Daryl Angier
Your Business|Sales Strategies
4 keys to developing new commercial business | Canadian Insurance

4 keys to developing new commercial business

Disciplined sales techniques from some of Canada's top producers

There’s no black art to developing new business opportunities for commercial accounts, say a number of brokers across the country.

Even in a struggling economy and during an unusually sustained soft market, the disciplined sales strategies that have proved to be extremely successful for some of Canada’s most notable independent firms remain the same. Here are four keys to success as identified by some top-producing brokers we interviewed.

1) Niche Specialization. Building a practice for a given industrial niche requires gaining an understanding of that sector as a whole and the business issues facing members of that industry, explains Marshall Sadd of Edmonton-based firm Lloyd Sadd.

“You’re not just delivering insurance contracts or selling premiums. You’re actually learning their business to help them identify and mitigate risk through the external resources that you can bring. Our strategy is to get to a place where we would be thought of by our clients as the outsourced risk manager.”

2) Industry Involvement. Stephane Massie and Pierre Vezina of Vezina assurances inc. recognized a unique opportunity in the sprinkler contractor market. To capitalize on it, they got heavily involved in the industry association for that sector, volunteering at the annual golf tournament and becoming a sponsor.

“After that, I was invited to be the representative of the service suppliers on the board. I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years. After a while it becomes more friendship than anything else,” says Massie.

3) Leveraging Referrals. Andrew Kemp, president of CMW insurance in Vancouver, says that he relies on his existing clients to provide him with background information on prospects he is considering approaching in the real estate and construction businesses to determine what are the most worthwhile opportunities.

“I have industry advisors, a network of people involved in selling to that same industry. We can both help each other, sort of advocate for each other when we see opportunities. We have a cup of coffee every six months and talk about what’s going on in our business and what’s going on in their business. And we’re able to compare who’s growing and who’s not and look for opportunities for each other, and make introductions.”

4) The Wedge. Sadd describes The Wedge as “a very tactical way to qualify a prospect. It determines if there’s a real opportunity by getting them to identify that they’re not getting the types of services they should be getting from their incumbent broker and getting them ready to fire them.”

This post is a condensed version of an article from the October 2010 issue of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine. To read the full article, click here.