“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.”

– Henry Ford

Fort Lauderdale,  FLA. — “It seems the industry has been operating within a level of fear like I’ve never seen before,” said Kevin Trokey, Q4intelligence coach and founding partner during the opening remarks of his breakout session, “Becoming the Feared Competitor.” “We’re afraid of PPACA, of new competitors, technology, for our very ability to survive.”

The financial reward for mediocrity in our industry has been way too high, he added. “Those days are over, and feared competitors understand they have to improve, every day.”

The key to becoming a feared competitor, he explained, is deciding what will make you a stronger competitor, and committing to getting it done. “If you’re losing business to the competition, quit focusing on their business and start focusing on yours,” he said.

Of all the things agents and brokers fear, Trokey noted, market disruption is the biggest — in part because market disruption is a greater game-changer than technology when it comes to their business. This includes disruption to rhythm, disruption to revenue, disruption to distribution and disruption to the business model itself.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that producers must be having technology conversations with clients and be able to deliver technology solutions. Technology must be leveraged to put agencies’ teams in position to provide the right advice and deliver the right results to the client.

“Here is where you and the technology players are at opposite ends of the spectrum,” said Trokey. “They think they can serve clients without a relationship; you think a relationship is all you need. The relationship is no longer about martini lunches or rounds of golf. It’s about advice, trust and results.

“Unfortunately, our teams get mired in the transactional part of their job,” Trokey explained, which usually focuses on the minimum expectations of clients: quotes, claims, service and the like. There are two types of value in any exchange, he added: the value you expect, and the value you don’t. That’s where the “wow factor” comes in, which is harder to deliver. 

If Zenefits has shown one thing, he said, it’s that being an aggressive sales and marketing machine is essential in staying competitive. But where Zenefits is a more “commoditized” competitor, smart agencies with vision and proper planning to see it through are in a better position to offer a bespoke solution to prospects.

Feared competitors understand it is the evaluation, access to solutions and implementation that is the true value provided by a trusted advisor. They apply this proven value proposition to the broader needs of their clients: not what’s right for the carriers with which the agency is aligned, but what will truly deliver maximum value to the client.

Too many agencies’ revenue depends upon how carriers are distributing their products, said Trokey. “We have to tear up the old model and create one in which producers are in control. Clients will buy more from you than an insurance product.

“Feared competitors put the client in the middle of everything,” said Trokey. “They take control of what they deliver and how they get paid.”

Focusing on the price of insurance is lazy and shortsighted, he said, and when producers make product selection all about price, they miss the opportunity to impact the larger cost of the client’s program.

“Most agencies focus on the fact that everybody has to buy the insurance products they sell,” he noted. “The feared competitor focuses on what it is clients really want.”

For additional information on his breakout session, contact Kevin Trokey at Kevin@Q4intel.com.

See also:

Insurers sensing an opportunity: the promise of sensor data

Robo-advisors: The coming wave in the financial industry

5 tech upgrades carriers must make in 2016

 

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