What Did We Learn from Our October Summit?

 

Anyone who has been around me for a while knows that one of my key written communications “style” is to talk in tens. Copying a good Biblical example (Ten Commandments, ten plagues, etc.) is a pretty good strategy for getting your key points across in a succinct and understandable manner.

1. Venue Preference.
Smaller gatherings develop greater intimacy and ultimately more commerce. Our 300 person limit and 420 face-to-face prearranged meetings have surfaced over twenty immediate programs and a huge pipeline for the future.

2. Vendors.
Treat them as trusted partners. Limit the number of vendors in each segment. Give them a forum to create their own offense (versus just a place in an exhibit hall) and the best ones will shine!

3. Existing Coverholders.
There are two major groups of existing Coverholders:
a. “I got mine and want to keep it that way”. They just don’t get CHART and do not subscribe to our core principles.
b. “I do business with London and want to take maximum advantage while sharing my success with others”.

We love all of those in the second group! Building new programs, cross-sell partnerships with likeminded Coverholders, mentoring opportunities, new sub-producer relationships, and skills building via workshops feed this audience.

4. Potential Coverholders.
Our new Coverholders are already specialists who have been quite successful. The rigorous standards of Lloyd’s demand a level of expertise, financial soundness, ethics, and technological efficiency in order to qualify for Coverholder status. CHART staff and our broker partners excel at this process. Our most committed group of attendees are the ones that will generate the most new commerce in London.

5. Underwriters.
Lloyd’s underwriters take a bit of convincing. So many other organizations and meetings compete for attention. However, once we get them to a smaller venue built solely around the concept of new business with London, set-up over 400 pre-arranged meetings, and supplement it with social/networking time, they make the business happen. It is amazing to see the amount of expertise and underwriting authority held by the Syndicates. They can simply “out execute” many of the large U.S.-based firms. We only need 15-20 committed Syndicate partners to make CHART a game-changer!

6. Success Stories.
If you are a vendor partner, broker, or Underwriter, the best way to win over new U.S. producers is via “success stories” directly from the mouths of those agencies you’ve helped in the past. Enough said.

7. Disappointments.
Build your strategy on good ideas and not the “promises” of others. Some of the biggest talkers – entities that stand to gain the most and seemingly the most committed – will come up short! However, if your idea is good and execution sound, for every disappointment you will be pleasantly surprised by warriors who fill the gap and save the day. Build your future with warriors!

8. Surprises.
When you get 300+ like-minded people together, stand back and watch them go. Our impromptu pre-event get together sponsored by Wilson Elser and C.J. Coleman was EPIC. What was supposed to be an intimate gathering for early arrivals ended up being a highlight of our event. We have heard tens of stories of smaller connections from breaks, workshops, shared meals, etc. where the real relationships are cemented.

9. Changing of Roles.
For me personally, this was a bit of a surprise. At first you are an early adopter who recruits everyone to the event. After a while you are the only name the attendees recognize. Certainly, you are the only name all 300 people have in common specific to the event.

Over time you change from being the host to the “referee”. A referee makes sure that the game goes according to the rules. Meetings on time, workshops/vendors respected, speakers have full audiences, non-paying “interlopers” are kept off the event floor, and “violations” are addressed with whistles, warnings, and “yellow cards”.

You soon learn that being a referee is not all that much fun…especially in comparison to being the athlete playing the game.

10. Next Steps.
Always survey your audience and be open to improvement. We know we intend to stay small and elite. Our core measurement metric will be new business moved to London. Committed partners are much more valuable to us than mere attendees. We know we have a niche that we can do better than anyone else.

We also know we need to do a better job to communicate the unique messages of each of our Underwriters and Vendor Partners in advance of the meeting or earlier in the process.

In 2017 we’ll promote a membership model that will facilitate more information flow, easier collaborations, and less dependence on the annual meeting to advance commerce.

The member model will be featured in the January edition of The CHART Exchange Magazine.

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