6 Step Sales Process to Beat the Incumbent

6 Step Sales Process to Beat the Incumbent

If you can't define and defend exactly how you're better than the prospect's current agent — the chances you'll beat the incumbent are pretty slim.

It’s almost impossible to drive an idea, but you can drive a process.


So think of this “6 Step Sales Process to Beat the Incumbent” as your go-to playbook.

Just like every sports team has one to tell each player where to be and what to do — a business process allows key players on your team to understand their roles and make all the right moves to win.

We call it the Flight Plan.

The goal of The Wedge® sales process is not just to generate more leads and submit more proposals, it’s to land more sales.

Pilots know that a successful flight begins on the ground. The groundwork that precedes every Wedge® sales call is crucial to beat the incumbent successfully.


6 Step Sales Process to Beat the Incumbent


Begin by identifying your largest, most profitable accounts – your top 20% – and putting those accounts onto your proactive service plan. 

Outline your proactive service plan in writing for these key customers and define each critical action. Name your plan and name each step or action it includes.

Next, ask for an introduction to a colleague who might benefit from a similar level of service.

Instead of cold calling, you can meet your next prospect through one of your best and most satisfied customers.

We call that Red Hot Introductions™

2. Develop a Pre-Call Strategy

A Pre-Call Strategy is key to closing new accounts. Use sales meetings and mentoring sessions to whiteboard information on the prospect and your competition. Repeat the process with each new sales opportunity, and you’ll develop a library of winning tactics.  

Know the strengths and weaknesses of all the players and develop a strategy to help your producer bust the incumbent relationship. Repeating this process with each new prospect will enhance your understanding of the competitive marketplace and help you to differentiate and build on your strengths. 

Equally important, you learn how to exploit your competitors’ weaknesses, leading to more AOR/BORs and quicker, more predictable wins. It also is essential preparation for the next part of the flight plan — The Wedge®.

But What If You're a New Producer? 

It’s always the same when you’re the newbie. The incumbent generally gets one last chance. If you’re not careful, the incumbent matches your “price and coverage” — while you get rolled. It’s been going on forever and it’s seen to be how business works by many, but not the best.

Almost all traditional selling systems, books and training focus on relationship building and a consultative approach.

“Build relationships, create trust, uncover unmet needs and deliver your solution to them in proposal form. If you do all this, you will be rewarded with a new client.”

Maybe what these sales experts leave out is the basic fact that every piece of quality business you want already belongs to an incumbent agent. For you to WIN, someone has to LOSE — which means you need a strategy to beat the incumbent.

So, not only do you need to be good at building relationships, you better have a strategy to bust the incumbent relationship or else there is a significantly greater chance you’ll get ROLLED . . . or worse, GHOSTED!

3. Develop the skill set to close with Proactive Services

The heart of The Wedge® is a skill set which helps you drive a wedge between the incumbent agent and your new prospect. It is not based on discounted pricing or better coverage, but on fair pricing and the right coverage and most importantly, the specific proactive services that your agency can provide (not provided by the incumbent) which make managing risk significantly more predictable for your prospect.

Master the process to beat the incumbent and CLOSING Ratios can average 60-80%

Don’t do it and suffer the hard work and heartbreak when someone steals your best ideas, matches your price and you get rolled.

4. Have a plan for predictable problems

Of course, nothing is perfect so we use another technique called Keystone. Pilots do extensive on-going training, spending hours in a simulator preparing for what could go wrong: electronic failure, hydraulic failure, wind shear, ice on wings, snow on run way, and the list goes on. They have one goal, takeoffs must equal landings.

Keystone is more than how to present a proposal, it is preparing like a pilot for what could go wrong and having a plan for the predictable problems that the incumbent will create to make sure you land safely, WIN the account and get paid. Last we all checked, second place doesn’t pay very well.


5. Wedgeproof the account

After the sale has closed and contracts are signed, Wedge-proof the account. No producer wants the new gun in town to beat them at their own game.

While researching, strategizing and winning the account, you learned which reports and services are most important to this client. Tweak your proactive service plan to enhance those deliverables.

Prepare a written outline and timetable of the customer’s proactive service program and commit to helping achieve his goals. Then immediately start cross-selling.


6. Look for opportunities to cross-sell

In most agencies, there are thousands, even millions of dollars in commission left on the table waiting to be cross-sold. For some agencies, it’s the source of riches, for some it’s the key to survival and for others it’s the Holy Grail. 

One thing is certain. Unless cross-selling is truly part of your business process or playbook, it will remain a nice idea that occasionally converts to money. 

However, when it is part of your process and culturally driven, it will produce amazing amounts of revenue and equally important, increase retention.


 This flight plan is a simple six-step process that works. Now all you have to do is get it implemented!



Want to master these 6-steps AND more to beat the incumbent and win more business? 

Join us at The Wedge Workshop!

Randy Schwantz teaches the course LIVE during a 2-day class online and gives you FULL the playbook to win commercial accounts by AOR/BOR.

You’ll get live coaching, the full playbook shipped to you, and run through role-play breakout sessions with other Producers.

Here’s the link for more info – https://thewedge.net/workshop/



*P.S. — If you're an independent agency owner with 4-10 Producers looking to turn your agency into a profitable growth machine… Learn more about the Bignition Agency Growth System here.

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