As this year winds down, you might at some point be taking a look at the new accounts you’ve written in 2014. Where did the leads for those accounts originate? Trade shows? Association memberships? Webinars or seminars your agency presented?
Referrals from your clients are always one of the best sources for new business leads. But there’s one other, maybe surprising, place where your next great account may be just waiting for you to show up.
Do you keep a file of the businesses you’ve spoken to or met with in the past but weren’t able to write for various reasons? Maybe you didn’t have a good market for them, or weren’t competitive on pricing, or maybe they were just very close with their current agent.
Here’s a true story that shines new light on one of those typical “married to their broker” scenarios. A producer team we know had scheduled a meeting with mid-sized ag business. They arrived feeling confident they’d be able to offer superior coverage and very competitive pricing through a new specialty program they represented. But their enthusiasm was soon shattered.
When the receptionist ushered them into the conference room, there on the hallway wall was a framed cover from one of the insurance trade magazines featuring the company president and executives gathered around their current insurance agent. The featured article was about building enduring relationships with client businesses. The producers’ hearts sank. It sure looked like they were in the wrong place.
As the meeting progressed, it became apparent that this company was experiencing a number of risk related problems – problems that our producers knew they could fix. It turned out that while the incumbent agency had in fact been a strong partner and helpful resource in the past, they were no longer delivering the best insurance solutions for that company.
The lesson is simple, obvious, and important — everything changes and nothing stays the same. We all know this but we get attached to the idea that business relationships are permanent. And that’s not a good way for any sales person to think.
Relationships need to be continually nurtured and refreshed. Taking your own clients for granted can be dangerous because circumstances are constantly changing.
At one of your accounts, perhaps the controller you’ve known for years retires and someone new is now in charge of the insurance. Or maybe the scope of their operation shifts, or there’s unexpected expansion or contraction.
In 2010, same-sex marriage was only legal in five states – in 2014 it’s on the books in nearly 65% of the U.S. The Affordable Care Act was signed into law, and we all thought signing up for health insurance would be a piece of cake. The Arab Spring gave us hope of some kind of lasting peace in the Middle East.
Things may also be very different at some of the companies you met with three or four years ago. So don’t fall into the trap of assuming circumstances are static. Go take a look at the accounts you didn’t write then and find the people who might need your expertise now.