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9 Ways to Dominate Your Industry and Blow the Competition Away

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Any person or business can become a dominant force in their field, but you must have guts.

If you want to stand out from crowd and become the point of comparison, you have to think outside the box, be creative, and do things others aren’t willing to do.

Most sales professionals and businesses I know put their blood, sweat, and tears growing their client base, but that usually involves doing the same types of things the competition is doing.  This typically includes attending networking events, direct mail, cold calling, word of mouth, newspaper or radio ads and e-mail newsletters.

All of these things can be effective in growing your business, but I think there are nine ways you can cement yourself as the “true” industry leader and expert.  Let me caution you, these nine ways aren’t easy and they very likely will take you out of your comfort zone, but if you want to dominate you have to take risks and be bold.

At this...

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Three Reasons Why Many New Insurance Agents Fail

agents failure training Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden

Despite what some people may think, the insurance industry is a highly noble profession. So why do insurance agents come and go? Why do so many new insurance agents fail and experienced agents plateau?

The insurance industry offers amazing career opportunities for those who seize it. This is especially true for insurance agents/producers. I spent 15 years as a property & casualty agent and have had many ups and downs. There were moments of great success and days where I simply wanted to throw in the towel.

The insurance industry needs some new young talent and strong leadership.Unfortunately, young people aren’t flocking to become insurance agents. For those new agents that do take on the challenge of becoming a new insurance agent, many fail. Why?

I think there are three main reasons why insurance agents fail.


1- Expect too much too soon.

Let’s face...

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3 Reasons Why Cold Calling Could be Wasting Time

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Do you cold call? Does your boss make you cold call?

If so, I believe you could be wasting valuable time.

Let me ask you some straight forward questions about cold calling.

  • Do you get excited to cold call?
  • Are cold calls adding value to your prospects?
  • Does cold calling leave you frustrated and dejected?
  • Do you have days you would rather not show up to the office because you have to cold call?
  • Do you have many current customers who have thanked you for cold calling them?

Long time sales professionals and managers will state that cold calling is part of the deal. You put your time in, work through the rejection, and if you make enough calls, you will get some appointments.

The last statement is true. If you make enough calls, you will get some appointments and eventually some sales. YAY!!!

Here is my response.

  • How many calls does it take to get one appointment?
  • How many people did you piss off in the process?
  • How much time have you wasted?
  • How much do...
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Brent Kelly Joins Sitkins Group

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2017

Sitkins Group, Inc. is pleased to announce Brent Kelly has joined their team as a coach for independent insurance agencies. With the addition of Brent to the team, Sitkins Group will be able to expand their training and development programs for agents.

Brent comes to Sitkins Group with extensive hands-on insurance industry experience, having spent 15 years as a successful commercial lines producer. In 2012 he was named one of the top 12 young agents in the country. Knowing what it took to make an agency successful, he decided to take the leap into starting his own speaking and coaching business in 2015. Brent has been focusing on his passion to help insurance professionals gain influence, maximize their potential, and grow their book of business. He is a strong keynote speaker, coach and trainer, and this background makes for an easy transition into his new role with the Sitkins team.

“Brent’s experience and his passion for personal development make him a perfect...

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Is Your Agency Too Comfortable: Part Two

growth May 26, 2017

Ways to get uncomfortable

No doubt, you’re eager to discover the joys of being uncomfortable. But seriously, getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to achieve greatness vs. “okayness.”

1. Start systematically challenging everything you do. This means questioning the What’s, Why’s, and How’s of your agency’s operation. Why do we do this? Why are we doing it this way? How do we improve that? How do we get better at doing that? To quote Thomas Edison, “There’s a way to do it better—find it!” Why not use that as a guiding principle for your agency?

2. Force your producers to rehearse every presentation. Remember it’s okay to look stupid in the office when practicing (low-risk practice). It’s not okay to look stupid in front of clients or prospects. That’s high-risk practice!

Also, when practicing, record your rehearsals and then critique them. Regrettably, far fewer than 5% of agencies do this,...

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Is Your Agency Too Comfortable: Part One

growth May 12, 2017

Great growth requires letting go of complacency

It dawned on me recently that too many agencies and their teams are too comfortable (or complacent) to really grow. What they have are “lifestyle agencies,” which is absolutely okay if that’s what they want.

Gary Holgate, my mentor in the business and the first-ever true independent agency consultant, always said that what happens at so many agencies is that the owners start out selling insurance and wind up running a business. So often, they get overwhelmed by the day-to-day minutiae of operating an agency and subsequently fall into the trap of just being busy.

Now the good news/bad news is that you don’t have to implement many— if any—of the Sitkins Strategies to do just fine. As we’ve discussed many times, in this business, owners and producers can make a great living and support a very nice lifestyle without having to do too much, aside from just showing up. It’s hard to find fault...

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Circle of Choice: Part Two

process producer Apr 28, 2017

Outside the circle

Let’s take a look at some of the OTC things we can’t change, no matter what we do.

  • The national/global economy. None of us can make a significant impact here.
  • Insurance carriers’ appetites. You can’t stop them from changing, but it’s important that you understand them.
  • Agency automation system/technology. It’s not going away, so you need to adapt to it and maximize it.
  • The service trap. Allowing yourself to stay “too busy” doing service work OTC means you can’t get ITC.

Inside the circle

Now let’s put a laser focus on the things that are ITC:

  • Personal business model. What are you working toward?
  • Ideal Client Profile. What does your ideal client look like? Not everyone is an ideal client, and in fact some can be quite un-ideal.
  • High-Performance team. What are the roles, responsibilities, and makeup of your high-performance team? Calling them high-performance doesn’t necessarily mean they are....
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Circle of Choice: Part One

process producer Apr 14, 2017

An effective process consistently produces the right results

Although this topic could apply to most employees, this article is really directed at Producers.

One of the biggest problems I see with average producers is their inability—or unwillingness—to focus on the right things. They chase way too many “bright and shiny” objects, allowing endless distractions to take them away from their “real” job. As one of my great clients and friends once said, “You’ve got to define the job of a producer and then not let them fake it.” In other words, know what you’re supposed to do and then do it! Now that’s some pretty good advice!

Success comes down to the choices producers make (or let happen) each and every day. I refer to this as “The Circle of Choice.” Inside this circle are the things that can be controlled. The things that are totally uncontrollable are outside the circle.

Defining where you will spend your...

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The Three 100's: Part Two

3 100's Mar 31, 2017

100% Goal Attainment

Assuming that you actually have goals in all areas of your agency, attaining them is huge. As part of your NO B.S. (Non-Optional Behaviors and Strategies) business plan, you should have one-year and three-year plans for the following Key Performance Indicators.

  • Gross Revenue
  • Net New Revenue
  • Retention Rate
  • Revenue per Relationship by Department
  • Revenue per Producer
  • Revenue per Service Person
  • Operating Profit
  • Percentage of Full-Time Clients
  • Spread per Employee
  • Individual Producer Goals

The big question here: What percentage of your producers met or exceeded their sales goals in 2016? In the average agency, it’s a fairly small percentage. If you’re an agency owner and you can’t tell me that well over 80% of your producers exceeded their goals, that should be a big red flag! Unfortunately, in most agencies it’s half that number—or less.

This tells me one of two things. Either the sales managers are doing a very poor job of...

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Roger Sitkins receives the Dr. Henry C. Martin Award

henry c. martin award Mar 21, 2017

Roger Sitkins and Dr. Henry C. Martin both had the same passion; which is the betterment of the independent insurance agent through knowledge, agency efficiency, and customer relationships. Roger Sitkins is the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Henry C. Martin Award and among only five others to have the honor of receiving this prestigious award.

The Dr. Henry C. Martin Award is named after the founder of The Rough Notes Company.  Dr. Martin became a medical doctor after graduating from the Medical College of New York in 1870 and began his practice in Indianapolis. After becoming a medical examiner for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, he opened his own insurance agency, represented Travelers Insurance Company.  In fact, he wrote the first fire insurance  policy for them in the state of Indiana.  His passion was writing and thus launched Insurance Rough Notes in 1878 which at the time became the champion of better insurance...

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