On this episode of The Digital Broker, Ryan Deeds reflects on what it means to be a digital broker. By listening to this episode, you will learn:
- Why being a digital broker is less about an attachment to specific tools and more about a mindset of adaptability.
- What that mindset requires you to focus on before you decide which tools are worth using.
What does it mean to be a digital broker? Is it to use technology to help customers solve their problems? That’s a partially correct definition, but it’s incomplete. Technology is always changing, and tools that work today might already be out of date tomorrow. Therefore, merely using digital tools is no guarantor of success.
In our view, being a digital broker is less about an attachment to specific tools and more about a mindset—a mindset that favors adaptability. Tools come and go, and a broker has to know when it’s time to drop outdated tools in favor of new ones. To do this, the broker needs to be guided by principles that precede the selection of specific tools.
A good example of this is data. You could have the best tools in the world, but if they’re not driving up sales and retention, how valuable do you think they are? And if you’re incapable of tracking retention and sales, how would you know what’s working? That’s why data is so important: without it, you don’t know what you’re doing. Once you have decided to take data seriously, and you’ve determined which metrics matter, you will be in a better position to select the right data-tracking tool for your agency.
Digital brokers also have to be committed to customer experience. Your customers will judge you by the tools you make them use, so which tools do you think would gratify them? How would you know if you haven’t taken the trouble to know your customers? What would be the point of having, say, the best email communication tool in the world if it turns out that your customers would rather be texted?
Of course, in order to satisfy customers, you need to have some in the first place, so it helps to have a good sales culture in place. Previously, producers generated leads with only a few tools—maybe a phone and a golf club—but today’s agencies rely on sophisticated marketing engines to produce leads and refer them to producers and account executives. How does your marketing engine work, and which tools help it run better or faster?
Finally, there’s process architecture. If you consistently make customers happy, chances are that your business will grow, but a modern insurance agency needs to be able to scale without incurring unnecessary costs and operational hassles. Tools exist to keep your processes in place without having to increase headcount, but unless you’re keeping an eye on your processes and workflows, you won’t know which tools you need and when.
Those are the fundamentals of a digital broker mindset: data, customer experience, sales culture, and process architecture. You might disagree as to which principles are more important, and that’s fine. The point is that principles come before operations and tools. Digital brokers select tools to fit their principles, not the other way around.
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