Successful Client Partnerships are a Two-Way Street

By Bob Reardon, CEO, ISG  –  published in WorkCompWire June 6, 2023

Strategic partnerships play a crucial role in the insurance industry, enabling carriers to tackle complex challenges such as reducing total losses. Simon Sinek, renowned author and speaker, emphasizes, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

The most successful client relationships are when we understand the ‘why’ behind a client’s objectives. It’s important to understand the key drivers for the organization. Is the client aiming to enhance profitability? Are they striving to provide better customer experiences? Or are they seeking to mitigate risks and improve overall operational efficiency? Once a client’s objectives are uncovered, real creativity can happen, and problems can be solved.

Unfortunately, too often in our industry, whether driven by partners or clients, meetings focus too heavily on tactical reporting and operations. There are times when a focus on tactical reporting can be helpful, if not essential, for the health of the relationship, but this shouldn’t come at the peril of more meaningful strategic discussions. Tactical reporting should provide insights and actionable recommendations that drive informed decision-making, providing a holistic view and taking into consideration the broader business context and future implications of the data presented.

During the COVID pandemic, we lost the opportunity for in person meetings. Now that these meetings have returned, it’s easier to dive into deeper discussions once again, to probe further into the ‘why’ of each person and company. The definition of stewardship is, “The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” This definition brings new gravitas to ‘stewardship meeting’ and places more emphasis on each party to help the other thrive.

It’s important for leaders to help sales representatives and account managers understand the importance of active listening, to ask the hard questions and to adopt a client mindset to help ensure that we address client needs most effectively. It’s also important that our employees understand the ‘why’ behind our own organization’s operations. When employees understand the ‘why’ of both their company and their client’s organization, we can best align efforts, skills, and contributions to provide the utmost value.

Successful client partnerships are a two-way street and open and regular communication is essential. Clients who actively invest time in “vendor” relationships empower their partners to align their offerings based on the company’s long-term strategic goals. Clients who share their roadmap, upcoming developments, and future plans help partners to proactively plan their own strategies to leverage the client’s innovations and further support the client in achieving their business goals. Ultimately, it’s important for partners and clients to equally lean into the relationship and actively invest their time to reap greater value from the partnership.

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