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The Discovery Process (part 3 of 3): Stop Getting Rolled by the Incumbent!

October 6, 2015

 “Steamroller” by criminalattLast week we spoke about the power of walking away.  This week, let’s address the issue of getting rolled by the incumbent! The number one criteria for assessing the viability of a lead is the prospect’s relationship with his or her incumbent.  Yet many professionals have difficulty determining this relationship.

How often have you been asked to provide a competitive bid because the prospect wants to “keep the incumbent honest?”  Has a prospect ever given the incumbent last look at your proposal to get a lower price?  If you winced at the answers to these questions, you must understand how important it is that you determine your prospect’s relationship with his or her incumbent agent or broker.

Before you invest your time, money, reputation, or other resources into a prospect, learn about the incumbent before you arrive at the first meeting.  Look them up on Facebook and LinkedIn.  Ask your carrier marketing rep and centers of influence if they have knowledge.

Learn what their strengths and weaknesses are, their level of experience, their specialties or niches.  Determine what others think the incumbent does well and what they may lack.

Once you are armed with this information, ask the prospect one or more of these questions during the first meeting:

  • “How long have you been with your existing agent or broker? What attracted you to them?”
  • “What role does your agent or broker play in your insurance and risk management program?”
  • “How well does your agent or broker know your business and the risk issues facing your organization?”
  • “Do you consider your agent or broker as a trusted advisor and at the same professional level as your CPA or attorney?”
  • “What does your agent or broker say to underwriters to leverage positive aspects of your business?”
  • “On a referability index of 0 (not referable) to 10 (highly referable), where does your current agent or broker stand?”
  • “Have you obtained any alternative proposals over the last five years? If so, why didn’t you move your business?”
  • “What would cause you to move?”

By developing a system to gauge the relationship between the incumbent and your prospect, you’ll be well on your way to a better new business hit ratio, and you won’t risk wasting your time, confidence, reputation, and money on non-productive prospecting.

What questions do you ask to determine the incumbent’s relationship with a prospect?


This article was pulled exclusively from the minds of the Beyond Insurance marketing team.  We strive to help you live happier, work smarter, and make more money.  However, for us to do so, we need your help!  Let us know what your biggest frustrations are within the insurance industry by clicking here.  Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the inspiration behind our next article!

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