How to Pluck a Peacock

You know the drill. You are working on a larger account, the type that draws the attention of the “Peacocks”. Who are the Peacocks? They are the Global or Mega Brokers who are coming down into your marketplace while you go upstream into theirs. “We are the biggest”, they claim. “We are the best”, they crow. “Our resources are second to none”, they boast. While at the same time, they are attempting to dazzle the prospect with a current client list, flashy reports, and a team of people in fancy suits (many of which the prospect will never see or have access to in the future). It is all about perception. You must not allow yourself to get dragged into that contest. Not only is it difficult for most regional brokers to consistently win, the key ingredient is missing: The Peacock feather display is all about them and NOT the client or prospect. Here is something that you should really be aware of: A prospect’s sense of urgency is ultimately about their business improvement. They have been led to believe that the feather display leads to a much better outcome. But, they have no proof of this. In fact, the proof they are given usually revolves entirely around the insurance placements and insurance terms (loss ratios, e-mods, risk financing mechanisms, capacity, etc.). It is critical that you operate in the world of data, outcomes and financial improvements. Once you do this, the feathers of the Peacocks are no longer relevant. The buyer now knows where to look and the questions to ask. So, let’s talk for a minute about how to compete against the Peacocks and consistently pluck their feathers:
  1. Focus the prospect or client on what is important. It is not about the display, it is about the impact. Frame your discussion around your financial impact and include your ability to improve their EBITDA, margins and ownership valuations.
  2. Provide your prospect or client with quantifiable results. Once you have your buyer properly positioned, back up your conversation with FACTS. Create the data-based presentation that provides them with decision support on how you have impacted (or will) their business results.
  3. Maintain your position from the beginning to the end. No matter what display of feathers the Peacocks provide, keep your message consistent. They will attempt to pull you into their playing field, but you just can’t go there. If you do, the focus will go in the wrong direction… back to the feathers, not the buyer.
  4. Accept the fact that there are some fights you just can’t win. This will happen when you are competing on a Risk Management account where the buyer is either “old school” or brainwashed. This type of buyer is stuck in the past and believes in processes rather than outcomes. Fortunately, many of these old schoolers are leaving the industry.
Top-performing regional and privately-held brokers are learning exactly how to successfully compete with the Peacocks. You have the resources, capabilities, markets and expertise to do it. Also, your firm is committed to following up on your promise of improved financial outcomes long after the Peacocks have left the field. You need to put together a display of your own that turns the buyer’s eyes from feathers to quantifiable facts. Best Regards to Analytic Brokers™ Rob Ekern, CAB (Certified Analytic Broker™) Chairman, TCORCalc®

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