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Acres of Diamonds (Part 2) – A Great Story to Kick off 2012

December 23, 2011

In part 1 of Acres of Diamonds – A Great Story to Kick off 2012  we introduced you to Ben Jones, a thoughtful third generation agency principal.  Ben came to work on a  Monday morning to learn that his seven key producers had decided to exit his firm.

The Meeting

Ben worked up the courage to call a team meeting so he could break the news to his staff. Ben told the Acres of Diamonds story and he challenged his staff to look deep in their hearts to save the agency.

To a person, his associates were set for the challenge. beyon insurance

Ben appointed a team leader for each stakeholder and asked each employee to participate on one of the Stakeholder Intimacy and Relationship Management teams.  Six stakeholder teams with six staff members representing each.  At 2:00 on Monday afternoon, each team went their separate ways to design a Stakeholder Intimacy and Relationship Management System.  Little did each employee know that this exercise would change the face of the agency forever.

By 5:00 that afternoon each team responded to the following 4 questions:

  1. Why are our stakeholders (clients, carriers, staff, centers of influence, prospects and community) so important to our agency?
  2. What is each stakeholder’s primary need?
  3. What is the agency doing now to shine these diamonds?
  4. What strategies should the agency consider to allow each stakeholder to know how much we value them?

The energy created by the “Acres of Diamonds” Stakeholder Intimacy and Relationship Management exercise was exactly what the doctor ordered.  In responding to the four questions, all 36 members of Ben’s organization had a renewed vigor as well as a passion and purpose to implement change in the agency. beyond insurance

Within days, Intimacy Action Plans were built for each of the six key stakeholders – clients, carriers, staff, centers of influence, prospects and community.  Each Plan contained a variety of services, strategies and tools to shine the diamonds.

By the end of the week, Ben’s organization was prepared to introduce a new client relationship management system comprised of a 10-step intimacy and relationship management process. A number of additional intimacy and relationship management initiatives were also in the works including center of influence lunch and learns, trusted advisor client roundtable discussions, staff and family events, and community outreach projects.

The results were amazing. 

Ben’s staff did not lose one client to the departed producers.  The insurance companies quickly came to respect the System and adored its Carrier Appreciation Program.  Centers of Influence attended the Risk Management Leadership Programs and loved the newsletters.  Client and center of influence referrals came in waves.  The staff and its families were invigorated.  Most importantly, the agency’s 90 year old brand and reputation in the community was preserved.

Today, three years later, the firm has crossed the $10,000,000 revenue mark.  All of its operating ratios have significantly improved.  And, the staff is having a ball.  Ben’s Uncle Bill, Dad and Grandad would be so proud.  Thanks to the “Acres of Diamonds” Stakeholder Intimacy and Relationship Management System, Ben’s firm has learned to thrive without traditional producers.

Whatever challenges your agency might face in 2012, remember to shine your diamonds!

Scott Addis

For more ideas on how to break the commodity trap connect with Beyond Insurance on:

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The author, Scott Addis is the President and CEO of The Addis Group and Addis Intellectual Capital, LLC (AIC). AIC is a coaching and consulting company whose purpose is to transform the process that insurance agents, brokers and carriers use when working with clients. Scott is recognized as an industry leader having been awarded the Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award as well as “25 Most Innovative Agents in America”. Scott can be reached at or 610-945-1019.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 27, 2011 2:12 pm

    I love, love, love this story – Very inspiring. You’re a consummate Corporate Philosopher and I appreciate the opportunity to learn from you.

    Thank you – enjoying your blog very much.

    Stacy Brown

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