“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.”
– Henry Ford
The road to becoming a feared competitor is marked by regular, steady steps forward instead of a single leap.
That’s the message from Kevin Trokey, founding partner and coach at Q4intelligence in St. Louis. Trokey’s workshop on “Becoming a Feared Competitor” is one of several breakout sessions scheduled this afternoon at the National Association of Health Underwriters Annual Convention in Albuquerque.
The opening quote from Henry Ford is what Trokey said inspired his convention presentation.
Trokey told InsuranceNewsNet that his presentation will focus on the need for brokers to fix their gaze on making regular improvements to their practice in the midst of what he called “all the anxiety and disruption and change in our business.”
The health insurance industry faces unprecedented levels of change and disruption as it goes through a transformation that Trokey said is long overdue. But Trokey said brokers must use the current change and transformation to motivate themselves to improve their value proposition. In doing so, brokers will represent the single most important relationship of today’s business owner.
“You have to embrace the changes or you’ll become a victim of the market,” he said. “The Affordable Care Act has disrupted our business so much that it’s more important than ever to have a business model in place.
“The ACA has pulled back the curtain to reveal the flaws in the health insurance system,” Trokey continued.
Brokers need to prove to their business clients that they provide value.
“When brokers promote themselves as being free, it implies they don’t believe in their own value,” Trokey said.
The increasing use of technology has fired up the debate on how important the human touch is in building business.
“The technology players think relationships don’t matter and the brokers think relationships are all that matter,” Trokey said. “Despite those arguments, the best business model is one built on advice and delivering results.”
Brokers have been too focused on price, Trokey said, which makes them vulnerable to online competition because it is too easy for customers to go online to obtain coverage. Instead, he said, brokers should be addressing the bigger costs of an insurance program with their group clients.
At the heart of what a feared competitor does, Trokey said, is that “they improve the business of their clients.”
How do “feared competitor” brokers accomplish this? By looking at the client’s business, seeing the opportunity for improvement, finding a solution and helping to implement that solution, Trokey said.
“Recognize that clients have needs going beyond insurance, such as employee communication or technology, and find ways to fill those needs,” he explained.
Feared competitors don’t “wing it,” Trokey said. “They need to follow formal sales processes. That starts with your marketing efforts. Give prospects a compelling reason why they should meet with you.”
A feared competitor also has a clear vision of what they want to be, he said, and knows what they need to grow into that vision.
“They know the plan to get there and they share that plan with their team.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents’ association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at Susan.Rupe@innfeedback.com.
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