Here are some of the things I’ve seen people do over the years that are absolutely wrong.
Focusing on Multiple Activities vs. Results. What you focus on, you will experience; so if you’re focused on the wrong things, your experience will yield the wrong results. What are you focusing on, and is it really what you want?
For example, are you focused on activities vs. results? Are you wasting time complaining? Do you spend way too much time staring at your cell phone or computer monitor vs. actually talking to people? Is your focus scattered in many different directions?
Researchers have discovered (and are proving) that multi-tasking is a myth and creates up to a 28% loss of productivity. Their studies show that the idea of being able to do many things (adequately) at once is a lie. You might be able to tackle several projects simultaneously, but it’s doubtful you’ll accomplish much of anything unless you address each task individually.
I’ve visited many agencies where each of the service people will be monitoring several different computer screens at once. One might be for email, another for a document they’re working on and another for their agency management system. Like a dog with too many squirrels to chase, employees can’t fully focus on anything when multiple tasks are vying for their attention at the same time.
Rather than multi-task, the next time you’re faced with 100 things that need your attention, narrow your focus to the most important things you need to accomplish. Always concentrate on the handful of items that will yield the greatest results. Then determine the one thing that must be accomplished first and do it. I promise you, this concept works.
Saying vs. Believing. We’ve all met the salesperson who spouts the company line or the telemarketer who reads the script from his or her computer monitor. They don’t believe what they’re saying; they’re just going through the motions. Instead of going “head to mouth” (repeating what you’ve been told to say), the best producers go “head to heart to mouth.” They embrace the agency’s core beliefs.
For example, when producers say it’s not about selling only on price, but they don’t really believe it, it shows. They only talk about how they can save you money. On the other hand, producers who honestly believe their job is to help people control their total cost of risk will tell you that insurance is just one of the solutions they offer— not the only one. You can always tell when someone is speaking from the heart and not from a script.
Competing on Price Only. The old apples-to-apples quote is absolutely wrong. By the way, do you know how many varieties of apples there are in the world today? Over 7,500! How can you possibly compare apples to apples? Besides, competing on price isn’t even a fair fight in today’s world. One of our ProducerFit attendees, who is also a competitive shooter, shared these words of wisdom from his instructor: “If you’re in a fair gunfight, you’ll probably lose.”
Selling Policies, Not Process. Many producers use their unique process as a way to sell policies. Instead, they should be focused on selling the unique process itself—what makes them unique in their marketplace. Again, providing policies is one of the things you do, but it’s not the only thing. In fact, policies (i.e., the risk transfer mechanism) are the easy part on most of the accounts you’ll work on. That’s because carriers not only have identified that as a class of business they like, they can provide customized coverages and they offer competitive pricing.
The tough part is differentiating in a commoditized world. And the only way to do that is to sell your unique process: Here’s what we do, how we do it and why we do it. Unfortunately, far too few producers can explain as much and basically resort to the “Look, Copy, Quote and Pray” way of selling. That’s not a process! It’s just wrong!
Not Practicing for Fear of Looking Stupid. You’re going to look stupid someplace, so it had better be in a low-risk practice setting within the agency. In our training programs, we always emphasize that every opportunity deserves your very best. Therefore, you must be relentlessly prepared for any chance you get to be in front of a future ideal client. You can’t give your best without extensive preparation, which includes ongoing skills practice.
In addition to practicing your skills and rehearsing presentations, it’s equally critical that you understand your prospect’s business. This means researching the company as well as the industry, and knowing the insurance carriers’ underwriting concerns on that type of business.
Looking at Emails First Thing. Reading your emails first thing in the morning is so wrong because it starts your day in HAWG—Hysterical Activity on the Way to the Grave.
Looking at 50 emails that aren’t important is counterproductive. Instead, start with a list of the three most important things that have to be done—not should be, but must be accomplished today.
Look at the emails you get from clients, prospects and insurance companies that you really need to read. What percent of those emails require your personal response and which ones could have gone directly to a member of your team? I’ll bet that 80% of your business-oriented emails could have been directed to someone else.
I’d like to challenge you to make a list of the wrong things you are doing and then make a list of the right things you’ll commit to doing immediately, if not sooner. Wrong things are wrong and right things are right. It’s really that simple and, as always, it’s your choice.
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