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!

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