Two of the most formidable and historical challenges that property/casualty producers face are the attainment of prospects, as well as the retention of clients.
Despite the sophistication of agency management technology and the purchase of commercial lead lists that help producers have a pool of prospects to explore, the success of agency growth always boils down to the producer as the hub of the agency wheel. An industry colleague of mine would always reiterate that, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.” No statement is more valid in the business of insurance.
Accordingly, the moniker that is given to producers who sustain long-term success in growing their book of business; being memorable; and offering value to their clients is called the 40+ Club members.
Contrarywise, those producers who live a mediocre or failed sales career, are called drive-by producers.
You may certainly recognize a drive-by producer. He or she–by some stroke of luck—does sell some insurance (either through personal charm, maybe good technical knowledge, or a drop-dead competitive product price).
He or she sells the product and then gets out of town, rarely communicating with the new client until the first renewal. Instead, he or she leaves all communication up to the agency customer service unit.
When an account is lost, the drive-by producer is perplexed. The producer offered the client the best price last year. Why wasn’t the client satisfied? Could it be that the client missed the relationship with the producer? Could it be that the client didn’t see a value to continuing to do business with the producer?
The 40+ Club
A few years ago, during an agency sales meeting, a senior producer at an agency came up with the concept of the 40+ Club. The concept is so simple, yet it packs a powerful message.
It is not really a formal club, but a concept that all producers must keep in mind to achieve goals. It expands on the idea that some producers use more than 40 hours in a work week to do so much more from a sales professional perspective than their drive-by producer peers.
For these producers, once an account is written, the tools that must be used are numerous, yet powerful, in terms of having the fire in the belly and positive attitude to be a successful producer.
Although it sounds kind of corny, clients are attracted to positive salespeople who are enthusiastic and believe in what they do. In fact, people love to do business with those they like and respect.
The job of the 40+ Club producer is to establish a value relationship with his or her client by making themselves memorable in every interaction with their customers, whether it is a well-thought-out touch plan over the policy period or carefully listening to the perceived needs of the insured. For a salesperson to understand value (as it helps in making a sale), it matters to see what the client sees as having value. If the client doesn’t perceive something as having value, it really doesn’t have any value to him or her.
Stephen Tague, CPIA
Stephen P. Tague, CPIA, is a consultant & senior account representative with ML Cutler & Company Agency in Florham Park, N.J. Active in PIA of New Jersey, he served as president in 2013. He was twice named PIANJ’s Director of the Year for his hard work and dedication to the association’s board of directors, and for his contributions, time and talent, which helped support PIANJ and its many programs. He instructs the CPIA designation courses, the New Jersey PAIP/CAIP certification course, and an ethics continuing-education course on behalf of PIA Northeast. In his community, Tague is a member of the Rory O’Moore Pipes and Drums and is a high school soccer referee.