Policy Works blog | Commercial lines bliss

Three reasons why it's better to be David than Goliath

Written by Kathleen Kotchon | Mar 22, 2016 8:00:00 PM

In a day and age where independent brokers are being absorbed by larger firms, both national and international, it is time to reflect on the age-old question, “is bigger really better?”

In this bestselling book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcolm Gladwell explores ways the (perceived) weak can defeat the strong. Gladwell points out that David, the shepherd boy who fatally wounds the great warrior Goliath, had plenty of advantages; most of them not obvious to his opponent.

So, here are three reasons why it’s good to be David.

1. Preference for underdogs

The underdog story is extremely powerful because the obstacles underdogs face bring the best out of them. This gives independent brokers an advantage because their clients know they’re going to work hard to win and retain their business. As Malcom Gladwell says, “Effort is the route available to the underdog. I may not be able to outspend you, but I can outwork you.”

Use every opportunity to show your customers that you work hard for them. They will appreciate it. 

2. Bigger business doesn’t mean better business

Two things that make monolithic companies desirable are size and resources. Even though these look ‘good on paper,’ they can serve as stumbling blocks too. Many clients and prospects choose independent brokers because they:

  • Are helpful. Small business owners know what it's like to be a small business owner. They don't want to just make a sales, they want to support each other’s businesses as well.

  • Are trustworthy. They expect personalized service from staff that are reliable and consistent. Many small businesses are family-owned and multigenerational, and there is a sense of trust amongst these types of organizations.

  • Share common values. Making the community better, supporting small business, volunteering with local organizations are ways to demonstrate to small business owners that you share similar values.

When a brokerage offers tangibles like personalized customer service in a family-like atmosphere, small business becomes big business in a roundabout way; less is more.

3. David had superior weapons

Goliath was a soldier and soldiers are trained to fight other soldiers, not shepherd boys. This gave David tremendous advantage because Goliath came into battle with false expectations. David was proficient with his sling because he practiced tirelessly. He also knew exactly where and when to strike.

What weapons do your marketers and producers possess to stack the odds in their favour?

Producers need a remarkable proposal, written in plain language with an eye-catching layout. Marketers need submissions structured in a way that underwriters aren’t frustrated by absent information or a one word description of business operations (learn more about what drives underwriters crazy).

If you work in a small to mid-sized brokerage, this eBook titled 5 Tips to Help Small to Mid-Sized Brokers Compete in Commercial-lines may give you a couple of ideas on how to win more commercial business.

Like David, if you have the right weapons and the foresight of knowing when and where to strike, you too can conquer!