Monday, 30 March 2015

Come learn about karate - tonight at Benton Park School in Yeadon, Leeds.

We will be at the Sports and Activity Fair at Benton Park school this evening from 6.00pm with demo's at 6.00pm and 7.30pm. Click here for details on the fair

Please come along, find out and join karate and get healthy.

For info call me on 07792 075748 or e-mail

Karate Demo in Leeds tomorrow evening

Tomorrow evening I am running a stand for Leeds Premier Karate at the Sports and Activity Fair being held at Benton Park School in Leeds (Harrogate Road, Yeadon, Leeds, LS19 6LX).

The event has various sporting and social activities taking part and we are hoping for a good turnout - in addition I am also running two demonstrations - one of self defence (we call 'attack and defence') and another on a range of kata's the times are : 6.00pm and then 7.30pm.

If you're in the area and fancy chatting though what we do and finding out a little more then you would be very welcome.

If you'd like more info or directions sending call on 07792 075748 or e-mail

See you there !

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Why is Agents of Shield so boring

Happened to catch 15 minutes of a recent ep of Agents of Shield by accident yesterday and it got me thinking. It's ok TV, not much happening a lot of chatting with a bit of action but really it's a standard action drama with a bit of comic book/supernatural/science 'stuff' going on. But then so is X-Files, so is Supernatural and so on.

Why then is AoS a bit dull but yet Avengers Age of Ultron - which after all draws from the same universe and indeed in some cases shares characters - going to be a massive, cool box office smash.
To me the answer is obvious.

Having bought comics since the age of 4 or 5 I would definitely buy an Avengers book but Agents of Shield is a bit like Marvel Team Up or Aquaman - if the book was there and I had nothing else to do I would pick it up and read it but I'd never buy it with my own money.

So comics TV I think works in the same way - if the book isn't action packed with interesting characters and a strong story line then the TV show will be the same.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Some people just do not get it !

The point of Linkedin, as I understand it is to create an interactive environment where business professionals and business owners can set up their stall in a slightly more formal version of a social network website and exchange ideas, refer clients, source services and highlight/market their own business.

It is an environment of give and take - i would always use Linkedin to source any professional service I needed and when the opportunity arises refer clients to contacts and so on. A bit like a referral club or business network a la BNI (if that sort of thing floats your boat).

It always staggers me that when (as I occasionally do) I market my services on Linkedin to members of local business groups - from which I regularly pick up good clients - every now and then you get some nay sayer moaning about your contacting them, asking to be unsubscribed and so on.

I think perhaps it's them that should hit the unsubscribe button and leave Linkedin - I can understand them not wanting to go along to a client swapping BNI chapter (I've always found that sort of thing a bit false and uncomfortable so I'm not a member). My view is that as long as Linkedin messages are cogent and polite I'm always happy to receive them and more than that I often take up the service or contact the message sender - that's the point of Linkedin : to expand our business boundaries, learn about other businesses and get involved.

Obviously this process was prompted by a negative message I received following an innocuous message telling someone about my business - ironically this person is also a member of the White Rose chapter of BNI - I wonder if he tells visitors to his networking group to 'unsubscribe' when they ask him for a lead and then purposefully ignore them for the entire meeting - some people really do not get the point.

Jesus Wept !

Weekly up date

OK so I have been better this week and this is my fourth post on the blog (making a grand total of five posts for the entirety of March).

This week I have spoken to a group of 50 IFA's, developed a new marketing strategy, spoken to a couple of new introducers and managed to pick up several new client leads.

My problem though this week is that typical of most end of the month weeks no one has sent back any application forms - I've just sent out a number of chases this afternoon to clients letting them know that their cover is not in place until they return their application form - despite this set back (the month should have been excellent but instead has been just average) I have over £ 5,000 of commission in the pipeline plus a healthy set of renewals for May and June - it's just a little frustrating that clients don't always respond as quickly as one might like. Never mind.

Several really good prospective client reports to write next week including two personal clients where the premiums will be over £ 250 per month and a decent corporate scheme renewal to look at as well.

I've really ramped up the marketing this week, working late every night so far (except Thursday) to get my message out to more potential clients - seems to be going ok - no PMI leads from that effort this week (I suspect it will take a week or two more of effort for this to pay off) but three medical indemnity leads this week and a good number of hits to the medico legal marketing business website.

I will be finishing off Friday with another flurry of marketing and more to come next week as I embark on a new sales mailer program and also possibly some press advertising as well.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Update on my talk this morning

Firstly, thanks for the invite from Owen Wright for the invite to address the Sheffield Life and Pensions group at the AMP Technology Centre this morning - it is always nice to get out and about and touch base with colleagues.

We had an excellent turnout and hopefully the talk on the technicalities of modern medical insurance and what is required from IFA adviser who wish to remain current with their market research was of interest to the audience. Certainly the talk went as planned and I had a number of encouraging conversations with delegates in the coffee break following my section.

The aim of the session was not to 'sell' my service of working with introducers on their healthcare business but certainly a couple of people did mention they might well like to pass a case over to me - so very worthwhile for me too. However, I hope that I was able to get across some of the key issues for both client and adviser when providing a pro-active review of new and existing medical insurance plans. I feel that often advice on medical insurance can be an afterthought for some advisers (due to work load and the time taken to remain up to speed on industry changes) and this is doing a dis-service to bot their practice and of course the client. Anything I can do for IFA colleagues to help them in this area makes senses in terms of helping expand my industry and ensure more and more clients have the right medical insurance plan.

As I mentioned to Owen before I left I will be happy to chat with anyone who is interested in medical insurance or who has questions even if they are not considering sub-contracting their PMI business to me - always happy to help !

I'm also hoping to provide the same talk to other similar institutes around the country if they are interested. The talk is very focused on technical and sales/market research issues and would suit a mixed group of IFA practitioners who have any level of interest in the medical insurance sector.

All I would ask is that if the event is outside of the Yorkshire area my travelling expenses are covered. Just let me know -

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Speaking engagement tomorrow

I am speaking tomorrow at the Sheffield Life and Pensions Technical Group at 9.00am at the AMP Technology Centre near Rotherham/Sheffield and the subject of my presentation is a technical overview of key sales and research issues for IFA's when advising clients on private medical insurance.

Very honoured to be asked and fingers crossed it's a good show - they have 50 individuals registered to attend (gulp).

Will give an overview of the talk here later in the week hopefully and may also try to record as an episode of PMICast as well if possible - depends on acoustics as much as anything.

Wish me luck !

Monday, 23 March 2015

Intensive marketing

After (another !) quiet period on the blog I have been working behind the scenes to increase the marketing that sits behind my business. In fact the level of enquiries coming in has actually been quite good and I am receiving leads on at least a daily basis both direct and from my introducer ITA/professional adviser clients.

However the type of lead has changed over the last few months - I have been receiving less direct leads and more introducer cases and in addition the business seems to be taking longer to convert from lead to actual new business/appointed client. The knock on effect is that more time is taken 'shepherding' leads to becoming new business and my fear is that in six or twelve months time the new business pipeline may look healthy but the actual income from those cases won't be materialising fast enough. Of course this isn't a major catastrophe as my renewal flow is still looking ok.

With this in mind I am therefore embarking on a few new marketing campaigns which should be revealed here later. The aim being to increase the income flow by ramping up the pipeline a little. So hopefully this means more activity generally both here and in other of my social media elements plus of course more activity from clients coming to me as well - fingers crossed and things can move to the next level.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Nothing much happening - how did this post get so long then ?

It has been a quiet time on the blog recently.

I have been involved with putting together a lot of new client reports and new marketing initiatives and just haven't had time to put 'pen to paper' (fingers to keyboard ?).

I've also had a dearth of issues I wanted to cover off here to be honest as well and as much as anything am posting this here today for the sake of it rather than because I have anything specific to really say.

Did have an interesting experience yesterday morning when a marketing company based in Leeds called me and offered me £ 100 to join an on-line industry focus group for their client. I answered a few questions on the phone to see if I was within the criteria for inclusion in the group - I was (apparently) and they took my details to e-mail me the log in details for the session on Monday afternoon. One of the questions they asked me was my employment status which is self employed, sole trader. This did not seem to cause a problem.

However less than four hours later the same marketing company called back to tell me the inclusion criteria had changed - no self employed. I was out and no £ 100.

This is laughable - in financial services there are either employed consultants or self employed and in healthcare in particular there is probably a pretty even split between the two categories - to exclude self employed consultants from the panel makes literally no sense - it means that your focus group is actually a lack of focus group and the information you receive is going to be skewed. I came across a classic example of just that this week (more on that later).

What it all boils down to is that there is no way (imho) they decided to exclude self employed people from the process - I would guess that either the marketing company made a cock up in numbers or the client company saw my name and for some reason wanted to exclude me - in other words there was a criteria they told potential delegates and then another more secret one they were actually imposing - either way it smacked a bit of unprofessionalism and left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

The other issue of course is that as a self employed sole trader they dangled £ 100 cash in front of me and then snatched it away - that is of course worse than never having had the offer in the first place.

Because of this annoyance I contacted the company via Twitter and made my concerns known to them and to be fair they are going to come back to me on Friday to discuss things - that is of course why I am not identifying the company in this blog post.

Frankly I'm not too bothered about not being involved in the event, nor about the £ 100 (although it would be nice) - I just worry about an industry that cannot be transparent about this kind of thing and how clients would react if they are told one thing and then the company does another - financial services has enough PR problems generally without back room machinations on broker panels becoming apparent.

Last thing.

I mentioned/alluded to in the section above above a case where being self employed offers the client a different experience to being dealt with by an employed person.

Came across a client insured by a small provident insurer whose renewal on the 25th of January 2015 came with a 28% increase. The existing broker, a large national company sent out the renewal terms less than a week before the 25th with no advice or support other than the renewal docs.

The client who has been through a divorce in the proceeding year and had other on-going issues simply didn't have time to review before the case renewed. So she has now come to me to look at things for her - the frustrating thing to me is that moving a client to a new insurer (as we will in all likelihood need to do) actually gives rise to more income for the intermediary than renewing where it was - this means that because the person dealing with the case at the old broker didn't care enough to review the case or advise the client in anyway even though it could have netted more income for her company and of course (holy grail) given the client better deal.

I regularly pick up business from larger intermediaries where there has been a lack of service or something like this was missed, from pure laziness and apathy rather than anything else.

Generally renewals hit my desk at least three weeks before the renewal date so there is no excuse for sending them over to the client late - this case was simply a person sitting in an office following the path of least resistance - it takes a bit of time and effort to review a clients cover and without incentive or initiative to work on behalf of the client my experience is that people will not.

So, it transpires I did have some stuff to talk about after all.