Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Management

The importance of a smart meeting or call agenda

It's essential to sales and prospecting.

You can create any kind of agenda you need for any given situation. (Photo: iStock)
You can create any kind of agenda you need for any given situation. (Photo: iStock)

The single most effective yet under-utilized tool in a salesperson's arsenal is "The Agenda."

While other time-tested and effective tools include fact-finders, surveys/audits, and sales proposals, learning the proper use of an agenda is the one essential process that satisfies all interested parties: producers, CSRs, agency management, E&O attorneys, and most of all, the customer. Careful thought and preparation of the agenda in advance of meeting with the client or prospect is key to the success of that meeting.

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This is especially true with insurance.

Producers should first review the previous meeting's agenda (provided one had taken place) to refresh their memory on what was discussed, what decisions were made, what items were to be researched, who was in attendance, and — this is critical — what topics were deferred to be revisited at the next meeting. Those topics should now be at the top of the agenda, as the customer has already agreed to talk about them.

As an example, you might have raised the topic of reviewing and funding the customer's shareholder agreement and the life insurance needed to fund it, but they chose to defer the discussion until next time. Well, this is next time. Many future sales come from producers putting the deferred topics on the agenda.

Next, send the agenda to the customer about a week in advance of the meeting with any other information for their review in preparation for the meeting, such as schedules of insurance and a list of autos and drivers. Be sure to find out who will attend the meeting and provide the agenda and related material to them as well. Providing the agenda a week in advance is the best timing.

Put up your prospecting antenna.

New sales opportunities also often arise from those in attendance at the meeting. They frequently become interested and stimulated to think about topics and situations that are not listed on the agenda. They love to jump in to participate and make great suggestions such as increasing limits, broadening the scope of coverage, and transferring or reducing risk. Over my five-plus decades of selling insurance, I can't tell you how many new customers I gained just from this process alone.

Agency CSRs love an agenda, too. Leave enough space between each item to make notes on the discussion, what decisions were (and were not) made, future business sales, payroll projections and other relevant information. The entire agenda, with the producer's notations, should be scanned into the agency management system.

Your Errors & Omissions/Professional Liability carriers also love the agendas that have notes to memorialize meetings with the customer. E&O attorneys will tell you it is one of the best documents to defend an E&O action. One never knows how important these notes can be later.

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Customers probably benefit more than you may realize from the use of agendas. I have seen agendas from years past retained in customer's files. Customers appreciate the time and care producers take to prepare them for insurance meetings. So many times customers tell you that shortly after an insurance meeting, they forget most of what was discussed, but thanks to the agenda you provided they can easily reference everything that was discussed.

You can create any kind of agenda you need for any given situation. I created the one below for a recent meeting in New York City with a hospitality customer (a growing restaurant chain). My notes are not provided. How many new sales opportunities can you find on this agenda?

Sample Agenda

Insurance Meeting Agenda June 20, 2017

              • Review Insurance Schedules

              • Discuss Umbrella & Excess limits of insurance

              • Liquor Legal Liability - no coverage - discuss

              • Cyber Insurance - open quote pending

              • Business projections balance of 2018

                • Sales

                • New locations to open

              • Food Delivery / Catering exposures

              • Key Man Insurance - discuss need

              • Funding Shareholders’ Buy-Sell Agreement - discuss

              • Other issues

Barry Seigerman is a longtime businessman and independent broker/producer based in Long Island, N.Y. He can be reached by sending email to bmseigerman@gmail.com.

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