For more than 20 years, Agency Revolution has studied one question: "What makes some agents & brokers more successful than others." While some things change - tactics, techniques, even consumer behavior - others remain the same. Leaders must constantly assess the shifting insurance environment and adapt to remain competitive. Agency Revolution has compiled some of its key findings about success in todays insurance world, which will be published in a new eBook, "11 Points of Difference: What Fast Growth Agencies & Brokerages Do That Others Don't (And Why They Will Own The Future." Put yourself on the waiting list for a free copy by clicking here. You'll be notified as soon as it is ready. This blog post is an excerpt.
Why do some agencies & brokerages win more than others?
That is the question that has intrigued our firm for almost 25 years.
In particular, we’ve been intrigued by the insights, decisions and strategies that drive organic growth.
Over the course of our decades of field work – providing training and advice to retail agents & brokers – communication and marketing technologies have transformed dramatically, and consumer behavior has changed with them.
Also, from time to time, regulatory mandates have either suppressed or contained the use of emerging communication technologies, such as voice broadcasting, fax broadcasting, or more recently, email marketing.
Additionally, the broader competitive landscape has changed. Not incrementally, but dramatically. Direct channel competitors have damaged the agent-broker channel’s assumed ownership of major segments of the insurance consumer.
Now, emerging digital competitors threaten to take more of the traditional agent-broker customers – and some of those customers are in the formerly safe harbor of commercial lines.
But, just as we’ve seen some firms successful navigate the changes and threats of the past decades, we continue to see dedicated leaders guide their firms to consistent and sometimes transformative growth in these, admittedly challenging times.
Learning to adjust to changing realities – technological or competitive – is a core competency of retail insurance providers that have succeeded over the long term.
Significant forces and trends emerge constantly. (And current generation leaders confront a pace of change incomparable to the steady pace of business enjoyed by previous generations.)
But not all change is threat. The very communication technologies that competitive channels have mastered can be harnessed by retail agents & brokers themselves.
Success in today’s insurance environment requires leaders to behave differently. In some cases, it may require them to think differently.
In this publication, I will share 11 of those differences: the differences in understanding, insight, strategy and behavior that we have witnessed among our most successful clients and the most successful agents & brokers in North America.
Point of Difference #1: The Principle of Belief
As Simon Sinek said in his breakthrough best seller, Start With Why: “Imagine a world where people wake up inspired to go to work.” It’s not the what or the how that inspires us. It’s the WHY.
The Principle of Belief, as we call it, simply says that we believe that what we do, in the insurance industry, every single day, is important. In many cases, for the individual, family, business or organization that faces a claim, the contribution of the insurance industry – guided by the expertise, compassion and wisdom of the retail agent – may be among the most important events in their entire life.
The replacement of a home, the recovery from a natural disaster, the protection from litigation – this is the “stuff” of insurance.
The ultimate purpose and mission of the retail brokerage often gets lost in administration of day-to-day business.
Against the incessant onslaught of everyday demands, the inspired leader fights to keep purpose at the core of every decision and in the lifeblood of the execution of those decisions.
This has practical implications about how we serve people and how we provide leadership to the marketplace. Rounding accounts, providing full protection and coordinating all insurance through one broker are not just savvy business decisions.
In the context of this principle, they are the right decisions.
As the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz said, “People think we’re in the coffee business, and we serve people. Really, we’re in the people business, and we serve coffee.”
Likewise, we’re in the people business, and, at our very best, we serve them the wisdom, guidance and leadership they need to make the best decision. It’s a serious responsibility, but, as the most successful firms have shown, consumers will reward us for doing this job with excellence. And when a team is inspired by a motivating belief, they are aligned, energized and highly productive.