TOP FIVE WAYS TO BECOME MORE COMPETITIVE
Practical things producers can do to gain an advantage
For the most part, you have free access to [competitors’] social media
channels, their websites, and a wide array of other content … .
By Michael Wayne
Our experiences define who we are. At times, I am amazed at how the exact same incident can be such a different experience for so many … if not everyone. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, one line that has stood out to me ever since I could really understand it is, “Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”
If the world of sales cannot be labeled with the moniker of “thunderstorm,” I really can’t imagine a world that can. That being said, I don’t know how many fellow producers I would describe as having “quiet minds.” This isn’t a moment of casting stones, by the way; I am absolutely lumping my own mind in with the crowd. Often, I feel like my mind is racing, not necessarily in a worrying frenzy, but certainly in a way where I am consciously ensuring that I am keeping up with the industry to better myself for my clients, while also keeping a watchful eye on competitors.
I have been blessed from the standpoint that the network that I have built contains many producers who I will likely never be in the same market as. Most of them are extremely successful and are looking to be better. The main positive from these relationships is that these individuals are extremely open to sharing what works for them. I know just like you do that there is no one-size-fits-all to being a successful producer. That doesn’t exist. These, however, are the Top 5 ways for you to become more competitive.
Know who you are up against. Just as you are looking to win the business of prospects away from competitors, there are those who are looking to swoop in and take clients away from you. In both regards, you must know and understand the ins and outs of those competitors and where they are.
Whether direct competitors in your backyard or indirect competitors on the fringe of your specialization or your markets, you must be aware of who they are, what they are doing, and what they are looking to do. The reality is, your competitors, direct or indirect, may be the best leads you have for not just prospects but who markets as well.
Review your competitors’ digital presence. Consumers have an insatiable desire/demand for information. On the positive side, that means that you get to be privy to what your competitors are up to … at least a large part of it, especially if their marketing is up to par. Whether it’s their website, social media channels, collateral such as white papers, or advertisements and where they are placed, your competitors will tell you a lot about their clients, targets, and markets—if you pay attention.
Become your competitors’ prospect. Take advantage of the fact that every competitor you have wants to reach as many prospects as possible. For the most part, you have free access to their social media channels, their websites, and a wide array of other content in the form of fliers, brochures, and white papers. Follow their social media channels, set Google alerts for their agency names, and pay attention to what they are doing in the communities where you exist.
Listen to your competitors’ clients. In addition to absorbing the materials your competitors are willing to give to you at no charge, another way to find out what they are doing is by listening to their clients. Keep in mind, when you read negativity online or hear complaints from second-hand sources, you are typically only going to be getting half of a story. At the very least, however, if that negativity is coming from a verified client, you know that at least that client is probably ready to move its business. On the flipside, reading and hearing about the positive aspects of your competitors provides you with information about where you need to improve and may even provide knowledge regarding how to go about it.
Compare and contrast. While you may be thinking that this is all great advice and can help you earn a leg up, your competitors may be thinking the same thing. Just as your competitors are, in many ways, an open book to you, you may be just as open to them. Strategically, you should be continuously reviewing your own materials and offerings on some set schedule. You should be checking to see what you are offering, what your competitors are offering, and what unfulfilled needs the market has that you may have the ability to fill. Whether you have a quiet mind, or your mind is constantly making noise, the key to keeping it operating like a clock in a thunderstorm and helping to ensure your fortune is to take advantage of the information available to you.
Michael Wayne is a freelance insurance writer