Escaping Groundhog Day - with Bill Utnage

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Brokers may not relive the same day as literally as the fictional Phil Connors, but repeating a mistake can certainly feel like an unfortunate case of déjà vu. 

In this episode, Craig Lack and Bill Utnage share a step-by-step process to escape Groundhog Day, transform your brokerage company, and create the business you have always dreamed of!

Key Points of This Discussion:

✔️ "The Referability Roadmap." - to-the-point instructions on how to build your referral-based business or a referral-based book of business. 

✔️ Your Network is your Net Worth.

✔️ Why success starts in your mind 

✔️ The Secret Sauce of Consistency

About Our Guest: 

Bill Utnage is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, and author. Bill has owned and operated service-based businesses in the healthcare and real estate industries for over 30 years. He is the Founder of Damascus Road Coaching and Consulting and the Florida Regional Partner for Master Networks.

 Bill is the author of the Amazon Best Selling Book "The Referability Roadmap."

He has worked with hundreds of business owners, helping them build a referral-based business while enjoying their life.



Today we're going to talk about the referrability roadmap. It's Groundhog day. What an interesting metaphor for the insurance brokerage industry where it's possible to wake up every day in five years from now - and be in exactly the same spot with your book size is not much different other than trend and inflation, and you're wondering - "I had all these great ideas. What happened? What got in the way? 

We're going to discuss how to avoid Groundhog Day in your business with some very simple strategies we can all use to help ourselves. 

I'm Bill Utnage, the founder and owner of Damascus Road Coaching and Consulting. I've been a business owner and entrepreneur - oh, I hate to say it - this is my 32nd year after leaving the military in 1991. 

I'm also the author of "The Referrability Roadmap," which I released in September 2022. 

Referability... a lot of syllables in that word - we've got to break it down. The simple question is - how do we become more referable? From the people who already know, like, and trust us, allowing us to share who we are and our values. So how do you create those relationships in the first place to increase your referability and build that business? 

You already have a bunch of people (among your clients) who know you, like you, and trust you. And therein lies an opportunity to leverage that relationship. Look at your current database. These are all people that are doing business with you right now. Do you spend enough time and effort to stay connected with them? The key piece is CONSISTENCY in doing that, and not just picking up the phone and calling them, asking for referrals. 

Get to know people you're doing business with. What are some of the challenges that you know they're having and you helped them solve? Become more of a trusted advisor, as opposed to a "broker." That's when you start becoming less of a commodity and more of someone who they can lean on. Chances are, they know someone who's facing the same situation. 

How do you ask for a referral? If you build a relationship and understand the value that you bring, you can articulate it in a moment of gratitude. For example, the client's saying, "Hey, thank you so much for taking care of us, we hit our numbers that we needed to hit in the fourth quarter..." and when they're in a state of happiness, this is the exact time to say: "It's been my pleasure to be able to support you. Who else could struggle with the same things that you guys struggle with? Maybe I could talk to them, and we'd be the right fit." 

Nobody wants to refer anybody to "average." So if you're doing a great job, you have to get rid of the imposter syndrome that most brokers struggle with, practice your pitch, record it, review it - and then present it to your clients. 

When you have competence, it leads to confidence. When you have competence - meaning is that you know your trade, your skill, your value, your product, and what you deliver - that leads to confidence. 

You want to be the master of your trade regardless of what you do - because when you know how to handle objections without even having to think, that's the difference between a professional and an amateur. 

What are the situations you're delivering and the problems you're solving for that person? "What other people in your network have similar problems that our firm could solve for you just like we did for you guys?" And that's how you have an easy conversation. But it's not about the product; it's about the solutions; it's about the problems you solve that are really important. 

Whoever asks the better questions and gets the answers controls the conversation. It's just as you go deeper into your questions, as most of the time, you can't get the real answers on the first, second, or maybe the third question. It's when you dig deeper that you start learning a bit more about that challenge because this is what professionals do - they don't stop at the first answer. 

We teach our clients to refer us - they are not born with this skill, and it's not their responsibility just because they're doing business with us, and they're happy. Ask for a joint introduction - either via email, text or email. This turns the contact into a much more valuable asset than you reaching out to them on your own. 

A warm introduction is a game changer. But the fortune is in the follow-up. And speed favors the successful, it just does. We live in a world of instant gratification. Right now, a week of response time - to be honest, you might as well just not do it. Get back to them the same day, or the very next day at least, because it also defines you as a person and the value you assign to the referral. 

The next step is expressing gratitude towards your client who sent you the referral. Send them a handwritten note, instead of an email or a text. 

Just say: "I want to thank you for making that introduction. I really appreciate it. If there is ever anything more that I can do for you please let me know." Something as simple as that. Think about the last time you got a handwritten note. Chances are you still have it, as opposed to an electronic message that usually gets lost in the inbox. It's a different depth of appreciation. 

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To a better you!
John Sbrocco & Craig Lack

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