I learned business-to-business selling inside the technology world.
For years, the technology industry has offered solution selling as their client benefit. The sale does not revolve around the product, but rather, the user’s results. The basis of this sale is the lowering of operating costs and improvement of business performance. Data is used extensively to determine the attachment point of value.
Upon recently joining the insurance brokerage industry, I am glad to see other successful young brokers beginning to help their companies evolve into solution sales organizations. I am told that for many decades, the only differentiator between agents was pricing, coverage and carrier representation. As we all know, very little of the above leads to actual differentiation or business solutions.
The real transition is being made by young brokers who understand the C-Suite buying style. This is the same buyer who makes business decisions based upon return on investment, EBITDA, productivity and ownership valuation. These brokers are attaching themselves to those metrics versus the insurance transaction, thereby providing lasting business solutions.
These are the areas that successful young brokers are focusing on:
They quantify their impact on prospects’ business issues.
They look for ways they can affect a client’s financial statement. At the end of the day, they win business based on their ability to improve financial performance — not simply insurance performance. Rather than speaking to the lack of service of their competitors, they put the spotlight on the prospect and look to demonstrate improved business results.
They don’t plan their sales approach around simply finding coverage deficiencies or pain in the current relationship.
They understand that their resource capabilities in risk control and claims management provide them a distinct advantage. But, only when they are able to quantify the actual impact to client cost structure.
They use data, metrics and analytical results:
They are reaching for ways to operate in a more data-driven landscape. They are focusing on analytical results and improvements in metrics and key performance indicators. They understand that correctly placing “hazard risk” is important, but of equal importance to the C-Suite is the ability to assess their metric-based contributions.
The word “assessment” reflects an analytic process in which data is accumulated from the client’s business and then matched to the broker’s known performance. Using brokerage cloud-based tools that provide output in client business language of EBITDA contribution, shareholder valuation and other key performance indicators, they win business because they are able to quantify their impact.
They are disruptors for change:
The word “disruption” is used to modernize their approach to the brokerage industry. Their energy is not one of fear or arrogance, but one that is built on desire for innovation. Their strategic plan is clear and transparent. They are focused on incorporating technical tools that may not have existed in past years.
They are constantly researching the latest technology to develop the most efficient ways to generate analytics that support the impact that they can make on a prospect or clients business. They are causing disruption through an adoption of the data thought process as once stated by W. Edwards Deming who said, “Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.”
They expect more from leadership:
Because of their age, many are not yet in a position to execute or lead change inside their organizations. However, with the rapid pace of innovation and technology, young brokers understand that leadership must embrace this rapid pace or be left behind. They welcome any process that can help them get better faster. They expect leadership to move on technology that provides data and improves efficiency’s in their ability to demonstrate financial leakage within the business operations of a client or prospect.
Also, while they completely respect the wisdom of more experienced brokers, they want to accelerate their success. They are finding ways to work with senior leadership to remove obsolete processes such as X-dating and the quoting mentality.
They understand team selling:
They understand that very few “individuals” make a real difference in providing business solutions. It requires a team of experts in the areas of risk control, claims management and other disciplines. Their sales approach and client retention revolves around the deployment and valuation of resource capabilities.
They know that the deep technical knowledge of their resources are a skill that takes many years to master. They see themselves as the gatekeepers of resources that are deployed throughout the prospecting and client service timelines. They use financial leakage reports on new prospects and quantitative stewardship reports on existing clients to validate their team’s contribution to an impact for buyers.
If this article excites you and you happen to be a young person from outside of the insurance industry, I strongly suggest exploring becoming a broker. Our customers are searching to work with organizations that provide quantifiable business solutions coupled with the same level of ongoing support. The most exciting thing is that this is just the beginning. Over the next 20 years, we are going to see risk solutions organizations execute in ways that most never thought possible, and it is all because our clients are asking for it.
Greg Dunn is managing director and a certified analytic broker at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based analytic brokerage C.R. Ekern & Co. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.