In this podcast episode, you’ll learn how to build a marketing message that has your prospects looking at you and saying, “now that’s different!”.
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When you take time to answer the question: What do I do or what do we do as a team better than anyone in our market? When you sit down and you answer that question, you dig deep to find where your passion and purpose lie.
That is where you will find your differentiator.
Hey. Hey. Welcome back to the Bullpen Sessions podcast. My name is Andy Neary, and this is episode 235. Today, I’m going to talk to you about differentiation. Yes. What you need to do to differentiate yourself from the competition. But before we dive in, I want to make a quick announcement or a quick shout out to our sponsor.
Complete game consulting. Yes, that is my company. And what do we do? We help insurance professionals book more appointments with the right prospects. So if you are an insurance advisor listening in, if you’re a sales director of an agency and you know your team should be booking more appointments, but it’s just harder today than it’s ever been, reach out.
That’s what we do and that’s who we are. All right. Back to today’s episode. Let’s talk about differentiation. The title of this podcast was The Words You Speak Matter. And I want to give credit for this phrase because I heard Jesse Hitler use this phrase in one of his keynote talks. The words you speak matter Now, he was referencing the self-talk we all have and how what you say to yourself determines how much success you’re going to have now, I’m going to take the phrase the words you speak matter in a different direction.
Today. What I’m going to talk about is your marketing, your message. When you’re in front of prospects, the words you speak matter. Which brings us back to today’s topic differentiation. If you’re listening in and you are an insurance advisor or you’re in sales of any kind, your goal is to book more appointments, right? Open more doors, and you’d have to be living under a rock if you don’t believe opening more doors.
Opening doors today is harder than it’s been in, in a while, maybe hardest it’s been in your career. And everything changed with the pandemic, right? Building relationships with prospects is not as easy as it used to be. And on top of that, if you aren’t differentiating yourself from the competition, it’s extremely difficult. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, because your goal is to book more appointments.
The problem is what is coming out of your mouth doesn’t sound different. I know you think it’s different, but your competition doesn’t. And that’s your biggest challenge today. You are caught in this Where’s Waldo world, where your prospects are hearing the same thing from every broker. They talk to you. I know you believe health insurance costs are a problem.
I know you believe the health care system is a problem. I know you believe people are overpaying for their insurance, whatever the problem is. You want to talk about. But your biggest challenge is your competition is talking about the same thing. Now, whether or not they take action on what they’re talking about, that’s a whole different podcast for a different day.
But it doesn’t matter. You’re saying the same things you are, and if your prospect hears the same thing from their broker that they’re hearing from you, you have no shot. You’re not going to win the business. So today we need to talk about how you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Literally look different, sound different, and have your prospect saying, I don’t know what that is, but that is different.
And this thought came to me in preparing for today’s podcast off the heels of a two day workshop I did with an agency in the Midwest last week. Anytime I can go to the Midwest, being a midwesterner myself, I always enjoy the travels back to the Midwest to work with agencies. Good people living in the heartland. In fact, I haven’t shared this at all publicly until today’s podcast.
But one of the big reasons why, Amy, they are actually moving back to Wisconsin over Memorial Day weekend. So this podcast will be out public before we make the move. And this might be the first time you’re hearing this. We are officially moving back from Colorado, moving from Colorado back to Wisconsin. One of the reasons why I did go off tangent for a second is I have to give credit back to the same Jesse.
Jesse, It’s where I referenced at the beginning of the podcast was a few years ago I was listening to an interview he was doing and he was talking about the difference between years and experiences. Most people live their life in years, not in experiences. And the example he gave was he asked the gentleman who was interviewing him, Tom Bill, you know, how often did Tom see his parents?
Tom said a couple of times a year. He said, Well, how old are your parents? And Tom said, Seven years old. And his Jesse said, Here’s here’s the challenge with the way we live. If you live in years and not experiences, he said, Your parents are 70 years old and you see him twice a year. Let’s imagine your parents live to be 80 years old.
You believe you have ten years left with them. But that’s not true. If you only see them twice a year, you have two experiences left with them. And that when I heard it’s R say that, it floored me because Amy and I live a thousand miles away from our family. My parents are now 76 and 75 respectively. Her mom’s 71 and we don’t have a ton of years left of them.
And if we’re only seeing them twice a year, which is our case, man, that’s really not a lot of experiences left. So we have made the decision. We are headed back to Wisconsin. So if any of my Wisconsin listeners are tuning in today, we’re coming back. All right. Well, let’s bring it back now to here I am in the Midwest doing a two day workshop for an insurance agency who’s met who sells commercial and benefits, commercial insurance benefits.
And what we were working on was their differentiator. And what they were struggling with is they had two products, one on the benefit and one inside the benefits team, one inside the commercial that they felt were different. But the way they were messaging the programs did not sound different. You know, they believed all the right things. They believe that the health insurance is unaffordable.
They believe that health care, the health care system is full of misaligned incentives, and they believe that most businesses are overpaying for their insurance, which is what a lot of you believe listening in. Right. But how they were message messaging, it was very similar to what the competition was saying. So it was hard to open doors. They didn’t get a chance to talk about these unique programs because the messaging, the words they spoke were not causing the prospects to want to know more.
And so we sat down for two days and we whiteboard it and workshop how they can create a difference, creating message around these programs so that when they walk in to prospects, the prospects look at what they have to offer and they respond with a I don’t know what this is, but I have never heard this before. And that’s what we’re going to focus on in today’s episode is what can you do?
How can you build your differentiator? So when you’re out meeting with Prospect, you’re opening doors. First of all, you’re intriguing them. You’re opening doors with intriguing marketing, but when you walk into those doors and have a conversation with prospects, what can you say? What can you do to have prospects looking at you going, Man, I don’t know what that is, but I’ve never heard this before and we need to know more.
So the question I want to ask you is how do you make sure you look different than your competitors? And it comes down to two things. What are you saying and how are you saying it? What are you saying and how are you saying it? Now before I get in to the details of what I did or how I helped this agency create this differentiator, what they were able to build, you need to make a few mindset shifts to get us in the right to get yourself in the right position to think about how you are going to create a different message than your competition.
The first one is your differentiator cannot be built on your size of your firm or your capabilities of the firm. That doesn’t win anymore. I don’t care if you work for the largest consulting firm in the world your size and capabilities can’t be your differentiator. So let’s just start there. Size and capabilities are a nonstarter. And for what’s interesting is if you represent a smaller, independent agency, you certainly can’t play the size or capability game.
However, if you represent the big five firms in our industry, you’re most likely competing with the other big five firms. So you two can’t use size, capable and capability because you’re all talking about the same things. The second shift we have to make is your ability to negotiate with the carriers can’t be your differentiator. I hear this all the time when I ask firms what makes you unique, what’s your differentiator?
Well, I think it’s our ability to to reduce rates and negotiate with the carriers. We have a lot of good, solid relationships with the carriers. That can’t be your differentiation even if you are the best negotiator in the industry, guess what? Your competition is saying the same thing and the last shift is your competition can’t or your differentiator can’t be We control cost better than our competition.
We provide self-funded plans, better than our competition. Anything that says we do what our competition does, but we do it better can’t be your differentiator. That’s not going to win you any business. You have to walk in with something that is literally different. So how can you do it? How can you have a program, have a product? Your competition can’t get their hands on?
Because here’s a reality. If you’re an insurance today, if you offer a product that’s on the commercial side, that might be auto workshop. GL, building insurance, whatever it might be. On the benefits side, it’s medical insurance, life insurance, disability, you name it, dental vision. Everybody has access to selling that. Now, on the commercial side, I get it. You can block out markets with certain carriers.
But my point is everybody has access to sell the same products. So selling those products better than your competition can’t be your differentiator. You have to have something they don’t have. And this brings me back to the two day workshop. Last week. I actually take that back by the time this airs. It’ll be two weeks ago. How can you build something that is completely different than your competition?
Well, here’s the question. I kicked off the two day workshop with and and it’s one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself if you want to build a strong marketing message and a unique differentiator in the market. And that is this question What do you do as well as anyone in this market? What do you do as well as anyone in your market?
Now, the first answer that will come out of your mouth will not be the right answer. But if you take time to dig into what your unique differentiator is, you’ll uncover it. In the case of this agency, they realized on the benefits side, they had a very unique self-funded program. They were selling on the commercial side. They realized they had a very unique program they were using as a Trojan horse to help prospects get money back from overpaid premiums.
Now, here’s what was interesting. When they talked to prospects, they were using these two programs. They were talking about them almost just in passing to try to generate some interest with their prospects. However, what came out of the two day workshop was a clarity around how they’re going to make these two unique programs the focal point of their entire marketing and sales strategy, because what they realized is what they had on their hands was gold.
They had this this benefit, this self-funded program. They were offering to prospects wasn’t just a program, it was a process. What they had on the commercial side, this unique program they were using to help companies get money back from overpaid premiums wasn’t just a product. It was a process by which they helped their prospects. And when we built an entire marketing and sales strategy, a marketing and sales process around these two unique programs, you literally saw the demeanor in their face.
They’re there, the behavior change. What they used to use as just a conversation starter became their entire marketing and sales strategy. So now when they send out the emails, when they put out the LinkedIn post, when they’re hosting webinars, when they’re connecting with Prosper X, their message sounds entirely different than the competition. Why they have a product, air quotes around the product.
They have a product their competition can’t get their hands on. That is how you create a differentiator. When you take time to answer the question, What do I do or What do we do as a team? Better than anyone in our market? When you sit down and you answer that question, you dig deep to find where your passion and purpose lie.
That is where you will find your differentiator when you know you have something different, when you know you have a program, a product, a process, your competition can’t replicate, you will completely reignite the passion and the purpose you bring to your prospecting. And I’m here to tell you that profit lies at the intersection of passion and purpose. So find what makes you unique.
Find what your differentiator is. That unique program, that unique process you’ve built, and develop an entire develop your entire marketing and sales strategy around it. Stop talking about health insurance cost that you control cost better than anyone in the market. Stop talking about the health care myths that that you you bring alignment within the health care system. Yes, I know that is what you do.
But if you develop a process, a program that helps solve those problems, you’re going to have something your competition doesn’t. And it is gold because now in your marketing, in your emails, in your social media, your prospects are going to be seeing your stuff and saying, I don’t know what this is, but I have never heard anybody talk about this this way before.
I have never heard about this program before. We need to know more. You now become unique and the number one way to grow a book of business today, the number one way to book appointments with the right prospects is to be unique because your uniqueness is the bridge between unknown and unstoppable.
So my takeaway for you today is this Sit down with your team. If you’re a solopreneur, sit down by yourself to sit down and answer the question, what do we do as well as anyone in our market? What is that unique thing we do that nobody else does, and then make that the focal point of your marketing and sales strategy and everything will change for you because you know what happens when you get clarity and you mix it with confidence. You do amazing things. So take what you heard today, leverage it, go tell the market why you’re unique. Share a program your competition doesn’t have and you will jump the gap between unknown and unstoppable. And you will leave your competition in the dust. Be good.