Treat Your Clients Like Southwest Treats Babies

  • Posted on November 27, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Fotolia_39839825_XLMy family returned home from vacation this weekend by flying Southwest from Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood Airport.  From the moment we entered the terminal, I was pleasantly surprised by the extra attention and flexibility Southwest’s employees offered to the needs of my infant daughter.  We were guided to a special terminal to check-in, whisked though security with no wait, and offered an extra seat on the plane at no charge for our child’s numerous supplies.  At every opportunity, we were provided with service and care above our expectations.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law and his wife flew from a different airport on a different airline.  Their original flight was delayed, then after finally boarding they waited on the tarmac for nearly three hours only to learn they would be deplaning and their flight would be cancelled.  The following morning they returned to the airport at 7am to learn their flight was again delayed and eventually cancelled.  Finally they were able to take separate flights to separate airports to begin their journey home 24 hours behind schedule.

Our travel experiences show the vast disparity in service and customer care offered by different airlines.  The question is: what type of service does your organization provide?  Do you treat your clients Southwest treats babies?

Originally Posted on March 25, 2013 by John Scranton

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5 Sun Tzu Quotes You Can Apply to Business

  • Posted on November 12, 2017
  • by John Scranton
  • A leader leads by example, not by force.
  • Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
  • The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
  • Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
  • If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

From the Archives – Originally Posted on February 25, 2013 by John Scranton

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Forcing Function vs. Failure

  • Posted on October 23, 2017
  • by John Scranton

1Recently my team met with a prospective client to discuss a website development project.  This great group of talented people mentioned that they have had difficultly with internal website projects in the past.  We responded by explaining that this is very common, and is in fact one of the reasons StartUpSelling exists.  We provide project management and become a forcing function to meet deadlines, goals, and to complete projects.

Many of you who have handled website projects internally (or outsourced design and coding but provided content, editing and project management) can relate to the obstacles standing in the way of success.  Tell me if any of these scenarios sound familiar:

  • Our CEO has not yet approved the design.  Of course s/he hasn’t – s/he just interviewed a new producer over lunch and is trying to buy another agency this afternoon.  Maybe the website will earn 5 minutes of attention on a Sunday night.  Maybe not.
  • Our benefits and financial services pages are not yet approved by compliance.  And it might be weeks before they do.  Your internal financial services director is in Chicago closing a 401k for a 500 life group.  No time to make another follow up with the broker/dealer.
  • We can’t agree on the navigation structure.  Since there is no website design specialist on your team, it is going to be impossible to select the right nav.  My web dev team would not be able to build consensus and select the best health plan for their needs – its not their job.  Nav design isn’t yours.

These are just a few of dozens of stumbling blocks we have seen insurance organizations experience.  Everyone already has a day job.  Allocating time to project manage a website is not realistic.  A forcing function is needed from an expert in the field.  Without a forcing function, a project is destined for failure.

Originally Posted on February 22, 2013 by John Scranton

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5 Business Quotes to Start Your Day

  • Posted on July 25, 2017
  • by John Scranton
  1. The more people who own little businesses of their own, the safer our country will be, and the better off its cities and towns; for the people who have a stake in their country and their community are its best citizens. – John Hancock
  2. All men’s gains are the fruit of venturing. – Herodotus
  3. In business, there’s such a thing as an invaluable person, but no such thing as an indispensable one. – Malcolm Forbes
  4. Business is the salt of life. – Thomas Fuller
  5. No nation was ever ruined by trade. – Benjamin Franklin

For Additional Business Quotes of Interest:

Posted on October 22, 2012 by John Scranton

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Would You Buy It For $1?

  • Posted on July 17, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Those of you who have read our sales and marketing tips book Sell More & Work Less are familiar with the question: Would you buy it if  the cost was $1?  This an easy question to ask that usually elicits a candid response.  It is a great way to begin asking the “hard questions” in the sales process.

If the answer is no, the conversation is over.  You have failed to convey the value of your solution, and the prospect does not believe it would help them – even at a nominal cost.  If you cannot give it away, stop trying to sell it.  Bow out gracefully and try to learn something from your experience.  Inquire about why your solution did not appear to meet needs or where your ROI scenario broke down.  Leave with knowledge instead of nothing.

If the answer is yes, then you have an opportunity.  The prospect sees a potential fit and some level of value. You may have a deal coming if you are able to able find terms that work for both parties.  You will also quickly uncover the purchasing process and the authority of your contact.  The answers you hear will often begin with “yes, but…” – and that is a good thing.  You now know what challenge you need to overcome to earn the business.

Originally Posted on September 18, 2012 by John Scranton

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10 More Business Quotes to Start Your Day

  • Posted on July 13, 2017
  • by John Scranton
  1. Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. – Earl Nightengale
  2. Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile. – Gary Ryan Blair
  3. A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it. – William Feather
  4. Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something. – Thomas A. Edison
  5. The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.  – Napoleon Hill
  6. Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness.  – Thomas Carlyle
  7. High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. – Charles Kettering
  8. If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business. – B. C. Forbes
  9. Carpe per diem – seize the check. – Robin Williams
  10. Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed. – Peter Drucker

Originally Posted on August 30, 2012 by John Scranton

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Wedding Plans & Marketing Plans

  • Posted on June 29, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Social Media StrategyMy wife and I attended weddings each of the last three weekends.  While we enjoyed the celebrations, I took note of the planning and coordination which allowed each event to proceed successfully, providing an enjoyable experience for the guests.  Many different skill sets are required to put a wedding together – here are just a few:

  • Caterer
  • Florist
  • Band/DJ
  • Limo Service
  • Printer

A wedding planner or a highly involved bride & groom must bring all of these vendors and typically many more together seamlessly to deliver effectively.  This is a massive undertaking – even for a one day event!

Many businesses attempt to internalize their marketing needs, assuming it will be like planning their own wedding.  They assign a marketing director the tasks of website management, email marketing, social media marketing and more.  If the marketing director has access to a highly skilled marketing team, or if the campaign were to only last one day, this might be a reasonable task.  But marketing is a process that takes time, constant nurturing and many different skill sets.  Marketing is more akin to hosting a wedding 7 days a week.

The most effective solution for many organizations is to outsource their marketing needs to a savvy agency that is well versed in managing the talent needed to consistently deliver results in the various marketing campaigns required for sustained growth.  This requires access to an arsenal of expert web developers, email marketers, social media marketers, graphic designers, callers, SEO specialists and coordination of their activities by a senior marketing expert with extensive business experience.

Before you assign a member of your team the designation of marketing director – or permanent wedding planner – make certain they have access to the resources required to succeed.

Originally Posted on July 6, 2012 by John Scranton

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Sales & Marketing Tip of the Day: Narrow Your Focus

  • Posted on June 6, 2017
  • by John Scranton

What services do you provide?  Why would people want to do business with you?  How are you better than the next guy?

These simple questions are much too difficult for many agency executives to answer.  The answers are clouded by the abstract concepts and strategies we read in the trade magazines explaining how to mask the fact that we are selling insurance.  The quandary is further complicated for those who are striving to be everything to everyone – and are at risk of being nothing to no one.

The fastest and most effective path to cleaning the dust off of your value proposition and finding your true mission as a salesperson or producer is to narrow your focus.  Keep throwing the darts at the 20 until you can consistently hit your target.  Only then should you consider going for the 19’s, 18’s or bulls-eye.

StartUpSelling provides marketing solutions to insurance agencies.  Our deep industry expertise allows us to understand the challenges our clients face and to create effective solutions.  Our virtual model allows us to deliver a compelling value and responsive service.

Those are my responses to questions above.  Delivered from memory as fast as I can type.  They are easy to answer, because we have a highly focused sales and marketing strategy.

Originally Posted on May 14, 2012 by John Scranton

 

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10 Life & Business Lessons from Thomas Jefferson

  • Posted on May 8, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Jefferson

  1. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
  2. He who knows best knows how little he knows.
  3. Delay is preferable to error.
  4. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
  5. Never spend your money before you have earned it.
  6. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
  7. I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
  8. Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
  9. Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
  10. Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.

Originally Posted on February 22nd, 2012 by John Scranton

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Social Media – A Fast & Simple Solution To Client Feedback

  • Posted on May 4, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency SEOBake a cupcake instead of a cake. Why? The answer is simple. Begin small.

You can bake a cake for several of your friends. But when you bake cupcakes, you show individual attention and commitment. Social media marketing creates the same phenomenon.

Client feedback is like oxygen for a business, and as the connected generation continues to grow, social platforms become an increasingly effective tool to glean feedback.

Social media has rapidly gained the attention and enthusiasm of many, and businesses can leverage their passion to generate feedback.

This process creates access to the thoughts and feelings of your clients and offers the opportunity to understand their needs and expectations. Examples of what social media can provide:

  1. Buzz generation
  2. Listening aids to hear client feedback
  3. Uncover potential issues & glean suggestions
  4. Generate client testimonials

Social media may seem daunting and challenging, but once initiated agencies will uncover great opportunity. To learn more, click here!

Originally Posted on January 27, 2015 by John Scranton

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