By F. Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA, TRA
SALES ACCELERATORS: DRIVING PERFORMANCE TO ELEVATE YOUR SUCCESS
Ten skills that give you the winner’s edge
When you think about the word “accelerate,” what comes to mind? Increase speed? Elevate velocity? Achieve a superior level of performance?
Today’s competitive landscape requires you to accelerate your performance using innovative strategies to deliver a meaningful customer experience.
Since our founding in 2006, the team at Beyond Insurance has been studying the performance of top-tier risk consultants with a keen eye toward the fundamentals of their approach, which we identify as Sales Accelerator skills: the unique qualities that set certain risk managers apart from their peers and propel their success to new heights.
High-performing risk consultants understand that authentic networking is about generosity, not greed. It’s about giving before you receive.
We have identified 10 top skills exhibited by peak performers (or top-tier risk consultants) that accelerated their success. These are:
- Growth Mindset. What is a mindset? It is the group of assumptions, methods, beliefs, and attitudes that you hold. Mindset is so powerful that it orients the way you think, act, feel, and handle situations. A growth mindset empowers you to believe that your skills, strategies, and talents can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work. With a growth mindset, the possibilities are endless. As you consider your current mindset, ask yourself: Do I view rejection and setbacks as learning experiences because they allow me to grow and improve?
- Visioning and Goal Setting. Your ability to create a vision and set goals is essential to both your personal and professional future. Visioning and goal setting are powerful processes that help clarify the way you see the future, design an achievement roadmap, and launch your plan into action—pursuing relentlessly until you reach your goals. As you consider your capability in the discipline of visioning and goal setting, ask yourself: Do I have a disciplined goal setting system, including a strategy to benchmark progress?
- Mastering Your Value Proposition. Your value proposition is the reason for your professional existence—it describes how you create value for others and the personal motivation behind the work you do every day. Without a compelling value proposition, you are ordinary and disposable—a commodity. With a distinguished value proposition, you are unique and irreplaceable. A value proposition statement summarizes the reasons a customer should buy your particular product or service, and how it exceeds that of your competition. The ideal value proposition is concise and appeals to the customer’s strongest decision-making drivers. As you consider your ability to deliver a clear, concise, and compelling value proposition, ask yourself: Does the unique messaging of my value proposition differentiate me from my competitors in ways that my ideal customer would appreciate?
- Building Your Referral Network. Contrary to popular belief, effective networking is not about serving yourself. Rather it’s about finding ways to make other people more successful. High-performing risk consultants understand that authentic networking is about generosity, not greed. It’s about giving before you receive. Many people falsely believe that you should reach out to others only during a time of need. This could not be further from the truth; successful individuals build their networks long before they need anything from them. Establishing an authentic referral network is not a short-term solution solely for your personal benefit—it is a lifelong approach to creating a supportive community. As you consider the quality of your referral network, ask yourself: Do I effectively connect with people in an authentic way and nurture meaningful, long-term relationships?
- Prospect Research and Qualification. Our market research indicates that many risk consultants use a haphazard prospecting approach—one without enough thoughtful diligence. This strategy yields hit-or-miss results that simply don’t fulfill your potential. The solution? A Prospect Strategy Map that includes an ideal client profile, pipeline management plan, and system to use your network to its fullest extent. As you consider your existing capability to perform prospect research and qualification at a high level, ask yourself: Do I have a disciplined and strategic prospect research and qualification process?
- New Business Hit Ratio. Our research and experience provide clear evidence that your new business hit ratio dramatically improves with a Prospect Qualification Filter (PQF). What is a PQF, and why is it so important to you? It is a revolutionary tool that enables you to evaluate a prospective client and determine whether they meet your criteria. Simply put, the PQF facilitates your ability to confidently and consistently select prospects who belong on your team. As you consider your existing new business hit ratio, ask yourself: Do I have a cumulative new business hit ratio of 80% or better?
- Using Social Media to Drive Actionable Results. Your ability to connect with prospects, clients, and centers of influence requires a strong digital presence and social selling expertise. HubSpot, a leading social media management organization, defines social selling as the “art of using social networks to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects.” It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers, keeping you—and your brand—front of mind. Start by thinking of yourself as a brand, and market yourself accordingly. Consider perceptions, qualities, and characteristics that you want people to associate with you—recognizing that your name and image affect your current and future earning potential. As you consider your ability to use social media to drive actionable results, ask yourself: Do I have the tools and knowledge to develop and execute a social media marketing strategy?
- Adding Value Through Cross-Selling. Cross-selling is a unique opportunity to provide value to your clients in ways they may not have expected when they hired you. To create an effective cross-selling strategy map, you must first develop a comprehensive understanding of your clients’ business model so you can deliver the right products, services, and resources that complement your original offering. Executed properly, cross-selling increases your customers’ reliance on you and reduces the likelihood that they will switch to a competitor. Cross-selling requires minimal effort compared with the original purchase. Clients often embrace products marketed using cross-selling strategies because of the trusting nature of your preexisting business relationship. As you consider your existing cross-sell capability, ask yourself: Do I benefit from a disciplined, strategic, and results-oriented cross-sell approach?
- The Art of Negotiation and the Power of Persuasion. Persuasion is the process through which one person’s attitudes or behaviors are influenced by another person. The power of persuasion enables you to argue for or against ideas, decisions, and actions that have a material impact on you. Always try persuasion first; if persuasion doesn’t lead to the results you seek, turn to negotiation. Negotiation is the process through which two or more parties who perceive a difference in interests or perspectives attempt to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Negotiation is intended to resolve differences and craft outcomes to satisfy the interests of those involved. As you consider your ability to effectively negotiate and persuade, ask yourself: Does my ability to persuade and negotiate positively affect my sales goals?
- Manage Priorities to Create Work/Life Balance. Today’s in-tensely competitive business climate has created a corporate culture that demands more and more from you. Do you maintain a sustainable balance between your personal and work life? Or are the demands of your work infringing on the quantity and quality of your time with family, friends, and your community. The most effective way to overcome a work/life balance issue is through task prioritization. When you prioritize your projects and activities, you bring order to chaos and create calm around you, allowing you to focus and finish each task you begin. Start by questioning the rationale behind the projects that demand your time and decide which items deserve highest priority. Rearranging your priorities and designing a plan to measure progress are essential elements of your pursuit of work/life balance. As you consider the degree to which priority management and work/life balance are an issue for you, ask yourself: Do I have a priority management system that supports my work/life balance?
Producer Growth Assessment
If you want to evaluate your competence in the 10 skills described above, take the complimentary Beyond Insurance Producer Growth Assessment (PGA)—a 34-statementsurvey based on decades of market research and first-hand risk management experience (www.beyondinsurance.com/assessment/take/producer_growth_assessment).
The results of your PGA assessment can help identify opportunities for growth. Should you choose to pursue these opportunities, the PGA is supported by Sales Accelerators—self-paced learning courses designed to target specific skill sets. Upon completion of the modules, you will earn an Accredited Sales Advisor™ (ASA) certification (www.beyondinsurance.com/salesaccelerators).
Scott Addis is chief executive officer of Beyond Insurance and an industry leader. His agency was recognized by Rough Notes magazine as a Marketing Agency of the Month, he was a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, and was selected as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.”
Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their organization to the next level. Since 2007, the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed agencies as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.
To learn more about Beyond Insurance, contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.