WIN Magazine - Spring 2013 - (Page 33)

FEATURE YOUR HIDDEN SALES FORCE 5 Steps to Developing “Super” Production Underwriters BY MIKE SHANNON I N AN ATTEMPT to grow their businesses, MGAs and wholesalers continually pursue new retail customers as their primary strategy for increasing sales. In the winter 2012 edition of Wholesale Insurance News, a compelling article on “The Profile of the Perfect Customer: Prospecting the Mutually Beneficial Relationship,” spotlighted an alternate strategy— develop additional business among your existing retail customers. The advantage? You’ve already cultivated a trusted relationship, so “filling in the missing gaps” is more cost-effective and yields greater results than starting from scratch. Of course, the challenge is determining who within your current organization will execute this new strategy. Your marketing team is already spread thin maintaining relationships with hundreds of retail agencies while searching for new agents with which to partner. What if you could improve the sales skills of the underwriting staff who deals with these agencies day to day? What if you could help these production underwriters develop stronger commitment to closing more new business? In this article, we’ll outline a plan of how you can unleash this “hidden sales force” in your company— your production underwriters. This emerging trend is due to the increasing number of MGAs and wholesalers who now recognize that developing the production skills of their current staffs, as well as identifying and hiring more production-minded underwriters (we’ll call them “Super Underwriters”), is critical to organic revenue growth. Having good technical skills is no longer enough. An MGA underwriter must also be adept at picking up the phone to talk to agents, qualify submissions, ask for new business, and be comfortable selling higher rates. In a nutshell, today’s production underwriter must take individual responsibility for growing their book of business. Please note this does not mean compromising underwriting integrity! Quoting more potential business that is well qualified and a better fit for your program will increase underwriting profitability, not jeopardize it. The paradigm of buyer behavior is changing. In the July-August 2012 Harvard Business Review article “The End of Solution Sales,” the authors cited a study of over 1400 B2B companies that completed, on average, nearly 60 percent of their purchasing decision before having a single conversation with a supplier. W I N | S p r i n g 2 0 13 | 3 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of WIN Magazine - Spring 2013

Cover Story: Eliminating the "Fear Factor;" VoIP Communications for Disaster Recovery & Security
How Did We Underwrite Before the Internet?
Have You Ever Felt Like You're in the Software Business Instead of the Insurance Business?
The MGA Community at the Crossroads
When Sandy Became a Superstorm but not a Hurricane: The Effects on Deductibles
Howto Succeed in Program Business
Your Hidden Sales Force: 5 Steps to Developing "Super" Production Underwriters
Blessings in Disguise: Why Vintage Workers are Creating a New Economic Solution for the Wholesale Insurance Industry
In the WIN-ners Circle: An Interview with Todd Bateson
Index to Advertisers/

WIN Magazine - Spring 2013