Don Draper, the high-flying ad agency Creative Director in the Emmy Award-winning TV series Mad Men, is telling someone about the subtleties of human motivation: “Trust me, I’m in advertising,” he says with sincerity. Hearing this wonderfully ironic remark, we smile knowing all too well that advertising people shouldn’t be trusted; they’re masters of spinning the details to get us to buy what they’re selling. And while, it has been said, people do like to buy, they don’t like being sold.
The overwhelming tsunami of the world’s sales messages is greater than ever and growing all the time. Our natural reaction to this onslaught of propaganda is to protect ourselves by ignoring it, or reacting defensively. The more persistent the attempts to influence us, and the stronger the assertions – the more defensive we become. But as teleprospectors and sales people it’s our job to communicate the value of what we offer. How can we accomplish that without triggering negativity and resistance? Continue reading →
When you think about the competitive advantages your agency offers, there are really only three basic arenas of competition: price, product and service. While some things might fit into one or another of the categories (bonding, for example could be considered either a service or a product), it’s helpful to think about your value proposition in terms of these three arenas, and to match your strengths with the needs and values of the target businesses you’re going after.
Agencies and producers get into trouble when they heedlessly try to compete in all three arenas at the same time. Hence, it’s critical that you consider your core strengths and decide how you want to position yourself in the marketplace. Are you going to go pursue new accounts primarily on the basis of cutting costs and delivering the most competitive price quotes? If that’s the case, you should make sure your programs and carriers consistently offer the lowest premiums for particular business classes, and then focus on those classes aggressively. Continue reading →