you don’t know yours. If you did, you would be hitting the ball over the fence right now.

Virtually every middle market broker can’t answer these important questions from a client: ‘How have you impacted our financial outcome over the past several years?’ Or, ‘What will your impact be on our firm if we appoint you as our broker?’

Some of you are saying, ‘Of course we can answer that question!’ Then you provide a litany of information that all revolves around loss ratios, coverages, carriers and terms. With a bit of ‘Value Added’ services thrown in for good measure. You and every other insurance broker within a 100 mile radius. Oh, come on!

Now look... I’m being hard on you for a reason. If you don’t wake up and smell the coffee, your time will have come and gone. Take it from a grizzled veteran of the insurance brokerage world. Your top clients and prospects are not going to allow you to continue to operate like it’s 1975.

So, I want you to think about this: Let’s say you’re sitting in your office and the phone rings from your largest client. Here’s what she says:

‘We have a new CFO and he would like you to demonstrate the financial impact you have made on our firm over the past 3 years. Please don’t make your presentation based on the marketplace or risk management strategies because he‘s interested in results.’

Here is what the CFO actually wants to know... ‘How has your representation impacted our firm in the following ways?

  • What was the impact on our profit?

  • How have you helped us reduce and recapture our Financial Leakage?

  • How have you added to our shareholder wealth?

  • What are your firm’s results with other clients like us?

If you can’t answer those questions, you’re doomed. Why? Because that same CFO is able to turn to his analytic dashboard and find a big hole in it. The hole is the information that you have not provided him. As a result, you have a client who feels under-served.  That is trouble for you!

How did this happen? Because, you did not make the effort to learn and grow in the business you are now in... Providing clients with a financial impact that is superior to your competitor’s. Period. If you can’t demonstrate your true impact, then as Dr. Deming says, ‘you are just another person with an opinion.’

Now, I know it’s not really your fault. Until recently, the technology and analytics simply did not exist for you to be able to consistently quantify your client impact and track record, and then demonstrate that to your largest prospects and clients in a meaningful way. Fortunately for you, times have changed.

You might have had the opportunity to do all the things that the ‘New CFO’ was asking for, you just didn’t have theability to do them. You didn’t have a way to get there . . . unless you were an Analytic Broker with TCORCalc®.

So, wake up. Smell the coffee. Those of you who keep up with your clients’ and prospects’ demands for knowing ‘what you are worth’ will prosper. This is selling to the highest degree.

Isn’t that what you have been trying to do for years?

Click here to watch a quick introductory video entitled 'Welcome to Analytic Brokerage™' and you're on your way. 

Best Regards to Analytic Brokers™

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

'Tis the Season: To Increase Revenue!

The season is now upon us. Once again, this time of the year brings producers and their respective firms to the most important time of the year. What time is it? Well, of course, it is Stewardship Report Season once again! Take a look at your January 1 renewals. Are there any important revenue accounts that renew around that time? Of course there are. Many of you have the majority of your large account income stream that renews at that time. In fact, much of your Fall is taken up by doing all the work that this important date represents.

The season is now upon us.  Once again, this time of the year brings producers and their respective firms to the most important time of the year.  What time is it?  Well, of course, it is Stewardship Report Season once again!

Take a look at your January 1 renewals.  Are there any important revenue accounts that renew around that time?  Of course there are.  Many of you have the majority of your large account income stream that renews at that time.  In fact, much of your Fall is taken up by doing all the work that this important date represents.

Now, imagine what your life would be like if all your key accounts were “put to bed” in early December with renewal negotiations complete.  The only thing you really had to do on these accounts was to wish them all a Happy Holidays.

Here is the point.  What you accomplish now, in Stewardship Season, will have a direct bearing on your income in 2014.  You really need to do Stewardship Reports in July and August on these key income clients.  If you don’t, you are running the risk of someone else doing it for you in November and December when you are under competition!

Now I know that we have been telling you this for years.  Thankfully, many of you are now acknowledging Stewardship Report Season as an important part of your business calendar.  Remember, Stewardship presentations should be prepared and delivered 6 months in advance of renewal, not during the renewal process.  (It might be too late then!)

There are dozens of versions of Stewardship Reports.  Many of them are nothing more than a review of policies, claims and underwriting data.  Some of them are a list of services.  But, here is what very few do:  demonstrate how your firm actually reduced a client’s costs and improves their business organization in a quantifiable manner.

That is the key point of a Stewardship Report.  In fact, we call ours a ValueReport™.  The main difference is a ValueReport™ actually shows a buyer how your organization has helped them create a meaningful difference on their financial statement.  It demonstrates (in financial terms) how your representation and resources have provided an outcome.

Here is one more thing to consider:  Doing a ValueReport™ will impact your income/productivity by 7% next year.  That is the difference between the attrition in your book along with the cost to you and your family of being under competition on key renewals.   More on this later, but for now, just accept it.

So, if you are going to do a Stewardship Report, make it the best.  Right now the standard of excellence is represented in a ValueReport™.   Here is what they entail:

  • A meaningful cost comparison over time.  The creation of benchmarks and comparison periods that show the buyer your actual Value Proposition.

  • The value of your projects, not the features.  Demonstrating the actual value of your projects and services by quantifying them and translating them to the buyer’s financial outcomes.

  • The impact that your organization has achieved on your client’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).  This is how you actually embed your outcome into a client’s business organization and demonstrate your value.

In closing, please remember this:  What you accomplish now in the heat of the summer ValueReport™ Season, will have a big impact on how “chilly” your yearend renewal season is!

By the way, if you would like to learn more about our ValueReports™, you should visit us at:

 [The Major Account Development System™]

All the best to Consultative Brokers™,

Rob Ekern

Stewardship Reports: If You Build It, They Will Come

To demonstrate to your clients how your firm has impacted their business, you must give them a quantifiable yardstick by which to measure your Value Proposition. This is critically important if you intend not to be judged only on your role as a “service organization.” Once you allow that to happen, you will no longer be in a unique space. After all, how do you prove a higher level of service when compared to others?

It has been close to 10 years and over 100 briefings ago, since we first spoke about Stewardship Reports.  Since that time I am glad to say that the awareness of Stewardship Reports and their importance has risen tremendously inside our business.  Stewardship Reports are a major part of the ongoing dialogue between clients and their brokerage representatives.

Yep, I am glad to say that the awareness and importance of Stewardship has risen.  Unfortunately, the quality of the reports has not!  In fact, over the past decade, most Stewardship Reports have become meaningless fluff, designed to shower clients with paper and superfluous information.

I am sorry to say that most Stewardship Reports have denigrated to claims reviews, policy analysis and timelines of activities.  While these are important activities, they should not be the key ingredients of a Stewardship Report.  If that was the case, we would call them “Activity Reports.” As most of you know, activities and results are two different kettles of fish.

So, let’s get back to the purpose of a Stewardship Report.  To demonstrate to your clients how your firm has impacted their business,  you must give them a quantifiable yardstick by which to measure your Value Proposition.  This is critically important if you intend not to be judged only on your role as a “service organization.”  Once you allow that to happen, you will no longer be in a unique space.  After all, how do you prove a higher level of service when compared to others?  Sadly it usually comes down to price.

After a decade of speaking and writing about it, we have finally taken matters into our own hands and created a unique tool that allows regional brokerage firms to demonstrate their actual Value Proposition.  We call it our Major Account Development System™.  It creates a 10-16 page client document that shows CFO’s and decision makers the actual results created inside their business. This is done through demonstrating your impact on profits, competitiveness, productivity and human capital.  In this process, insurance costs are the smallest ingredients.

The brokerage firms that are now using the Major Account Development System™ are achieving outstanding results.  Some have even had CFO’s invite them back to make boardroom presentations concerning how they have helped improve the firm’s business operations.  Now that is a beautiful place to be!

At the risk of this seeming to be a commercial, I wanted to tell you about MADs in this briefing.  We have been speaking about Stewardship Reports for a long time.  Now we have invented the ability to do one that is meaningful.  Here is what it includes:

  • A review of a client’s Total Cost of Risk, including benchmark comparisons by TCOR category and line of coverage.
  • The quantifiable impact on a client’s business risk by category.  This includes hazard, financial, operational, strategic and human capital.
  • A 10 page ValueReport™ that outlines the value and direction of your projects, along with their impact on Total Cost of Risk.
  • The creation of a PowerPoint presentation in real time.  This allows you to place the key results into a client overhead presentation for group presentations.
  • Middle market Total Cost of Risk Factors

Again, at the risk of sounding like a commercial, we needed to tell you about this.  Now that it has been developed by C. R. Ekern & Company, the game has changed.  No longer will Stewardship Reports and Value Propositions be simply conceptual in nature.  We have created the ability for regional brokerage firms to truly create and discuss their quantifiable value proposition with middle market clients.  There will be no longer the excuse for substituting price, features, timelines or claims analysis in exchange of a quantifiable impact for clients.

It has taken us over a decade to accomplish this.  The Major Account Development System™ is the creation of thousands of hours of discussion with brokers across North America.  It contains over 10,000 data points involving client data, brokerage projects and quantifiable impacts.  It is complex, but extremely easy to work with.

So, I wanted you to know about this.  Our clients are using it right now and eventually, the MAD System will become a staple in virtually all brokerages that intend to compete and retain larger middle market accounts.  As was said in that great movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it they will come.”  The MAD System™ is built; and brokerages along with their clients are coming!

- Rob Ekern

For more information on how to quantify TCOR, manage projects, build a value proposition, and consistently deliver stewardship reports and new business presentations to your customers, check out the Major Account Development System (MADS), an on-line consultative broker's toolkit. Available now!

Ready to learn more about Consultative Brokerage Sales Training? Visit the Consultative Brokerage Academy.

To learn more about C.R. Ekern & Company, please visit our website

Dodge the Torpedoes!

As many of you know, I was considered a successful working broker back in the bad old days of the last soft market. In fact, I was also fortunate enough to earn the top production award from my mega-broker employer. So, aside from now being a consultant, it does qualify me to give you some insights from close to 37 years of production experience and 4 cycles.

As many of you know, I was considered a successful working broker back in the bad old days of the last soft market.  In fact, I was also fortunate enough to earn the top production award from my mega-broker employer.  So, aside from now being a consultant, it does qualify me to give you some insights from close to 37 years of production experience and 4 cycles.

First of all, nothing changes.  I heard the first complaints about the marketplace in 1975.  The words are the same.  “Dog gone those insurance companies!  They don’t know what they are doing.  They are putting us out of business by constantly lowering their premiums.”

Or this one:  “My clients just keep beating me up over premiums.  Each year they tell me that I need to sharpen my pencil.”

Here is the one I really like:  “My insurance company gives me two prices.  The one they give me on renewals, and the one they give my competitor on new business.”

Here is another beauty:  “I talked to my underwriter today and they gave me the premium for your renewal.  But, they told me that they did not want to lose your business and I can probably get you another 7%.”

What do all of these have in common?  They are statements from agents and brokers who constantly live in fear.  They are afraid of their competitors, carriers, and in many cases their own clients.  Why is this?  Because in most cases they do not have any semblance of broker control.  They consider themselves simply messengers who feel lucky when a client blesses them with a renewal or an underwriter coughs up a price.

So, it is time to stop the bleeding and stand on your feet.  Dodge the Torpedoes!  Of course the water is filled with danger, but it will not stop you if

  1. Make certain your client knows what your value is.  That entails that you speak with them regularly about all the “little things” that you and your firm do for them.
  2. You must do Value Reports™ (Stewardship Reports).This shows your client the quantifiable impact that you make inside of their business.  It goes well beyond the pricing of insurance.
  3. Don’t live in fear. Clients can smell this. I have seen many occasions when a broker created their own competition by “running scared.”
  4. Keep prospecting tougher deals. Here is what most seasoned brokers know; there is less competition at the top than the bottom.  The bigger the deal, the less number of brokers.
  5. Prospect your commodity competitors.  Now that the marketplace is beyond free fall, some of your competitors will have no place to stand.  They cannot make up the difference by simply price

As a working broker in the depths of the last soft market, here is what I know.  Successful brokers grow their business no matter the marketplace conditions.  Once every decade or so, they get an artificial boost from the “hard market”.  But they do not wait for it!  They find prospects that have problems and these problems have nothing to do with the insurance marketplace.

So, Dodge the Torpedoes!  Get with it and understand that the marketplace conditions are the same for everyone.  Stop looking for the easy price deals, they don’t exist.  Everyone is in a feeding frenzy and the successful brokers will then be the ones who practice the ability to differentiate themselves by deployment of resources and the reduction of a client’s cost.

- Rob Ekern

For more information on how to quantify TCOR, manage projects, build a value proposition, and consistently deliver stewardship reports and new business presentations to your customers, check out the Major Account Development System (MADS), an on-line consultative broker's toolkit. Available now!

Ready to learn more about Consultative Brokerage Sales Training? Visit the Consultative Brokerage Academy.

To learn more about C.R. Ekern & Company, please visit our website

Outrunning Marketplace Change

Until last week, the soft market seemed to be a demon with no end in sight. We have been speaking to you about the importance of using Total Cost of Risk as a measure of your value, other than simply a cheaper price. Those of you who embraced our teachings are reporting a tremendous growth of new revenue. But...what about the flip side?

Until last week, the soft market seemed to be a demon with no end in sight.  We have been speaking to you about the importance of using Total Cost of Risk as a measure of your value, other than simply a cheaper price.  Those of you who embraced our teachings are reporting a tremendous growth of new revenue.  In fact, just this week, we heard from 2 of our clients that had just been appointed as brokers based upon their value proposition and our Total Cost of Risk Value Report™ (Stewardship Report) (each with about $25k of income).

But...what about the flip side?  What if the recent Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident take the capacity out of the marketplace?  Right now it is predicted to reach about $35 billion of insured loss.  My guess is that it will go much, much higher (this figure does not include the tsunami or the nuclear event).  At the beginning of the year, one industry expert stated that for the market to turn there needed to be a $50 billion disaster.  In the first 2 months we have exceeded that between Japan, the Middle East, and New Zealand.

Of course this is a tragedy of epic proportions and we share the global concern over the tremendous loss of human life in Japan. As you know, we are brokers, not insurance company actuaries, so I will save my predictions for private discussion.  However, the impact of these global events cannot be overlooked. What if the marketplace should suddenly harden?

Consultative Brokers™ who understand and practice Total Cost of Risk will be able to demonstrate all the ways they have helped their clients reduce costs, even when the price of insurance goes up.  The uninitiated brokers will be sitting ducks as buyers consider alternatives to simply paying the freight for global disasters.

So, if you think the soft marketplace is here forever, then you need to use Total Cost of Risk as a way to create new revenue based upon your value proposition.  Also, if you think the soft market will never end, then you need to show your clients all the ways you have been reducing their costs.

Now, let’s presume the worst (after all, we are in the insurance business).  Let’s just say that the Japanese disaster is the tipping point or close to it.  Here is what you should be doing right now:

  1. You must get very proficient with TCOR.  As each cycle nears the end, buyers become more sophisticated.  There is a whole new generation of buyers who were not in charge during the end of the last cycle in 2001.  They are smarter now, and less-patient based upon the difficult economic times.
  2. Log and value your projects.  At some point you will be required to demonstrate how your projects and resources helped clients reduce their costs.  You must be very clear on the value of the project, the impact on costs and how it improved the client’s business operation.  A list of features and timelines don’t feed that bulldog.
  3. Begin playing defense.  Your clients and buyers are not in vacuums.  In the event the marketplace changes radically, you need to be the bearer of the bad news…IN ADVANCE.  This entails keeping them informed using articles and web site information.  They can hear it from you, or others, take your pick.
  4. Begin playing offense.  Those of you who are Consultative Brokers and really understand TCOR should aggressively call on prospects that have simply been buying insurance from the “price sellers.”  These price sellers would be at a big disadvantage because they have been a one trick pony.
  5. Never use your income as a negotiation.  Some brokers decrease their incomes in the hard marketplace in order to soften the blow to the buyer.  These amateurs do it because they can’t prove what their value is.  So, they use their income to negotiate credits from underwriters in order to reduce premiums.  If they understood TCOR or could create a Value Report they would be able to stand their ground.

OK, now I admit to presuming some things as regards to the marketplace.  I can’t say that this is the tipping point.  Only the actuaries, reinsurance, and insurance carriers can determine that.  But, one thing is for sure: the excess capacity of this marketplace is being sucked out in one quick hurry.

So, as Consultative Brokers, your job is to anticipate marketplace conditions rather than react to commodity pricing fluctuations.  It is only through the adoption of Total Cost of Risk and the delivery of Value Reports that you can outrun marketplace change.  

- Rob Ekern

For more information on how to quantify TCOR, manage projects, build a value proposition, and consistently deliver stewardship reports and new business presentations to your customers, check out the Major Account Development System (MADS), an on-line consultative broker's toolkit. Available now!

Ready to learn more about Consultative Brokerage Sales Training? Visit the Consultative Brokerage Academy.

To learn more about C.R. Ekern & Company, please visit our website

Stewardship Reports: Locking the Back Door

I was standing in front of a client group recently, when a bolt hit me out of the blue (it does happen occasionally!) We were discussing the importance of doing Stewardship Reports. Now, as many of you know, we first started talking about Stewardship over a decade ago. Today, Stewardship Reports are a well accepted key to Consultative Brokerage.

I was standing in front of a client group recently, when a bolt hit me out of the blue (it does happen occasionally!)  We were discussing the importance of doing Stewardship Reports.  Now, as many of you know, we first started talking about Stewardship over a decade ago.  Today, Stewardship Reports are a well accepted key to Consultative Brokerage.

But here is the dirty little secret that I know - while many other agents and brokers talk about Stewardship Reports, very few actually deliver them!  And unfortunately, most of the “reports” being offered do not qualify as true Stewardship Reports.  They are simply a rehash of the features offered to clients.

This is very frustrating to me.  Why?  Because I know that an effective Stewardship Report is the key to “Locking the Back Door.”  The amount of revenue that is lost for lack of a good Stewardship Report is staggering!  Without them, brokers are subject to both competitive and pricing pressures that can cut the guts out of their revenue stream.  All because they didn’t do a good job of making certain that the client understood their Value Proposition well prior to the renewal.

So, what was the bolt that hit me?  The reality that a good Stewardship Report is actually more important to your revenue stream than the renewal itself.  Why?  Because an effective Stewardship Report sets up the renewal correctly and makes it simply a project.  When a client already understands the benefit of your Value Proposition, it removes the tension around the renewal.

But don’t take my word for it.  Here is an actual example that happened last week.   A Consultative Broker delivered a renewal to his client’s CFO with a $125,000 premium increase (approx. $600,000 in renewal premium.) This meeting took place sixty days before the renewal date.  Because the Consultative Broker presented a solid Stewardship Report, the CFO understood their Value Proposition of close to $1,000,000.  The client accepted the increase because of this demonstrated value.  It happens all the time.

So, let me ask you a question:  Would you consider not delivering renewal terms to your clients?  Of course you wouldn’t.  Why?  Because you perceive that is when you earn your money.  I believe that you really earn your money with the delivery of a Stewardship Report.  The renewal is simply the time that you collect it.   Wow, what a concept!

So, why don’t more brokers do meaningful Stewardship Reports?  Simply because in most cases they either don’t know how to, or they can’t offer any ongoing value other than placing and servicing the insurance program.  So, either they ignore the Stewardship Period or present something that is simply a policy and claim review.  This doesn’t feed the bulldog.

If you want to provide a meaningful Stewardship Report to your key accounts, here is what you must do:

  1. Establish a Benchmark Stewardship Period – A true Stewardship Report should be presented six months in advance of the renewal.  It should include your projects and Value Proposition for the past eighteen months.  Every good Consultant uses a benchmark against which they can compare their outcomes and progress.
  1. Know your Value Proposition – Using the concept of Total Cost of Risk (TCOR), you must be able to demonstrate how you have impacted the client’s business model.  The ability to quantify your impact makes the Stewardship Report relevant as a demonstration of your business partnership.
  1. Understand Conceptual Impacts – As part of the Stewardship Report, you must show the client how you intend to impact their outcome over the next eighteen months.  This requires that you know how to utilize the TCOR methodology into the future with conceptual results.  This places you on the same side of the table as your client.
  1. Treat the Renewal as a Project – If you have done your Stewardship Report correctly, the renewal is simply a project that reflects the successful follow-up of your discussion.  In short, the entire sting is taken out of the transaction.   This is the natural conclusion of your plan and strategy in concert with your client and carriers.

Stewardship Reports are the most talked about and least utilized tools of the average agent or broker.  The term has become a buzzword touted by consultants who have never brokered a deal.  Most agents are unable to produce meaningful Stewardship Reports.  They therefore ignore the one project that would allow them to effectively “lock the back door” and focus their time on growing their business, rather than protecting it at renewal time.

- Rob Ekern

For more information on how to quantify TCOR, manage projects, build a value proposition, and consistently deliver stewardship reports and new business presentations to your customers, check out the Major Account Development System (MADS), an on-line consultative broker's toolkit. Available now!

Ready to learn more about Consultative Brokerage Sales Training? Visit the Consultative Brokerage Academy.

To learn more about C.R. Ekern & Company, please visit our website

It's a Top Line Game

I remember being in the depths of the last soft market . . .and it was worse. Our mission as successful brokers was to grow our books of business in spite of the marketplace trend. Some were capable of it, and some were not. The ones that were capable (I was one of them) adapted themselves to the marketplace and client expectations. As a Consultative Broker, here are some of the things that you must do to change gears...

Okay, I know that the industry is ripe with gloom and doom.  Everywhere we look there seems to be another horror story.  The economy is bad, industry prices are down, and our clients are all looking to cut back.  Some say that the worst isn’t even in sight.

But, Cheer UP Bucky!  It is the same industry that it has always been.  The Game is exactly the same.  It is all about the Top Line.  That hasn’t changed and it never will.  All that has changed is the imagination, focus, knowledge and intensity that is required to be successful.

I remember being in the depths of the last soft market . . .and it was worse.  Our mission as successful brokers was to grow our books of business in spite of the marketplace trend.  Some were capable of it, and some were not.  The ones that were capable (I was one of them) adapted themselves to the marketplace and client expectations.

As a Consultative Broker, here are some of the things that you must do to change gears:

1.) Anticipate the marketplace.  First of all, let’s all understand that this is the condition, and we can’t do anything about it.  We don’t control it, and it is what it is.  Do not expect it to rebound in the near future.

2.) Change your approach.  You must find the opportunities that lend themselves to resources and cost reduction techniques.  Find the prospects that have been under-served by brokers who rely solely on pricing as a method of proving their value.  (They are all over the place!).

3.) Stay on the cutting edge.  As the marketplace changes, there are always new products and techniques that begin to emerge.  Why?  Because the increasing capacity is looking for a home that is not price sensitive.

4.) Prospect Larger Accounts.  It is inevitable that the softening market will take the revenue guts out of the lower middle market accounts.  You have already seen it haven’t you?  So, anticipate that trend to continue.  Go upstream now!  Here is a little secret . . .there is less competition at the lower end than at the top.

5.) Become a Better Broker!  Learn and understand the Consultative Brokerage techniques that allow you to hold your revenue stream up.  Focus on Total Cost of Risk, Stewardship Reports, Fee Based Selling and Conceptual Presentations.

So, remember this, surviving the soft marketplace is still about the Top Line!  It is about growth and creating new opportunities while at the same time bringing more value to your current clients.  In a soft market there is only one way to do that:  Get better at what you do.  You will still prosper and grow if you focus on that.  I know this because I have seen 3 soft markets and the game has never changed, only the skill required of the players.

- Rob Ekern

For more information on how to quantify TCOR, manage projects, build a value proposition, and consistently deliver stewardship reports and new business presentations to your customers, check out the Major Account Development System (MADS), an on-line consultative broker's toolkit. Available now!

Ready to learn more about Consultative Brokerage Sales Training? Visit the Consultative Brokerage Academy.

To learn more abour C.R. Ekern & Company, please visit our website

Topics