#SitkinsIsTheSolution

Click #6 - Generic to Indispensable

podcast Aug 11, 2022
 

 

Brent Kelly:

Welcome to The Agent Leader podcast. My name is Brent Kelly, your host. Thanks so much for joining me on this episode. The purpose always of The Agent Leader podcast is to help you, the agency leader, whether you're the agency principal, maybe you're a sales manager, you're a producer, you're a service professional trying to lead your clients at the highest level. This is to help you, the agency leader, gain clarity, build consistency, and make a commitment to become your best version possible. So this is part six, this podcast episode, of an eight-part series that I am running here with my... I almost want to call you a co-host now, Roger, but I'll call you a guest, but co-host and also co-author of our brand new book entitled Best Version Possible, which again, we continue to get great feedback on this book. We'd love to get this book into your hands, if you don't have it yet.

Brent Kelly:

You can go to Sitkins.com/bvp for Best Version Possible. So Sitkins.com/bvp, so you get a copy of your book. The Best Version Possible started off as a question, and then it turned into a book and a movie, which has been fun, and what you're going to begin to see from the Sitkins Group, and we are so excited to release this here. I'm just going to give you a little tease here. That's as far as I'm going to go of a true experience, to take all these years of knowledge, and experience, and results, and just systems, and strategies, and to say, "What if we could put it into four simple proven phases to help agencies get results? What would that look like?" And that's exactly what we're doing.

Brent Kelly:

So be on the lookout. I'm going to leave it at that for the Best Version Possible experience. That'll be coming out very soon to and for independent insurance agency leaders across the country. So with that, I want to get into today's podcast. And again, this is part six of an eight-part series on "Clicks", and as a reminder, what's a click? Well, it's a breakthrough. It's a new mindset. It's a different way of thinking. It's a better way of thinking. It's a higher level of thinking. Of course, what should follow that is the right actions, behaviors, and strategies around it.

Brent Kelly:

So we've had our first five clicks. Our click today is about how to move, and the click is the to move from generic to truly indispensable, right? What does that click that we see agency leaders and, of course, their agency teams get when they go, "You know what? I'm going to move away from generic looking like everybody else." And we'll get into depth of what that means today, to saying, "You know what? We are the point of comparison in the marketplace. No one wants to compete against us, because we are truly indispensable."

Brent Kelly:

So this is going to be a really fun conversation. Before I get into some questions, Roger, and your thoughts, obviously, I want to go deep and ask you a number of questions. I do want to share a story about this to lead into our conversation today, and I know you, Roger, have had many experience traveling, doing speaking events, associations, carriers, you name it, right?

Brent Kelly:

But I had one that really relates to this topic. It's probably been three and a half, four years ago, somewhere in there. I was at an event on the east coast, and I was a keynote speaker and, of course, networking around. I was talking to an agency leader, who very successful agency leader, has built the agency at a very high level, and as always, I just want to ask questions to learn. And very basic I said, "What has been one of your keys or the top thing that you've done to really grow your agency at the level that you have?" And he looked at me, and smiled, and said, "That's actually a really easy question."

Brent Kelly:

And I said, "Okay, tell me more." He said, "Well, what I did, Brent, is I just looked around at every other independent insurance agency, and I did the opposite of what most of them do. Right? I didn't want to look, and sound, and be like them." And so we're going to talk about what that really means today, but, Roger, obviously again, thank you, first of all, for being on click six and putting up with all my questions, but I just want to ask you as a starting point today, why is this topic so important?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, it's really simple. Success leaves clues, so does average, so does below average. So if you look at it, I love that story. I've obviously heard it quite a few times now, but I just looked at what everybody else is doing, and I do the opposite. I just see this so often that everything is out there waiting for agencies to do the right things, and in our whole model, the Best Version Possible, the Best Version experience, we know what works and doesn't work, but we sit out there and agents go, "Well, but we're doing okay." And we talk about this all the time. Semi successful in our business is pretty good, but longer term, if they don't say, "Wait a minute, we've got to differentiate," If they don't do that, there're going to be a lot of regrets at the end of their careers, and that's something we push so hard, and I know we've mentioned it several times in our click series here, but again, success leaves clues.

Roger Sitkins:

And if you look at it and say, "Well, what are the really successful agencies doing?" I mentioned quite a while ago in one of our podcast, how at one of our early networking events, we had agencies broken up by size, and the one agency that was two or two and a half million of revenue, whatever, I said, "Hey, you need to be at this round table." It was for the two to 3 million, whatever it was, and he said, "I already know how to be that. I want to go sit with the five and 10 million guys to see what they're doing." And so the best are always looking at themselves and saying, "Okay, if I'm like everybody else on average. I've got to get away from that." So that's the starting point

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. When you were saying that, Roger, it hit me, and I think this will come through in some of the questions that I'll ask you, and we'll discuss today, but it's interesting. When you think of different, you mentioned so many times the bar is low in the industry overall, so oftentimes different isn't... I want to be very clear. This isn't a complete 180. When we say, "Look and sound different," we joke about that as far as I'm going to do the opposite. Well, it's just I'm going to do more, and I think we're going to talk today. You're going to see that these little things that you can do will very quickly establish you as a unique agency that really can make you indispensable. A lot of agencies have different tools and resources. The question is, how many of them are actually using them? Right?

Brent Kelly:

And so that's a big part of it. So I want to start off, because I hopefully set this up right here, Roger, but I mean, it's just funny to think about. Okay, we're going to move from generic to indispensable, so let's start with generic, and then by the way, if you're a listener here, if this is you, don't take offense, because we have a lot of questions with agency leaders, and they struggle with this, right? This is not easy.

Roger Sitkins:

No. No. No.

Brent Kelly:

We don't pretend it's easy, but I do think it's highly important. So could you, Roger, just to start off, what is a generic agency, or a producer, a part of a sales team? What does that look like, sound like, feel like?

Roger Sitkins:

It looks like, sounds like, feels like every other agency that's out there. It looks like the bottom 80% of agencies in the country, and a lot of them just, again, they're semi successful. They don't have a plan. They don't do all the key things they should be doing. Certainly one of our core things we talk about is they confuse activity with the results. Everybody is busy, so things must be great. And they never really take the time to slow down and look at what's really going on, because they're so crazy all the time, and that's because that's how an average agency is.

Roger Sitkins:

Versus saying, "No, we've really got to start challenging our thought process. We're going to start looking at it ourselves differently. We got to question every single thing we do, because a lot of things we used to do don't work anymore, or a lot of things we used to do we're not doing anymore, just because we got bored with them, yet they still get great results." So I think that's a starting point.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. It's interesting. This goes back to even one of our earlier clicks about just the way that you think, right? I mean, that's why it started. How are you going to think, and who are you going to surround yourself with to think about, right? Because let's face it. You can get in a room, and again, of small minded people and thinkers, and you never grow and change. And so I think a big part of this is wait a second, let's question these things that we're doing. Why are we doing it? I know you mentioned this, I believe you mentioned this on a previous click, and I don't even remember which episode it was, but what I see, Roger, oftentimes is because it becomes how fast, how cheap can we be? We're trying to compete in many cases against some of these captive companies or other companies that have unlimited marketing budgets verse you, and something that you said, and I say it all the time, is it becomes a race to the bottom.

Roger Sitkins:

Yep.

Brent Kelly:

You work really, really hard to make less money, to wonder why, "How did I get here, and why am I so stressed? And why am I so trapped? And I feel like all this work and effort... I'm doing okay, like you said, semi successful, but man, it's got to be better than this. I've worked too hard for not to be better than this and have more freedom than this." So with that, one of the fun things that we get to do, Roger, in our training and our coaching with agencies is that we get to see some of these clicks or breakthroughs where they go, "Ah," and it may be just one small thing, right? But it's like, "Oh, I'm seeing the light a little bit here, and I'm starting to have some success." So what are some examples maybe that you've seen, Rog, you could share with the audience of clicks that agencies and/or producers have experienced?

Roger Sitkins:

I love it when we see the click, and we've told the story several times about Grande Gringo and the first big click there, but it's when people just literally they physically... You can see them having that blinding flash of the obvious where, "Oh my gosh, what's going on?" One of the first ones when we're talking with producers and agencies overall, but those that are still stuck in the commodity trap, when we finally say to them, "Look, apples to apple's quoting is stupid, because you're trying to compare two things, what are there thousands of different types of apples just in the US," and in fact, somebody challenged us on that the other day, and we looked it up, and it was what?

Brent Kelly:

I mean, look, there's about 2,500 varieties of apples in the United States, and 5,000+ worldwide.

Roger Sitkins:

And someone said, "Well, I thought they were just red and green." No, there's a whole bunch of different ones. So apples to apple's quoting, all you're really... First of all, you're not being an insurance professional, a risk professional. You're just saying, "Let me see what your current agent did, and I'm going to quote." And coverages are so different, and I think you're doing a disservice to your client, so that's a big one. One you talk about all the time, and I absolutely love this quote from you, "You can't have a differentiated selling system if you don't know how you're different." And the minute we start challenging people to say, "No apples to apples, how are you different? How are you not stuck in the generic five, which we talk about all the time? What are you doing that differentiates You? Tell me what your process is."

Roger Sitkins:

And they look at you and say, "What?" I say, "What's your sales process?" "Well, we show up, and we take copious notes. We look at their policies," and then they fall into that look, copy, quote, and pray mode. I say, "That's not a process. That's hysterical activity. What is the sales process you go through that you can actually sit down and say with the prospect, 'Here's exactly what we're going to do.'" And we talk about purpose, process, and payoff. That's a huge one.

Roger Sitkins:

The other one, you mentioned this already, and every time we talk about it, you can just see people go, "You're right." The bar is very low. The bar is very low, and in fact, in our producer program this past week, we were talking about this in our Q and A session, where we always stay on afterwards. One of the producers said, "Well, you said the bar is low. Tell me a little bit more about that, and what are some of the things I could do?" I said, "Look, how many of you, honestly, whether it's high net worth personal lines, commercial lines, or benefits, how many of you have some sort of a risk survey or benefit survey you do up front?"

Roger Sitkins:

And it's almost never. So if you just do one thing, we said, "Look, go to RoughNotes, get the RoughNotes Advantage. Tell them you're a Sitkins friend or client. You get a discount. But go in there and start doing risk surveys. That differentiates you." Because when I've talked to insurance company underwriters, where either they've been at a presentation I'm making, or I'm working with a carrier, and I'll always ask the underwriters, "What percent of your submissions in mid-market, and above, and commercial lines show up with a risk survey?" And what gets me is when some underwriters go, "I've never seen one," and then we find 1% or 2%. Now, I understand with technology we can gain so much more of it, but there's still so much more about telling the story as part of your top of the stack submission to the carrier. So we're seeing almost none of that happening, and it drives me crazy.

Roger Sitkins:

Two of our latest ones, one I've talked about a few times on here, that people just they click. Your current business model IS perfectly designed for you to achieve the results you're currently achieving, and people, it's kind of like a three count, and they go, "Oh," or someone wills say, "Wait a minute, I don't have a business model." I said, "Exactly. That's your business model. You don't have a business model." And for so many agencies, because you can do okay, they have a business model, but it's not intentional. It's just like, "Well, this is the way we've always done it, and I don't exactly do it that way. I do it this way.

Roger Sitkins:

So the whole concept of sitting down and saying, "Okay, if my current results are leading the pack, and I have the total freedoms I want from financial to time, to relationships, energy, everything else, then don't worry about, but if you look at those things, and you say, 'That's not my best version possible. That's not an age I've ever dreamt of.'" When I'm all alone at night, or I'm up in the morning, and I'm doing my morning routine and thinking, "It'd be great if we had this, this and this," but they don't have it, and then it just comes down to what's your business model? We don't have one. So that one gets me all the time.

Roger Sitkins:

One of the other ones that's new, and I know we used it the other day in one of our recordings, but you talk about a total mindset difference. What if our attitude was from this point moving forward, every client we get comes from a referral or an introduction, and every client we get gives us a referral or introduction, because we've made enough deposits with them to earn a withdrawal? And this is one that we just started talking about this maybe three, four weeks ago in our programs, and you could just see the producers going, "Oh, that would be so cool." And then we kid around, of course, say, "Well, what's your closing ratio on a referral?" We always seem to get the number 80%, 90%. Well, you wouldn't want to do that all the time, would you? Yeah. And there's another click. Why wouldn't you want to do that? So those are some of the ones that really jump out at me, Brent, just clicks.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. Those are great. You shared a number, so thank you. You offered way more than I thought you'd... I asked for one or two clicks. You gave us I think four or five, so.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, I have six more here, but I know you need to stop within two hours. No, we're good.

Brent Kelly:

Oh, okay. Well, we got more time. A few big thoughts jumped out at me, and I think you've heard me share this before, and you know, and if anybody's been through my programs, for whatever reason... Well, I know the reason. It's good stuff, but I share a lot of quotes and thoughts from the late great Jim Rohn, and some people are like, "Who the heck is that?" But I mean, he is a business speaker and whatever, did for years and years, and he just had a very unique cadence and style. So if you ever listen to him, you go, "Oh, I get it." But one of the things that he said is exactly based on that last thing that you said on the referrals and this idea, and what he said was, "Your philosophy determines your attitude. Your attitude will determine your actions. Your actions will determine your results, and your results will determine your lifestyle."

Brent Kelly:

And so he always flipped it. He said, "If you don't like your lifestyle, look at your results, and if you don't like your results, look at your actions. If you don't like your actions, look at your attitude, and if you don't like your attitude, look at your philosophy." And so I say all that to go back to the importance of the mindset of if our philosophy is, as just as you said, those different things that you mentioned. This is how we do it, which determines the attitude and the culture of the agency, and who I am, which certainly determines the actions we're going to take. Well, guess what? You get better results, you get more freedom, you have a better lifestyle. So as you said that, I'm like, "Wow, that's an exact example of that based on the whole approach that you just said."

Brent Kelly:

And one more thing, and this was on a... And if you want to go back and listen to it, please do, but before we started this click series, I did a solo podcast talking about commission breath, which side topic, but part of this, the click that hit me on this, is that you've got to know your value was one of the first things I said. And I think too many agencies and producers don't truly know their value, or at least they don't believe in it. And so because of that, they become a quoting machine. Well, I'm just out there getting quotes. Well, if you know your value, and what you bring the marketplace, and as you said, Roger, that we're going to take the underwriter's view, and we're going to do these things differently, well, you should know your value. And the second part was exactly what you said too, is you got to own your model.

Brent Kelly:

We got to have a model, and if we don't, like you said, I love what you said there, "What's your model" "Well, I don't have one." Well, there you go. You do have one. It's just not good.

Roger Sitkins:

Yeah.

Brent Kelly:

So anyway, I wanted to throw a couple of those on there as you were saying that. All right, so let's get actionable here, and you've kind of already done this a little bit, but if an agency leader, Roger, would come up to you, I know it would depend on their situation and all that, but they would say, "Hey, Roger, what would be an action step that you would suggest that we as an agency take, or I could tell a producer that would make us harder to replace, to get to that next level?"

Roger Sitkins:

Well, there's a couple things here, and these are clicks that would carry over. First one comes back to attitude again, that every event deserves my very best. I would never show up and not be relentlessly prepared. It's like I know we've talked about this in some of the previous podcasts. One of the breakthroughs from a producer at one of our programs where we said, "What'd you get out of today?" And he said, "Well, coach, I realize I no longer am going to rehearse my presentation during the actual presentation." Don't practice at a live event.

Roger Sitkins:

Another big one, a singular action, and this happened in a coaching call we were having with one of our private clients, probably the best executing agency we've ever worked with, and they're having their best year ever. It's amazing how the agencies that do the stuff have their best years ever, and this is a large agency. They're over 30 million of commission income, and so having their best year ever, but we had three of the sales leaders on in a coaching call, and we were double teaming them, because we really wanted to get deeper, and it was just amazing to me how you asked them. I said, "So what's the one thing, and what's the one thing?"

Roger Sitkins:

And what it came down to is they have executed the concept of the master relationship calendar better than anybody we've ever talked to, where every one of the producers has a calendar. It's in their CRM where they can say, "Okay, here we are. We're recording this in the beginning of August." Well, middle of last month, or even the beginning of last month, they should have been looking at the quote August column, what things were planned for August, and what things were planned for September. And they're not doing it perfectly, and all their producers aren't where they should be on it, but the vast majority are very close to 80%+ execution.

Roger Sitkins:

And it was interesting how when you said to them, "So overall as we were looking at this, overall, what's the one thing?" And they were kind of stumbling. You said, "Well, isn't it total execution of the relationship management calendar, that if that's in place, everything else will happen?" And it was like the blinding flash of the obvious. So when we look at this, and it leads me to a direct answer, I hope, on your question. If I had to say one thing, assuming as a listener you're not totally into the commodity market, okay? And if you're in the commodity market, you've just got to be in it really, really, really, really big. You can't dabble in it.

Roger Sitkins:

But those of you that realize, and I hope you do, that longer term your play is it's a relationship game going from transactions to relationships, going from transactions to risk advice. It's to go deeper and wider in all of your relationships. Go as deep as you can with the decision makers and go as wide as you can with the influencers, because what you don't want to do is get easily replaced, and if you've got a great relationship, and you're truly operating along your points of differentiation, you're executing them, that you have the calendar in place. You have a risk management plan for every client. You're not going to get replaced, because when you go deep and wide, and you do all those things you said you're going to do. You ultimately get to being a member of their trusted advisor team.

Roger Sitkins:

And I hear agents give this lip service, "Boy. Sure wish we were treated like the attorney, the CPA, the banker, the wealth manager, whatever." Why aren't you? Why aren't you? They give advice. You're doing just a transaction. You're renewing policies. They're doing annual plans. And so you look at it, and it's a mindset too in that with our best producers that really are sponges when they're saying, "Okay, we know what the best version possible of us looks like," they're saying to their client right up front, "My goal is a long term relationship. My goal is to be a member of your trusted advisor team, somebody you call before you do something, not somebody you call afterwards, and finally, my goal is to create such a great client experience for you that you feel really good about referring a friend or associate to me." I'll guarantee you 99% of producers won't have that discussion at any point, but when they do, and all of a sudden they're going, "Oh, yeah. I would like to be that professional."

Roger Sitkins:

And again, when they say, "Well, what's the best version of you," would you say that? Would you say that, and would you tell your clients you want a long term relationship? It's, it's such a mindset, and it comes back to what you just said a few minutes ago, Brent. If they don't believe in themselves, if they don't believe in the value they bring, then they don't bring any value, and they're just going to be floating along. When you're floating along it's a game towards a serious amount of regrets at the end of your career.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. A lot of I'm hoping the listeners there, if they weren't driving, they took some notes, because I mean, there was some really, really key nuggets that you shared there, Roger, and I do want to give a little more context, if I could, around that specific conversation, because this is a private client that I have the privilege, and I really mean that, a privilege of coaching them and working with them. And in fact, I'll be out there next week with some of their newer producers. But the key to all of that, and I know this sounds overly simplified, but if you had to sum it up, or if I had to sum it up, I would say they are proactive. They are intentional. They are deliberate on relationships, and I'm using that as an example.

Brent Kelly:

That's what it was. It's like you said. Relationships don't happen just because we want them to. You have to go earn them. Right? You have to go develop them. Why don't producers get more referrals? And we talk about this all the time, "Oh, there goes Sitkins talking about referrals again." Well, if you ask any agent, say, "Hey, referral is a great way to grow your business." Yes. In fact, side note, I did a training yesterday with the service professionals across the country, and I was asking them.

Brent Kelly:

They're not as focused necessarily on the money aspect, but even like, "Hey, do you have better quality relationships with those clients that are referred into or that those come in cold?" "Oh, referrals." "Do they last longer?" "Yes." "Are they more profitable?" "Yes." Right? "I mean, are they friendlier to work with?" "Yes." And then you get to the producers. "Do you get a higher closing rate?" "Yes." And then people go, "Gosh, I don't know why you guys always talk about referrals. I mean, duh."

Roger Sitkins:

Yeah, because let's face it, I mean 90% renew, but less than 10%, really less than 5%, refer. It's a referral is way better than a click, ping, ring, or ding that you give a practice quote to.

Brent Kelly:

Right. And as we'll get into it, we'll share more about even just the 80% factor of this, but let's look at this. It is hitting me, and you're right. We're having a conversation talking about what's the click? Well, to be indispensable. By the way, this agency is doing it at a really, really high level. This will be their third year in a row they're going to have a million dollars of revenue, not only, but just on broker of records. Well, how do you get that much revenue in broker of records or agent of records?

Brent Kelly:

We don't necessarily teach the process around it. It happens as an outcome. It's because they've developed and earned the relationship and were proactive in it. They practice and rehearsed of how they were going to approach and ask for referrals that they've earned. And guess what? You're able to close 80% of those. They're closing at 80% or more. They were actually closer to 90, Rog, if I recall.

Roger Sitkins:

Yeah. And 71% of their new businesses come on a BOR this year, and we don't teach it. In our world, the BOR is a natural outcome of a great process of differentiation, and we say it somewhat tongue in cheek, but when someone says, "Gee, I'm not getting any of this from my current agent. Could you become my agent," that's a buying signal. The answer is "Yes."

Brent Kelly:

Yes.

Roger Sitkins:

But if you don't get to that, I mean, and we've talked about this before, but when there's a great process of differentiation, and they're saying, "We don't get this. We don't get that. We've never heard about... Oh, they said they were going to do. They didn't do it," what you're doing with that prospect, that as we prefer to call them future ideal client, is you're allowing them to design this really cool program that you're going to allow them to buy from you. And it works all the time, 90% of the time, whatever, but people say, "Well, that just sounds too simple." It is simple. It's just not easy. We have a new thing, Brent. We have a new acronym.

Brent Kelly:

All right. I think I know where you're going, so go ahead and share it, Roger.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, we were talking in one of our sessions about the fact that the difference between most agencies, and most producers, and most leaders, and those who actually do what they said they're going to do is pigheaded discipline. And it's truly pigheaded discipline. Here's my path. Here are my guardrails. I'm staying in. I'm going to do no matter what. And Scott Gregory, one of our great coaches, came up with he said, "Okay, here's a new acronym. You've got to earn your PhD, and it's your pigheaded discipline." So I guess we're going to start giving people... Maybe we'll give out certificates.

Brent Kelly:

Wow.

Roger Sitkins:

I have a PhD in Sitkins. I don't know what it is.

Brent Kelly:

Well, you know what we could do, Roger? Is that we could... Okay, this is a little off the cuff, but we could as agencies and their teams go through our core programs and things, and they agree to get their MBA, to master the basic activities. When they get consistent long term with pigheaded discipline, they then can also earn their PhD.

Roger Sitkins:

Ooh.

Brent Kelly:

Okay. I digress.

Roger Sitkins:

I hope our listeners are having as much fun as we are.

Brent Kelly:

We do have a lot of fun, but I tell you what. You know what? It comes down to results, which leads into my last question. We can joke and all these kind of things, but listen, I don't want to be braggadocios about this, because it isn't about me or Roger.

Roger Sitkins:

Nope.

Brent Kelly:

It's about the work the agencies are going through, but we have, and actually I've got to get more results in, but I know top of my head, we have four agencies I know that I work with, that are having their best years ever. I mean just killing it.

Roger Sitkins:

This is the private clients?

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, private clients I work with, and part of this is, and we joke, but it's the pigheaded discipline. It's getting focused. It's staying focused. But guess what? The outcomes are pretty cool of the freedoms and opportunities they're getting, and to be able to develop and grow their team. So I'm going to ask you, Roger, my last question in this area. Agencies begin to get this click, this shift to say, "You know what? I'm tired of being generic, and I know we're being generic in certain ways. I really want to be different. I want to become indispensable. I want to be that agency that people truly fear in a healthy way, hopefully." Right?

Roger Sitkins:

Oh, yeah.

Brent Kelly:

But what would an outcome of an agency look like? What are the results? What are the emotions? What is it? What does it look like?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, the result is their best year ever, and then consistently outdoing last year. Last year was our best year ever, and I love that. That's what our best agencies are saying. Last year was the best year we ever had, but next year is going to be even better. I remember one time, one of our sales leader, one of the owners of one of our large clients, said in the producer program, he said, "Man, I love this stuff. I'm going to follow it. I expect to have the best year I've ever had and wind up being the worst producer in the whole group, because you all are really going to take off with this." And he was the more senior guy in the firm in that, but he said, "Honestly." He said, "I'm going to do this stuff."

Roger Sitkins:

And he already been doing a lot of it, but now it was like that final click, and he said, "I'm going to have my best year ever this coming year. I'm on track for it, but I'm going to be the worst producer amongst all of us." And boy, you talk about throwing up a challenge. I think the first PhD has got to go to the agency leader. Okay, who's going to get their degree first? It's the leader that stands up, says, "This is what we're going to do." And now we're going to get our team buy in. We're going to get them understand, but the leader is still going to say, "I have to have pigheaded discipline. I've got to talk about this all the time." You mentioned this about communicating all the time.

Roger Sitkins:

At the point where you think you're over communicating, you might be close to even communicating at all the constant reinforcement of the message. So when agencies do that, and they realize that, "Wow, we had our best new business year ever. We had our best operating profit ever. We've now increased the value of our agency more in one year than we've done in the last 10 years," and the exciting thing is it's doable. It's this is not fantasy land. If this were our first rodeo, and we were making this stuff up, fine. This works, but you have to do the work. I mean, our part is the easy part. Here's exactly what to do. Now, someone has got to get the PhD to go out there and do it, and that's the end of the message. I mean, that's it.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. I mean, and going back through it, like you said, we talk so much about freedoms, but it really is. And in fact, I mentioned this in I don't know what group it was this week. And, Roger, you've said this a number of times, so I'm certainly stealing it from you or borrowing it, whatever term I want to use for the day, but the idea of if you want to do the easy stuff right now, which by the way, quoting everything, working with everyone, being generic, great service, we got good people, never really going deep into your business and saying, "Where can we really begin to engage our clients and future ideal clients differently and be unique," that's really easy to do that stuff. The problem is it makes the rest of your career and growing your business really hard. Right?

Brent Kelly:

And what you said, Roger, if we can do some of the harder stuff up front, which is working on the business, asking ourself some of these difficult questions, challenging each other, actually practicing some of the things that we said we were going to do, guess what happens? Oh my gosh, I did this. I did the work. I know you've had these. I've had these too where people, what's a producer and agents there. I did some of these things, and it was a little more work, but oh my gosh, writing that nice piece of business was way easier. Working with these better clients was way easier. So any comments you want to make on that, Roger?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, you teed it up. You take the easy way, and now your life is hard later. Do the hard things now, life is way better later. And if you want freedoms that we talk about all the time, do the hard stuff now. Again, this is it's simple. It's hard to make change. It's hard to get people to change, but when you do it, and you realize that there really are three types of agencies, and talked about this. We talked about it in our movie too. The bottom 80% of agencies, they're quoters and floaters, and in the whole scheme of things, they'll be okay. Okay? But longer term, I just know they're going to have that regret. I keep saying it, because it's true. The top 2% of agencies have figured most of this out, although, what's interesting is we work with the largest agencies. They get the best results, because they're so pigheaded even when they come in, and then they go, "Okay, now we understand Best Version Possible. Let's make it happen."

Roger Sitkins:

So the quoters and floaters are going to stay there. The middle group, the next group is kind of like 18% of agencies. They've moved along, and they're getting better results, and now they're really becoming trusted advisors to their clients. They understand the importance of that positioning. And then finally, you get up to the top 2%, whether it's top 2% of agencies or top 2% of producers. They truly become... And you used the term earlier, and I absolutely believe it. They become indispensable risk partners. Why would anybody ever fire? Do you fire your attorneys, your CPAs, your bankers, or wealth managers on a regular basis? No, because there's a trust factor there, and I know with my best advisors, they're indispensable in my life. Okay?

Roger Sitkins:

And we should all get that way with all of our advisors and all of our clients. Excuse me. So get to that indispensable relationship, where they just can't imagine doing business without you, that you provide not just the knowledge, but you provide the wisdom that others don't have, then you become the category of one.

Brent Kelly:

Ooh. Oh, that last part is huge. Yeah. Roger, so much good stuff there, and again, for agency leaders out there, again, maybe you're making that first click in this, maybe you're somewhere in the middle trying to get to the next click, but whatever it is for you, just continue to ask yourself, "What's going to make us indispensable? What are some of the questions that we're not asking ourselves that we need to be asking?" So we certainly here at Sitkins Group are always here to help agencies with those clicks. Also, if you've been a fan of this podcast or been listening, it's added value to you, always looking for a rate and review. I want to continue to grow this audience. I know that personally, I really appreciate it from some of the listeners the feedback that I've been getting, and, Roger, you've been a big part of that in this series as well of saying, "Listen, I appreciate you sharing some of your wisdom with us to help us think about things differently."

Brent Kelly:

So I want to continue to do that. If you want the book, go to sitkins.com/bvp to learn more about what we do, and learn about our key strategies in the Best Version Possible book. So, Roger, thank you. Click number seven. We got two left.

Roger Sitkins:

Alright.

Brent Kelly:

We could probably do 100 but we limit it all the way down to eight. So click seven we're going to get in this idea of are you winging it, or do you really have a playbook AKA process that you walk yourself through? So we'll get into that next click. Thanks for being a listener. We'll talk to you again soon.

 

Other "Clicks" in this Series:

Click #1 - Small Thinking 

Click #2 - Teams

Click #3 - Activity vs. Results

Click #4 - Renewals to Referrals

Click #5 - Trivial Many to Vital Few

 

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