The incumbent agent stands between you and sales success. For you to win, they must lose. Understand, we are not just asking prospects to do business with us, we are asking them to break a professional relationship. Why then do we enter into competitive situations not giving incumbency the weight, and respect it deserves? We tend to focus the majority of our time and effort on insurance products, coverage and price, but very little time on the incumbent.
It’s hard to beat an opponent we’ve never seen play. No player (Producer) or coach (Sales Manager) in his or her right mind walks into a game without first studying film and developing a strategy to win. I know we’re not athletes, but we are professionals, and our sales success is based on wins and losses. The more we know about our competition, the better chance we have of winning. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What is their business acumen, experience, expertise, niche’s etc. What is on their menu of agency services? What do they, or don’t they do well?
Without a pre- appointment strategy, quoting is an expensive gamble and the incumbent wins all ties.
Not understanding who we are competing against is a mistake that usually results in a loss.
I urge you to go to school on your competition and learn as much as you can. Intimate knowledge of your competition allows you to develop a sound strategy to position yourself for sales success. Knowing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses allows you to develop a pre – appointment strategy and craft questions that direct the conversation towards your strengths. This approach creates an unfair comparison by focusing on what they aren’t getting from the incumbent, and what they could receive from you. Just as important, it keeps the conversation off of the incumbent’s strengths.
Knowing the competition can tell you when it’s impossible to break a relationship and walk away, saving you valuable time and agency resources.
For every new prospect, invest the time to learn as much as you can about the incumbent agent and their agency. Save this information and create a competitive database for your agency. If all producers would do this, soon you would have a huge resource to draw upon to develop sound pre-call strategies for every prospect. This knowledge also helps you create differentiation when prospecting to open doors and opportunities. Last, people are creatures of habit, and you’ll find consistent holes in your competitors game. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll know exactly how to win.