Three Reasons Why You Aren't Cross Selling


So what are three reasons why agencies and their teams avoid one of the most powerful areas of agency growth? We're going to talk about these three reasons and the process, the strategy that this is associated with on today's Agent Leader podcast. Welcome to the Agent Leader podcast. My name is Brent Kelly. I am your host. Thanks so much for joining me. I want to first and foremost, thank you for those of you that have subscribed to the podcast via YouTube or put some reviews or positive remarks on the podcast and any of the different platforms that we're on, and we're on most of them now. It's great to know that we're making an impact and a difference in agency's lives, and that's the purpose of this podcast is to help you, the agency leader, to help you become more educated, to help empower you, help equip you to become your best version possible.

And that really is the theme of everything that we do at the Sitkins Group is helping agencies become that best version possible agency. And one of the most simple, unique tools that you can use right away on our website is the Sitkins Transformation Scorecard. Go to sitkins.com/scorecard, and in a couple minutes, you can complete this scorecard. Take a few minutes, look through it, review it, and then you'll get feedback right away of where your agency is and better identify some of the key areas that your agency can improve upon moving forward. Here's the really cool news. The cost of the scorecard is nothing other than some time, right? We want to help you get started on your best version possible journey. So let's get into the podcast discussion today. As I've mentioned on the intro, three reasons why agencies often and their teams avoid one of the most powerful areas of agency growth.

Now, these three reasons are going to be associated with one area of an overall strategy and process that we teach and preach at the Sitkins Group, which is called the Ultimate Growth Strategy. Love this name, by the way, the Ultimate Growth Strategy. Now, if we're going to give something to name of Ultimate Growth Strategy, it needs to be pretty darn good, right? And this is an example or an area of a strategy that we help agencies navigate through that from the outset. If you just look at it from the outside, it's super simple to understand, but it's not always easy to implement. And I'm going to share three reasons. The first part of the strategy, why often agencies get a bit stuck in it. Give you an example of what happens. So what is the ultimate growth strategy overall? Well, on a very simple level, it's identifying first and foremost the top 20% of your clients that produce 80% of your revenue. We teach and preach the 80/20 rule. I just got back from an event a few weeks ago. Every time I talk about 80/20, and I show examples of it and agencies who haven't done it do it. They go, wow, agencies that have done it that forgot about it, go, why am I not utilizing this?

It is a powerful tool to understand the 80/20 in your agency, but you start with that, start with the top 20% of your agency and go, wait a second, at this top 20%. Do we have a plan where these clients are truly rounded out, both in their own department and of cross-sell, which I'm going to be talking about specifically today? Do we have a true retention strategy or as we call it, the Sitkins Group, a continuation process because we believe that you shouldn't renew accounts? Renewing accounts is what every agency does. What we're going to walk you through is a continuation strategy or process that helps you define true client expectations, document those client expectations and deliver upon those expectations through a stewardship report or promise report, it changes the game, it improves retention, but what it also does at a high level is that it eliminates some of the anxiety and frustrations or the renewal process.

We want to make the renewal a non-event. So that's a big part of the ultimate growth strategy, is the retention slash continuation process, which leads the third part. If we do these first two parts really well, this part becomes much easier. This isn't easy, but it becomes easier, which is what to replicate our best clients. Your best clients want to help you, but you've got to give them a system and a process to help them do that, to earn targeted referrals. There's a key word there, by the way, targeted, earn targeted referrals. That's the last part of this strategy. And I will tell you that agencies that say, listen, let's get really focused on this particular strategy, round out, retain and replicate our top clients and get focused and disciplined and dedicated to doing that. We see tremendous growth certainly in the relationships, but obviously in your results, the organic growth, the profitability, the agency value, things that we're looking to do.

We had an agency a few years ago, that's what they said, of all the things that we heard at Sitkins, we're going to do this really well, and they tripled their organic growth rate in nine months. Think about that for a second. What if your agency tripled its organic growth rate? Now, I don't know where your rate is, right? If your number's pretty high, that might be a little trickier, but I'll tell you, there is substantial opportunity when you execute a strategy like this at a deep level. The problem is such as in life, we get distracted by everything else. We lose focus on where we have the biggest, greatest impact, and we do a bunch of other stuff, pretty average, quite frankly. So what I want to do today is take one aspect. I'm not going to get in the replicate too much. I'm not going to get into the retention too much. And by the way, if you're interested in learning more about this strategy at a very deep level and you'd like to partner with the Sitkins Group and help you do that to get these phenomenal results, just go to sitkins.com to learn about what we do and how we partner with agencies and see if it's a fit for you. But what I do want to do today is start with the roundout section. In particular, the idea of cross-selling, right?

In fact, I'm not going to guess. I probably know. I probably know. I know that you as an agency leader have heard you should round out your accounts or you should be able to cross sell through departments. That is not anything new. What I want to get to is the psychology, and then of course the actions behind why we don't typically do that as well as we can and should because it's just sitting there right in front of you. So I'm going to hit three specific areas today, and the first one I want to start with is an overall agency issue in many cases, which is complacency. The first reason that we don't oftentimes round out cross sell accounts in this first part is that we have a level of complacency and we have complacency. Because if we don't do any of this in particular, the round at our cross sell, we're still going to be okay.

Your life doesn't just go to crap if you don't do this, but there is a huge opportunity if you do so. Complacency to me, starts from an agency leadership culture perspective in this area. Is this something that we talk about all the time? Is this something that we live out all the time? Is this something that's a high level importance to us, right? The fact that we want every client that we work with to become a full-time client, meaning that as an agency, we owe it to them and of course, our team to ensure that we handle right all the lines of business if we can. Now, I know there's exceptions. I know some agencies don't write every line of business or have every department. I get that. But if you do and you can, the question is, well, why not? And one of the first things that we find is that it's a level of complacency that we don't have to, and actually it leads into the second one, which is also a C word.

The first one is complacency. The second one is capacity. Capacity, that we lack capacity to do this. Well, what do I mean by that? Well, we've got so many other things going on in the agency. We like to call this hysterical activity on the way to the grave. We're just in hysterical activity. We're remarketing accounts, we're taking, everything comes in. We're working on every single client. We're trying to put out these fires all the time, that because of that, we lack capacity to be disciplined enough to say, whoa, hold on a second. This is not a full-time client. We need a strategy and a process, and of course, the action to take to make sure that we at least engage our client an opportunity to become a full-time agency partner with them, that they are a full-time client to us. So capacity is a big one. And this goes back, I mentioned the 80/20 principle. If we don't understand or apply 80/20 in our business, this becomes really hard to do because every client, even though we know there's differences in sizes, I mean, oh, I've got a few big clients here and I've got this one here. We can't define as well as we should. And so that the urgent always, or at least certainly can supersede the important that every client, even though we know they're different, we treat 'em pretty similar.

And let's be honest, oftentimes our smaller clients, and this is not to be an offense to them, but it's there, truth to this is that our smaller clients are oftentimes more needy, right? They require more of us sometimes than our higher level relationship based clients that there's, oh, I need this. I need this. I need it today. I need it tomorrow. I need it by the end of the day. I need it in an hour, right? You, oh, okay. And meanwhile, you've got these great clients who truly respect you and the relationship and the risk advice that you provide as an agency. They get not your first fruits, but they get what's left over in some cases. So that's a capacity issue. That's often what happens. That's number two. Number three, I'm going to spend a few minutes here. This is something that gets a little more emotional or psychological.

Number three is confidence. Confidence. We lack confidence either in ourselves or in our other team members. That one's more likely to truly round out or cross sell accounts. When you get to the heart of it, when you get to the true emotional aspect of it, you'll have a producer, for example, and this could go a couple different ways. It might be that they write a couple lines of business and they don't write the others because maybe they don't have the confidence in themselves to round this out. They don't think they understand something that can be part of it. Although I think the biggest issue is when we're trying to cross sell to different departments, that's where this really comes out, is that maybe you're a P&C agent and you've got a benefits team, but you lack confidence in the team or an individual or maybe the whole department or your benefits, and you lack confidence in P&C or your personal lines and you lack confidence, whatever.

It goes right in any direction. But we lack confidence. Now, here's something I want to share with you, is a lack of confidence in another department or person, is that a real thing? Of course it is. Of course, it's a real thing. That's why we're talking about it. But what do we do about it? Because here's the initial thought I want to give all of you. If this potentially is an issue in your agency, is that if you lack confidence in another department and you say, you know what? I don't want to hinder this relationship or my credibility potentially, or maybe even losing the account by allowing someone else in my agency to work in a different department on this account on a different line of business, or again, EB, P&C, you name it. If I lack confidence, what you're really saying is that I trust my competition more than I trust my own team. That's ultimately what you're saying. I trust a competitor somewhere else in the marketplace more than I trust my own team. Because let's face it, if you have a competitor that's working on a different line of business on your account, you have opened the door for another person in their agency to come in and take your business. You have.

You've left the door open, at least it's cracked. And you may go, oh, you don't understand. I've got such a deep relationship. Maybe you do. But if I was working with that other agency, I would say, listen, you've got the trust and relationship in this department. You owe it to them. You owe it to your agency. You owe it to your team to say, listen, we've done such a great job on the P&C. What I'd like to do is introduce you to our incredible EB department. I know you've got a good relationship with your current EB team with that other agency, but I really think you'd be very interested in what we have to say because you're borrowing credibility. You are now at risk, and because you didn't close the door. So that's the first thing I want to share, is that if you don't feel confident and cross-sell to another department, you are saying you trust your competition more than you trust your own team.

Now, let's get to the heart of the matter. How do we address that? Because could that be a real thing? Of course it is. I just said it certainly could be. But here's what I would tell you as an agency leader, if there is a true issue of your team where there's lack of confidence or trust among departments or individuals versus trying to sweep it under the rug or saying, ah, it'll be fine, it'll go away. We need to have real conversations about this because I'll tell you a couple of different aspects of this. There can certainly be truth in this that we need to understand because let's face it, as an agency leader, if we have trust issues from one department to another, we have trust issues from that department to the clients, right? We needed to address what's going on there and see if we can resolve it in some way and prove it.

But the other part of this is oftentimes those trust issues may perceive trust issues that aren't real. Once we have open discussions, we often find with agencies, oh, I didn't even realize you did that. I didn't understand your approach. We've never really talked about it. It comes back to communication. Maybe PC and EB never really had a conversation about what is your approach? What is your solutions? How do you work with clients better understanding their value proposition so that as a agent, on one side, I feel extremely confident because I know what they bring to the table. Oftentimes, confidence is simply a lack of communication. We don't know. And if we don't know, we assume what we assume it's probably not that great or there's issues or there's problems potentially, potentially. So to me, the confidence issue is critical. And again, as an agency leader, let's have these conversations because as an agency, and I go back to the impact of all of this, not only are we hindering relationships, not only are we leaving the door open, in many cases, we are leaving a ton of money on the table, right?

That we want to have an aspect of full-time clients only, and to implement the ultimate growth strategy round out, retain, and replicate. It starts with the roundout, and I know I'm not the first person or will be the second person or the 50th person to tell you about rounding out, but what I want to get to the three reasons why this doesn't happen, it's because of what #1, complacency. Do we take it serious enough? Do we talk about it on a consistent basis? Is it part of our culture? Number two, is there a capacity,

Meaning that we've not really defined our best clients. We need to make sure this is implemented first, right? That we're focused with that. And number three, do we have confidence issues in our agency where for whatever reason, we lack confidence to round this account or cross this account to a different department? And if so, are we addressing that? Let's go deeper into these areas because the results don't lie, right? When you do this, it makes a substantial difference in your agency, substantial difference. And so often people poo-pooed, oh yeah. Heard of cross selling around the island. Sure. My question to you on this is not, do you know you should round out or cross-sell? Because your answer is probably going to be a resounding yes as a listener. Do you know you should round out cross sell? Yes. How well do you round out or cross sell?

That's the question you need to ask yourself and what's possible. If you do, we find at Sitkins Group taking this strategy and this one particular area of this strategy can truly begin that transformation of the best version possible agency, improve relationships, and transform your agency's results. Hey, thanks for listening to the podcast. As always. We appreciate it. Leave a rating or review somewhere. Let me know what you want to hear. Reach out to me, our agency team. You can find me [email protected]. If you want to shoot me an email and say, "Hey, listen, I'd like you to talk about this." Be happy to do that. And as I mentioned, the Agency Transformation Scorecard, go to sitkins.com/scorecard, and if you want to learn more about what a partnership with Sitkins looks like to take your agency to the next level and continue that process, the best version possible, go to sitkins.com. We'd love to have a conversation with you. With that, I wish you all the best in your success. Thanks for listening.


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