Category: Inspirational Speaker

How Alert and Agile are You to Industry Changes?

 

The buzz in the insurance and financial industry is focused on the changes all around us. As a national insurance and financial industry keynote speaker audiences are constantly asking me questions about changes in regard to the financial bearing of COVID-19 on the industry, the hybrid workspace model, payment processing, legal challenges following the pandemic and similar issues. While each factor is important, to my mind the most important issue is YOU.

YOU is Not an Acronym!

Insurance expert Patricia Moore recently (May 3, 2021) stated that the industry is shifting to more customization, personalized communication and a strong desire for you to be there when they need you.

Aren’t those self-evident concepts? Unfortunately, not. As an insurance and financial industry keynote speaker and a member of the Million-Dollar roundtable, I believe that many agents were caught flat-footed when the pandemic hit because they failed to be alert and agile. It was business as usual prior to the pandemic and many agencies have not fully recovered as we enter the second-half of 2021.

The one question everyone needs to be asking themselves is “Do I have the vision, mindset and grit to be successful?” The question requires investigation on our part.

In terms of customization, no matter how much YOU feel that the customer can find online, it still comes down to your delivering solutions that match the customer’s needs in this unpredictable climate. Do you have the mindset it takes to provide real answers to your customer’s needs and not cookie-cutter fixes? Will you visualize what changes lie for your customers in the year ahead and the grit to deliver on your promises?

When we refer to “personalized communication,” we are not talking about a snail-mail letter with fancy penmanship! Now, more than ever, insured individuals, organizations and corporations want to know that you are there more them. While we live in digital times, with digital payments and digitized insurance options, it doesn’t mean that customers don’t want to hear from you. In fact, we are seeing that the opposite is true.

One of the chief complaints I hear in meetings and seminars (virtual or in-person) is that they never hear from their agents. In some cases, they don’t even know their names! Do YOU have the mindset to be there for your clients? Do you have the vision to service their needs, day-in and day out? Are you willing to have the grit to update them, offer them your expertise and care about them as people? We are, after all, in the people business, not the premium business.

Finally, are you willing to really be there when you are needed? Being there is more than a cute slogan and catch-phrase. Your clients need you as never before. Are you willing to stand-up for them in times of trouble and challenge as never before?

Will you be there for them should times get tough again? Do you have the grit to tell them that you appreciate their business and that you have their backs no matter what the future brings?

To be successful YOU must be alert and agile. 2021 can be your best year if that lesson is remembered.

 

For more information on booking Scott Burrows, Insurance & Financial Speaker for your next event, contact him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

If Change is the New Normal, What Must Stay the Same?

 

“Everything is changing, Scott. What do I do now?”

 

Not long ago, as I was about to deliver a change management keynote speech, a harried chief executive manager asked me the question that you see above. If 2020 was a year of confusion and adjustment, what can be said about managing change in 2021 and beyond?

We have all heard the trite expression about change being constant. It has been applied to the stock market, computers, healthcare, transportation and certainly foodservice. As a change management keynote speaker, I was much more impressed with the three-dimensional model of change in the Harvard Business Review (October 29, 2020):

  • Change is perpetual, therefore, occurring all the time in an ongoing way.
  • Change is pervasive, meaning that it is unfolding in multiple areas of life at once.
  • Change is exponential; hence it accelerates at an increasingly rapid rate.

I think back to just last year, when the lockdown first took effect. It changed from indifference and contention to fear to resolve and amazingly to solution. It happened to every aspect of our lives and clearly, the change exploded. Take, for example, video conferencing or the technology involved in the 2020 school year.

The Change Ahead

“Everything changes — that’s the one thing that will never change. If you hide from change, you may find yourself stuck or left behind. If you embrace it, change can take you to some pretty amazing places in life.” – Clare Moore, Forbes magazine, March 30, 2021

Ms. Moore is correct. Everything does change. No human on earth can hide from it, and I would argue that even hiding is a change (we’ve all known people who have “hidden out” in their jobs for years). However, throwing up our hands and “embracing change” hardly means that we are powerless creatures.

In our 2021 lives, both work and personal, if change is the new normal, what must stay the same? We must. You and me; us. We must be rock solid and strong. But how? Here is how I answered the chief executive.

We must look deep within ourselves and our organizations to develop three strong supports:

Vision: What is the vision we have incorporated for ourselves to withstand anything that will affect our organizations, our department, our mission, our sense of purpose in the future? Can others appreciate your vision and do they see the seriousness with which you believe in it?

Mindset: We can all come out with feisty slogans, quotes and phrases, but what is your personal attitude toward standing up to the tides of change when the storms and waves crash over you? How will you hold this mindset close when some around you are ready to fold?

Grit: The best vision and hard-nosed mindset wither and fade without the daily grit to fight to overcome the changes and the challenges.

There is no change in 2021 or beyond that can be met by complacency and “sitting down” when you must be moving forward.

It is not that change is constant, or even that it strikes fear into us, but to understand that with vision, mindset and grit we can overcome whatever is put in our way. We will be the same person no matter what comes next and we will surely win.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Change Management Keynote Speaker for your next event, contact him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

Change is All-Around Us, It’s Time to Rise Up

 

As a motivational speaker for the insurance and financial services industry, I have never seen as much sweeping change as we are experiencing now. I say this as someone who worked in the industry and made it to the Million Dollar Round Table and who carefully follows every industry development.

2020 changed everything, but 2021 will raise those changes to a whole new level.

Regulation 187 and Beyond

The amendment known as New York State’s regulation 187 is just a number to some, but it signaled the start of sweeping change in the insurance and financial service industry. Though its origins go back, to pre-pandemic 2019 it picked up steam across the nation.

Bill Unrue, industry insurance expert said at the start of 2021:

“The rule requiring insurers to act in the best interest of the consumer will likely become the standard for the U.S. life and annuity insurance industry over the next few years. The rule demands more simplicity and transparency within the annuity and life insurance sales experience to prevent what some call “consumer financial exploitation.”

In addition to the changes moving us all to greater transparency, more clarity and policy language that’s easier to understand, is another trend that can no longer be ignored: the 2021 Digital Climate.

Retail and commercial consumers are comparison shopping online as never before. And, what is surprising, are the consumers of that insurance. In a CNBC article on “panic buying” of insurance during the pandemic (October 21, 2020), it was found that:

“There was a 13% increase in life insurance applications among the under-44 age group in the third quarter versus Q3 2019, compared with a 9% jump for 45- to 59-year-olds and 0.4% in the 60-plus category.”

While the industry saw a jump in insurance sales in 2020, and that finally, more Americans are getting insured after years of decline. The so-called panic buying during the pandemic also meant that transparency was at an all-time high and climbing. The Millennial buyer, being an early adopter of all things digital, is seeking easy-to-find comparative coverage rates, superior, online customer service and a commitment of insurers to offering ethical and crystal-clear language as never before. What’s more, with states adopting similar rules to New York State’s regulation 187, anything put out online will be subject to intense scrutiny.

What is Your Vision?

You can turn your insurance and financial services future into a tremendous opportunity, and it’s apparent that customers are receptive as never before, but it’s going to take every ounce of your vision to make it happen. Do you have that vision?

Your mindset must be to offer exceptional and transparent customer service, to be as digitally savvy as you can be and to offer product that is unquestioned on the basis of its comparable value. Pre-pandemic, Americans had fallen off insurance purchases, now it is up to you to take advantage of the renewed interest. Can you embrace that mindset?

However, understand this is not the same industry that it was less than five years ago. It can be better, but it is up-to-you.

To be successful, will take the daily grit to outwork the competition and to convey the importance of what you are doing and why your mission is so important. You can be successful, but it is a commitment as never before.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Insurance & Financial Services speaker for your next event, through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

There is no Medicine Like Grit

 

In my motivational presentations on Grit for healthcare organizations, my audiences are sometimes puzzled when I stress the importance of grit in every aspect of medicine and patient care. The relationship between grit and healthcare is stronger than you might imagine.

The Predictor

From physicians in training, to medical equipment sales teams, the topic of grit has come into greater prominence over the past five years.

Allen F. Shih wrote a groundbreaking article for the Journal of Graduate Medical Education in 2017 entitled The Importance of Grit in Medical Training. Shih, a physician and educator himself, understands that it is impossible for medical schools and residency programs to predict success.

To get into a medical school or competitive residency program has long been thought of as the domain of the intelligent and super-intelligent. However, intelligence may not be enough.

Studies of teachers and even West Point cadets has shown that some “intangible factor” beyond test scores, extra-curricular activities, demographic information or GPA indicates those candidates who will fight it out, dig-in, reach down and succeed.

According to research into grit:

“Some have suggested that grit should be integrated into the medical school admissions process by asking recommenders to speak to an applicant’s perseverance or by inquiring about grit during the interview process. We echo these sentiments.

“We expect grit to be an important metric in undergraduate and graduate medical education…we suggest that the academic medical community assess objective measures of grit in their review of applicants.”

As a keynote speaker on healthcare grit who has explored the topic with groups as wide-ranging as nursing students, pharmaceutical sales teams, orthopedic associations, hospital administrators and therapists, I have determined that “qualifications,” while important are flawed. “Over-stressed” measurements such as the need for admissions committees to debate statistically insignificant GPA candidate comparisons often push the topic of grit aside.

What Got You Here?

In a sense, my own journey started in healthcare, as a patient in a large hospital where an accident left me a quadriplegic. I not only understood that unless I developed the philosophy of Vision-Mindset-Grit, that I could languish in that bed and stumble in self-pity. I did improve and my life is much better than I expected due to a vision of wellness and a mindset to go farther than anyone thought was possible. It was grit that separated me from others in my position.

However, in the day-to-day journey that helped me off that bed and allowed me to stand-up and go forward, I was aware of those around me: physicians, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and all the wonderful support personnel.

What interested me in my many talks to them over the months was that often the most skilled, supportive and compassionate healthcare providers weren’t necessarily those who graduated number one from their many classes and licensing, but those who clawed and fought for every victory and achievement.

These incredible people who formed my team saw in me, what I saw in each of them. They pushed me as others had pushed and elevated them. In the end, we all stood tall together.

Make no mistake, that grit not only belongs in healthcare, but may be its very life-blood.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Speaker on Healthcare Grit for next event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

What I Learned from My Pandemic

 

As a Florida motivational speaker who frequently delivers live presentations in Tampa, Orlando and Miami, I am well aware of what the pandemic did to wipe out everyone’s motivation. In fact, there’s a lot of research to back up why you’re feeling unmotivated following a miserable year of lockdown.

 

Where’s My Life?

Cory Stieg, wrote an article for CNBC (January 14, 2021) entitled “How the pandemic killed your motivation, and 6 simple ways to get it back, according to science.” It is a well-written piece where six key “motivational un-blockers” are identified by psychologists to help you get up and moving once again. The un-blockers include (the italics are mine):

  1. Create a daily ritual. Have a purpose.
  2. Set up routine cues. Make every day places and things special.
  3. Reward yourself in the right way. Celebrate responsibly.
  4. Make room for moments of positivity. Appreciate yourself.
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes we need to go back to move forward.
  6. Know your triggers. Avoid mean people and time wasters.

As I read Ms. Stieg’s piece, I was struck by how well my philosophy of Vision, Mindset and Grit meshed with what the psychologists had identified as being important. I also realized that every one of us, at some point in our lives, will have our own, “personal pandemics.” These pandemics can knock us to the ground, and will un-motivate us to give up hope if we let them. For some of us it’s physical; for others it’s emotional or a devastating tragedy to ourselves or someone we love; sometimes, it’s all three.

Remembering the Moment

I remember the exact moment I awakened in my hospital bed following a horrific automobile accident in which I was a passenger. I was, one minute before the accident, a Florida State football player and competitive martial artist, and one minute after, a quadriplegic. My life, as I had known it, was over.

In that moment of awakening, I also knew that I had a choice. I chose a vision of overcoming “the pandemic” that had been dealt to me. How would I do this? By having a life’s purpose; by setting up strenuous routine to make me as whole and as well as I could be; by celebrating each triumph; by appreciating each victory of movement; by forgiving myself for slipping back or failing and most importantly, allowing no one to sit there and feel sorry for me.

I knew that to overcome the challenge of where my life had unexpectedly taken me, that I needed a singular mindset of wellness. Maybe nothing would ever be exactly the same, but in other ways, I knew it could be better and I could be stronger in purpose. I would not allow anyone to out-determine me.

How would I accomplish what I needed to accomplish? Through daily, hourly, minute-by-minute grit. I would not permit myself to be out-worked, or out-hustled.

This past year might have been the hardest you have ever faced work-wise, socially, physically or psychologically. And possibly, it came on top of another personal pandemic that previously crushed you.

My message is that you can stand-up, you can be greater than you ever thought possible, and you will succeed with vision, mindset and grit. As a Florida motivational keynote speaker, I know you can do it and that I can help.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Florida Motivational Speaker for your next event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Have You Neglected Your Most Important Client?

 

As an insurance speaker and former advisor for Northwestern Mutual, I know the insurance industry fared pretty well in 2020. However, many media outlets viewed life insurance through the lens of “panic buying.”

In a piece by Greg Iacurci for CNBC (October 14, 2020) entitled “Americans are ‘panic buying’ life insurance due to coronavirus pandemic” Iacurci states:

“Insurance sales have been dwindling for years. In 2020, just over half of American adults reported having a life insurance policy, down from 63% a decade earlier…But Google Search traffic for “life insurance” jumped 50% between March and May this year compared with the same period in 2019.”

He cited growth of policy sales for major companies such as Northwestern Mutual by 15 percent, however he also noted 30 percent increases in the online insurance marketplace. The jumps in policy sales were especially strong among younger Americans. Iacurci found that,

“There was a 13% increase in life insurance applications among the under-44 age group in the third quarter versus Q3 2019, compared with a 9% jump for 45- to 59-year-olds and 0.4% in the 60-plus category.”

Where’s My Boomerang?

Close to 60 million Americans have now been vaccinated against COVID-19. While there are still several pockets of non-compliance and irresponsibility, Americans are in general more optimistic. Dominic Mastroangelo writing for The Hill (March 14, 2021) said:

“A CBS News/YouGov poll released this weekend found 64 percent of Americans say they think efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus are going well. Another 74 percent say they are excited about the prospect of businesses opening as more Americans get vaccinated against the virus.”

How then, will Americans respond to optimism in terms of insurance purchases? More importantly, how will you respond?

If the economy is projected to have more of a “V” shaped recovery and, as appears, a more optimistic outlook than at the start of the pandemic, does that mean insurance sales will see a 2021 downturn? Even if we don’t see a dramatic downturn in terms of overall sales, will online sales organizations try to crush the insurance sales rep?

Have You Neglected Your Most Important Client?

As an in-person and virtual insurance speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I have seen the industry go through major swings.

No one in our industry can predict the future but I do know this: in 2021 your most important client is you. Unless you are completely committed to your own success, unless you have the Mindset, Vision and Grit to succeed, no economic recovery pattern will make much of a difference.

As your most important client, you must be on-board with elevating your personal brand. That means a positive mindset. Your positive mindset isn’t about being Pollyanna, for none of us can turn our backs on life’s challenges, but as a successful insurance sales rep, be aware of the trap of negative thinking. How will you, as your most important client, focus on the optimistic and not pessimistic? A negative personal brand is a virus all its own. Have the mindset that no matter what the challenge, you can be determined to overcome it.

What is your most important client’s vision for 2021? Does your client have a personal vision statement and are you ready to act on it? Why is a vision so important in insurance sales? Among many other benefits, a personal vision helps to reduce tentativeness and dread of selling and creates confidence; it reinforces your ethical principles and best of all helps you advance your sales goals.

Finally, your most important client must have grit. Grit is more than determination. It is the daily, hourly, minute-by-minute conviction that you will succeed, out-hustle, out maneuver and win against the competition.

Your most important client deserves the best. Don’t neglect them. He or she will have the best if they convince themselves to be the best no matter what this year will bring.

 

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Insurance Sales Keynote Speaker for your next in-person or virtual event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

The Post-Covid-19 Recovery Looks Promising, But Nothing is Automatic

 

As a motivational sales speaker, I keep hearing from my colleagues in sales all of the “happy news” about how great 2021 will be for sales professionals. On the surface, everything does look positive, but that’s when I start getting worried.

Joyce Chang, Chair of Global Research for J.P. Morgan, wrote on January 14, 2021, “2021 should bring stabilization and a reset for a number of disruptions experienced this year, with front-loaded market momentum and an economic recovery to follow.”

Who better to benefit from that recovery than the sales community? Ms. Chang also predicted that “the strongest global recovery in a decade will play out by the end of 2021 if the vaccine prospects play out as expected.”

Right this minute, at least four vaccines are showing excellent efficacy and the vaccinations nationwide are ahead of schedule. Does that mean sales people are free from challenges? Far from it. Let me take two of the highest-ticket consumer items, homes and cars, plus for balance in business, the computer software industry to illustrate an important point.

Nothing is Automatic 

On March 1, 2021, the Home Buying Institute reported, “Low mortgage rates and a pandemic-fueled desire for homeownership and space have increased demand within housing markets all across the country. At the same time, real estate listings and overall inventory levels have declined sharply.”

If you are in sales for any aspect of the residential industry, unless you are willing to have the mindset to deliver world-class customer service, expect stiff competition and a rough road ahead.

Bill Ross, Founder of Linchpin, an SEO and marketing organization, wrote this about car sales for 2021, “Automotive competition is intense. The concern is the peak demand for their product may have reached its potential. The decline in automotive sales is universal, with most European and American markets down nearly 5%.”

Everyone involved in automotive sales from new car sales to after-market understands 2021 will see many new regulations, a push for alternative fuel vehicles and the meteoric rise of online car sales. Do you know the rules, understand alternative technologies and can you compete against the threat of online car sales?

Finally, the Computing Technology Industry Association issued a comprehensive report at the end of 2020, as vaccines were starting to be administered, “As the industry emerges from a chaotic year, it will begin a rebuilding phase, but this rebuilding goes beyond restoration. There is little opportunity to return to the old way of doing things…this isn’t rebuilding to reclaim the past; this is rebuilding for the future.”

Do you have the vision to help the industry rebuild sales?

What Sets You Apart?

Whether you are in healthcare, landscaping, pharmaceutical, insurance or apparel sales, 2021 will have lots of potential but nothing will be the same as pre-pandemic. In order to compete, you must have the vision to see where your industry is going.  You must develop the mindset to be focused on success – whatever it takes, and the grit to see it through.

As a motivational sales speaker, I know that 2021 will be uncertain. None of us have gone this way before, but with vision, mindset and grit, this uncertain year could turn into the most successful year in your career. Let’s make it happen!

 

To book Scott Burrows motivational sales speaker, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

2021 Insurance Sales: It’s About the Attitude of the Team

 

As a motivational sales speaker for insurance conferences, I know that as uncertain as 2020 may have been for the entire industry amid unprecedented changes, 2021 will test those in the insurance industry more than ever before.

Insurance industry expert Jean-François Gasc wrote an article on January 6, 2021 detailing the Top 10 most important trends in insurance sales for the coming year. If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, then we must consider 2021 the year of “trust.”

Every Team Must Buy-In

Gasc makes it clear that more than ever, trust is a non-negotiable element in the insurance industry.

“Consumers will not only expect their providers to give them good service and value for money, they’ll also require them to protect their personal information. What’s more, they’ll expect their providers to behave ethically in all facets of their businesses. Insurers that are perceived to have breached the trust of their customers risk substantial reputational damage.”

Building confidence and trust is a team effort and there must be a common mindset to protect the customer. As we have heard time and time again, selling insurance is a team effort. It is not just about someone closing a deal, but having everyone in the organization delivering world class customer service.

The foundation of the client-broker relationship must be a strong sense of ethics coupled with an understanding of the vulnerability of every valued customer. Personal information must be protected as the highest priority.

Does everyone at your agency have a vision of protecting the client?

Why is this mindset so important? Of all of the negative business news that confronted us in 2020, cyber fraud was at an all-time high. Cyber theft occurred in numerous agencies because employees let down their guards. It ranged from team members opening suspicious emails to using unauthorized websites while at work to openly sharing email addresses and sensitive data.

International cyber security expert Evez Hasson wrote (January 26, 2021):

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviors that are likely to have lasting effects… This trend is predicted to grow in 2021. And with many businesses forced to change the way they conduct their sales; the risk of fraud is growing exponentially.”

If we combine the observations of the two experts, we can see two disturbing patterns: cyber crooks are constantly looking for ways to access sensitive files and customers need reassurance that your team is doing everything in its power to protect them.

Are You Determined to Advocate?

Insurance sales comes down to having the daily grit to place the security of the customer above all other considerations. It is a team mindset where everyone shares in that common vision. In 2021, the most successful agencies will have a positive team attitude on behalf of their clients.

Be a part of that mindset. Live that vision, and have the grit to aim for a level of ethics that will make you the industry leader.

Your client needs an advocate. Be that advocate.

 

 

To book Scott Burrows, insurance sales motivational speaker, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169