You can create value.
Or you can transmit value.
These are the two ways to give value to customers. Which one you emphasize will determine the quality and duration of customer relationships.
Transmitting value is pretty straightforward:
- A customer needs a product.
- The product already exists because someone created it.
- You facilitate the transaction.
That’s a perfectly legitimate business model.
But it makes you 100% interchangeable with any other agency. Even worse, it will soon make you 100% interchangeable with technology. And technology is going to win that competition, hands down.
Then there’s creating value.
Creating value is a much bigger deal. You create value when you make a positive difference in customers’ lives. Somehow, because they worked with us, they’re better off. Problems get solved or prevented. Options abound. Standard of living or quality of life improves.
Here are some major indicators of whether you’re transmitting or creating value:
Transactions Versus Transformations:
- Transmitting value comes down to transactions. Your main levers for customer satisfaction are simplicity, convenience, and accuracy.
- Creating value means creating transformations. It involves helping clients understand better, addressing their unique needs, and offering relevant solutions to important, personal problems.
Reactive Versus Proactive:
- Transmitting value is often reacting—responding to the needs or problems a customer already knows they have.
- Creating value is acting ahead—unearthing challenges and offering solutions before they become urgent.
Short-term Versus Long-term:
- Transmitting value involves meeting the short-term need to get insurance coverage.
- Creating value is about building long-term relationships, and offering ongoing help, advice, and comfort.
Basic Goods Versus Custom Solutions:
- Transmitting value treats insurance as a basic good—a commodity product that’s sold based on price competition.
- Creating value treats insurance as a custom solution, made to fit the unique needs of each customer.
When we focus on creating value, we become more than just helpers in transactions. We become trusted advisors. This role is rewarding both for us and our customers. It also helps us win more customers, since happy customers tell their friends and family about us.
Moving from a value-transmitting agent to a value-creating agent requires a change in how we think, better skills, and a desire to keep learning and adjusting to our customers’ changing needs. It’s a journey worth taking, leading towards a job that’s more meaningful and impactful.
So it’s worth asking oneself: “Am I mostly transmitting value by just facilitating transactions, or am I a value creator trying to make a positive difference in the lives of my customers?”
And in the long run, it’s worth acting on.
Note: If you’re not sure what to do, start taking to your customers. They’ll help you understand. Meet with 300 of your customers this year and see how much more value you create than transmit.