NAILBA Perspectives - November/December 2014 - (Page 22)

A Conversation with Seth Godin NAILBA 33 will feature a Closing General Session on Friday, November 21 with renowned marketer, blogger and author Seth Godin. In advance of the meeting, Perspectives magazine sat down with Seth to glean a few BGA-specific insights for our subscribers and the NAILBA 33 audience. : The current regulatory and legislative environment for our business model places a significant burden for compliance and due diligence on both the producers who work with us to sell products, as well as the carriers who provide them, and our own small businesses. Further to that conundrum, we have become a very homogenized group of business people: we all use the same or very similar back-end support to service our clients (the producers). Finally, we face significant restrictions on allowable incentives-"the prize inside" has to pass any number of compliance reviews. How can we effectively differentiate ourselves as a marketer in this environment? SETH GODIN: I start with this: the regulatory restrictions that each consumer-facing agency in this industry faces are a fabulous constraint, something that enables you to focus on what actually matters. The Free Prize Inside of most marketing isn't a tangible, measurable, buyable bonus (like the toy inside a box of Cheerios.) No, it's the soft tissue, the human connections, the stories we tell ourselves. As wholesalers and distributors, the opportunity is to build a bridge, a bridge between the actuaries and underYOU'RE NOT GOING TO GROW writers and accounting-wonks who figure out how to make YOU R BUSINES S BY BEING insurance work, and the feet on the street, the men and CHE A PER T H A N T HE NE X T women who sell a story, not a spreadsheet. GU Y. YOU'RE GOING TO GROW What's missing from most conversations about life BY FIGU RING OU T HOW TO insurance is humanity. Too much focus on the details, on LIV E ( A ND T ELL) A STORY premiums and details distracts us from what's actually being A BOU T T HE U NIQU E WORK YOU discussed-we're going to die, and the thing we're buying DO TO GENER AT E PE ACE OF MIND A ND CONNECTION TO generally doesn't come into play until after we do. T HE COMMU NIT Y. The challenge, of course, is that people don't like talking about death. They don't like making a will, they don't like having frank discussions about money, either. So, the opportunity is to make your free prize the fact that you can teach your customers how to be the person we can talk to about these issues. You're not going to grow your business by being cheaper than the next guy. You're going to grow by figuring out how to live (and tell) a story about the unique work you do to generate peace of mind and connection to the community. I know that's old school, but that's what is going to work. The person who figures out how to get people to talk about these issues is the person who will grow their agency, and if you are helping them do that, you win. : Storytelling is key in our business environment: life insurance is bought, not sold. We (the BGAs) aren't the storytellers- the stories are being told by producers, to consumers. How do we get our story told (the value of working with an independent agent, via a BGA) to consumers if the value proposition isn't being shared to the end user? SETH GODIN: I'm afraid that you don't have nearly enough leverage to get your story in front of end consumers. Even in the highly leveraged media world of the internet, that's just too hard to pull off. What seems possible to me, though, is to engage in long-term education of the producers to get them to the place where they can convert five or ten or fifty people a day, and even more important, to create stories that spread from one person to another. This organization is in the storytelling business. The right story changes everything. PL AN TO JOIN US AT THE CLOSING GENER AL SESSION IN HOLLY WOOD, FLORIDA TO HE AR MORE FROM SE TH ! : Finally, your observation: "A vote is a statement about the voter, not the candidate" is a perspective especially fitting for us. How do we increase awareness, involvement, and engagement with a group of small business owners fighting to succeed in this challenging environment, many of whom are competing with one another for the same clients? SETH GODIN: I think the work the members of your organization does is a sterling example of what happens when people within an industry work together. It seems clear to me that when competitors are engaged in a race to the bottom, there's no real reason for them to engage with each other in service. But if the conversation can be turned upside down, and people see how much bigger the pie is when the race goes to the top, the entire environment changes, doesn't it? 22 perspectives NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NAILBA Perspectives - November/December 2014

NAILBA Perspectives - November/December 2014
Chairman’s Corner
CEO Insights
Revisiting IUL
A Conversation with Seth Godin
NAILBA 33 Preview
NAILBA Charitable Foundation
Intern Programs as Sources for Recruiting New Producers
Life Happens
Member Profiles
Agency Successor Networking Group
Agency Resources
So Many Choices, So Much Confusion
Reading Ahead
Calendar of Events
Index of Advertisers

NAILBA Perspectives - November/December 2014