Category: Adversity

Overcoming the Adversity of the Online Insurance Tidal Wave

As a motivational sales speaker in the insurance and financial services industries, whenever I am asked to deliver a keynote address on overcoming adversity, I always feel like I have come home.

After an accident that left me diagnosed as a quadriplegic, I was encouraged by some incredible people to join the insurance and financial services industries. I found a new mindset and developed the resolve to thrive in this highly competitive market. Within five years, I was awarded entrance into the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). After a second car accident, I was once again challenged to reinvent my life and was inspired to share my story with others as a motivational keynote business speaker. My mission is to inspire insurance and financial services agents, brokers and organizations to overcome the adversity they face in the marketplace.

Fighting the Tidal Wave

Like it or not, the internet is becoming the primary enabler for how people get their insurance information. While the independent or exclusive agent has been the main channel of distribution, each year our industry is seeing a greater influence of direct sales.

According to Techcrunch.com, “While many factors are driving the tipping point in the online distribution of insurance, the thread that ties it all together is actually a simple one: changing demographics. The millennial generation has tremendous buying power, and will soon become the industry’s primary customer, whether in consumer or commercial lines.”

At the same time that the demographic is shifting to be more favorably inclined to a nameless, faceless method of buying insurance, the average age of brokers has been increasing. Insurance companies must understand that new buyers have different purchasing patterns. To quantify this pattern, let’s go back to March 2015 when the Gallup organization compared how different generations are engaged with their insurance companies.

Gallup found in comparing Millennials to Baby Boomers, 31 percent of Millennials were “Fully Engaged” with their insurance providers as opposed to 41 percent of Baby Boomers. At the other end of the spectrum, 27 percent of Millennials were “Actively Disengaged”, i.e., they couldn’t care less where they get their coverage as long as they are covered, as opposed to 23 percent of Baby Boomers.

Writer Jason Fisher in a piece entitled, “2018 Life Insurance Statistics And Facts” concluded that in 2018: “Roughly 50% of adults admitted to searching for life insurance online last year, and about a third even tried to make their purchase online.” Agents and brokers believing that internet insurance purchases are a passing trend need to reconsider their position.

Overcoming the Online Adversity

In study after study, experts found that Millennials and Gen-Xers value interaction with brokers and agents, if not in sit-down meetings, then by email, personalized text messages and correspondence through agency websites. The key is engagement.

The Gallup Poll surveyed 18,000 adults and concluded: “Insurance companies see substantial business gains when they engage customers of any generation. Engaged insurance customers are less sensitive about pricing…they spend more and buy a wider variety of products, including financial offerings.”

You can overcome challenge of the internet but it will take determination to engage your customers one way or another. Customers still want to hear from you. Do you have the grit to reach them?

Contact Scott Burrows, Insurance and Financial Services Sales Motivational Speaker through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Sales Force Resisting the Changing Marketplace?

 

The increased challenge of adapting sales to online business platforms has brought heightened urgency to sales teams to meet the needs of their customers in a way that is practical and relevant. As a change management keynote speaker, I teach organizations how to adapt and move through change as opposed to resisting it. The focus and mindset I employed to overcome my physical challenges after my accident later became crucial tools for success in my corporate career as a top sales agent in the insurance and financial services industry.

Buyers are armed with more information than ever; decision making is usually a complex effort; sales platforms are often digital, and unless you’re careful, your buyers will believe they know more about your product than you. Sales reps have never worked harder to make the sale. Experts agree that if the representative lacks product knowledge in the form of hard numbers, clear-cut advantages, and the sheer determination to make the sale, the sale won’t get made.

Along with adversity in the sales climate, sales teams realize they may not have the internal support they had in the past to close the deal. Sales reps are often on their own and many organizations are unable to keep up with the changing landscape. It is up to each salesperson to be their own strongest advocate.

According to McKinsey & Company, in this period of expanding digital platforms and widespread use of online research by buyers, “up to 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support.”

In an article for Street Savvy Sales Leadership (July 13, 2018), several factors were listed that sales reps must be aware of when overcoming the adversity of change. The article makes it quite clear that “change management is here to stay.” When confronted with sporadic or even continuous change, the sales reps who lack the mindset and the daily grit to ride out anything that comes their way can get left behind.

Business writer Paula Bauab for Heflo.com (August 14, 2018) stated: “You can expect that your sales team may be resistant to new processes, technology, team restructuring and leadership, but the right change management can address their concerns. Even a reluctant sales team will likely get on board if they’re involved in the brainstorming and decisions; they can see the benefits when the changes are made gradually.”

At the end of the day, sales reps must sell themselves on the premise that they can overcome any adversity confronting them.

While resistance to new sales processes, restructuring, and the way in which decisions are made may be one part of the equation for sales reps, the most important take-away is to not let that change define them. The most successful are those who navigate through and manage change and not let obstacles block their success.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Change Management Keynote Speaker for Sales Organizations through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

 

Is Healthcare Ready to Overcome the Challenge of Social Media?

 

Managing change has never been more difficult for all phases of healthcare than it is right now. Social media, whether Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other platform is representative of the challenge. As an overcoming adversity speaker for the healthcare industry, I know that social media and patient care can be either a supportive partnership or a treacherous interaction. It will take great determination for administrators to stand up to the unforeseen changes in managing social media priorities.

The vision to manage change

In February 2017, Mobihealth News ran an article entitled: “How social media can impact healthcare in the right – and wrong – ways.”

The article pointed out that social media is here to stay especially in regard to disseminating information, sharing research, patient experience and patient recruitment for clinical trials. However, healthcare is unlike any other industry. There are numerous compliance issues, especially around the FDA and HIPAA. The article states that navigating the doctor-patient relationship can be tricky:

“You can engage directly via social media with your patients about care, but don’t engage in a doctor-patient relationship.” It is a subtle but important difference. A physician can talk about a new treatment, where patients can read about the treatment, even where it’s offered, but there are risks in going deeper.  The article continues:

“Healthcare is the most regulated (of industries) and will continue to be so, and with the complexity of health laws and patient privacy, data protection will remain in the spotlight. So, as we look at these new opportunities, we need to also be thinking about active management of the new data. We have to build out the IT and compliance to evaluate the new risks of tools.”

As long as the healthcare industry keeps the conversation to IT, data protection and patient privacy, many of us might think of social media concerns as the limited domain of the computer geeks. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Professional and personal

In Health eCareers (March 2019), included an article entitled: “The Danger of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals.” It focused in the “people factor,” not IT departments or data storage.

The same HIPAA violations we talked about in general terms have gotten healthcare professionals into deep trouble. Such violations recently included a nurse who got fired for taking a selfie with a patient (at the request of the patient!), an ER physician who took a picture of a drunk patient, ER staffers fired for offering Facebook condolences to the family of a slain police officer.

In this time of rapid social media change, the majority of healthcare professionals are even confused about what constitutes their First Amendment rights. In a survey asking if being terminated over a social media post is an infringement of their First Amendment rights, 41 percent said “Yes,” and another 30 percent said “Not Sure.” Unfortunately, in a healthcare setting, any one of those 71 percent could be terminated for confusing their First Amendment rights with HIPAA privacy laws.

Incidentally, healthcare professionals are routinely being watched for social media posts. Social media monitoring takes place more than 55 percent of the time for those who are employed as well as those seeking employment.

The changes that social media has brought to healthcare are part of a much bigger picture of the challenge that technology presents to every healthcare setting.  The changes that are coming are stressful and confusing. Is your healthcare organization ready to rise above the challenge and overcome adversity, or will you become a victim to it?

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Overcoming Adversity Motivational Speaker for Managing Healthcare Change, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

Having the GRIT to Fight for Market Share in the Medical Device Market

 

After an automobile accident left me a quadriplegic, I was determined to overcome adversity and succeed despite the odds. After an intense period of overcoming my physical challenges, I put this same mindset and grit into action as I entered the Insurance and Financial Industry. Within five years, I was awarded membership in the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) as a top producer for commission-driven sales. From there I realized I could accomplish anything I had the vision to undertake. Today, I am honored to bring my message of vision, determination and grit around the globe as a motivational keynote sales speaker for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.

Companies are like people

In its MedTech Dive report (December 14, 2018), Moody’s projected a positive 2019 outlook for the medical device industry. Moody’s estimates a growth of between 4.5% and 5.5% with sales in emerging markets expected to grow into the double digits.

In 2016, the medical device industry was valued at about $148 billion and has exploded to $173 billion this year. Of the 6,500 companies in the industry, about 80% have 50 or fewer employees. Does this growth mean that medical device companies can afford to be complacent? Hardly. Unless companies innovate quickly, they could get pushed aside.

Before I was involved in my accident, I was a martial artist and Division-1 football player. I took my health for granted. In an industry showing healthy growth, it is also easy to take continuing success as an unquestioned fact.

Despite the optimism, medical device industry experts point to several warning signs on the horizon. The experts warn that companies must anticipate new FDA regulations which demand greater accountability, higher performance standards, more complex rules for reimbursements, and an ever-increasing competitive outlook. In one way or another, every one of those 6,500 companies are out to take a piece of market share. It will take increasing determination for companies to separate themselves from their competition.

Does your company have the GRIT?

In February 2019, the Strategic Information Group, a medical consulting firm, reported on the medical device industry. The firm pointed out that the market dynamics of the industry are in constant change. Companies must strive to reduce costs and streamline operations.  There are device companies around the world constantly looking to capitalize on markets and leverage partnerships to their advantage.

Medical device companies must have the grit to innovate and to understand what makes them unique. They must overcome change and the adversity of competition, regulations and an ever-complex reimbursement structure.

However, companies aren’t just like people, they are people. Everyone on the team must rise up from complacency and never assume that the rules for success don’t apply to them.  Companies are exceptional because each employee on the team makes them exceptional.

Whether the medical device company has less than 50 employees or more than 5,000, the challenge is to possess a David versus Goliath mentality, to never give up, and to overcome the hidden challenges.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Medical Device Industry Motivational Speaker through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

How Will the Florida Panhandle Overcome Hurricane Michael?

Hurricane Michael approached the Florida Panhandle on October 6, 2018, and did not fully scatter until October 16, 2018. It was the third most intense hurricane ever documented with the wind speeds the strongest ever recorded at up to 155 miles per hour.  In its wake, it left nearly 60 dead in the United States alone, along with countless injuries and more than $25 billion in damage. As part of the damage, agriculture was virtually wiped out including more than 3 million acres of valuable timber.

Adversity Isn’t a Statistic

Statistics tell only a small part of the story. Adversity is much more than numbers. Before my accident I was a Division I Florida State University football player and a martial artist. I read the newspaper every day. News of accidents and natural catastrophes were just passing statistics to me as they are to most of us. After the accident, when I was left with a diagnosis of quadriplegia, there was nothing statistical about it. Initially, I was overwhelmed.

Over time my medical caregivers and personal support team dwindled down to a precious few. For the most part, I was on my own. I realized that if I lacked the outlook to get better, I could remain physically confined and emotionally depressed for the rest of my life. I was determined to not let that happen.

Cities are made up of people. Psychologists reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 said that serious mental illness doubled and more than 40 percent of the New Orleans population showed signs of PTSD. Panama City and the Florida Panhandle have reported similar statistics.

In an article appearing in the Panama City News-Herald entitled “Trauma, stress, anxiety: Hurricane Michael taking a toll on residents’ mental health,” Panama City Psychologist Joel Prather noted “I see a lot of trauma, stress, anxiety, depression. People have lost everything (but) I also see a lot of resilience in the community.”

As with my experience after the accident, Panama City has mostly been left to itself. FEMA has pulled out, many people still live in tents, roads are treacherous, and in fact, automobile accidents have skyrocketed. Many of the businesses and landmarks disappeared, and beaches were swept away. The lack of basic human requirements forced many of the residents to flee and worst of all some have lost the will to rebuild, to hope, to overcome and to continue.

“Hope for The Florida Panhandle”

Recently, I was asked to be the Florida overcoming adversity keynote speaker at the “Hope for The Florida Panhandle” event on April 19, 2019 in the Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center in Lynn Haven, FL.  I will be honored to bring a message of vision, mindset and grit for residents who are still facing overwhelming challenges and adverse conditions in their communities.  This event was initiated by a Panama City resident who heard my keynote at a pharmaceutical sales conference earlier this year and has been tirelessly seeking sponsors and backing the event with his own funds in order to offer it free to surrounding communities. His passion and commitment is the kind of true grit and perseverance I find both humbling and life-affirming. I am grateful for the opportunity to help encourage these communities to stand up to their challenges.

When I initially felt devastated by my condition after awakening from the accident as a quadriplegic, I had no choice but to change my mindset from despair to a vision of wellness while gathering the personal strength and inner resources to rebuild my life. I was in it for the long haul. I needed the sheer grit to see it through. My challenge to Panama City and the Florida Panhandle is to rise up as one to overcome adversity.

I am a Floridian by birth and I know we are a resilient state with the courage to face any hardship that comes our way. We are caring and strong. Just as I needed to reach down deep, so too will the entire Panhandle rise up in this time of challenge and promise.

For more information on “Hope for the Florida Panhandle” please contact Douglas Carpenter, 850-714-2515.

 

For other events: Scott Burrows, Florida Overcoming Adversity Motivational Speaker, Denise@scottburrows.com or call: (520) 548-1169.

 

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