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PIANJ CEO/Agency Conference
Conference points out ways to grow business
   
 
  PIANJ past President and program moderator Paul Monacelli CIC, CPIA; David Schuppler of David Schuppler & Associates; PIANJ President Jack Lynn, CIC; PIANJ Director Nicholas SanFilippo; Kevin Shulman of Shulman & Associates; and Michael Beck of Exceptional Leadership Inc.

Growth in today's soft insurance market takes work, plus the right attitude and proven systems, according to a panel of sales consultants who coached participants at a recent conference hosted by the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey Inc.

Seeking ways to "Grow your top line," more than 120 people attended the 2008 PIANJ CEO/Agency Conference. The session brought together agents, company executives and a panel specializing in various aspects of insurance sales, including: David Schuppler, President and CEO of David Schuppler & Assocs.; Michael Beck, the "Insurance & Advisor Coach" and Kevin Shulman, President of Shulman & Assocs.

"A number of current measurements suggest a prolonged soft market," warned Nicholas SanFilippo, a member of the PIANJ Board of Directors, who introduced the program. "To grow, agencies need support from their companies; that will help them invest in tools to sell more business."


David Schuppler of David Schuppler & Associates presents "SaleSource."
 
 
Michael Beck of Exceptional Leadership Inc. presents "The Insurance and Advisor Coach."
 

Program moderator, Paul Monacelli, CIC, CPIA, past president of PIANJ told participants that the 2008 program was designed to continue the theme of agents partnering with companies to build a sales culture, the focus of the 2007 CEO/Agency Conference. "Did you all go back to your offices last year and check whether your processes help or hinder your ability to grow?" Monacelli asked. "Service is fine, but there's nothing to service until somebody sells something."

Schuppler, the first panelist to speak, explained the system he uses for targeting specific classes of prospects "like a rifle shot." Using a Web-based marketing system called SaleSource, his Wisconsin-based agency sends letters with graphics attachments to pre-selected prospects to build familiarity and pave the way for a sales call. "It takes work, but if you're not afraid of work, there is so much opportunity out there," Schuppler said.

Beck added to the discussion by recommending various methods for developing prospects and why some are more effective than others. "I favor active ways of identifying prospects, which means ways that bring your people skills into play from the start," Beck said. "How you do things is as important as what you do. Building rapport and relationships is the key to effective prospecting."


Kevin Shulman of Shulman & Associates presents "We Expect Success."
 

Last to speak was Shulman, who talked about behaviors, techniques and attitudes that go into successful selling. "I want to see a paradigm shift to where you are auditioning a potential client during a sales call-not auditioning for the client," he said. "If the prospect fails to qualify by needing your product, being able to afford it and having the authority to decide on purchasing it, then you can disqualify them and move onto the next appointment without any negative 'head trash.'"

During a lengthy question and answer session, the panelists were asked what companies can do to support their agents, beyond the obvious types of support, like cooperative advertising.

"Qualify your agents like your agents qualify their prospects," Monacelli suggested. "It's not about size-it's about growth, about being engaged and working to develop a sales culture. Then sit down with them, get to know the agency and come up with a plan together."


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