Gaining that Home Field Advantage
In the award-winning book Raving Fans, authors Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles state that “Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore”. In sports, a succession of winning plays creates momentum. Momentum creates excitement. Excitement creates raving fans. Raving fans impact your bottom line.
In the insurance and risk management profession, I would like to suggest that home field advantage (HFA) represents your ability to transact business under favorable conditions. Do you and your agency have HFA? To answer the question, take our Home Field Advantage Agency Survey™.
If your score is 39 or below, you are not alone. The winning percentage of most insurance agencies needs improvement. Most agents and brokers play without huddles or game plans, fumble the ball and are often penalized. Their producers are playing on an “away field” — a field controlled by the incumbent agent and consumer. Those who block and tackle for the away field producer (i.e., sales manager, marketing staff and insurance carriers) are tired, battered and bruised. The away field producer:
- Lacks a unique process to identify his or her clients’ risk issues.
- Lacks differentiation and creativity.
- Cannot change the consumer’s perception of his or her role.
- Focuses on selling product.
- Does not have criteria to pre-qualify new business opportunities.
The insurance and risk management game is tactical. It consists of offensive (business development) and defensive (customer intimacy) plays. It is essential that your play selection differs from your competition. Otherwise, you fall into the “Commodity Trap”. The Commodity Trap is the result of the consumers’ perception that there is no distinguishable difference between products, services and resources. When the marketplace sees little or no difference, price becomes the primary differentiator.
In Raving Fans, Blanchard and Bowles state “To be consistent you have to have systems. At the core element of every great customer service organization is a package of systems and a training program to inculcate those systems into the soul of the company.”
The Winning Formula
After 28 years of research, development and first hand experience, I have developed a formula which will allow you to achieve home field advantage.
P1 — Process You must have a clearly defined value creation process that stands out from your competitors who are merely provide products or services. Products and services can easily be commoditized. Unique experiences cannot.
P2 – Packaging How appealing is your packaging? Is it different from those to whom you compete in your marketplace? Your package must leave a positive, appealing and permanent impression.
P3 – Positioning Far too often, your well designed plays get lost in the shuffle. If this happens, your package is not properly positioned. The 90 day renewal cycle is not the optimum time to introduce differentiated, valued added services.
P4 – Purpose Because most producers are focused on selling insurance, they tend to forget the true meaning of their work. Successful risk management advisors see their work as worthwhile with a purpose far beyond the sale of product or services.
P5 – Passion Management consultants spend considerable time trying to figure out what makes people successful. Research indicates that passion makes the difference. John Maxwell, author of The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, uncovered the following four truths about passion:
- Passion is the first step to achievement.
- Passion increases your will power.
- Passion changes you.
- Passion makes the impossible possible.
I1 – Issues The fundamental flaw of the 90-day insurance blitz is that it is focused on the sale of a commodity. It is not a thoughtful, meticulous, diagnostic system aimed at uncovering the “issues” facing a business. It is essential that your Unique Process (P1) and Package (P2) reveal unrecognized risk issues to deliver unanticipated solutions.
I2 – Implications After uncovering issues, it is now time to communicate the implications of these issues from a human, cultural, operational and financial perspective. In other words, how will mitigating risk improve bottom line performance?
I3 – Interventions After the customers understand I1 (Issues) and I2 (Implications), they will enthusiastically partner with you to explore risk management interventions. You now have a raving fan!
RF – Raving Fans Through the utilization of P5 x I3, clients, carriers and centers of influence will be on their feet cheering for you. The noise will be deafening. They will love your game!