Does your vision paint a picture that people can see and follow? Does your vision lead to action? How do you know? Do you know why your employees work for you or your customers do business with you? Most people will tell me it’s because of what they do and how they do it. Rarely do they tell me why? What you do and how you do it are not as important as why. Your why is your vision. Your way paints a picture and leads employees and customers to want to do business with you.
Whenever I start working with an organization the question I ask the most is why?
I was working with a tired, frustrated, and struggling insurance agency. This man had spent over 20 years as a successful hi-tech executive. When his domestic situation changed, he found himself as the custodial parent of his 10- and 14-year-old daughters. When I asked him why took over an insurance agency. He said “In hi-tech, I use to travel over two weeks every month. Now that I have custody of my two young daughters I can’t travel. I have to be a full-time Dad.” While this man is to be applauded for putting his children first, his why statement wasn’t leading people to his door.
So, I asked him to tell me about the business. He said, “I don’t know much about the insurance world, so I asked the local management how do I get this started. They told me ‘The best practice is once you select a location for your office, you market to the zip codes within a 15-to-20-mile radius. There are plenty of people in this radius and the customers don’t have to drive far to your office. You meet and sell them insurance.’”
So, I said, “That sounds easy enough. How is that going?” He answered, “Not very well. The most profit this agency had ever made in one year was $5,000. The guy before me sold a lot of policies and received commissions, but the agency was not very profitable. Most of the customers I inherited just want the lowest possible amount of insurance. They constantly pay late and most of my time is spent calling for payment and putting canceled policies back in force.” Then he stopped, looked me directly in the eyes, and said with great frustration, “I hate what I am doing!”
I said, “Let’s think about this for a minute. If the best practice isn’t working for you then it’s not a best practice is it?” He didn’t have his own vision. He was blindly following what someone else believed he should be doing. He was not living his life, he was living what others expected.
So, we set out to create a vision that he could clearly articulate. We changed his Why statement (his vision) to: We protect our client’s hopes and dreams. This is why we do what we do. Now, how are we going to do that? We changed his How statement to: We provide the best possible service and coverage for the fairest price. Not the lowest price. The lowest price model takes away your value. Focusing on price makes you a commodity.
In neither statement do we mention what he does, which is to sell insurance? Do you know why? Because NO ONE really cares that he sells insurance. They want to know why he sells insurance.
We redefined his target market to business professionals with an income greater than $150K, at least one house, two cars, children and you drive to see them at their homes or offices. Why? Because these are the people who have the hopes and dreams, they want to protect. His vision clearly resonated with this target market. He started to secure the “right” customers all throughout the state.
Within two years the agency made $750K in profit. Over the 13 years this man owned the business it averaged $400K in profit each year even with all the California fires. In addition, he retained over 90% of his customers. A 90% retention is unheard of in the insurance world. He has since sold the business and is living the “good life.”
So once again, my question to you is does your vision paint a picture that people can see and follow? Does your vision lead to action? Call me, let’s talk, I’ll help you.