Producer Improvement Strategies


Hi, welcome to the Agent Leader Podcast. My name is Brent Kelly. I'm your host. And for most of you that are listening or watching the Agent Leader Podcast, this is probably going to look and sound very normal to all of you, but for some of you, you might be joining me on LinkedIn Live. We are trying a new delivery system, so to speak, on the podcast with utilizing LinkedIn live as well. So for any of you that may be watching LinkedIn live now, or if you add to the stream later, or you watch on replay, welcome to you as, as well, and excited to be with you today. The purpose of the Agent Leader podcast, as always, and by the way this podcast has been going for several years now. We've had guests, we do solo episodes. I've had Roger Sitkins, our CEO and founder join me on many episodes and we'll continue that.

 But really would like to utilize this leverage this LinkedIn live platform as we move forward to be able to spread the message of a purpose of the Agent Leader podcast, which is to gain clarity for you, the agency leader. And it really is designed for agency leaders, regardless of your specific position or title, but to help you gain clarity on what's most important, build consistency in the key habits, and of course, make a commitment to become your best version possible. And today, on this episode, what I want to do is share some key foundations and overviews and I ideas of one thing that we're probably known the best for at the Sitkins Group. And that is our producer sales training program called ProducerFit. And I think it's important to share this because we have a lot of people that are interested in the program and maybe want to learn more, right?

A lot of questions of what does it look like, what does it mean, how do we get involved? So I want to be able to answer some of those questions. I also know that we'll probably have some people that have, are listening to this or watching this that have been through the program. And I think there's going to be some key reminders of what maybe we talked about that, oh yeah, I need to go back and do some of those things. And so I think it's an important time to be able to share this. In fact our next program begins on August 1st. So we're only just a bit over a week away as I record this here, live from our next session. In fact this is one of our most jam-packed ProducerFit sessions we've had in a long time.

We have, as of yesterday, this number could have gone up, but as of yesterday my assistant told me that we have 109 producers registered for producer camp starting on August the first. So, pretty exciting. You know, how can we have 109 plus producers, because we'll probably get, in fact, I know we'll get more added in the next week here to the, to the platform is that we deliver our producer program over the series of eight short weeks. So it is eight weeks that we deliver our program. Each session is about two hours. We also have some questions and answers at the end where we stay on answer specific questions, have some chats. Actually, one of my favorite parts of the program we are live, we are interactive, we are virtual. And so the exciting part about this is that you can sign up and get started and, and hop right in.

You don't have to wait. You don't have to book a flight. You don't have to get a hotel room. And as much as I love in-person things, and we do some things in person, certainly there is power and leverage of the virtual platform, and we deliver it in a very unique way. We put our slides behind us. Again, we're interactive, we're very engaging. We have open mic and discussions. And one of my, I guess, favorite things that I hear about the virtual program is, we started doing this a few years back, of course, during covid, is that someone would say, you know, I really thought the virtual thing would be rough or tough, but that was great. I really enjoyed it. I wasn't nearly as bored as I thought I might be. So again, we, we do things in different ways at Sitkins, and I want to share not just how we do it in the format.

And again, certainly if you're interested and want to learn more, there's at the bottom of the screen, if you're watching the video, we've got the link there for you. But to share some of the key philosophies, because whether you join the program or not there are some things that I'm going to share today that can be transformational for you as a producer or as an agency leader with your production team, right? And I know many people, we've got producers and leaders that are they're player coaches that do both. So there's a lot of power in what I'm going to share today. And also give a bit of a tease for all of you out there that there's an exciting announcement coming in the next few weeks, maybe before that, we'll see when we get it all ready to get announced. But not only do we have our ProducerFit program, but we run an account manager program and we run a sales leader program called Coach to Coach.

And we're creating a way and delivery a mechanism for you, the agency leader and your entire team to be able to do this even easier than we have it now and more effective than we have it now. So be on the lookout for some things that we'll be talking about again in the coming weeks ahead. So with that, I want to dive into the program itself and an overview of some of the key areas that have a significant impact on agencies and their producers. And there again, I mentioned there are eight sessions that we, we go through. I'm going to highlight some of the key areas from each of these eight sessions. And like I said, certainly if you want to learn more, we'd love to have any, any questions you have, reach out to us or you're ready to join the program August 1st, please do so.

But what I'm going to share today, there's going to be some things I know that I share, you're going to go, oh, yeah, I haven't thought about it that way before, because we do do, do things differently at Sitkins, and we've been doing this for a long time. Roger Sitkins, the namesake of the Sitkins Group founder, C O C E O, he's been doing this for 40 plus years, working with producers and thousands and thousands and thousands of producers. I've been part of the Sits group now for six years, coming on six years, and been leading these trainings during that time. And it's amazing to see the transformation. You know, there's emotion, there's logic, and then of course there's the results. And that's really what it's all about, right? As a result. So let, let me walk you through the areas, the key areas through each session.

And we start off our ProducerFit session with the title of our book and a mindset and a process that we take them through, which is based on this best version possible. And some of you have heard me talk about this in the past of, you know, how the book became the book and how we began to use that as a process. It started as a question, right? The question that I asked Roger Sitkins was, what does the best version possible of an independent insurance agency look like? And we began to talk about some of the key areas and we expanded that. But what it really turned into was not just a question that challenges every producer and every agency to think beyond, well, we're better than that agency, or we're better than that person, but what's my best version possible?

What's our best version possible? But also turned into a process? And the best version process is based on four key areas. And we hit every area over these two weeks. So session one, session two is one area, session three, session four is one area and so on. And the first area we talk about is alignment. Then we get into the green zone, then we talk about how to retain and replicate, and then we talk about how to obtain. But it's those four areas of the best version possible that's very unique to Sitkins, and it helps to simplify some of the concepts to our producers. So session one is best version possible. And, you know, one thing I want to share about best version possible, again, is not just that it's a, a question and a mindset, but it is a process and a way for you as a producer to think differently.

Some people ask me, they're like, what's, what's some of the differences that, you know, your sales training program has versus others? Because let's face it, there's a lot of sales training programs. Well, one of the things is this, and I know this may seem cliche, but we don't see ourselves as a training organization. We see ourselves as a developmental organization. We want to help producers develop. And to me that starts with the understanding of what is your best version possible? What is the model that you need to create in your book of business to get the results you want to live the life that you want? What is the future you desire? You know, so often, I I I've been part of this where I've been through a, a program, again, whether you want to call it a training program or whatever, and they get right into the tactics.

And I think that can be okay because I want to learn some things. But if you don't have the substance of why are you doing this, why does it matter? What am I going to accomplish? And what does that mean for my life? The best way I can say this is this first session is to be able to internalize to producers of what the best version possible looks like for them and what it'll mean for their future. And when you begin to understand that everything else that we begin to build on over the seven other sessions becomes much more tangible. Because now I see that I'm not doing something because some person on a camera or someone else told me to do something, I'm doing something because I understand that if I do this, it'll help me achieve my best version possible. And I'm very clear on what that is.

So that's a, a really key point that we talk about in the first session, is designing your future. What is your me, Inc. Right? What does your company look like and why does that matter? So that is their first session. We then get into session two, which is about foundational strategies. And you know, again, maybe another cliche saying, but it's very important and true, is that no great house was ever built without a foundation. And so we want to do is take some of the foundational strategies and introduce them to producers so that they can be able to take these and apply them over the next six sessions, right? So again, it is very much like building a house. And so some of the, the key foundational strategies are based around the best version possible model, right? Alignment, green zone, retain, and replicate and update. So we talk a lot about in foundational strategies of, of course, of what is it that you do the best?

What is your unique ability? And how do you begin to increase capacity, which is your time, right? What does that look like, foundationally, what does that mean? We then begin to introduce the power of 80 20, which is, is very simple, yet not often done well in the fact that not everything is the most important thing. We've got to begin to prioritize the important over the urgent and to help producers understand what their book of business looks like, what it can look like, and to be able to make sure they're applying their skills at the highest level to the right people at the right time, right? It's very foundational, very important. And then of course, we get into this idea of how do you make more money? Well, it all stems from the law of compensation. And I've talked about the Law of Compensation and other podcast episodes, but as a very brief reminder, it comes down to this, the harder you are to replace as a producer, the more money you make, right?

Oh, well that's simple. It is simple to understand, hard to do. So when we understand the power of understanding your unique abilities, the power of your time, the power of 80 20, the power of the law of compensation, this becomes foundational as we can continue to move through this program, right? Move through this program. So session two is foundational strategies comes to session three. Well, what do we get into next? What does it matter for producers? It's kind of funny and, and I have a lot of conversations with Roger Sitkins, again, our founder and CEO. And he's been doing this again for a long period of time, and we kind of laugh and he goes, you know it, it's going to be interesting. I think that of all the things that I've taught and I've had success over the years, the one thing that I'm going to be known for the most is the Green zone.

The green zone. So there's, there's two zones that we talk about with producers. And this is so powerful. And when we go through the session with producers, again, if you've been through this program to remember this, it's this idea that, oh my gosh, where am I deploying my only diminishing asset? Which is time, right? Am I putting it in the right energy in the right areas? And for producers, there's only four things that you should be doing 80% of the time. Sales, relationship management, proactive continuations. And we talk about what that means in the program and pipeline development. It's these four things outside of that I'm doing red zone stuff. And the two zones are very simple. Red zone is no pay activity. Stuff that keeps you busy but doesn't make you money. Green Zone is, I'm in the game doing the right things with the right people to the ability to be paid, right?

And so often we see producers that want to make more money, but quite frankly, they're part-time producers trying to play a full-time game. Now, part of what we talk about, and this is really, really important, is the fact that we can't get out in the game as a producer as much as we want if we don't develop, build and equip high performance teams. Now, I don't know about you, but one of the biggest challenges that we see with producers is that do, do we have a solid relationship with our service team? Whether it's an entire service team, maybe you work one-on-one, or you've got a couple different service people that you work with. The same goal that we have together is to retain and obtain ideal clients. But do we understand the importance and the respect of the different roles, right? So same goal, different roles.

So this, this session is about producers getting in the green zone, but also aligning with their service team to be able to make that happen. Cause it's one thing to say, gosh, I got to get out in the game more. I got to spend more time selling. But how does that work from an agency perspective? Now, here's just a, a very quick tease on some of this. Now, first of all, we do run multiple programs. We haveProducerFit, which is the purpose of this podcast to talk aboutProducerFit but we also run an account manager program and we run a sales leader program. And the beauty of this is when they all align and everyone's going through the programs together because the discussions and the strategies become much more deep and they become much more effective. Because now I understand where you're coming from, right?

There's not a resentment or a frustration. It's, hey, we're on the same path together, even though we've got different roles on that path, right? And I appreciate what you do, I respect what you do, and we trust what we're going to do together because we're aligned. So this is such a foundational session. The two zones, green zone, red zone. We go very deep on how to do those things. Which gets me to session number four. And by the way if anybody's been through my program, this is a tease two, one of my favorite things to do is to say this, this is my favorite session. I love all these sessions. So I always say, this is my favorite session. And usually by session, six or seven people kind of chuckle and go, wait, didn't you say that for session two? Session three? Yeah.

Because they're all important. They all build upon each other in session four is when we really get to the skill development of producers. Now, not that we don't talk about some of that before, but the ultimate competitive advantage, right? The ultimate competitive advantage that you have as a producer is how you prepare and how you practice, right? We talk about what type of preparation it takes, how do we prepare at the highest level and what do we do to deliberately practice on the skills and the areas that we need to do to go out in the marketplace and have deeper, more meaningful conversations with people, right? I mean, again, it's important to get in the game, but when you're in the game, what do you say? How do you say it? How do you present yourself? What does that look like? Right? So we talk a lot about the questions you ask, right?

How we communicate specific skills that need to be developed. Like for one example is, if someone came to you as a producer and said, tell me more about what you do, is your response, I'm an insurance agent, and so we sell insurance, is that the response or is it articulate and compelling, right? We help this class of business with this key frustration using a unique pro process that results in this incredible outcome, right? Depending on what it is they're doing, but whatever it is, they've got a model of how they speak. And to me, this is something that I, I I will wrap this short segment up with this. I always ask producers this, on a scale from one to 10, right? 10 being the most important, one being not important at all, how important is your skill of communication to be successful as a high level producer?

And every single time in our interactive sessions, they type in the message box 10, 10, 10. And usually, sometimes I hear 11 and 12. And then I ask the next question, on a scale from one to 10, how deliberately and intentionally do you practice this skill of communication? And by the way, just talking randomly throughout the day doesn't count. And of course the answers there are 4, 5, 6, right? There's a gap. And this ultimate competitive advantage is an absolute game changer. When people become equipped with the skills and level of preparation, they need to take what they learn out into the streets to apply them at the highest level. And by the way, this session, like all of our sessions, they never end, right? We're always looking at getting better at these sessions. So we're going to transition now and way again. The way our program's broken down every two sessions is based on the category.

The first two was about alignment individually and alignment as a team. The session three and four was about green zone and getting out to be able to do things at the highest level. Then we get into retain and replicate on sessions five and six. So to retain and replicate our ideal clients, right? What does that look like? Now, I think, you know, for most producers and agencies that we speak with, retention is not their number one concern, right? Why? Well, because here's the great thing about this business, and you already know this, you could do almost nothing in terms of retention strategies. And you're going to get what, 85, 90% of your clients to continue to do business with you. God bless this business, right? It's a good business. It's a great business, right? It's a great business for so many reasons, but this is one of them.

But what if we were able to install a true process and some, some significant exit barriers of retention that takes that retention from whatever it is. Let's just say 90% to 95%, right? What does that mean? Well, it's only 5%. Well, it's only 5% for one year. What about year two, year three, year four, year five, right? What about the relationships that you have? What about the fact that maybe you keep clients, but it was a fight to keep them right? That every renewal becomes this big deal. And I certainly understand in today's world with the market conditions that most of you are dealing with, it's a challenge, right? I got to go back out to market. We have to do this because the rates and all these kind of things. But what could we do better intentionally and proactively in the start of that policy period with the client to make the renewal a non-event or certainly make the renewal a less event than it is, right?

That we've got things. So I'm not going to go through everything that we get into in retention. We do talk about five exit barriers. There are five exit barriers that when done correctly, we see agencies and producers, and this is a real number. They have an effective retention of 99%, 99%. Now, I do want to define effective Because there's a difference. Effective retention are those clients we want to keep and those clients that we can keep. So what do I mean by this? Well, you may not want to keep every client right? There might be some that quite frankly deserve to go. Also, there are certain clients that go out of business or people pass away, right? Things happen that are completely out of your control. But of those clients we want to keep and can keep by understanding some of the concepts in this retention session. 99% effective retention is not only possible.

We see producers who achieve that. And here's the exciting thing. Not only does it make the renewal not event, not only does that increase our retention, but it leads me to the next session that we get into. It allows us to replicate our best clients at a much higher capacity, right? With much more success. And, you know, replication, it's here. Here's something to think about. And, and we talk about this to our producers in the program. Success leaves clues, right? We just have to follow them. So when we look at replicating our clients, first of all, we go back to understanding the power of 80 20. Who are those top 20% of our clients that for most producers give us about 80% of our revenue? How do we install better processes for them at the highest level to give them a higher level of experience?

How do we put things in place that not only do we ask for a referral, but we earn the introduction or referral, right? Because you talk to most producers and you say, gosh, why is it that 90% of clients on average renew with their current agent? But yet when you look at the less than 10% of those same clients will refer somebody to another client, there's a huge gap. 90% renew, less than 10% refer. Why? And I asked that question, why is that? And typically, here's the answer we don't ask. And I said, well, of course you don't ask. I agree. So here's a deeper question. Let's get in the mindset. Why don't you ask? Why don't you ask? Like, that's a fair question. Well, because deep down in many people now, sometimes it's a level of practice and we talk about that, but deep down their subconscious, they don't feel like they've earned the right to ask.

And if you believe beliefs, dry behavior, if you believe that you have not earned the right to ask it is very difficult to ask Because there's a conflict right in your heart or in your brain. So we want to build systems to where we've earned the right at a hundred percent to ask for referrals. And the fact that we build such a system that we define the client expectations, we document the expectations, we deliver on those expectations through a promise report or stewardship report, and we get to that opportunity, we have earned the right to say, listen, we've identified a list of future ideal clients that we know would be a great fit for this program. Who on this list do you know? And how can we best serve them? Right? And hopefully my computer is not going crazy here, and it might have looks like it's decided to spin.

So I'm going to give this a second to see if it comes back. Or if you can hear my voice, great. It looks like my video has shut down for a second. So here we go. I'm back. So if we had a delay there, I apologize. I don't know if my if it happened on, on your end or not, but my video paused just for a second. So replication is absolutely key. And we actually walk the producers through a reverse referral process, a process that when done makes your results predictable and guaranteed. It's pretty cool, right? So I'd ask you, do you have a reverse referral process? Do you have a process that makes your referrals and introductions predictable and guaranteed? And when producers go through this program, I always get a chuckle. Cause we talk about this and we give them skills, and we don't necessarily give scripts, we give templates and ideas of how they can go implement, but they'll come back in the next session and they'll say, you won't believe what happened.

And I say, what, what happened? What happened? And they'll say, well, I asked for a referral and I got one, right? I ask for referral and I got one. So it's pretty cool. Yeah. All right, Dana, thank you. I have someone here helping me out. We're testing this out a little bit, so I'm glad that I'm back. It looked like it did. It did shut down for a second, but we're good. All right, so session six is to replicate. Let's get to session seven. So our final two sessions all about how do we obtain more clients. Now, that's what most people start with, right? When producers come to our program or come to any sales training program, they're goes, how do I write more business? Now, we've already taught you how to do that in certain areas, right? By aligning with your team, getting out in the game, understanding the power of retention and replication with the clients you currently have.

But let's take it a step further. How do we obtain clients? Well, part of this is understanding that not every client is a great client for us. So, defining future ideal clients, not suspects, not prospects, but future ideal clients. We also talk with producers about what it is that you care about. Why do people buy? Like why do people buy insurance? What is the emotional connection that people have, right? And talk about that because there is a psychology behind this. And so we want to make, we make sure we understand not just the tactics, but the emotional connections to why people buy. And of course why people don't. We also speak a lot about how to open new files. Now, I do want to take a minute to explain that, and we go very deep in our programs on this, but most insurance buyers have a specific file and or thought in their brain about what the insurance process looks like, right?

So here's the insurance process. There are a lot of people in the marketplace. They're kind of all the same. I'm looking for a competitive price and, you know, some decent coverage. So I'm going to call my agent and we're going to get some quotes, and then we pick the one that seems the best, and maybe I have a relationship, maybe I don't, and then we move on. Again, that's very generalistic, but it can be true. So what we need to do is be able to teach producers and help producers to ask specific questions that challenge the buyer's thinking to get them to go, Hmm, no one's ever asked me that before. What do you mean by that? Why does that matter to me? Right? And once we're able to ask those questions, we're able to open new files where all of a sudden, now we don't look and sound like everybody else, right?

And there are some certain ways that you can do this, but it really is all starting by asking the best questions. Now, part of this too is understanding what is your selling process? Many producers, many agencies, their selling process is like this. Look, copy, pray, right? The sales process. Let me look at your policies, let me copy what you have. Let me go back and maybe make a few adjustments, but I'll give you some quotes and then I'm going to pray that you don't take this back to your current agent. So part of this is to have a differentiated selling process. And this is the first session we really dive deep into, what are your points of differentiation and how do you explain them at a high level to move you away from the look, copy, quote, pray, and the practice quoting that most agencies and producers do into a differentiated selling process where you're qualifying them as much as they're qualifying you.

And there's extreme power that producers get from these skills and, and things that we teach in this session. Now, session eight, we wrap it all up into winning habits. One of the things I talked about at the beginning of this podcast, remember, clarity, consistency, commitment. This is all of them, but it's really the consistency. How do we take these habits that we've built over these seven weeks and the foundation that we've built over these seven weeks and turn them into consistent winning habits, right? That every week we're getting 1% better, right? And we compound that and compound that and compound that, that we look back a year from now ago. I don't recognize that person that I was a year ago because I've continued to grow. So this session is all about taking things that we've learned, filtering those things down for producers.

Because here's something that is, is some people don't say in sales training. I, I don't think we say this very proudly. You're not going to implement everything that we teach in our program. You can't, we don't expect you to. What we expect you to do is apply the, apply the things that matter most to you that have the greatest impact and build consistency around those things. Winning habits. And if you, if you ever read the book Atomic Habits, there's great power in that, right? There's nothing more powerful than compounding consistency. So a big part of this is to give producers a first appointment plan to understand the producer's improvement cycle. How do I improve consistently, right? Based on my conversion, my closing, my revenue per relationship, my quantity and quality of at bats. What do I do in those first appointments to continue to adjust myself as I move forward?

And to give you a plan. And we also share with producers a diagnostic appointment questionnaire in a way that we can help them walk through that first appointment. What you say and how do you do it. Now, again, it is a consistent evolution of performance, but it's based upon certain principles that are proven and they, and they work, right? They work. So those are the eight sessions I was trying, I make sure when I did this, I had a few notes, but I was expecting this to be about 30 minutes. And again, for those of you that have come on LinkedIn live, thank you. I'll be curious to see how many pop on. This is the very first time we've done it. It's kind of a last minute thought that I wanted to try this. Hopefully we'll continue to do this consistently.

That's the goal to be able to do this and again, grow some of this by having guests and sharing some key insights to things that we're going to be talking about. But I do want to remind, regardless of how you're listening, that our next ProducerFit program, those eight sessions that I just went through, gave you some highlights and ideas. That next program starts August 1st. So depending on when you're listening to this it's probably pretty quick, right? In fact, we would like the, the anyone to sign up sometime by the end of next week. So the week before, it starts on that Tuesday, August the first. Make sure you have time to get your materials all your login credentials, all those kind of things that you're ready to go. Just so you know, we do start that program. It runs from 11:00 AM ET to 1:00 PM ET every Tuesday.

So every Tuesday, and again, whether you're on the east coast or west coast, make sure we built some time there. If you're central time like me, it's 10 to noon. If you're a West Coast, it's a little earlier, but it's eight to 10 in the morning. It's two hours a week for eight weeks. I mean, that's it, right? The rest of your week is to, to imp apply some of the things that you're doing, of course, go out and do the things you've got already scheduled for that week. But this is a catalyst for your ultimate growth as a producer. And whether you, you know, attend this class, whether you take some of these ideas and, and, and start to think about some of them. My question to you is this one year from today, one year from today, and again, this is for agency leaders that either are player coaches or you lead producers.

You've got producers in your team, or of course you are a producer one year from today. Why would your book of business and your habits and your results look different than it is today? Like, why, what has changed? Foundationally? Are you clear on what's most important in what you need to do? Are you consistent in the key things that generate results? And have you made a commitment, right? Not just a, Hey, I want to get better next year. I, I hope I make more money next year. I hope I write more business, but I'm committed to being my best version possible and nothing else is okay. Right? Because I don't ever want to look back in one year, three years, five years, 10 years and say, if only if only I would've done something different in my life. And that's the thing that provides me and our team the most reward.

We love to see your faces. We love to interact, but we really love to see is that you talk to producers, 2, 3, 4, 5 years down, we've got producers. In fact I always find this fascinating that say, I went through a Sitkins program 20 years ago, changed my life, changed my business, changed how I thought about things. And here I am 20 years later doing things I never thought possible. That's pretty cool, right? And that's what we, we want and desire for you. So, hey, thanks for listening again for the LinkedIn people. Hope it all went through. Right? We may have had a few bugs. We'll find out for everyone else, continue to listen on the podcast, the Agent Leader podcast. We'll continue to pump out episodes continue to look bringing on some guests to share value to you, the agency leader to be that best version possible. So thanks so much. We'll talk to you soon. Again, the information here, if you're watching the video is below. To register, you go to to register. We'll talk to you soon. Thanks.

Mentioned Resources 

Brent Kelly's LinkedIn

ProducerFit Program

Best Version Possible Book

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