03
AUG
2010

DISTINGUISHING THE BEST FROM THE REST

We have covered Pareto’s 80/20 rule and discussed how often it applies to not only sales, but in many other areas of our business and our lives. Thank you all for your comments and posts. We discussed the practical application of the 80/20 rule to our book to determine which clients to trade down and avoid the Peter Principal as we try to grow. Now I want to change our focus from the bottom of our book, to the top.

Question: If the top 20% of your book generates 80% of your revenue, wouldn’t it makes sense to have a strategy in place to over service these clients to ensure retention? Obvious, right?, unfortunately very few agents have a formal service plan in place for their best clients…except the top 20% who control 80% of the business.

I’ll make a few points on this subject, then leave it to you to share your opinions and advice.

1.For my top 20%, I never looked at myself as just their insurance agent. I took on the role as a trusted business adviser who brought much more to the table than just insurance knowledge. For my best clients, my philosophy changed. My goal was always to use all of my resources to help make them more profitable.

The nature of our job creates a vast depository of knowledge and experience across a wide cross section of business clients we partner with. Many of these clients have developed unique approaches to running their business including applications for technology, production, sales, distribution, management, and QC etc. Many employ best practices approaches to run their businesses more effectively and profitably. We have seen how the very best run their businesses and simply through osmosis, we have gained knowledge that is extremely valuable to our clients. When you hear a client complain about an issue that is hounding or hampering their efforts to grow and become more profitable. Think through the repository of practical business experience and information you have and try to offer up information, examples, and potential solutions to their problems. Put them in touch with people in your network who can help them, and be proactive about it. Don’t wait for problems to emerge be proactive, ask you clients what issues they are dealing with and where they need help.

2. My best clients were over served by my service team in an orchestrated, organized and deliberate fashion. I used 3 main tools when approaching my best clients.

I. A menu of services
II. A Written Service Timeline
III. A stewardship report

Each one of my best clients was given the choice of what they wanted from my service menu. A service schedule was then developed around their choices and was shared with the client, their involved staff, my staff, and the carriers. Ay appropriate times during the policy period…mid term and 120 days from renewal, a stewardship report was prepared by my staff and given to the client to fill out…in essence a report card grading our service from a scale of 1-10 or ABCDE.

This last tool is critical for retention as it uncovers issues in time for you to fix them before they fester.

3. Last, I always introduced my best clients to my clients and made a policy to do business whenever possible with my clients. There are so many reasons why, I could write a book …and should, but suffice it to say it’s one of the most powerful ways to insulate your clients from the competition.

Try this: Ask your best prospect, “when was the last time his/her current agent brought out the list of clients their agency services and shared it with them to see who your prospect would like to be introduced to? ” Then follow it up with: ” At our agency, we make it a policy to not only do business with our customers, but to create business opportunities for them by introducing them to our other clients. ”

If you can bring opportunity to your prospects and clients you’ll set yourself apart from almost everyone else.

David Connolly
David@iqsalescoach.com

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