I have no choice is a common sentiment among businesses: “The competition is doing it, so we have to do it.”
The insurance industry is ripe with traditions that agencies feel they must follow because “it’s always been done that way and really, how can we effectively compete if we’re doing something different?”
If you believe that you must follow suit with things your competitors are doing or offering, then you’re letting your competitors determine your business model and shape your company values.
Following the competition puts a limit on creative thinking and implementing any innovative practices in your business.
If you don’t stand for something or you try to stand for everything, you actually stand for nothing
Nothing - this is how the buyer sees a company who is generically the same as every other competing company.
Being the same, saying the same things, offering the same things, and maintaining the same model will not get you farther ahead. In fact, you will risk going backward because you’ll have to work harder and harder at doing the same things since there is no point of differentiation.
Buyers need a solid way to make a good decision for their business. When they look at a group of quotes from a seemingly homogenous group of agencies, there’s nothing but rather superficial reasons for making a decision.
Which spreadsheet do they like better? Who do they like better? Who might offer better service after being hired?
There’s nothing substantial to use. And how solid of a business decision is that?!
Now it’s common thought to have a collection of products and services to offer as a point of differentiation, but the problem is that those same things can also be acquired and offered by any other agency. This is not seen as a point of differentiation in the eyes of the client. Instead, what they see is a collection of products that they can get from you or any of the others.
Take a stand and stand for something your clients would find valuable
Counter to this traditional thinking, it’s those agencies that deviate from the traditional model that are the ones who are seeing great success.
If you find that you’re competing on the same things as your competitors, then it’s time to step out and create your own category.
No one said you have to run your agency like everyone else. No one said you have to offer the same products and services as everyone else. No one said you have to work with all businesses regardless of size or industry.
Create a specialized process for analyzing a client business. Define a niche market in size, location, or industry. Create a specialized culture that delivers unique results to your clients (think Zappos or Umpqua Bank). Focus on a core set of services that you do exceptionally well and become known as the go-to source in your market (or even nationally).
If you create a new category, then the buyer now has a new way of judging the competition – who can offer the same thing as you?
Those who are truly finding a way to make themselves different will be dominating the market, making it even more difficult to continue competing with the traditional model.
Photo by John Paul Rodriguez.