Category: Adversity

Are You Overcoming Adversity to Reach an Underserved Market?

Prior to my career as a business keynote speaker, I worked as a top producing sales agent for disability insurance and wealth planning. The same mindset I applied to overcome my diagnosis as a quadriplegic later landed me a highly competitive spot in the Million Dollar Round Table. No matter what issues are facing your growth as an insurance or financial services professional – staying focused and resilient, MOVING with change instead of resisting it, and thinking outside of the box to overcome market challenges will move you into success even when obstacles seem insurmountable.

In November 2017, the Millman Annual Survey of the U.S. Individual Disability Insurance (IDI) industry outlined several obstacles to the growth of the insurance market. One of the problems was the perceived difficulty in expanding the market beyond traditional occupations. Yet, the survey found numerous opportunities for disability insurance sales to non-physician professionals, the self-employed, those in skilled trades, small and medium-sized businesses and millennials, especially women between 18 and 34, unaware they may be able to utilize DI to supplement their incomes while on maternity leave.

Looking at just the self-employed contractor, many are millennials who work remotely. Comparing 2017 to 2016, there was an 11 percent jump in this area of the workforce. While the annual growth has declined to 5 percent, the category is outpacing many other areas. How many are there? Incredibly, more than 44 million. They are underserved.

A poll was conducted by the Harris organization of more than 2,100 adults who lacked disability insurance. Forty-three (43) percent said the reason they did not have it was that their employers did not offer it. Only 14 percent of that number couldn’t afford coverage.

Given the data and the opportunities, why aren’t more people being sold disability insurance?

The Disability Insurance Gap

Joe Russo is an underwriter and account executive and recently wrote an article for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He said disability insurance was “an often overlooked and undervalued sector of the greater life and health insurance industry.”

He noted that some agents may “dabble” in DI but few of them lack the understanding that “the DI insurance marketplace is where we find newer and greater options than in any other sector.”

Why does it seem as though agents are unwilling to overcome the adversity of, as Joe Russo described it, “looking outside the little box” to sell disability insurance? It is a matter of comfort zone.

As a salesperson, it takes courage to overcome a sense of complacency. Russo writes: “DI doesn’t sell itself. The insurance producer is the most important part of the sales equation. Your wholehearted belief in the product is key in relating to your clients.”

He urges agents to go the extra mile. Leaving a brochure or putting a link to disability insurance on a website isn’t enough. An email blast isn’t enough, nor are phone calls or newsletters.  It is all of the above, along with magazine articles, mailers, social media and a heavy dose of personalized attention.

What I Know All Too Well

Some believe that their paychecks will never stop because they are invulnerable. Russo stated “the average American has somewhat of a ‘Superman’ complex, (that) the risk of becoming totally disabled and not being able to work is slim to none…that this is a complete fallacy.” I personally know that better than most.

We need paycheck protection if catastrophe strikes. As a disability insurance salesperson, what is your vision for reaching those who lack protection? Is it not worth leaving a comfort zone to protect your clients? By overcoming adversity, we can work wonders in sales and in life. Don’t miss the chance to make a real difference.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Keynote and Breakout Speaker on Disability Insurance Sales today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Times for Pharma Sales Reps. What is Your Mindset?

As a pharmaceutical sales keynote speaker, I know these are not easy times to be a pharmaceutical sales rep. The once glamorous profession is facing greater stresses and more adversity than ever before.

The statistics bear me out. According to ZS Associates, the U.S.-based management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical industry, the industry will have around 60,000 reps this year, down from a sales force of about 100,000 reps in 2005.  In addition to the decline in reps, there is a more troubling trend. In 2012 about 65% of physicians were “accessible” to meet with a sales rep but by 2016 the percentage had dropped to barely 44%.

What is going on?

Some industry old-timers might point to the Sun Shine Act of 2007, which started the process of greater transparency, less gift-giving and “bonuses” but that is hardly responsible for present day problems. Market research into attitudes of physicians toward pharmaceutical sales reps confirms what many of you are feeling:  the relationship has soured.

In 2017, the healthcare market research firm DRG Digital – Manhattan Research published physician polling data that should be a wake-up call to the industry.

Overcoming the Perception of Being Stale

The research found that more than half of the physicians felt reps showed them information they had seen before. To the practices, most visits were time wasters. Some specialties placed the “staleness problem” even higher. Seven out of ten oncologists and six out of ten dermatologists had a good idea of what reps would present about their drug before the reps ever called on the physicians.

The research also revealed 75% of physicians routinely found what they needed about the drug online and more than half regularly used pharmaceutical digital databases. Unless there was something new to for a rep to offer, the feeling was why bother?

Despite the disappointment of being presented with old information, about 65% of the doctors polled met with their sales reps and six out of ten said they wanted to meet with their pharmaceutical sales reps in the future. They remained optimistic something new might be offered.

Though the use of computer tablets by the reps dramatically dropped between 2013 to 2017, it didn’t mean that tablet presentations were obsolete. Far more important was new information on what organizations offered patients in terms of education and support.

Overcoming the Communication Gap

Though many of the reps use dedicated health industry software communications platforms, only 12 percent of the physicians polled said they communicated with their reps in that fashion. At the same time, three times as many physicians said they had thought about communicating that way. There is a communication gap.

DRG Digital – Manhattan Research concluded in part that “Sales and marketing teams need to provide a deeper level of support to physicians beyond product promotion and maximizing their investment.”

It comes down to support, education and a commitment to customer service, not just leaving samples and hoping for a prescription quota. In addition, the landscape has shifted to being more adversarial and less welcoming than ever before. Medical and pharmacy students are being taught “resistance techniques” to cope with pressure from sales reps and patients from their earliest days of classwork.

The pharmaceutical sales landscape may be tense with difficulty, but it can be overcome. Physicians want information they can’t get from anyone but you, along with extra-effort support and communication. Will you have the mindset to deliver on their needs and to overcome the adversity of negative perceptions?

 

For more information on how Pharmaceutical sales representatives can develop techniques to rise above the crowd, contact Scott Burrows, pharmaceutical sales keynote speaker today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169