Dunking Agency Success


So what does dunking a basketball have to do with independent insurance agency success? Well, technically not that much, but as I'm going to share in today's Agent Leader podcast, there are some fascinating parallels that I have learned in terms of training that apply directly to independent insurance agencies and you as an agency leader reaching your highest version, your best version possible.

Welcome to the Agent Leader podcast. My name is Brent Kelly. I'm your host. Thanks so much for joining me on this episode. So excited to share with you today some of these foundational things that are critically important for independent insurance agencies. Of course, how that relates to dunking a basketball. I'll get to that in a minute and to give you some practical ideas and steps that you can take away to use in your agency. Now, as always, the purpose of this podcast, the Agent Leader podcast, and the purpose of what we do and my role as president at the Sitkins Group is to help agencies like you become their best version possible.

We do that through education, through empowerment, and through equipping you to help you along your journey. Now, as a reminder, I mentioned this in another podcast. We have an incredible new tool. It's super simple too, the Agency Transformation Scorecard. It's a few questions that you can go through at your own convenience and get some instant feedback on where your agency stands today. So go to sitkins.com/scorecard. That's it sitkins.com/scorecard. We'll also make sure we have it in the show notes. Also, if you're interested in any of our programs and certainly being become a partner with the Sitkins Group, we'd love to have a conversation with you to help you develop consistency over a period of time to have incredible results. We love the success stories. We'd love for you to be part of one of those success stories as well. Now, let me get to the content today, dunking a basketball and insurance agency success.

Well, I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due and the last oh month or two, I have explored more into a concept or a gentleman I guess by the name of Ben Patrick and his concept or his name, his nickname is Knees Over Toes Guy. Now, maybe you've never heard of Ben Patrick. That wouldn't surprise you. Maybe you have. He's become pretty popular, but he's got a very interesting way of training, of viewing things. And Ben Patrick, I'm not going to tell his whole story, but he's a gentleman who had reconstructive knee surgery, all kinds of problems, had issues with mobility, and he had issues with being in pain and issues of just being a decent athlete. He wanted to be able to get out and do things, and he's gone from that to a guy who is, I think he's 6'1" or 6'2", and he's up there slam dunking a basketball and he's trained looks like of hundreds or thousands. I'm not sure how many of people to do much the same, and his philosophy is unique, but when I was listening to his philosophy and I now have purchased his programs and are now starting to use his program, so stay tuned, maybe I, in the coming years, that's my goal to go back to be able to dunk a basketball again, I'm 46 years old, so we'll see how this progresses. But this idea of joint pain and knee pain and hip pain and all these things, well, that's just what happens when you get older. Well, maybe, or maybe we're not doing the right kind of training. Now, here's the parallel. I think independent insurance agencies struggle with the same thing, in fact, and our programs in particular, I'm going to reference our ProducerFit program, which is part of the Sitkins membership, or you can attend that program by going to Sitkins.com/profit and learn more about it. But that program we build on foundational blocks from the ground up. And what Ben and his team teach at AGT, which is the name of his company, the knees over toes guy, is that we don't want any weak links and that we build from the ground up. And this idea that, well, I can't knuckle basketball, I need to do this. Well, maybe you've got issues with your toes or your feet or your ankles.

Maybe you've got muscles on your calf area that have been developed, right? All these things from the ground up. And if we do this right and we avoid weak links, the outcome is amazing. And obviously the time it takes to do that does require work, but once you get there, it's much easier to maintain. Again, much like what we see with independent insurance agencies and in particular, and our producer sales training program ProducerFit, we have eight sessions now. These eight sessions are the foundation of everything that we teach around our Sitkins programs and we build consistency long-term around it. But even in these eight sessions as coaches, we had a meeting recently and we were talking about some revisions, some updates. We always look at ways to improve our program that we could do to help producers get further faster, but understanding that it's not about just getting somewhere fast.

It's about keeping that momentum. And so often we'll hear from producers as they go through our program that we're in session one or two or three or four, and they go, yeah, but what about that? And we will say, we're going to get to that, but wait, because if we don't build some of these foundational things now or teach these things to you, when you get there, you'll never be able to implement them at the highest level. You'll never be able to execute at the highest level, and you'll lose consistency because you won't have the basic behaviors and habits and tools and foundational things that are going to help you sustain it long term. Why is that important? Well, think about this for a second. I'm going to give you a couple of other analogies here. Why is that people that win the lottery, and this isn't everybody, but there's some great studies on this.

A high majority of people who win the lottery make a lot of money in the lottery "make," they don't make it, they just get it. But when they get a lot of money in the lottery, they don't keep it. They have the money. What's the problem? Well, they've never developed the habits or the behaviors of how to actually make and then of course keep money. You think about this, we can use surgery now, I hate to say this, but could you do cosmetic surgery? You could. I mean, for example, and again, I'm not trying to judge, but could you, for example, do liposuction and get rid of a bunch of stuff fat on your body? You could, people do it, whatever, but if you haven't learned some of the basic habits of how to be healthier, it may not last. And oftentimes people are looking for a magic pill or secret sauce in something.

Well, I just need to do that and it'll be done. We hear that from producers all the time. Just give me that thing. Just give me that thing. But here's the problem. Again, if we don't build from the ground up, or as Ben Patrick and his team says, no weak links, we build everything from the ground up to sustain long-term success, it often can be fleeting. So I'm going to give you some ideas. I'm going to give an overview. This also is an overview of our ProducerFit program. But I want you to understand, I think this is very relevant of what often producers in particular want or independent insurance agency leaders like you want for your team and why we have an approach and a philosophy that's often different than others, but we also know why it works, why it lasts, and why people years and years from now go, "thank you for helping me build this foundation, because this wasn't built on a house of cards, so to speak," right? There're a stable foundation. We avoided some of the weak links. So let me give an example. I'm going to break it down. And these are in reference of our eight sessions. Now, the eight sessions that we give in our ProducerFit, again, we know that ProducerFit itself as a program, over eight sessions is also a catalyst for long-term success. It isn't the success, right? We're not shortsighted that eight weeks, but we teach these things over the course of eight weeks. That build to long-term consistency, certainly with our members over a period of time. But let me put it backwards, because oftentimes what producers will say, and this is the idea of dunking a basketball, I want to dunk a basketball, right? This is the analogy, producers, I want the selling widget system process cool thing that's going to give me that thing in the marketplace that nobody else has.

We certainly, for our private client members that we have, we have the risk concierge program, which is our unique and proprietary selling system that agencies can customize and device based on their specific needs. That's the thing, that's the set offense, that's the process. That's the unique selling proposition where if you can just give me this thing, we can go out there and dominate in the marketplace, which I would say that's great, but as I say in the program, you can't have a differentiated selling system if you don't know how you're different. So before we get to that, which by the way is our last session, before that, we talk about points of differentiation and not just having some obscure idea, but knowing them and owning them. Be able to ask questions that facilitate conversation around them. And we also talk about being very clear and intentional with our pipeline development and our target account strategy plan. So again, that's something that's below that shiny thing at the end, which is the set offense. Give me the set offense. Well, I will give that to you, but first you need to know your points of differentiation and you need to understand pipeline development in a different way. Well, even before that, we

Would, well, before we do some of the points of differentiation, you should be able to replicate your best clients. How do you replicate your best clients? Why don't you earn and ask for referrals? Well, there could be a number of things, but to me and our team, we believe that should be something before we even do some of the other things around differentiation. Now, they all blend together to a degree. But this idea of what are you going to replicate in your agency? What are you going to replicate in your book of business? Why are you replicating that? That is before the other thing, before you replicate. We talk about retention. It's not just what you make, it's what you keep, right? So who do you have in your current book of business? Do you have a plan or process? By the way, why is this so important?

Well, if you're going to replicate something, you should be doing great things with the current clients that you have. We don't want to be giving new shiny objects to people out in the marketplace that we're not doing with our own clients. That doesn't make a lot of sense. So we talk about retention. Before we talk about retention, we talk about performance, asking questions, preparation meaning that, hey, if you're out talking to anybody, whether it's your client or a new potential client, what are the things that you say? How do you prepare? How do you practice? What does it look like when the lights are on? Are you getting prepared by what you're doing when the lights are off? This mindset and approach of I will never allow someone to be more prepared than me. That continues to build back down on the foundation before we get into that, right?

I don't care what strategies you have, I don't care even what preparation you've had, if you're not out in the marketplace, if you're not in the game. So we talk about productivity, which our term is getting in the green zone. If you listen to this podcast, you've heard it before, this idea that we've got to get in the game. So before we even do that, we talk with the producers about why it's important and how to get in the game and stay in the game more often to be in the green zone, to give yourself more opportunities and at bats in the marketplace. Now, before we do that, we talk to producers about before we get in the green zone, we've got to have alignment in particular build high performance teams with our service team. Whether it's one service partner, two service partners, a team of service partners, however that looks in our agency, we've got to be able to create some form of alignment and build high performance teams.

And this goes all the way back. If we don't do that, when we get to the end, you're out there on an island by yourself. You don't want that. You're building on, again, a foundation that doesn't last. So before we do that, we talk about alignment. And at the very beginning, our very first session above all, we start with mindset, with how you think. What is your philosophy? What is it that you really want, and why does that matter? That to me is the bottom line foundation of everything, because everyone is going to view success in their mind a bit differently. Oftentimes, I'll see this with, again, programs of any kind. Here's what you need to do and how you do it and just go do it. Well, that might work, but we're not robots. People do things for their

Reasons yours. So what we want to do in our program is help them to be able to internalize their future. What does their best version look like? Why is that important to them? What impact will it have? How will they begin to design that for them in the future? And once they buy into that, everything they do outside of that all incorporates back to the philosophy or the mindset for them. That's the structure. So as I say all this, back to my silly basketball analogies, that's like starting with the fact that I'm going to dunk a basketball. What you see at the top is this person coming over the top of the rim and you see their hand in the ball and they slam it down in the rim, rattles the crowd goes wild, you dunk. And it all started with their big toe, right?

I mean, that's the truth. And I was laughing, why this was so relevant to me as I was preparing for this is that one of the stretches they were having me do the other day was a big toe stretch. And I'm laughing like, this is stupid. This is silly. I mean, John Wooden taught his team who won. I got to get the number. I should know this. I think 11 championships, I'm sure I'm probably wrong. So someone's going to challenge me on it. But it was a lot, right? He's won more than anybody else. And he taught his team how to put on their socks and shoes and tie them so that their feet didn't get blisters. That's silly, right? Well, guess what? I don't care how talented you are if you have blisters and you can't play. So the reason why I'm so passionate about this and why this related to me when I was listening is this is exactly what we teach.

No weak links start from the bottom up. And oftentimes when we try to work with our team members, whether it's obviously ourselves as leaders, our producers, our service team, we start with the end and we're not able or don't have the patience or the idea, the mindset to start with the foundational things. And here's why most people don't do it, because it's not that exciting, because it's not as fast as that thing. But as I said before, oftentimes what we see these quick results, oh, it's flash in the pan, is exactly that. It's here one month, it's gone the next. We had a good quarter, we had a bad quarter, we had a really good year, we had a terrible year. And what I want for you, we believe for you as coaches and teachers for independent insurance agencies, is to help you build a foundation of long lasting success. It's not going to be perfect, doesn't mean it's easy, but just like building muscle, it's hard to build muscle. But when you build it, it takes a long time to lose it, right? It's easier to sustain or maintain than it is to initially get those things to grow. So these analogies apply everywhere. So again, my call to you is what start to think about in your agency. What are some of the foundational habits, foundational behaviors, foundational areas of mindset,

And how you think that may be the underlying cause of what's actually holding you back or frustrating? You Look below the surface a little bit. Start to think about some of the foundational things that we see. And I'll just give one example. I've shared this before, and I've talked about this a little bit in my hierarchy, so to speak, that I just went down through and I kind of ranted on there for a minute. But the easiest one that pops up is this. Are referrals important? Yes. Why don't we ask for more? I don't know. Well, because we don't ask. Why don't we ask? Well, because it's hard, or we haven't earned or we haven't practiced. An example of this is we look at the end and go, why aren't we getting more referrals? We should get more referrals, but we've never addressed the underlying cause behind all of that.

And once you begin to unpack it, what you're going to find is that people will not only grow in their success, they'll grow in their success because they grow in their beliefs, they grow in their habits, they grow in their skills. They grow in the fact that they believe in buy into a process. And these things are all critical for your agency. So, alright, I'm off my soapbox, but I wanted to share that in any of these podcasts, if you've heard me do solo podcasts, I don't really even use notes. I mean, I've got some ideas, but I have things that are in my mind and the conversations I had and I want to share with you to provide you substance and value that you can take back. And so again, ask yourself, ask your team, what are some of the foundational things that we're not doing we should be doing? What are some of the weak links that we have and our change, so to speak, that the end's not where we want, but if we go back far enough, we can find that weak link and we need to address that weak link. What is that for you? As a reminder, the Agency Transformation Scorecard, go to Sitkins.com/scorecard, get your free tool. And we love, again, an opportunity to talk with you to help your agency become that best version possible. Thanks so much for listening. Take care.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

Helping independent insurance agencies achieve their dreams for over 40 years.





5237 Summerlin Commons Blvd
Suite 107
Fort Myers, FL 33907
239.337.2555 | 877.SIT.KINS