Becoming the Trusted Advisor – Part 2

In Part 1 we covered why you want to become the Trusted Advisor – the benefits and value to you, your staff and all those connected to the agency – directly and indirectly as well as introduced the program that David Levy built to help agencies make the transition to a Trusted Advisor model.  Agencies that successfully transition commit to the process and the adoption of a platform that uses the acronym KAR:

 K is knowledge base,

A is the activity of analyzation, and

R is response. 

In many cases, your agency did not have a base operating model that was simple and clearly defined like this one…so this is new. If you have an operating model centered on core values, then connect those key characteristics into this structure as we review each area individually.

Knowledge is important to being a trusted advisor. To be knowledgeable, is also to be experienced. Knowledge and experience inspire trust, dependability, reliability, and honesty in a business relationship.  Industry knowledge should embrace the laws of the industry, policy language, risks management, coverages, competition, products, services, trends, methodologies, techniques, models, and the needs of your customer.  Having an in-depth knowledge in these areas stimulates certainty, and confidence which allows for customers to be educated and the ability make buying decision with less hesitation and more confidence.   The idea of “not selling insurance but teaching people how to purchase insurance” is the basis of the Trusted Advisor relationship. Having a strong knowledge base will provide the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the needs of your customer and optimize your ability to deliver the highest quality solutions.  Knowledge and experience allow you and your customer to receive the maximum benefit from the customer relationship.

Analyze indicates the ability to accumulate information and in turn examine and explore the significance of the information relating to a particular circumstance.  Additionally, use that information to derive a conclusion that offers a benefit, solution, or direction to optimize an outcome.  Being able to gather pertinent information that is relevant to a customer’s needs is paramount in providing an effective solution.  Central to the success is having an effective “interview” process that can extract the most valuable information illustrating the needs of a customer.  Listening skills become a significant factor in performing “the ultimate interview” as well as asking the right questions.  This interview should identify inherent risks, gaps, and the mindset of your customer. Evaluations or the analyzation of this information will assess the needs of your customer. Relying on your knowledge, experience, resources, confidence and in some cases your level of empathy, you can diagnose the issues at hand and develop the most effective solutions that supports the goals of your customer.

 Response is a thoughtful communication that educates your customer and provides a benefit improving a situation or circumstance.  A response identifies the issues, provides information, explains the “how’s” and the “whys”, includes insights, stories of success, examples, information, and is of high quality and viewed as a “safe haven for the hard issues”.   Offering a fact base explanation that is includes the issues at hand, a diagnosis of the issues and a plan of action to resolve the issues.  A response should resolve problems, add comfort, and give the customer the feeling you have a deep understanding of them and their needs.  Being genuinely interested creates a connection with your customer intellectually, emotionally and develops the foundation for a long-term business relationship ensuring optimal ACV’s, robust referrals, and being accepted as a Trusted Advisor.  

The result of implementing this approach – that’s what we covered in part 1 – go back and see the list! Practically speaking – agencies that follow this approach are easier to operate, have more value and provide for a better quality of life for all those involved with it. I know that sounds too good to be true, but that is what we work hard to help our agency principals create at Secured Advantage.