Category: Financial Services

When Everything is Changing, What Should Stay the Same?

 

If you perform any corporate sales function, I don’t have to tell you that in the pandemic everything has changed. As a former corporate sales person myself, I valued meeting face-to-face with my clients. That is currently not possible. Sales people have had to re-focus their strategies.

The Change Begins with You

If corporate sales teams are trying to understand how to manage change, their customers are in the same boat as well.

David Ash, senior vice president of FLMH, an agricultural sales and marketing firm, gave this advice to sales teams attempting to adjust to the changes brought about by COVID:

“Many people are frozen in place right now and don’t know what to do with themselves. But it’s important to get up every morning, create a plan, set goals and focus on how you can best serve your customers.”

This thought was echoed by FLMH executive vice president Mitch Van Kampen:

“We have to get creative about problem solving…it’s the salesperson’s business to be asking the right questions and finding proactive solutions.”

These solutions don’t come by magic, they require an intentional vision to develop strategy to implement that change. Sales consultant Tamara Schenk concluded the following regarding sales team management during periods of change.

  • You first need a shared vision of success across the organization.
  • You need a comprehensive change story, i.e., What we doing? Why are we doing it?
  • You need to have clarity in how those changes are to be accomplished.
  • Most importantly: The change you want to see in the organization begins with you.

Do you have the determination to see that change begins with you? Your sales team may have a good idea of what they want to accomplish, they may be clear on those goals, but unless they have the daily grit to get things done, managing change will be an impossible, uphill battle.

See Yourself as Successful

Tamara Schenk makes an important sales change observation:

The key for success is you being the example for the change you want to see in your organization. That means that you should be the first to use and apply the new methods, processes, tools, content assets, etc. You should be amongst the first to use new content, including the sharing functions, with your clients. If it’s about training or coaching, you should be the first one attending the class, even if it’s an online training.”

If you are employed in any corporate sales capacity during these times of rapid and unexpected changes, you must be determined to set an example, to leave your comfort zone and to be determined to lead. Remember that your customers need you.

Become better informed than anyone in your organization, learn as much as you can, coach as many people on your team as possible, and make yourself invaluable.

There will always be change, but what must remain is your vision and core values. For those with the mindset of winning, with the determination to make a difference and the desire to win, there will be rewards.

The pandemic is a major challenge, to be sure, but there will always be challenges. Those who rise to them will be winners. Be the winner that you are.

 

Scott Burrows, Corporate Sales Change Management Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Insurance Industry Change: Virtually as Hard as You Make It

 

As a motivational insurance sales speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I know that selling insurance is easily one of the world’s most intensive, public facing sales jobs. Though products vary from company to company, the most important product you can offer is you.

Then we come to the pandemic. Suddenly, your firm handshake, your trusty, effervescent smile and the friendly banter gave way to videoconferencing, email and a phone call or two. Who had time to prepare for COVID-19? No one. The screeching halt from face-to-face to virtual sales was calamitous. Some insurance industry sales reps determined to keep fighting; unfortunately, many left.

In an industry where new hire turnover rates are 30 percent after three months, once April 2020 hit, thousands of insurance sales reps joined the millions of sales reps in other fields who quit or walked away because selling was “too tough.”

What’s the Difference?

The online resource Business Process Incubator recently completed (as of July 9, 2020) an insurance industry sales survey entitled: How Difficult It Is For Insurance Companies To Go To Remote Working? The results are eye-opening but not unexpected. Let me summarize several of the challenges.

The survey found that it is hard for insurance sales reps to initially explain what was happening, but those who succeeded in overcoming the confusion during the earliest stages had more robust referral networks.

The survey found it is more difficult to sell an “intangible product” remotely. Customers and sales reps can’t share emotions. It is difficult to break through barriers. This is where a sales rep must focus on selling themselves, outworking the competition, and making a difference.

Managing data security is also seen as a big challenge. Insurance providers and their agencies must bolster security and hire more people to ensure confidentiality and protect extremely important customer information. To that end, sales reps must convey trust and instill confidence.

Working remotely is not easy for the sales rep or customer, however, sales reps can convey the convenience and the lessened stress in buying insurance online. In other words, a negative can be turned into a positive.

While some are challenged, others aren’t. According to the survey, the keys are flexibility and technical expertise. Sales reps must either embrace the challenges or get lost in the confusion.

So, what is the Difference?

It can be argued, of course, that the insurance industry and its sales reps live in challenging times, and that the changes faced everyday are enormous. But hasn’t it always been this way?

In what era has selling insurance been stress-free? In what year have so many customers flocked to us that we didn’t have to work? Truth is, there are insurance sales reps who have a winning mindset, and some who don’t.

The insurance industry has always relied on people with vision who have the determination to succeed. If we look at the points raised in the survey, it’s clear that each challenge in the present-day world of virtual insurance sales can be overcome.

The science community has shown tremendous determination and grit to arrive at several promising vaccine candidates. The challenges against them were many. Yet, they persisted and they are close to winning.

Your mission as insurance sales reps is to be inspired to rise up in a similar manner. The difference is you. Stand up to the challenges – and win!

 

Scott Burrows, Motivational Insurance Industry Sales Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169.

In Sales, Some Things Change; Resilience Doesn’t

 

As a motivational speaker on resilience and grit, I know that of the many qualities a salesperson needs, resilience – and the daily grit to remain resilient – are never mentioned enough. Perhaps it’s because resilience, the skill of being flexible, isn’t thought of as being cool. It is, and in fact, business resilience yields huge benefits.

Get Tough

I’d like to open these thoughts on resilience and grit by quoting Gary Galvin, CEO of Galvin Technologies:

“While salespeople will find success when they lead with empathy, they’ll find greater success when they respond with resilience.”

He is on the money. When I was in the insurance and financial services industry, I qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table through the resilient pursuit of my sales goals. Of course, I was sympathetic to situations involving my clients, but it was far more important to be flexible to their needs, and to put in the effort to immediately respond to questions and changes.

If I was going to be successful as a salesperson, I had no choice but to develop a flexible mindset.

Michael F. Kay, wrote an article for Forbes magazine (11/7/17) entitled: “Resilience Is A Mindset Of Awareness And Practice.” Kay listed several ways in which this mindset can be nurtured. Among the top methods for cultivation of resiliency are increasing our sense of control: you are not powerless when your sales plans change, you can change with it; it is important to maintain perspective in a changing situation; and you must develop a positive self-concept.

I would also add that if you are part of a sales team, associate with those who also have a flexible mindset. It is easy to be surrounded by negative or inflexible people. They cannot help you. The winners on your team will see opportunity even in adversity.

Get Gritty

However, to be resilient also requires the grit to keep going and to see the big picture rather than the immediate problem. Kori Miller, writing for Positive Psychology, presented a wonderful summary of grit as a component of resiliency:

“Grit is about sustained, consistent effort toward a goal even when we struggle, falter, or temporarily fail.

Resilience is our ability to bounce back after we have struggled, faltered, or failed. It is being able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, take a moment or two to collect ourselves, and then get back to the business of pursuing our goal. It involves optimism.”

We cannot be resilient without grit nor can we possess a “gritty mindset” without resilience. As any successful salesperson knows, in real life we may misquote an important benefit, miss an appointment or inadvertently park in the CEO’s parking space. Those things unfortunately happen. It is how we respond to those struggles that count, whether it amounts to making a detailed correction, profusely apologizing (without fabrication) or sending a dozen roses.

In the end, resiliency and grit are about the courage to stand up after you have been knocked down and to keep smiling.

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Inspirational Keynote Speaker on Resilience and Grit for your next industry meeting, connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

The Changing Landscape for Insurance & Financial Services

 

As a former insurance and financial adviser, I know much has changed in the past few years in the insurance and financial industry. Customers are more sophisticated and they want to be seen as people, not numbers.

Roi Agababa, the CEO of Novidea, a major brokerage software provider for all lines of insurance, recently wrote an article entitled “5 Key Challenges Facing the Insurance Industry.” One of the challenges he notes is that customer expectations have changed.

He points to the fact that “70 percent of customers expect [their insurance] business to tailor communications and services” based on transactions in the past. When they renew, they assume their experience will be “a frictionless experience – hassle-free, no waiting, and self-service where possible.”

This experience may sound less personalized, but it’s not. The new insurance buyers still want personal attention but on their own terms.

“Digital-savvy millennials are gradually replacing baby boomers as the main buyers of personal insurance and, with a phone always in hand, expect to transact anytime from anywhere.”

Business as Usual is Changing

Salesforce Research organization recently surveyed more than 6,700 consumers and business buyers of goods and services around the world. The results were far different than we might have imagined. Some of the highlights of what they found include:

  • When they call your office, more than 75 percent expect the insurance companies to understand their needs and expectations. This obviously requires a thorough knowledge of your products.
  • Millennials do their research. They have undoubtedly studied many aspects of your products before they call. Getting the sale means doing more, knowing more and approaching their needs without condescension.
  • Along with the point above, “59 percent of customers say tailored engagement based on past interactions is very important to winning their business.” When they ask for options or a presentation, they want it tailor-made not boiler-plate.
  • 84 percent of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. Just because they may find you online or even prefer to correspond with you through texts and emails does not mean they want an impersonal interaction.
  • 63 percent of your insurance or financial services customers want new and innovative products; at the same time, nearly 70 percent are not impressed with ho-hum products that every other representative is offering.
  • Finally, there has been an increase of about 62 percent of concerns about cybersecurity than only two years ago. Expect your current and future clients to ask about cybersecurity within in your firm. How will you answer?

“Business as usual” will never be quite the same. The new generation of insurance and financial services buyers want seamlessness of transactions, expertise, and personalization.

In 2020, you must have the vision to meet your clients’ demands where they are, the determination and daily grit to rise above your competitors, and the dedication to being the best agent you can be.

 

To contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Insurance and Financial Services Speaker, contact his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Are You Determined to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life?

When I deliver keynote addresses as an inspirational insurance and financial services sales speaker, I often encounter attendees new to the industry who ask me why I was attracted to the industry in the first place?

It is an easy question to answer: “I believed then, as I do now, that having the right coverage can make a real difference in someone’s life.” I carried that belief when I first sold insurance and financial services. I made it into the Million-Dollar Round Table within five years.

Now that I speak to groups across the country, I believe it more than ever!

Selling insurance is a valuable profession filled with purpose providing the sales person has the vision to help people and is determined to sell what insurance can do. In 2017, insurance broker Ryan Stewman wrote an article on his blog “Hardcore Closer” that I wholeheartedly endorse. Stewman said:

“Here’s the cold hard truth: no one wants insurance. What they want is what the insurance provides. Insurance is forced on the consumer and I’ve never heard a person say they would love to have more insurance. What they would love is for their car not to get in an accident, or their belongings not to get stolen.” I would add that no one wants to get hurt, experience a business fire or see their roof collapse either.

While some might argue that insurance is a “necessary evil,” I don’t see it as an evil at all. As an insurance and financial services speaker, I reassure everyone in the profession that what they do matters. To be successful they must possess the grit to influence every prospect that not having enough coverage or the right coverage can be catastrophic. It can be a life changer – and not for the better. Why then, are so few insurance salespeople willing to develop that grit?

Low Motivation

In 2019, the “Agent Survival Guide” website listed four reasons why so many agents walk away from the profession. These include a lack of resources, having too high expectations and poor management. However, the number one reason was low motivation. The article stated:

“As an insurance agent, you have daily opportunities to change your clients’ lives for the better. You can expect to get out of this job as much as you put in. That means if you truly care about your clients and put your best foot forward in finding a plan that will fit their needs, you can find joy in the fact that you’ve made a positive impact on them and their future.”

If you view a prospect not as an income stream, but as someone whose life you can positively impact, then you will make a huge difference. Do you have the vision to make that difference?

Finally, the Kaplan Financial Education website (March 29, 2019) gave five reasons why selling insurance is a great career. My favorite reason is that you can make a difference. KFE stated:

“Insurance policies protect people from financial loss because of unexpected events and circumstances…the research you do and recommendations you provide have a real impact on a client’s financial well-being down the road…insurance agents have the potential to help people achieve their financial and personal goals. They also prepare clients for unfortunate events and provide a measure of comfort to clients during such events.”
There are few professions that will make such a difference in someone’s life. Insurance sales is one of them. Do you have the determination to make that difference?

To book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Insurance and Financial Services Sales Speaker for your next meeting or convention, contact him through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169,

They Once Called Banking “Dull,” No One Believes That Now

 

As a banking & financial services change management motivational speaker who came out of those industries, I am intimately aware of the myths. The biggest myth is that the profession is dull. As we all know, nothing could be further from the truth.

Banking Exchange Contributing Editor Ed O’Leary recently wrote:

“Banking has always been primarily a relationship business…so it seems to me that in a successful commercial lending business model, there remains the need for creative intervention of a human sort…at its heart, commercial lending is a highly interpersonal business where we earn our way by being creative with our customers and their needs and with our banks in the management of the risks of financial intermediation.”

While O’Leary is clearly well-versed of the changes that digitalization has brought to the industry, he is even more aware of the unjustified perceptions that have led to a decline in the industry finding bright new talent.

“The lack of newly trained talent augurs well for lucrative careers and job security. But what might it really portend for the industry? Maybe too many people have paid too much attention to the nonsense that banking isn’t innovative or interesting. I can’t imagine anything further removed from reality.”

If commercial lenders have been wrestling with how they will meet the challenge of change, financial services brokers have been going through even more turbulent times. In fact, and in strange ways, change is forcing all of us to come together.

Are you determined to manage the changes?

Managing the Changes in Financial Services

When I give keynote addresses to brokers on how they’re managing changes within their area of the financial services and banking industry, I am often told, “Scott, it’s overwhelming,” or “You won’t believe what’s coming next.”

Twenty years ago, with the exception of science fiction writers, no one in the financial services community could have imagined concepts such as “customer intelligence,” AI, Blockchain, FinTech companies, cloud computing, robotics or cyber-security for that matter.

One of the many projected changes PWC Global envisions for 2020 is the expansion of the shared economy for the financial system.

“By 2020, consumers will need banking services, but they may not turn to a bank to get them. Or, at least, maybe not what we think of as a bank today. The so-called sharing economy may have started with cars, taxis, and hotel rooms, but financial services will follow soon enough.”

There just may be, as the report suggests, a sharing of financial sources just as we currently experience with ride sharing and apartment sharing.

The changes will force commercial lenders and financial services organizations to be more inventive, more customer service oriented and more digitally savvy than ever before. The good news is that those institutions and leaders who have the courage to envision managing these changes will be rewarded with incredible opportunities.

Are you resolute enough to embrace the possibilities?

 

Engage Scott Burrows, Banking & Financial Services Change Management Speaker for your next industry meeting through this website or by calling us at: (520) 548-1169