The Industry Perception Issue...Terms like Producer, Bid, and Quote Don't Help!
There is a perception issue in our industry. Consumers don’t value you as they do a physician, attorney, or accountant. It is a shame as the magnitude of your work deserves enhanced appreciation. This article will explore the perception issue. And convey that terms such as producer, bid, and quote don’t help our cause. These words indicate that your primary role is to deliver products and price.
Do you share my concern? Are you frustrated with the misperception of your true value? Do you believe that your professional mission is to help your clients deal with risks and uncertainties? And insurance is only one of many arrows in your quiver?
Scott Addis, founder of Beyond Insurance, likes to share a story of an encounter he experienced just a few years ago:
“I was at a cocktail party at the magnificent home of a distinguished physician in the Philadelphia Main Line. I vividly recall being engaged in a discussion with a gentleman who thought that I was the managing partner of a law firm. He was respectful, engaged, and interested in what I had to say. His facial expressions and body language made me feel important and understood. I had status in his eyes. After a few minutes of discussion, he asked the name of my law firm. When I responded that I was, actually, the managing partner of an insurance agency, his demeanor instantly changed. He stepped back, crossed his arms, and smugly asked, “So, what do you sell?”
I explained that I don’t sell anything. Rather, I utilize a four-step diagnostic process to empower my clients to identify, prioritize, measure, and mitigate risk. And risk transfer (e.g., insurance) is simply one of numerous techniques used in my process. As he continued to back away, he mumbled, “You sound like a financial planner…they are all disguised insurance salesmen.” The conversation ended.”
At Beyond Insurance, we recognize the perils of what we call ‘The Perception Trap’. The lock and key of the perception trap is housed in the consumer’s mind. This trap is based upon the consumer’s past experiences — their preconceived ideas of the value of your offerings. The perception trap alters what the consumer sees. When people view something with a preconceived notion, they link it with prior experiences. Their knowledge does not allow them to open their eyes to the value of your products, services, or solutions. When concepts are viewed without understanding, the mind reaches for something that it already recognizes, a baseline of understanding for which opinions are formed.
By definition, a producer is an “insurance agent or broker who is licensed to solicit, negotiate, or sell financial products including, but not limited to, property and casualty insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance.” A bid or quote represents the price tag placed on the insurance transaction. Would you agree that these terms and corresponding definitions only represent a slice of your value proposition? The terms do not reflect your knowledge and tactics that support risk identification, prioritization, measurement, mitigation, or monitoring. They do not respond to the effort and professionalism linked to service plans, claims advocacy, or stewardship reviews. They do not speak to your consultative and diagnostic talents. And, most importantly, they do not enable the consumer to fully appreciate the fact that you are a Trusted Risk Advisor™… a risk consultant who has a cause far beyond their perception of the producer!