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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 is in charge of leading growth and revenue for your agency? Has anyone taken full responsibility for this vital position on the agency team?

For larger agencies, there may be a designated person for this responsibility, but for smaller agencies, the head coach may also need to serve as the offensive coordinator.

Recent studies show that only about 10-15% of independent insurance agencies have a named and effective sales leader. It’s no wonder why many agencies are struggling to create momentum and grow.

Regardless of current agency size, it is imperative that every agency is intentional about filling this role with someone willing and able to effectively lead the sales team.

What are the roles of an effective sales leader?

1.     Recruiting

Just like prospecting for new clients for your agency, prospecting for talent should be an ongoing event. Whether you are 1 month or 1 year from hiring your next producer, recruiting for the best talent is a never-ending process.

2.     Hiring

Deciding on hiring the right person is a huge challenge for independent agencies. A sales leader must spend adequate time researching, listening, and screening the right people to bring on board. There is no perfect system, but too often because agencies have not been actively recruiting, they hire out of desperation vs. making a well-informed decision based on both facts and feelings.

3.     Training

Yes, you are responsible for training your sales team. There is no magic fairy dust that you blow on your new producer and suddenly they become a top revenue generator. Not only is a training program vital to attract the right talent, but it will often determine if you will keep the best talent. Great producers want to learn and be led. Otherwise, they will find someone and someplace else that provides a better opportunity for growth.

If you don’t have an internal agency producer training process, look for outside sources that you can lean on. At the Sitkins Network, we provide ongoing training and coaching in four key areas; agency leadership, sales leadership, producer training, and administration.

4.     Motivating

One of the greatest qualities of any successful leader or coach is the ability to motivate others around them. It’s been said that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” While I do agree that ultimate motivation must come from within, I also believe that you can make people thirsty.

Motivation is not about telling people what to do. Great motivators tap into other’s passions and help them find their purpose. I believe that great motivators do four important things:

·      Nurture people—The height of your influence upon others depends on the depth of your concern for them

·      Faith in people—great motivators have a faith in their vision and faith in people to accomplish the vision

·      Listening to people—listening builds respect, relationships, increases knowledge, generates ideas, and builds loyalty.

·      Understand people—to motivate others, you must first understand them. As Steven Covey wrote, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

5.     Disciplining

Discipline can seem like a dirty word. No one likes to give or receive discipline, but discipline is much more than verbal punishment.

Discipline is creating a specific plan to achieve a desired outcome and sticking with it until completion. Leading others effectively is not simply about giving knowledge or information. Transferring ideas is the easy part. The challenge and reward comes from helping people take an idea and execute.

Your job as a sales leader is to help your producers develop daily habits and maintain consistency. There is nothing more powerful than compounding consistency….and that requires discipline.

6.     Termination

Unfortunately, one of the most challenging aspects of sales leadership, both personally and professionally, is termination.

It has been stated that most organizations are too quick to hire and too slow to fire. I agree with that. While you can motivate people to help them achieve more, it’s up to each individual producer to grow, develop, and get results.

Not only do poor-performing producers suck out profit from your agency, but they also can be a negative influence on other producers on your team. You owe it to your entire agency to do what’s best for the long-term health of your agency, and sometimes that requires termination.

What the Best Agencies Have 

The agencies with the best organic growth possess three common characteristics from the sales leader.

Process - What is the named sales process for your agency? What is your agency’s way of doing business?

If your answer is “It depends” or “I’m not sure”, you have no process.

Imagine a football team that goes to the huddle to run the next play, but instead of running a play where the team works together, everyone does their own thing. What would happen? Chaos.

That’s what happens to many independent insurance agencies. As a sales leader, you must plan, prepare and execute your agency’s “set offense.”

Training - How do your producers prepare for the next “big game?”

Even with a well-crafted game plan, every football team works on the basics and goes over the plays the week leading up to the game. Great teams practice just like it’s the real game.

As a sales leader, your responsibility is to train your producers to be ready for the next appointment, sales meeting, or networking event. At the Sitkins Network, we often talk about being relentlessly prepared. How prepared are your producers?

Accountability - How are your producers held accountable when they fall short of team and individual goals? Better yet, do they have named goals that you have discussed together?

What if there were no stats for the starting quarterback? We didn’t track completion percentage, interceptions, or yards per game. Instead, we just went by feeling alone to determine the effectiveness of their performance? How could you provide accountability?

As the sales leader for your agency, you must determine what metrics are most important for your producer’s success, agree upon them, and then hold them accountable.

We all need accountability to reach our full potential. It’s easy to set goals and talk about what we want to accomplish. The challenge comes in sharing these goals with others and being held accountable to the final results.

The Bottom Line

Producers need leaders. Leaders who model excellence, leaders that develop winning plans, leaders that maximize talent.

If your agency doesn’t have a designated sales leader, regardless if that is the agency principal or named sales manager, you will not get optimal results.  

Ask yourself two vital questions: Who’s your agency’s offensive coordinator and what’s the game plan?

At The Sitkins Network we work directly with Sales Leaders to help their team install a set offense for their agency, conduct ongoing training programs, and build a culture of accountability.

The Sitkins Network is a territorial exclusive community of high achieving agencies that desire to become a category of one in their marketplace. Click here to learn more and see if your territory is available.

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