Getting personal can help brokers find an edge

Published: November 17, 2018

Updated: November 30, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Insurance is increasingly becoming a technology driven industry, but the human touch is likely to always be at the core. Indeed, as a people business, digital tools and innovations can only take the consumer/broker relationship so far. There will always be value in people-on-people interactions.

Generating new clients is all about engaging with people, advises Tim Rooney, managing partner at Rooney, Earl & Partners. Rooney will soon participate as an exclusive speaker at Insurance Business’s upcoming webinar Lead generation and building referral relationships in a ‘hard’ market’.

“Rapport and relationship selling are still very much alive in today’s insurance industry,” Rooney told Insurance Business. “If a potential client likes one broker more than the next, guess who they’re going to buy from. It’s a simple equation and it’s something that should really be at the core of every broker’s business strategy. The concept of building really strong relationships and having a high touch communications strategy should help brokers differentiate themselves.”

Differentiation is the key to success, adds Rooney. Independent brokers can compete with larger companies by offering value. That is an interesting concept because many believe value is solely defined by price. However, small companies can offer product value through bang-for-your buck solutions.

“A good way for brokers to find success and add value is by focusing on a niche or vertical,” said Rooney. “Rather than trying to be all things to all people, brokers can become the so-called ‘go-to’ people for specific risks in a particular industry. They can get involved in a particular business community and build relationships with thought-leaders in those communities. Being known for your specialized knowledge is a great way to differentiate yourself.”

Personal Touch

Still, brokers would be wise to make their output narrow enough and not spread too much to please all people. Rooney says a personal touch can make up for a lack of diversity in product.

“When there’s human interaction, people tend to buy emotionally and rationalize intellectually,” Rooney commented. “People buy because they like you. When prospecting new business, if you don’t know how to manage your relationships and present your differentiating qualities, then you’ve got a short-coming. Schmoozing can’t be done by machines.”