These are different times and old-world broker techniques are over. Years ago we had high-flying growth and everyone was doing well. But now we have to be a lot smarter and work harder to be successful. These are insurance brokers that are embracing change, taking advantage of the chaos and experiencing very good growth.
If I could sum it up in one phrase: It starts at the top. The firms that are out there crushing it right now have a leader that is recognising the need for change and is overseeing the process. The following is a quick outline of what today’s “Top Dog” at a brokerage is typically looking at.
- Closing ratio by broker. An obvious one but the majority of firms do not capture or report on this. If a broker has a 20 per cent closing ratio, what do the other 80 per cent of the groups now think of your firm? Scary considering how important reputation is to a brokerage. Successful firms are having someone outside the sales process follow up on the opportunities they did not get. This workflow by itself can be a powerful educational experience.
- Stalled opportunities. Do you have salespeople or demo people? A lot of selling happens after the brokerage is pitched. Every one of these should be reviewed monthly face to face with the broker. A game plan needs to be established to make sure the ball is kept moving.
- Prospect contacts. How many firms did you talk to last year about your capabilities? How many of them have been touched by you in the last six months? Top Dogs are making sure prospects are getting drip marketed so their firm stays top of mind. Good news for those of you with Zywave, you can set up a drip market campaign on every prospect in your firm in less than 10 minutes.
- Account rounding. Every single client should be examined for other covers that could be sold to them. This should be set up as an opportunity and discussed with the broker monthly. These should be the easiest sales.
- Cross selling. Same as above but a little more difficult as you are adding another broker (relationship) to the mix. It needs to be clearly understood by the brokers that it is expected of them. A select target list should be culled from this list and a strategic plan should be created with both brokers. This should be gone through monthly with them to stress the importance at a high level.
- Account activities. People at brokerages are “too busy” being reactive to clients. Top Dogs are making sure they know what clients are taking up most of their people’s time, and making sure the firm is getting paid appropriately for their work. Tracking activities by account is the only way to manage this process.
- Claim issues by insurer. To fully understand profitability at a brokerage, you need to ensure insurers are not pulling your staff down with service issues. If they are, perhaps higher compensation should be a conversation.
- Competition analysis. Brokers need to have a clear understanding of who the competition is and what it takes to win business from them. If you have clear advantages over each firm, and know their potential weaknesses, brokers can perform with more confidence. This should be discussed monthly with the brokers. Conversely, no knowledge can create fear and confusion.
- Pipeline management. Business forecasting cannot be done without it. On average, this is poorly managed by brokers as brokers are not held accountable to it. Some firms have adjusted compensation based on the accuracy of the pipeline. If a broker under or overstates by more than 15 per cent, they will receive less compensation. Pipelines should be reviewed weekly by brokers, bimonthly by management, monthly by senior management.
- Analysis by line of cover. You need to know what per cent of revenue is coming from what cover? How good are your people in each line? Should the firm expand in other areas? On your big revenue lines, is your firm spending enough to make you world class?
Now here is the key: For the firms that are crushing it, most of these indicators are being reviewed and discussed monthly at formal meetings. If you do not have a system to track this information, it will most likely be a high priority for you in the future.
One final point, it may seem overwhelming but once a process is in place, the benefits are tremendous. It allows management to clearly see improvement areas, be strategic on where to build for the future and devise plans to crush the competition. And to think you actually get paid to have this kind of fun…