Pushing the Right CFO Buttons

Here are a few Consultative Brokerage Skills that you (and your organization) must master in order to be successful. You must have a business dialogue that is sustainable and relevant over a long period of time. Remember that most large accounts take longer than one renewal cycle to land. In many cases, your appointment as the Broker of Record takes place “off” renewal and usually happens when the client really gets your value.

The skills required to call on a CFO seem mysterious to many insurance agents who have not developed Consultative Brokerage™ Skills.  Time after time, the unskilled broker walks away from the meeting with a sense of disappointment.  Why?  Because the CFO does not respond like most insurance buyers.  They are not particularly interested in the markets, the insurance commodity, the coverages, or the broker’s perspective on Hazard Risk.

Here are a few Consultative Brokerage Skills that you (and your organization) must master in order to be successful.  You must have a business dialogue that is sustainable and relevant over a long period of time.  Remember that most large accounts take longer than one renewal cycle to land.  In many cases, your appointment as the Broker of Record takes place “off” renewal and usually happens when the client really gets your value.

  1. Learn a New Business Style – The key is to learn and practice a new language.  Your presentations and client/prospect visits must appeal to a more sophisticated audience.  It is important that your approach does not portray you as just another agent/broker “looking for their business.”
  1. Understand Business Risk – Most insurance agents and brokers focus on “risk” as they know it.  Unfortunately, this falls under the category of Hazard Risk.  The real issue is Business Risk, which encompasses a wide variety of important issues such as profitability, productivity, competiveness and human capital.  Oh by the way, Hazard Risk is also included.
  1. Do the Research – It will be critical that you engage a CFO in a conversation about their business model and goals.  This may require you to lead the CFO into this dialogue by showing your depth of knowledge concerning their industry… NOT AS AN INSURANCE AGENT FOCUSING ON THEIR COMMODITY.
  1. Know your Value Proposition – As you uncover and discuss a client’s business risk, your Value Proposition will be utilized to offset the financial impact of their Business Risk.  Therefore, you must be clear on the flow of Value during the transaction as you deftly lift the curtain for the client, one step at a time.
  1. Propose a Project – Most CFO’s are analytical by nature.  Therefore, they do not make emotional decisions.  They select a broker based upon an outcome.  The only way to “prove” yourself is to show them an outcome, or to be able to conceptually demonstrate one.
  1. Don’t be Afraid to Require Skin in the Game – The toughest CFO’s you ever deal with, will turn into some of your best clients.  Why?  Because they will test you in the beginning just to see if you can take it.  Their theory is that if you can’t protect yourself, you will never be able to protect them.  So, you will need to push back from time to time, just to meet halfway.   Any less and you will be considered a supplier of insurance coverage and dismissed.

Here is the bottom line.  If you intend to grow and prosper in these difficult (or any) times, then you must be skilled in how to create relevance with a CFO.  It is the difference between being perceived as a Consultative Broker or a simple vendor.  There a hundreds of insurance vendors and very few Consultative Brokers.  Which would you prefer to be?

- 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

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