Archive for April, 2009


Great podcast, IMHO, on the conundrum of independent agents and Web sites.  Please join this conversation via Comments below.  Peter and I and the other readers will enjoy pinging your ideas back and forth with you.

Listen in [Couple boggles with the tech on the front-end, but it goes away - phew!]


Insurance Journal podcast with Rick Morgan, Peter van Aartrijk as referenced.

Younger owners doing well… large, forward-thinking brokers doing well…The rest?  Opportunity out there.

Think of the Web site as the busiest office of the agency.

Agents get business from referrals…but are they being found via ‘referred’ searching?

And once they get found, what is the Web site saying?  How do they handle the care-and-feeding of the Web site?

Interesting comments about Agents and Blogging – Wow, POWERFUL stuff!

Great suggestion about finding sales people – people good at solving problems and helping people, not prima-dona producers.

Aartrijk Brand Camp in Chicago.  This is going to be VERY cool.

Word: “You’re good communicators.  Leverage it.”


On deck: Tonya Busic, a diamond in the rough, on Web Usability and other “Progressive” ideas!

In the hole: Steve Snell on the ROI of insurance technology.


I had an opportunity to contribute on an eBook on selling in a down economy, my focus being from the perspective of insurance agents selling to consumers.  Perhaps the content might also be helpful for others on the bizdev side of things within the insurance space.  Please comment. 

No lurking!

A Guide by Salespeople for Salespeople on How to Sell Your Way to Recovery

Download this Free eBook

Selling in a recession is tough. And simply doing more of the same is not the way to survive, much less thrive, in a recession. There are important dos and don’ts in times like these. This eBook is your industry-specific roadmap out of the economic slump.

Selling through a Slump: An Industry-by-Industry Playbook
brings together sales strategies and best practices from 11 top sales experts from 11 distinct vertical market sectors, ranging from retail to health care to telecom—because one size doesn’t always fit all.
The practical tips and experience-based wisdom here aren’t just limited to any single industry, though. Regardless of your market sector, you’re bound to find value in this arsenal of great sales ideas.

Get access to exclusive tips on how to sell in a recessionary market, from renowned sales experts like Jill Konrath, Charles Green, and Dave Stein. We know you’ve got questionsthis eBook was created to give you answers.

Click here for valuable sales strategies from experts in every industry:

Charles Green, Founder and CEO,
Trusted Advisor Associates
Selling for Accountants and Consultants

Skip Anderson, Founder,
Selling to Consumers Sales Training
Selling for Retailers

Mike Kujawski, Founder,
Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing
Selling to Public Sector Clients

Mike Wise, VP,Insurance Technologies,
IdeaStar Incorporated
Selling for Insurance Agents

Matt Homann, Founder,
LexThink LLC
Selling for Lawyers

Anneke Seley, Founder and CEO,
PhoneWorks LLC

Selling in Health Care

John Caddell, Caddell Insight Group
Selling in Telecommunications Markets

Dave Stein, Founder and CEO,
ES Research Group, Inc
Selling Technology

Jill Konrath, Author, Selling to Big Companies

Selling in Services

Anne Miller, Founder, Chiron Associates
Selling Media

Dave Brock, President and CEO,
Partners in EXCELLENCE
Selling to Manufacturers

(A simple registration is required)

Brought to you by The Customer Collective and Oracle CRM.

Welcome to the conversation.


Quick Question: What are you seeing as a trend in insurance agent demographics?

Please comment…


Been swamped lately.  Absolutely.  But in this economy, I’ll take it…

First, an informal Poll: What do you think is critical must-have functionality on a new affinity insurance distribution Web site?  Please comment below – and remember the mantra: Lurking is Lame! Just a quick thought would be GREAT!

Got a great new podcast coming up with Peter van Aartrijk from Washington on agent Web sites.  Look for that on Friday.


Any guesses on what this structure is?

Saw the future of some insurance companies – empty cubes with morale-booster signs still hanging on walls.  I won’t mention the insurance company name, but it was quite a chilling experience.  I’ve mentioned this before… what happens when big insurance companies don’t adapt to change.  Please comment below (I know I’m pushing buttons here…).

Launching three new insurance affinity sites in the next two months.  Can’t wait.  Each one is unique in the problems and challenges it solves.  Of course, as they roll out, I will be reflecting and discussing.  June will be a busy launch month.  But that also means we’ll have some bandwidth coming available.  Of course, we have a bunch of projects in the pipeline, but it might be an opportunity for some of you…

Web-enabling agent onboarding, contracting, and training for two major insurance companies in the Med Supp space.  Lot of interesting things happening in Senior Medical.  Two of our larger clients are glad they’ve Web-enabled a bunch of their processes as money tightens up-stream.

Speaking of Med Supp, the Jesse Slome conference is coming up in Scottsdale.  I hear there will be record attendance – over 200 registered.  I’ll be co-speaking with Sam Halpern of Senior Market Sales about Web-enabling agents for greater productivity.  Should be really good.  Jesse also asked me to pinch-hit about email marketing in another session.

Oh yeah – very excited…  Launching a client Blog/Web site shortly.  Call it an interactive Web site, but it’s really a blog, actually a team blog built on WordPress technology.  Glad someone finally caught the vision that interactivity is what people want.  Will be talking off-line about this at the PIMA summer conference in July.

The last couple months, I’ve been working on a bunch of strategic alliances.  Look for details in the next few months.

Did you know that we also do Portals??  Any kind of portal.  Seems to be some confusion on that.  Portals are great – extremely useful.

Trying to figure out Twitter – getting there.  How are you using twitter?  Please comment

Trying to solve the riddle of independent agents without Web sites… or with bad Web sites.  Any ideas?

Spent some time up at Houghton College with my son, Zach Wise – amazing school, amazing people.




I had the great opportunity to have lunch last week with John Steber, Hartford Life and formerly Affinion, and Tim Herr, Life and Health Consultant and former President and CEO, US Financial Life.  It was interesting listening to John and Tim talk about recent events in the insurance distribution industry.  Both had unique and different backgrounds driving the context of their observations.  What I found most interesting though was a couple things Tim said about what’s currently going on inside companies.  (I wish I took a picture, but here’s a couple from before…)


Tim Herr


John Steber

The old way of doing business is GONE.  What we were doing as recently as 6 months ago – Gone.  Forever.  Never to return in the same way.  Perhaps not even close.  Tim has observed that insurance companies seem to be accepting this and are now in deep thought.  “When the economy turns around – and it will – how can we make sure we are positioned to maximize the opportunities at that time?  How do the products need to be re-tooled.  How will marketing efforts be received by the insured public?  What about the Internet?  How are we positioned there?”

I gotta tell ya… It reminds me of several conversations I’ve had over the last couple years.  One in particular with Al Drowne of Chubb over a cup of coffee in NYC.  Al very clearly and passionately (in a NY sort of way) spoke of the need to re-tool insurance products to suit the preferences of the buying public.  Here we are.  If only more executives would listen to the guys on the street when things are going well and resist the temptation to rest on their laurels and ride the Good Times Cruise as long as possible… don’t let me get started.  What do you guys think?  Remember, Lurking is Lame.  What’s going on inside your organization?  What are you chewing on?  Is this on point?

In between some sales calls discussing some innovative new concepts that might solve some of these challenges…

Later that same day, I had yet another very interesting meeting with Customer Respect, a group that benchmarks Web sites within the insurance industry.  As a matter of fact they recently played a significant role in the relaunch of  (I love the Life Insurance Selector.)  One thing Terry Golesworthy, President, said that struck home, something that we at IdeaStar do as a matter of course, but which internal IT departments seem to struggle with.  “Don’t compare yourself with the competition.  Compare yourself with other industries.  Your users compare your site with other sites they use as a matter of course.  They don’t compare your site with your competitor’s site.”  Hmmm – very interesting take.  Interested in your thoughts.  Please comment re benchmarking Web sites.  What do you do on that front???


Matthias Bohler and Terry Golesworthy @ Oxhead Tavern

April 3rd – a significant day I think.  It was worth the drive.  Btw, the traffic on the interstate is definitely down.

Archives to 2005