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Episode 33: Essential Questions For Agency Leaders (Part 2)

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2018
Answering these essential questions can become a business plan for your agency.

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In this podcast
  • Why and how should my agency complete an Annual Review and Risk Survey on all of our A&B Clients?
  • What are our Points of Differentiation?
  • How do we ensure that all of our A&B Clients receive an Annual Services Calendar and Stewardship Report?
  • How will we maximize our Contingency Income?
  • How do we create an Operating Profit of at least 33%?
  • How will we perpetuate Books of Business?

The author

Roger Sitkins, CEO of Sitkins Group, Inc., is the nation’s number-one “Agency Results Coach.” He established The Sitkins Network™, a territorial exclusive network of high-performing agencies, and The Better Way Agency, a web-based training program that shows agency owners ways to make significant improvements in all areas of the agency. To learn more, please visit ...

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Episode 32: Essential Questions For Agency Leaders (Part 1)

Answering these essential questions can become a business plan for your agency.

Click here to listen/subscribe on Apple iTunes

Click here to listen/subscribe on Google Play

In this podcast
  • How will my agency differentiate? It's not all about price.
  • How do we pivot from transactions to risk advice? Don't underestimate the impact of digital disruption in our industry.
  • How will we attract our next great Producer or Service Person?  Hire talent, not insurance knowledge.
  • How will we create overflowing pipelines? Referrals and Centers of Influence may sound boring, but it works.
  • How do we maximize our technology? The average agency uses less than 20% of their system capabilities.
  • Who's your SEO Manager? Strategic use of the right key words will boost your visibility in your marketplace.
  • What's your social media presence? Most future ideal clients will be checking you out.

The author

Roger Sitkins, CEO of Sitkins Group, Inc., is the nation’s number-one “Agency...

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What's In Your Agency's Sales Playbook?

producers sales Nov 01, 2018

HOW TO HOLD YOURSELF AND YOUR PRODUCERS ACCOUNTABLE

We’ve been doing a lot of research and improving our programs that address what creates great producers and what it takes to cultivate million-dollar producers. It seems that every agency and most producers want to increase their sales. At least that’s what they say. However, the recurring disconnect between what they say and what they do reminds me of one of my favorite Kenny Chesney songs: Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven. Of course, “nobody wants to go now.”

If you ask the average agency and producer how they’re going to increase their sales, their typical response is: “I’m going to sell more insurance.” Well, duh, I get that. But the question remains: How are you going to do that?

I’m sure you’ve seen the TV commercials for a certain credit card that end with: “What’s in your wallet?” My question to agency owners and producers: “What’s in...

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Don’t Let Your Agency Settle for Good Enough

“Good is the enemy of great. And one of the key reasons we have so little that becomes great.” Jim Collins

Why do some independent insurance agencies hunger for never-ending improvement and growth while others simple settle for good enough? 

It’s a question that we ask ourselves all the time at the Sitkins Group.  Our mission is to help independent insurance agencies become the best possible version of themselves and live a life with no regrets.

In our recent live and online trainings to our Sitkins Network members, we have consistently asked the participants to stop postponing their greatness to ensure that they maximize their full potential. 

I think too many agencies sell themselves short of their true potential.  In large part, because this is truly a great business model.  If you give a solid effort, do a decent job in sales, and give your clients average service, you can still make a nice living.  In fact, a much nicer living...

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The Sales Iceberg

pipelines plan producers sales Sep 13, 2018

LOOK BELOW THE SURFACE TO SEE WHAT DRIVES YOUR SALES SUCCESS

We all know the tragic tale of the RMS Titanic, which sank in 1912 after it struck an iceberg south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Of course, it was the mass beneath the surface that caused the lethal damage. That’s no surprise considering that only 10% of an iceberg’s mass is above the waterline, whereas 90% is below it.

In many ways, insurance/risk management is like an iceberg. Most people are familiar with only what’s above the waterline, which are product and price. Below the waterline are all the value-added services and risk factors that not only determine the product and price but also differentiate agencies and their producers from competitors.

Similarly, I see an analogy between icebergs and success in sales. The sale itself is what people notice because it’s above the waterline. It’s visible, which is why it’s so exciting! Conversely, few people consider the behaviors and...

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Stop Drifting and Create Your Best Agency

growth leadership questions Aug 02, 2018

HOW TO CHART A NEW COURSE AND STAY FOCUSED ON IT

After all these years of coaching independent agency leadership teams and producers, I’m not surprised by very much. For example, it doesn’t surprise me that the vast majority of agencies are simply drifting along. However, it frustrates me that this is a recurring theme at most agencies. They’re doing fine, but they’re just drifting.

I know this because whenever I ask prospective consulting clients specific questions about their business—their annual business plans, budgets, sales goals, financial models, training, etc.—most of them have nothing to say, because they don’t have any of the aforementioned items. (Maybe that’s why they’re calling me!) The reality is that you can be semi-successful in this great business without any of those things.

As you may recall, “semi-successful” means you’re doing really well financially (making more money than you’d make...

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No Risk, No Nothing

If you have been an insurance sales producer longer than 10 minutes, you know all about risk.

A risk is defined as “exposure to danger.”

Danger surrounds insurance producers every day. It could be in the form of a manager, company, prospect, client, product, or service. That list could go on and on, but the key point is that risk is clear everywhere you turn.

I believe you could categorize sales risks into three areas:

  • Risk of rejection
  • Risk of failure
  • Risk of financial hardship

These three risks highlight that even though the sales profession is the highest paid industry in the world, only a small percentage of the population enters this line of work. Furthermore, an even a smaller percentage of sales producers survive.

I have dealt with these three risks consistently in my own sales career. Although the context of these three risks has evolved over the years, the consequences have not.

Embrace Risk

While the fear of failure, rejection, and financial hardship are...

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What Is Holding Your Agency Back?

growth producers routines Jul 05, 2018

REVENUE AND PROFITS DEPEND ON FULL-TIME PRODUCERS

We see that the average producer is a part-timer at best. Even though most of them will still do okay, they’ll never be great, and at the end of their career they’ll have tons of regrets.

According to the Organic Growth & Profitability Survey conducted by Reagan Consulting, agencies experienced 4.5% growth in 2017. People got really excited because it was an improvement over 2016’s growth of 4.2%. This concerns me.

To me, 4.5% is not exciting, nor should it be to any true sales organization! What is exciting is growth that is two or three times the national average. That would be either 9% or 13.5%.

I fear that many agencies are blindly following the 4.5% Model. Although they’re not doing this deliberately, that’s the problem—they’re not aware that they’re doing it. But maybe this model is exactly what’s holding them back!

Now before I expand on this, I realize there...

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THREE IMPORTANT STEPS INSURANCE PROFESSIONALS CAN TAKE TO BUILD LEADERSHIP APTITUDE

leadership Jun 14, 2018

If I asked you to list some characteristics of great leaders, what would you say? Do words like courage, tenacity, compassion, vision, drive, authenticity, determination, empathy, understanding, and results-focused come to mind?

Those are all great characteristics of leadership, but how does one become a better leader? More specifically, what should emerging leaders in the independent insurance agency channel focus on to prepare themselves to move their organizations and our industry forward?

It’s no secret that our business has been very well served through the years with solid leadership, but we’re seeing a growing leadership gap develop. Current industry leaders are continuing to transition into their next phase of life. And younger folks are taking notice. An up-and-coming insurance leader recently asked me a very important question: “What are some of the things that I should be doing to prepare and develop myself to become a better leader?”

This got me...

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Crafting the Perfect Sales Pipeline

FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO IDENTIFY, TARGET, AND WRITE YOUR BEST PROSPECTS

In organizing and presenting more than 100 producer training programs with more than 3,000 participants, I’ve recognized a highly predictable “producer’s improvement cycle.” Although I’ve mentioned this topic in previous articles, I believe it merits deeper discussion.

To summarize: The cycle starts with an improvement in the conversion rate and then the closing ratio, followed by revenue per sale and finally the quantity and quality of “at-bats.” Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas of improvement.

  • Conversion Rate. This is the percentage of first appointments that lead to a second appointment. The first appointment on a mid-sized to large commercial account should occur on the six-month anniversary of the account. The goal of this meeting is to tell a story of differentiation that creates some “wows”—and some pain issues—with...
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