As the 40th anniversary of the Professional Insurance Marketing Association approached (controversially actually the 39th anniversary, but who’s counting), I eagerly looked forward to 3 things – the networking, the content, and the location. Yet again, PIMA has exceeded my expectations on all fronts. Held at the Eden Rock in Miami Beach, the location left nothing to be desired aside from a tropical beverage in one hand and an insurance policy in the other. Of course there wasn’t much time for that with an agenda chock full of presentations from top industry professionals, networking meetings, fancy dinners, and of course what I referred to as the PIMA prom – a black tie affair commemorating past presidents of the association (including the one to blame for celebrating the 25th anniversary a year early trickling down to what was uncertainly the 40th anniversary this year).
As a third time attendee and first time blogger (take it easy on me), I am pleased to say the content was exceptional this time around, and so I have highlighted my takeaways as the top 3 simple, yet powerful, drivers of success. These takeaways are largely sourced from the powerful presentations of John Spence who has been recognized as a top 100 business thought leader in America and Scott Klososky, a leader and expert in trending technologies. While the title of this post links my takeaways to insurance marketing, these concepts really translate across almost any industry.
1. The formula for business success: (T+C+ECF) x DE = Success
T is for Talent. Talent and relationships are business differentiators in today’s world and customers will pay 10%-20% more for valued differentiation.
C, Culture. Culture is key in driving success, and it’s free! The 9 factors to consider are Fun, Family Oriented, (working with) Friends, Fair Treatment, Freedom, Pride, Praise, Meaning, and Accomplishment.
ECF, Extreme Customer Focus. Whoever understands the voice of the customer owns the market. The 4 keys to referability are show up on time, finish what you start, do what you say, say please and thank you. One half to three quarters of decisions are made by word of mouth or referrals. It’s an absolute necessity to have a referral system.
DE, Disciplined Execution. Execute, Execute, Execute. Communicate the vision relentlessly and celebrate small wins.
2. Ambiguity Breeds Mediocracy
Knowledge is not power. Sharing knowledge is power. Communication and accountability are crucial to success.
The 5 keys to accountability:
- Clearly communicate goals and provide the authority and tools required to achieve them.
- Make sure there is 100% agreement.
- Goals should be easy to understand and highly visual. Track and post them.
- Coach, mentor and train. Create an environment where measurement equals help, and employees will respond positively.
- Reward and Punish
3. Resistance to Technology is Futile – “Plant the seeds of trees you’ll never sit under”
Leadership embracing technology is the difference between Amazon and Borders. It’s the difference between Instagram selling for $1B with 11 employees and Kodak going bankrupt with 135,000 employees.
The phases of technology past, present, and future:
Web 1.0 – Connecting to consumers
Web 2.0 – Connecting people
Web 3.0 – Connecting devices
Web 4.0 – Connected information systems
Web 5.0 – Implantables
How to get leaders on board? Logic. Walk them through the advantages like profit gains and leaving their legacy.
How to get employees and business partners on board? Provide rewards and penalties, i.e. better price for adopting new technology practices.
Of course there were many more valuable takeaways over the course of the two-day conference, but I felt these 3 left the greatest impact on me. While seemingly simple concepts, it is worth it to take a moment to think about how obvious they really are. About 79% of business comes from referrals and yet only 23% of companies have a referral process. This statistic proves that almost everyone can use the lessons above to pinpoint areas of improvement to drive measurable success. My colleagues and I have already had 2 meetings to brainstorm the application of these lessons to our organization, recognizing of course that the key is disciplined execution.