Idol is a genuine American phenomena.
Lives have been changed and legends born as millions of viewers tuned in
to hear Simon Cowell’s honest, sometimes cutting, opinion about the talent of
would-be stars. The show has continued
without Simon, but no one can deny that something has been lost.
we have a legacy of "cowell-isms”. As strange as it sounds, these "cowell-isms”
are exactly what the insurance industry needs as independent agents challenge
the momentum of a commodity driven market.
"This is a singing
This cowell-ism came
in response to an attractive singer whose voice didn’t match their looks. Simon’s point was simple – it doesn’t matter
what else you do well. This is a singing
competition. The quality of their singing is all that mattered.
yourself, "What business am I in?” Many
owners begin with the same tired and worn out response that they are in the
"customer service” business. Keep an eye on these agencies. You will be able to
pick them up at a good price in a few years.
The buyers will be owners who realize they are in the business of
protecting customers by writing and retaining business. Period.
Everything else, including customer service, is simply a tool to reach
"What kind of artist are
A second cowell-ism
asked a contestant who sang country one week and pop the next, "What kind of
artist are you?” The day of the
generalist is gone. The key to success
against commodity brokers is a clear identity causing you to stand out against
a landscape of boring agencies that all look and sound the same.
Airlines. You know exactly what to
expect when you fly Southwest. They are
the, "nation’s leading low-price, no-frill, point-to-point airline”. And, they are one of, if not the only,
do your customers describe your agency?
If they are not clear what sets you apart, then you have helped Flo put
you out of a job because you have made price the only differentiator. My recommendation is simple. Carve out a niche. Establish yourself as noteworthy in an area
of protection. With commission rates where they are, you simply cannot afford
to write unprofitable business. Identify
what your agency does well. Find the customer who fits your agency – then
dedicate your marketing and service to them.
"That was a completely
cowell-ism came after a contestant succeeded in boring Simon Cowell. His iconic
declaration was followed by, "In 10 minutes I won’t remember your name or what
song you sang.” That is not what a
contestant dreaming of platinum records wants to hear. Every agency owner needs to be aware that
each customer or prospect is evaluating your performance just as Simon judged
classics such as "The Purple Cow” and "Blue Ocean Strategy” offer clear,
essential advice. Realize if you are
saying the same things, in the same way and for the same reason as your
competition, you have just delivered a completely forgettable performance.
what does a memorable experience look and sound like? The next time you receive a quote request –
Don’t ask if the caller is insured or what coverage they currently have. Why?
Because every other agency is asking the same question at the same point
in the conversation.
"I realize I am probably not the first
agent you have talked with about your insurance, and most of them probably start
out talking about insurance. But I want
to learn something about you and not just sell you insurance. I want to make a personal commitment to work
with you so you will never have to worry about living in a smaller house,
driving an older car or living a lesser lifestyle because you run into
something unexpected in life. Now here
is what I would like to learn about you.
How important is it to you to certainly get the best price, but also to
protect the lifestyle you have worked so hard to acquire?”
guarantee this will create a memorable experience, even if the sale is not made
I understand we live
in a complex business environment, but the basics of life are always
simple. Next staff meeting, try out some
cowell-ism’s with your staff. Who knows,
your agency might just become the next American Idol – at least to all your new
clients who now think you are a superstar.
Tom Baker – Insurance Systems Architect,
Catalyst Insurance Systems - Tom’s background
in marriage and family counseling, team building, consulting and leadership
training has provided personal, hands-on experience with hundreds of
organizations and thousands of individuals over the past 35 years. His specialty is quickly understanding the
needs of individuals, defining a clear vision, then walking with them until
they reach their goal.
team at Catalyst Insurance Systems is committed to a philosophy that provides
time-proven ways to motivate staff and increase revenue. This philosophy is a foundation for the
tools, training and technology Catalyst offers to agencies. Learn more at www.catalystinsurancesystems.com.