Risk Insider: Eric Copple

Selling Peace of Mind in an RM Package

By: | November 2, 2016

Eric B. Copple CIC, CRM is a risk management adviser for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Throughout his 20 years of brokerage experience, he has helped clients build effective risk management systems to stay on the road to success. He can be reached at [email protected]

Whether you believe you are in sales or not, most of us spend our days trying to persuade other people to adopt our idea, way of thinking, product, approach, etc.

We are all of us eternally trying to convince someone to buy or buy-in, literally or figuratively.

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According to Daniel Pink in his exceptional new book To Sell Is Human, “Dig beneath the sprouts of your own calendar entries and examine their roots, and I suspect that you’ll discover something similar.

Some of you, no doubt, are selling in the literal sense — convincing existing customers and fresh prospects to buy casualty insurance or consulting services or homemade pies at a farmer’s market.

But all of you are likely spending more time than you realize selling in a broader sense — pitching colleagues, persuading funders, cajoling kids. Like it or not, we are all in sales now.”

Let’s face it: there are few things more difficult to sell than the concept of risk management. From a time and resource allotment standpoint, Risk Management and now Enterprise Risk Management have always been a difficult sell to the ADHD world of business.

Convincing a business that they should loop back and check their processes when they’ve already begun to institute a new plan, or spend important hours on the front-end of a launch to make a failure prevention plan, will not make you popular.

When the topic of risk management is introduced, our minds instantly gravitate toward boredom, meetings, micro-management and extra work.

Why is this true? Like beginning a diet or a new workout regime, starting a RM process seems somehow painful. People have a natural aversion to pain and anything negative.

Seem like an over-generalization? Then think about how often the answer is “Fine” to the question “How are you doing?”

Like anything worthwhile in life, the risk management approach is going to take more work on your part.

It often seems easier and perhaps more polite to not get into it with someone, even if they could potentially help. We really do not want to waste time thinking about what is wrong or what could go wrong in our own lives, families or businesses.

But at its core, what is risk management? What is insurance, for that matter?

PEACE OF MIND. We want to feel like things are going to turn out as we intended, and everyone is going to arrive safely at their desired destination.

In any other area of life, how is this peace of mind achieved? By putting in the work.  By taking the time and effort to see a plan through to the end, to the point where you are bone-weary and can lay your head on the pillow and say, “I did the best I could do.”

Like anything worthwhile in life, the risk management approach is going to take more work on your part. However, there is nothing more valuable in getting you so much closer to what you really want — PEACE OF MIND.

So, what are we selling? PEACE OF MIND.

How are we selling it? The answer to this question really matters. If you set out to lose twenty pounds, you must first picture a slimmer version of yourself with a big smile on your face.

If you want to run your first marathon for your 40th birthday, you must plan and practice. But even before that you must really like the mental picture of yourself crossing that finish line.

Why do we do these crazy things to ourselves? For the results. We like the picture of ourselves at the end of the work.

And that is how we should sell risk management. We need to spend time creating the pitch.

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As Pink says, “The purpose [of the pitch] is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.”

If we are not painting a vivid, technicolor picture of the imagined best future, we are never going to get the amount of buy-in we need to make a real difference.

As risk managers, we must help our organizations or clients focus on the results that naturally follow quality advance planning – and particularly on that much-desired PEACE OF MIND.

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]