For Producers

Your Internal Locus of Control…Why It Determines Your Success

Amid rampant economic uncertainty, owners of businesses, CFOs, and HR managers are craving advice on how best to manage and mitigate risks. They are looking for you to serve as a consultative, diagnostic, trusted risk advisor.

But how can you achieve this status?  Trust does not happen overnight -- it evolves over time.  Highly successful agents and brokers understand that trust produces bonds and connections that enhance both parties’ opportunity for success.  Have you developed a mindset and the self-confidence to maintain consistently strong bonds with your clients?

Beyond Insurance has discovered five main factors that support a high level of performance.  Peak performance producers:

  1. Are committed to excel and succeed, and show determination when it comes to achieving their goals.
  2. Are confident in themselves and their technical skills, and refuse to let self-doubt enter their mind.  They take responsibility for their performance -- whether good or bad.
  3. Show emotional control and handle stress effectively, often using it to their advantage. In competitive situations, they change the game by moving beyond the transaction.  They refuse to allow the client or prospect to treat them as a commodity.
  4. Show exceptional self-discipline, and are always willing to learn and improve.
  5. Use mental focus, visualization, and goal-setting skills to develop an Internal Locus of Control.

Locus of Control

As a trusted risk advisor, getting where you want to go in business is contingent upon your ability to demonstrate an Internal Locus of Control (LC) to your clients, prospects and centers of influence.  Locus of Control is how you perceive the events and relationships in your life and career.  Someone with an Internal Locus of Control appreciates that his or her actions have a direct bearing on the outcome.  A person with an External Locus of Control, on the other hand, blames fate, destiny, luck, the incumbent, the underwriter, or some other force.

People with a strong Internal LC put in the necessary effort to succeed.  They have high motivation, perseverance, and a willingness to serve their clients far beyond the transactional sale. By developing a strong Internal LC, you can exercise control over your career and create deeper relationships with clients and prospects.  Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right."   

Understanding your own Locus of Control

For each of the following statement pairs, choose the one you believe to be most accurate, not the one you wish was truest (most true).  There are no right or wrong answers.

1a. Bad luck is what leads to losing an account.
1b. Losing an account is usually the result of a decision or action I made which is detrimental to the business relationship.
2a. No matter how deeply I commit to my clients, I am treated as a commodity.
2b. Commoditization only occurs when I do not listen to my clients and allow the customer experience to turn into a transactional sales process.
3a. Despite my hard work to become a trusted advisor, what I accomplish often goes unnoticed by my clients, prospects and coworkers.
3b. I “reap what I sow.” In the end, my customer experience is directly related to my ability to identify, prioritize and mitigate risks.
4a. Customers treat agents and brokers equally -- evaluating our performance on the bids we deliver.
4b. Receiving a Broker of Record letter has more to do with how much the client trusts me rather than my ability to access the markets.

There are some people in this world who will not trust or like me, no matter what I do.

5b. If I am committed to helping my clients improve their risk profiles, then finding customers to trust me is not difficult at all.
6a. If cross selling a customer is meant to happen, it will.  There is little I can do to position it.
6b. I impact each customer’s experience with me.  I don’t leave it up to fate.
7a. There is no point in preparing risk management service plans for my clients because the bid determines who ultimately wins the account.
7b. My commitment to service plans and stewardship reviews increases my likelihood of retention and referrals.
8a. It’s whom you know, not what you know that determines whether one secures an account or not.
8b. To be successful, it matters less who you know, rather than what you know.  Hard work and dedication to one’s profession makes a difference. 
9a. My career is like a game of chance.  What I get or what happens to me is mostly a matter of luck.
9b. Luck doesn’t play a large role in getting what I want out of my career.
10a. I often feel that I don’t have control over clients choosing me or the incumbent. 
10b. Turning prospects into clients is largely due to my unique diagnostic process.

Score Interpretation

More than five "B" answers – Internal Locus of Control

Note:  This assessment is patterned after the Locus of Control Scale, by J.B. Rotter, as part of his theory on social learning.  Please see the Locus of Control Continuum.


Editor’s Note: In part two of our series on Locus of Control, we share three ways for you to gain your clients’ trust and confidence as you demonstrate your Locus of Control.