One of my favorite movies, Field of Dreams, tells the story of a man fought to make his dream a reality. I know it’s only a movie, but are there any lessons here we can all relate to?
Throughout the entire film, Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, is crazed with the idea of building a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field. I say ‘crazed,’ because Ray is driven by a voice telling him, “If you build it, they will come.” He does his best to ignore the voice, but he keeps hearing it, and then one day he has a vision of the baseball diamond that the voice wants him to build.
So Ray gets to work. He plows under his corn and begins to construct the ball field. Months go by and the farm struggles and the family financials head south.
Is Ray crazy or inspired? He is certainly taking a huge risk. His farm (think firm or agency) was already struggling due to market shifts (apropos the ACA and healthcare reform), and his revenue was dependent on his corn crop (insurance sales). Adding to the pressure, he’s confronted by other choices: His brother in law wants to take the land (your firm) and sell it to a developer (some large global publicly traded organization).
Ray realizes he needs some advice (industry mentoring, customer surveys and study groups), so he heads off to Fenway Park, where he meets with some baseball legends and recruits his first new customer.
Lessons to be learned
In the end, Ray builds it and they come: old time ball players, young fans, local people. The farm is successful once again, and Ray and his family are much happier. Ray has created a new revenue stream and devised a new way to way to monetize his land. What can benefit advisers learn from this story?
· Turn over the crop by looking for new markets and prospects. Get crazy and go to a new zip code!
· Don’t be one of those agencies that operate on auto pilot and simply send in XYZ Insurer every year. After 12 years of quoting for XYZ . . . do something else.
· Find a partner. If you are a 100% benefit shop, find a strong P&C shop. CPAs and law firms are client focused, understand strategy and the new relationship could be energizing.
· Join a study group. Back in the day, you had to earn the right to be part of a study group. If you can’t find one, start one and invite your new relationships, old relationships and COI’s. If you need an East Coast member…give me a call!
· Conduct a focus group. Bring in your top three-to-five clients and seven-to-ten prospects. Guess what? Once others hear about them, you will have people calling you to participate.
· Adapt to the new world and redefine your value proposition. Regardless of who will be our next president, some degree of HCR is here to stay. We have been talking about changing, but have you actually changed?
· Become an expert. If not HCR . . . something.
· Engage a business coach. Everyone can improve, and everyone can use that extra push. Just like with actors and athletes, your coach will push you outside of your comfort zone and get you to the next level.
Whatever you decide, I hope you build it. I am confident that, not only will they come, turning your vision into reality will bring you to a much better place. See you at Fenway!
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