As I sit and write this blog, it occurs to me that we seem to have gotten away from these key ingredients. Numerous times I hear that there are those in our industry cutting corners and not following these five key principals. Let’s take each of them on their own and I would ask you to judge if you are following all of them.
Honesty-Most everyone will at first glance say that for sure, they are honest as the day is long. But ask yourself if you are truly being honest with yourself. Do you get up every day and give 100% to better your business; do you educate yourself to make sure you are doing the best job for your clients? Are you taking care of your personal life in the manner that it should be? See, I think all of us make excuses as to why we’re not doing those things, but in a way, we are deceiving others if we are not true to ourselves. Are you known for keeping your word, no matter what? This goes along with ethics but I think honesty is even more important. My word is my bond. Is your word as good as gold, if not, why?
Loyalty-Do you treat carriers as well as you treat clients? As a producer, you have a responsibility to be loyal to both. Without strong carriers who earn a profit, the producer doesn’t exist. Without fair treatment for the client, the producer doesn’t exist. I have seen over the years that OCI has been around, producers who put a little business here and a little business there instead of showing loyalty to a few carriers. They do this with the explanation that it is best for their clients. I disagree since a). They probably don’t know the product as well b). They aren’t building any type of loyalty from the carrier, c). They are only looking at price and we all know that cheapest price usually comes at high cost. Along this same line is the fact that many of OCI’s producers have some business direct rather than putting all their business through our general agency. The excuse I hear is they don’t want all their eggs in one basket. Unfortunately, OCI can only provide the services they do if it receives enough in overrides to pay its bills. Whenever business goes outside of OCI, in essence, it costs OCI money. The employees still must get paid and over head doesn’t go away. OCI has always committed to paying producers 100% of what they earn so there is no reason not to run the business through OCI. Let me ask how loyal are you to OCI? OCI has always been and will always be loyal to the producer.
Respect-Another item that seems to have been lost with a few brokers. Respect for our industry, the carriers, and even the client. How do you show respect? How about by doing what you said you would do. How about respecting yourself enough to be the salesperson rather than just the order taker. Find ways to solve problems that don’t just involve price. Work with others and show professionalism when you are in the public. Don’t talk down your competition but rather, explain your advantages. If you know the other broker, show the same respect you would ask of them if the tables were reversed. Telling the client that you can get them better rates in the small group market is wrong. Rates are the same but you may be able to find a better solution. As a General Agent, we have always respected our brokers and we protect them from the unprofessional broker. At the same time, we ask the broker to respect our role in the business and work with us to increase our presence.
Ethics-This is mandated in today’s business world. Our insurance department even requires completion of a course of study to obtain and keep an insurance license. Personally, I don’t think ethics is something taught but rather it is learned early in life. It basically is the ability to look at any situation and realize that you could be on the other side of the dilemma and make the correct choice because you can see it from all angles. Just because you don’t have to do something by all means doesn’t make it ethical not to do it. If you truly know that if the shoe were on the other foot, that you would do things differently, then by all means do it the way you should.
Hard Work-This is part of doing all of the other things mentioned above. I always liked the old adage I heard when I first started in the business. “In the morning, when you tell your wife that you are going to work, actually try doing it sometime”. Just because you find yourself putting in long hours does not mean you are effective. Hire people who can do the work that you are not making money on. Do you really think that Elton John moves his own piano? Of course not, he is there to do one thing and that is to entertain. He hires others to do the preparation. If you are a salesperson, the only way you get paid is to sell something. You usually can’t do that if you are not in front of someone. Consider doing what you are best at and let others do the heavy lifting. That is another thing that we do at OCI for you. We “move your piano” and let you shine in the spotlight. We just want the opportunity to move all your pianos so we know they are always in perfect tune.
Thanks to all of our Honest, Loyal, Respectful and Ethical brokers and keep up the Hard Work.