The Golden Age of Producers

During the course of this year, I have spent a great amount of time on airplanes visiting regional brokerage clients across North America. There is one theme that I am constantly reinforcing in all my visits to these brokerage superstars. This is the best time ever for new business-focused producers. In fact, I consider this the Golden Age for top notch brokerage producers.

During the course of this year, I have spent a great amount of time on airplanes visiting regional brokerage clients across North America.  There is one theme that I am constantly reinforcing in all my visits to these brokerage superstars.  This is the best time ever for new business-focused producers.  In fact, I consider this the Golden Age for top notch brokerage producers.

"The Golden Age?  Are you kidding me, Ekern?  The economy is difficult, the marketplace is soft, our revenues are down and the carriers are in a feeding frenzy.  How can this be the Golden Age?"

Well, first of all, let’s get one thing straight.  All of the above issues focus in the wrong direction.  These are OUR problems, not the client’s and prospect’s issues.  When we do this, we miss the entire point of the situation.

If you are willing to focus on new accounts, you will find opportunity that has never existed before.  Frankly speaking, prospects who may have rejected your approach in the past may well now embrace you with open arms.  Why?  Because the economy has caused them to seek alternatives and listen to new ideas.  They need to, in order to survive.

These are the same firms that have been telling you for years that they are “well taken care of.”  Or, you have been hearing about their long-term loyalty to their existing broker.  In many cases, you have become de-sensitized to the point of no longer seeing these firms as prospects.

Well, guess what?  These are now the companies that are examining every business relationship that they have.  Not because of mean-spiritedness, but because of survival.  They are being forced to do this by owners, stockholders, bankers, and in some cases, customers.

But, remember, these firms will not call you . . . .you need to call on them!

If you intend to pursue some of this “low hanging fruit”, there are several things you must know:

  • You must use a different language.  In the event you approach these firms with the same language as every other insurance broker, including the incumbent, you will be rejected as not offering anything different
  • You must focus on Business Risk.  Remember that Hazard Risk is just one fifth of the prospect’s true risk.  You will need to discuss how your firm improves productivity, competiveness, profitability and human capital.  These are all addressed through a thorough understanding of Business Risk.
  • You must understand the prospect’s goals.  I KNOW this sounds simplistic; however a prospect’s goals can be different depending on the situation.  Some prospects will have the goal of just surviving, while others may have the goal of growing by taking advantage of their competitors’ weakness.
  • Look for the headlines.  Every week in each of your respective marketplaces you are reading and hearing about layoffs.  What does that tell you?  These companies are doing things that are usually distasteful to them.  They will welcome alternatives that may allow them to retain their intellectual capital and human capital.
  • Understand the prospect’s financials.  Aside from underwriting considerations, there is one more important issue.  Can they pay their bills?  This is not an endorsement of picking up distressed accounts.

Oh… one more thing you should be aware of.  This is a double-edged sword.  Many of your clients are thinking the same way.  If you are not constantly reminding them of your value and how you are impacting their business risk, you will fall victim to a Consultative Broker™ who gets it!

-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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