Without a doubt it is great to have an endless rolodex (if you’re old enough to have one) and an equally strong business reputation.  It often allows a seller to forego prospecting and other steps in the sales qualification process.  Many times, an RFP would land right on their desk.  

I came from an industry where the same players endlessly traded the same business back and forth.  It became a relationship game.   Assumptions were made about the motives of the buyer and the capabilities of the seller.   The RFP was a Request for Price.  However, in a complex sale, starting at price also presents certain issues.   

Did the sales person discover the needs and goals of the buyer?   Did they uncover the obstacles that stand in the way of those goals?  Did they build a solution around their own capabilities that would address those goals?   Did they establish value of their services? 

When sales and distribution teams start with price and forego discovery, many things can go askew in the deal:

  • Wrong services are presented and included in the price.
  • Services actually needed are not presented nor included in the price.
  • All services get included and inflate the price.
  • Buying and decision-making process not understood by the seller.
  • Negotiating process becomes cumbersome and at times adversarial. 
  • Value of services is never established. 

In the end, the seller has to negotiate away dollars rather than value or services.  This leads to margin erosion from the first year of the deal.   Regardless of industry, renewals never seem to outpace inflation and adverse market conditions. 

It is critical that even the most seasoned of sales professionals receives periodic coaching and training on the entire sales process.  We provide content and curriculum based around existing sales process that will enable distribution teams to develop the skills necessary to establish and present solutions with value.  

“What happens if we train them and they leave; what happens if we don’t and they stay?”  We have all heard that one before and it is just as true today as it was when it was first uttered.  

Many organizations believe that if they hire someone with experience they won’t require much coaching or training.  It is especially true in sales.   Few organizations have in house training and even fewer provide training exclusively for the sales team.  Therefore, in many cases, coaching is left to the sales manager. 

But sales managers struggle with these four obstacles:

Demanding Work Environments

Sales managers operate in demanding environments.  They spend their day working on the hottest deals, pricing, closing, and dealing with staff (expense reports, commission checks, HR issues).  In many organizations, the sales manager is often required to push reports to executives or other corporate departments. 

Far down the list in their job description is coaching and training.  There are no measurable goals or compensation for them to train, only whether you hit your revenue goal.

Inadequate Skill Set

Most sales managers have matriculated into the role by first being a sales rep and approach the job with that mindset.  However, sales coaching is an entirely different skill set than being a sales rep.  Once past onboarding and orientation, there is usually little curriculum available.  Frankly, through no fault of their own, they do not know what to teach.  There are no college degrees in Sales Management.  

Meeting Fail

Some sales managers have the mindset that meetings fulfill coaching and training needs.  But that is often not the case. 

  • Group meeting fail:  Meetings that could include coaching and training are focused on pipeline metrics, hot deals, and corporate announcements. 
  • One-on-one meeting fail:  Some sales managers think they are conducting training when they are merely providing feedback. Feedback is reactive and occurs after events.  Coaching is proactive and occurs before events. 


The sales manager will face resistance.   Sales people, especially the seasoned ones, dislike things like coaching, training and role playing.   They think they can merely rely upon their relationships.        

With 2021 rapidly coming upon us, companies are preparing for something completely different.  Sales managers will likely have less availability, less resources and less support to provide the team with the coaching it requires for success.   Outsourcing is the most viable alternative and engaging an organization virtually during their kickoff meeting is an inexpensive and efficient way to drive revenue for 2021.    

Property and casualty update: two key sales strategies for carriers to get ahead of the hard market.

We don’t think anyone disagrees that the hard market is here to stay.  The upward trend that began in 2018 has added the instability of a pandemic, civil unrest, a regulatory environment in flux and a decrease of private capital supporting reinsurance markets. 

We know that carriers are getting ahead by disciplined balance sheet management and by reexamining terms and conditions: coverages, retentions and limits, payment terms, exclusions, all of which translate to enhanced risk selection

Those with vision however will realize that they can longer rely on their standard flow of submissions to achieve revenue and profit goals.  From a distribution perspective, we recommend carriers do two things: 

  1. Improve the quality of opportunities in development. Distribution teams and underwriters will have to unearth accounts at the broker level that fit into the tighter box, an exercise known as broker mapping.  
  2. Increase the value of revenue in the pipeline. At the account level, they must uncover the account’s business objectives.   The carrier must be able to demonstrate their value proposition to the account.

It will be mission critical that distribution and underwriting work in concert more closely than ever.  These strategies will be necessary from the large deductible down to main street markets.  They will also apply to programs, captives and alternative markets which experts believe will see a significant uptick in activity.   Those that change rapidly will be well positioned to survive current market conditions and for whatever, dare I say, becomes the new normal.  

Sales training and coaching designed for insurance carriers, brokers and TPA’s.  Contact Chris Bullick to learn more: (484) 477-9075.