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The Most Difficult Person to Lead in Your Insurance Agency

 One of the questions I often get when I work with insurance agency leaders is, “How do I best lead my team?”

Let me start by saying that unless your agency just started from scratch or you are a one-person operation, you have challenging people on your team. People with egos, people with complacency, people with drama, people with an inability to listen effectively. However, none of these challenges will be your most difficult.

 The most challenging person you will ever lead is YOU.

 No other person you lead will have a bigger impact to your business results.

 Leadership is personal and it doesn’t get any more personal than leading yourself.

Many of us are our own biggest fans….and our own worst critics. In other words, we don’t often see ourselves the same way others do. And if leading yourself wasn’t hard enough, as a leader you must realize that everyone is watching.

Your agency team is watching when you show up, when you...

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 The Four Leadership Principles Vital to Your Insurance Agency’s Growth

growth leadership Jan 04, 2018

The term leadership is used every day in business, sports, and in our personal lives. It’s often discussed, but rarely understood.

Like many industries, the insurance industry has been influenced by both positive and negative leadership over the years. Today, with the rapid pace of new information, changing technology, and younger workforce, strong leadership is needed now more than ever before.

What is true leadership? 

For much of my life, I thought leadership was about power, experience, or position. What I have come to realize is that true leadership isn’t really about any of those things.

After 17 years of insurance industry experience, both from the inside and outside, I have seen countless examples of both strong and weak leadership characteristics from agency leaders, company personnel, producers, and administration.

Let’s discuss what I’ve discovered to be the 4 key principles of authentic and effective insurance leadership. I believe that by...

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Are You Happy Or Frustrated?

By Roger Sitkins

AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?


I’m sure you’re familiar with the opening line of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” I believe this may apply to today’s independent insurance agencies as well.

It’s the best of times because agency values have never been higher and the United States economy is doing very well. But it also may be the worst of times for some or all of the following reasons:

  • Declining market share in certain areas
  • Shrinking commission rates
  • Increased competition from direct writers
  • The growing challenge to find new sales and service talent
  • Anemic pipelines


On top of all that, there’s digital disruption in both commercial and personal lines. Although this is something that was barely recognized a decade ago, there are now hundreds of companies worldwide that are developing digital distribution for the insurance industry.

As a result...

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Millennials and the Insurance Brokerage Industry

hiring millenials talent Dec 15, 2017

AN UNCOMFORTABLE REALITY

Millennial brain power has already helped destroy your future in non-High Net Worth personal lines, small commercial and life insurance. It’s called InsurTech, and the war is already over. They won. Within a few years, every insurance product that is really nothing more than price shopping (Probably 50% of all your accounts) will be procured and issued via the internet. No need for brokers. That’s just added expense. Think back to what happened to travel agents.

NOW THE GOOD NEWS

The Insurance Brokerage industry needs young, fresh, diverse minds to fill the void being left by a tsunami of retiring talent. We need creativity, energy, and new thinking. Guess what? The Millennials fill the bill. Of course, you think they are lazy, unmotivated and basically just not as perfect as you were when you were at their age. Remember, the prior generation thought the same about you!

Young people don’t care how we’ve always done it, especially if...

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Why Insurance Agencies Fail to Find and Keep the Best Talent

Uncategorized Dec 07, 2017

Imagine being in a business where every single person needs your product. Imagine being in a business where 90% of your clients will buy from you again every year…even if you are average. Imagine being in a business with unlimited opportunity for growth and financial freedom.

Every one of these statements is true for independent insurance agencies today. 

Yet, even with the unlimited potential afforded in the insurance industry, when I speak to agency owners, one of the top frustrations is the ability to attract, train, and retain the best talent.

Why?

Well, every independent agency is unique, but I believe there are three common areas in which many insurance agencies struggle to bridge the talent gap. 

1.     They don’t know who they are (Lack of Purpose)

As an insurance agency leader, how would you answer when I ask, “Why does your agency exist and why should anyone care?”  For the typical independent insurance agency,...

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7 Ways to Empower Your Insurance Agency Team to Greatness

leadership Nov 27, 2017

The act of empowering others changes lives, and it’s a win-win situation for you and the people you empower.

When you think of customer experiences you have had with your cable company, phone company, or services run by a governmental entity, what are your typical feelings?

If you are like many, the words frustrated, annoyed, or maybe even dreadful come to mind.

I had a recent phone conversation with my cable company to change my billing information for our monthly automated payment. Our debit card was compromised and I needed to give them updated payment information.

I thought this would be a simple conversation. Something like, “Hi my name is Brent and I need to update our automated payment information because our current debit card was compromised.” Then they would say, something like, "No problem, sorry to hear about that, let's take care of that right now."  

I should have known better.

Instead this seemingly simple 3-minute phone call turned into a...

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The #1 Reason Your Insurance Agency Isn’t Growing

growth leadership Nov 16, 2017

By Brent Kelly: 

Several years ago, I heard a quote from leadership expert John Maxwell that caused me to stop and pause.  He said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” 

I think the word that caused me to stop and pause was EVERYTHING.

I believe that leadership is important in business growth and development, but EVERYTHING rises and falls on leadership?  That seems like a bit much.

Over the past few years in my own coaching business and now as an executive coach for The Sitkins Group, I can confidently say that John Maxwell is 100% correct. EVERYTHING rises and falls on leadership. 

Recently, our entire team at the Sitkins Group started to make a list of the scariest trends facing insurance agencies today.  After internal discussion and getting feedback from insurance leaders across the country, we discovered 8 common scary trends.  They include:

·      Low organic growth

...

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Who is Running Your Agency’s Offense?

leadership sales Nov 09, 2017

By Brent Kelly

 

What is the number one job of the offensive coordinator for any football team?

To score points.

Yes, an offensive coordinator has other responsibilities, which I will discuss, but at the end of the day, the success of the offensive coordinator is based on putting points on the board.

Every successful football team has a named and effective offensive coordinator.

What about your insurance agency?

Who is the person responsible for putting “points on the scoreboard?” In other words, who is driving your agency’s revenue?

I am often astonished that agency leaders are surprised that their producers are struggling when they receive no mentorship, coaching, and accountability.

Can you imagine a football team going out on the field with no preparation, no game plan, and no consequences for their performance?

It sounds insane and the reality is that a team with no offensive coordinator is likely to lose the majority, if not all, of their games.

So, who...

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Make a Living or Make a Fortune

producers sales Nov 01, 2017

Several years ago, I heard a quote that challenged me. Looking back, I now realized that it also has changed me.

“Work on your job, make a living. Work on yourself, make a fortune.” - Jim Rohn

As a commercial lines producer for 15 years, I attended a variety of sales and product trainings classes from insurance carriers and associations. Most of them were very informative and did help my business, but I would often find myself falling back into bad habits.

Yes, I gained product knowledge and a new sales idea or two, but I wasn’t gaining momentum. That’s because most of my training focused solely on the technical side of the business.

- Technical sales training is important.
- Technical sales training has value.
- Technical sales training can help you sell more.

Unfortunately, technical sales training completely misses the emotional aspect of why people buy.

So why is it that most companies offer solid technical sales training, but completely miss...

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Three Communication Skills Vital to Every Insurance Producer

communication producers Oct 26, 2017

Studies have shown that effective leadership and influence, whether it’s with your team, your clients, or your company partners is 87% people knowledge and only 13% product knowledge. 

Reflect on that statistic for a minute, almost 90% of our ultimate success is not determined by what we know, but how we can relate what we know with the people we want to influence.   

What does this mean?  Well, I believe it means several things, but ultimately it begs the question, are we developing producers who can effectively communicate, and more importantly connect, with their clients and future clients?

Even in today’s world of digital disruption and insure tech, building high-level relationships will ultimately determine your success.

Let me state right up front, this doesn’t minimize understanding the technical side of the insurance business.  Every producer needs to be fully equipped to understand insurance terms, definitions, exclusions,...

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