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Unlock Agency Growth by Eliminating Hysterical Activity

 

Unlock the secrets to skyrocketing your agency's revenue and client satisfaction by escaping hysterical activity. Roger Sitkins joins Brent Kelly to unravel the art of prioritizing top customers, managing the 80/20 rule, understanding revenue concentration, and much more.

Whether you're struggling with client management or looking for ways to boost your profitability, this episode has got you covered with Seven Ways to identify if you're stuck in Hysterical Activity on the Way to the Grave, and how to escape it:

  1. The Call Me Syndrome (6:00)
  2. Confuse Pay Time with No Pay Time (9:10)
  3. Practice Quoting (13:07)
  4. Lack of a Sunday or Weekly Plan (18:00)
  5. No Future Ideal Client (25:25)
  6. Not utilizing the 80/20 Principal (28:35)
  7. Making promises without plans (36:00)

 

Brent Kelly:

Too many producers and ultimately their agencies are caught up in something called hysterical activity on the way to the grave. Maybe you felt this way, whether you're a producer or an agency leader, leading producers, or you're just an insurance professional who's tired of being tired. On today's Agent Leader podcast, I interview Sitkins, CEO and founder Roger Sitkins, and he's going to share seven ways that producers and their teams can move away from this hysterical activity and towards proven results and ultimately freedom in your book of business and in your agency. Enjoy the show. Welcome to the Agent Leader podcast. My name is Brent Kelly. Thanks so much for joining me on this episode. Have a very exciting episode today, bringing in a special guest who's been a frequent guest, although it's been a while since this person has been on the podcast with me, Roger Sitkins, founder and CEO of the Sitkins Group. You've probably heard him before if you've been on this podcast or if you've just been relevant in the insurance industry for the last, oh, I don't know, Roger, about 40 years, right? Working with the insurance industry.

Roger Sitkins:

About four decades, yeah.

Brent Kelly:

So Roger, welcome into the podcast today,

Roger Sitkins:

Brent. It's great to be here, and it's a topic that I have a lot of joy and happiness and commitment around, so I know people get some things they can truly use to get better. That's what it's all about.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, I teased on the intro what we're going to be talking about today, but really this is about producers generating results versus being caught in hysterical activity. And Roger, I'm going to have you in a minute to find that a little bit. And then Roger put together an outline and I love it, of seven areas, seven ways that producers can get out of this hysterical activity and get into the results based things that producers need to be doing. So I would just say this, agency leaders, if you are leading any type of producer or producers in your agency, get a pen and paper ready. Take notes. Sales leaders for sure, producers, this one's certainly for you. So get ready. There's going to be not only reasons behind these, but we're going to provide some practical tips as well. And before we get into that, I do want to remind all of you in the audience that for the second quarter of 2024, our programs are ready and open to go for producers, account managers, for sales leaders.

So if you want to learn more about what we provide, in fact some things that you're going to be hearing today, we talk in very great detail about how to help your team and producers get better, just go to kins.com, kins.com, and you can learn about us, our programs. We'd love to set up a call and we can discuss more and learn more about your agency and how we can help you become your best version possible. So with that, Roger, are you all ready? Are y'all fired up to talk about these? Absolutely. Seven things. Alright. Again, these are the seven areas, seven ways that producers it can improve upon to get out of hysterical activity. I'm going to start just right here. Roger, what in the heck do you mean by hysterical activity? What's that all about?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, we love acronyms as people that have ever heard us know. And one of the acronyms is HAWG, which is Hysterical Activity on the Way to the Grave. And what we see all too often is that we start most days with good intentions and we say, we're going to hit the long ball today, or certainly the weeks good. And then all too often at the end of the day, the end of the week, we're going, God, I was so busy, I don't know what I did. In fact, people will even say, what'd you do today? I was really busy. But did you get a result? No, I was too busy to get a result. So we call this hysterical activity on the weight of the grave. And the reality is, I said, people start with good intentions. When you get caught in these HAWGs, these hysterical activities, they kill good intentions.

One of the favorite sayings we have is that the difference between your desired destination and your direction, your direction, most times we think it's going to be pretty good, but it is your direction, not your intention that determines your ultimate destination. And what we see is that the HAWGs, the hysterical activity, things are really intention killers. I intended to do this, I intended to do that, but then I got caught up in these HAWGs, these traps that pull us away from doing what we really should be doing as producers and as leaders. So the key here is let's identify that maybe you've got some HAWG or HAWGs going on for you personally or your agency. And then what are some things we can do to eliminate them? So the intentions we have drive our actual destination that we want. So what trend are we on? The intention? Are we killing it by falling back into hysterical activity at the end of the day, end of the week, at the month end, a quarter end of the year going, I was really busy, but we didn't hit our goals.

Brent Kelly:

It's those things. Rod, we talk about this all the time. It's a greater awareness. And I think for agency leaders, sales leaders, producers today, some of these may hit a little bit close to home, but that's okay, right? Because you can go, Hey, listen, I have a greater awareness. And I'm guessing that not all seven of these will apply to you, to every one of you, but you may find that there's more than one. And you go, I've got some improvement here. And one more thing before we get into these seven. This to me goes back to you talk about culture of accountability. And Roger, we've talked about this so many times, culture is the language and behaviors that are normal. And so when you're talking about HAWGs as an acronym, hysterical activity on the way to the grave, the first thing is what are we saying?

What do we talk about? And then of course, what are we doing right? The language and behavior. So again, agency leaders, producers take notes and go, are we caught in this HAWG? And if so, based on what Roger says, and I'm sure I'll add some context, are there some things that we could begin to do to get out of these? So let's get into these seven. Number one, Roger that you've got on your outline, I love this, is that I'm just going to keep this simple. I'll call it this, the call me syndrome, the call me if you need anything, syndrome. So Roger, let's talk about the first HAWG that producers get into.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, the producers really invite others to throw them into the service trap. So if you need anything at all, call me, text me, email me, come on by and see me. I hope they're not doing that anymore, but they really do say, call me. So boy, I'm so glad you decided to buy it from me. If you need anything at all, call me. And what they say is, we give great personal service ps. And quite frankly, we think PS is BS because the reality is that it is the agency that provides the service, not the agent. And we always talk about a strong division between sales and service. That's really a strong marriage between sales and service where we understand that we've got that common goal with different roles. And the common goal is to retain and obtain ideal clients with the appreciation, respect, and trust, which we've talked about in the podcast before, of the different roles that we have.

So as a producer, you should always understand that you need to introduce your customers to the service partner or partners you have. Now, if it's just simple as saying, here's who you call, we certainly are big believers in giving a team directory, here's exactly who you should talk to because the reality is for day-to-day service items, the client doesn't care who they talk to, they just care that it's handled one time, the first time that it's prompt, accurate, and courteous service handled one time, the first time, which aids and builds the client experience. But if a producer gets involved, there's a real good chance on, again, day-to-day service. We'll define it day-to-day service. We've talked about it again before. Day-to-day service is everything that happens in between the renewal dates other than what we would coin an emergency in flight. So for day-to-day service, it should go to who the service person. Don't ask for service items coming to you. Again, it is the agency that provides a service, not the agent. So that's number one. They're asking for service trap, throw me in the service trap, and then I have an excuse for not selling.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, Roger, just some context. First of all, going back, and I don't think you glossed over it, but I'm sure some people listening go, PS is BS? By the way. We're not saying bad words. BS is our belief systems or our behaviors and strategies, right? Personal service messes with our whatever, you know what we're talking about. But hey, listen, I think only I want to add to this, Roger, I always think about the psychology. I have many producers I know you do too, and agencies like, well, yeah, but it's just the right thing to do and we want to be there for them and all these things. And I think it comes back to what you said earlier, the intention, by the way, the road to hell is filled with good intentions. I'll say that, right? The road to hell is filled with good intentions.

And I think a lot of this is the intention is good in the sense of, oh, we're going to be there. But you're right, the outcome is not what we want. The outcome is that why are they always calling me? Why are they always needing me all the time? Well, that's exactly what you've instructed them to do. And of course then we run out of time. So love that one, Roger, Number one. Number two, and I'm going to simplify what you have a little bit, and you can expand on the outline. We confuse pay time and no pay time. Tell me about that.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, there are two things you do as a producer. Some things you do, you earn pay, and some things you don't earn pay. You've got to do both. And certainly we've defined these as the green zone and the red zone. And we laugh about this internally in our coaches meetings. We share with our clients of everything we've ever developed, maybe the green zone in the red zone, and we've got a couple other zones. Now, the blue and the platinum zone we can talk about later in another podcast, but it's one of the stickiest things as a producer, even as a leader, everything we do, there are certain things we do that directly earn us pay. And there are certain things we do that don't directly earn us pay, but maybe it's something we owe a client. Maybe it's an emergency in flight we have to deal with.

Maybe it is just a team meeting or prep time, whatever. But what we see all too often is that people overall, we do no pay activities during prime pay time. Well, when's prime pay time? Well, in our world, prime pay time is normally from about 8:30 in the morning till 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Maybe it's nine o'clock to three o'clock, it doesn't matter. But defining that, and we somewhat tongue in cheek laugh about this and we say, when's the best time to visit with a client, a feature, ideal client or a center of influence? The answer is when they're open, if you go there when they're not there, you try to call and they're not there. They're not there. So what we say is, look, when prime selling time, when you can earn pay, that's when you've got to get all over doing pay activities and the no pay things we have to do, we'll do first thing in the morning, we'll do it the end of the day.

Monday in our perfect world is a day that we get ready to play the game. So it's prep day. But I would challenge everyone that when any item you're working on, just do a simple filter in your mind. This thing I'm working on right now, is this a pay or no pay activity? Could this be done some other time? The other thing to keep in mind is that everything's not an emergency. And all too often when we do have an emergency, a real one, we jump on it. But often we see that people don't really define what an emergency is. So they get a request and it sidelines them from what they're doing that's big pay activity, and they jump on a no pay. So again, look at it and say, could I do this early in the morning? Could I do this at the end of the day? Does it have to be done now? And if it doesn't, then make sure during prime paid time you're doing pay activities, just don't mix.

Brent Kelly:

So here's just two action steps that any producer, sales leader can begin to do on this area. Roger, that hit me again, I think you'll mock us how simple these are. But if you would look at your current book of business, and let's just say you look at your top 10 accounts, which by the way generate a ton of money, which we're going to talk a little bit more about later. But if you look at this and go, "what were the specific things I did to make them a client to generate that result to earn money, which is my job?" You would start writing down some things that you did. And what's interesting is you start to look as a producer, those things that you did and have done to generate results, money green versus what you actually do for the majority of your week, you would be just like, oh my gosh, what am I doing with this diminishing asset called Time?

And Roger, you've hinted on this, and we've talked about this in other episodes as well. I beat this up big time in a recent ProducerFit meeting. But this idea of proactive calendar management, schedule the stuff in front, like get the stuff on your calendar, it's not going to magically happen. So a couple things to think about. So I love that one. And again, what's funny about these is that simple, but not always easy, right? Simple to understand, just not always easy behavior wise to be consistent and to do it. So let's get to number three. And I did an episode on this, so I'd love to get your take - Practice Quoting. Let me say this, don't do it. I'll leave it at that, rod. So talk about where producers getting hysterical activity with this. Well,

Roger Sitkins:

It's a great example of confusing activity with results. They do a bunch of practice quoting, they do unpaid consulting. Well, what's practice quoting? And again, you just did it in a recent podcast. It's the art of providing a quotation to an unqualified prospect. And all that happens is the incumbent agent gets it. They look at a second, say I can beat it, I can match it, whatever. So because we're not super qualifying, we wind up just saying, you know what? We spent a lot of time on them. So we do unpaid consulting. We tie to this, we say, and this is about as basic as you can get. When's the best day to lose a sale? The first day. The first day. But you go in there, and especially if I'm a younger producer and a lot of us, we've all done it, go play in the traffic, get run over, get your nose bloody, and you'll figure out pretty soon, that's not a great way to make a living.

Okay? So what we say, look, we've got to make sure that we are really working with the right people. And the unpaid consulting, I'll be the first to raise my hand. I know you've had it too. You go out there, you work on an account and you do things they've never seen before. You find gaps, you find a better services. You talk about total cost of risk, total cost of benefits. You lay out a whole plan and they go, wow, that is really great. And then you follow up. You follow up, you follow up. They go dark on you, you hear crickets maybe, okay? And then you finally hear from them, or you finally track them down and they say, we really appreciate everything you did. No one, no one has ever done this before. What's the next word? Well, everybody listening now, is probably already going, "BUT" we've decided to stay with our current agent.

Okay? You did all that work. You took your time and energy, you took your team's time and energy, you took withdrawals from your relationships with the carriers if it's a larger account and you wasted everybody's time. So we look at this and we say, look, the key here is, yes, we want to find the pain issues. Yes, we want to differentiate. Yes, we want to get way beyond the commodity sale the majority of the time, but we also have to make sure that we don't overeducate. And I always say, look, do enough. Show them enough pain issues. Find the areas you can have an impact on their business or their life, but get a commitment to get paid before you do everything. The saying we use, show them the wrapper, just don't give them the candy. So again, we just see that people are wasting time and just ask yourself this question, the last account you worked on, that was really a nice account.

You got excited. We laugh about this in the producer program too. We go, oh, they gave me an opportunity. They said, I could quote. And you get excited and you go home and you say to your significant other, oh, we're going to get that big screen and Fido's going back on wet food. And then we get burned. We get burned. Just think of the last time you got burned by that and you heard, but what are you going to do about that? What are you going to do about it? You're going to go, well, I replicate it because one of the biggest rules I've learned in life is don't let negative history repeat itself. If you have a pattern that's hurting you, you've got to change that pattern. And the reality is you've got to say, look, I've got to learn how to super qualify people.

I'm not going to practice quote. And if I'm going to lose it, I'll lose it early. And there are certain accounts that you're going to lose it this year and you walk away, but you realize there's some situations that you couldn't change. Some of the biggest accounts we've seen in our best clients sell it was multi-years before they got in, but they didn't quote them every year. They stayed in contact with them every year until the time was right, saying we have, and we use it all the time. Every great account will eventually move. When it moves, be positioned as a logical next choice, but don't waste time and energy quoting them on the years they're not ready to move. So pretty basic, but I go, I'm so busy quoting, I don't care about that. I want you busy writing, issuing.

Brent Kelly:

So many takeaways there, Roger. I mean, the one just overriding theme, and again, it's not even specific to this, although it certainly relates to it, is not allowing negative history to repeat itself. And well, I know I've been guilty of this, but I was talking to you, Roger, or somebody else that I respect, and I'll kind of go through stuff and I'm doing this and then do this, and then I did this, and then I did this. And it's like at some point it's kind of comical to the person listening. They're like, well, why don't you just stop doing that in our own world? And I hear a lot of that with practice quoting, like, well, why don't you just stop doing that?

Roger Sitkins:

I Might get lucky. I might get lucky!

Brent Kelly:

Well, and there's other things too. We've talked about if your pipeline's empty and there's all these things, well, of course it's easier to do that. So love that one. Number four, I know I stole a bit of your thunder, but I want you to take this much deeper and get your perspective. You've been teaching this for a long time of just lack of a Sunday or weekly plan for producers. When they don't have it, they go into HAWGs. So give us your take on this, Roger, I know you've worked with so many producers in this area, and it's been a huge impact area.

Roger Sitkins:

Whether we call it Sunday a review. I don't care if you do it Friday, Saturday morning, Saturday evening, Sunday morning, Sunday evening. But I do challenge you to have a review of last week, a debrief of last week done before you start this week. Because all too often I see the producers get to the office on Monday and they go, oh, what are we going to do? What do I have going on here? Oh, I got a couple appointments. Oh, what happened last week? What do I owe you? And we just see that, let's face it this way, if you start the week with an unintentional plan in other, we're just showing up, wondering what's going to happen. You're in hysterical activity all week, and at the end of the week, you look back and go, I was busy, but man, I don't feel like I got much done.

Stop wasting your precious days, your hours, your weeks, your months, whatever. So sitting down on Sunday and debriefing, what happened last week? What worked? What didn't work? What promises did I make? And I would hope that everybody understands the concept of a promise based culture, promise based agency. What promises did I make to my team? What promises did I make to my clients future ideal clients, et cetera. So debriefing and then pre-briefing this week, what do you need? Now, the key to this to make it work the very best, is under our concept of the high performance team, sales and service married together, where the producer and their service partner partners are very well connected. We understand our roles, we do what we said we're going to do. We keep promises, is the account manager will send the producer no later than Friday at noon, the agenda for next week's meeting.

So all of the items we need to debrief or talk about are listed. Anything pre-brief for upcoming clients feature ideal clients stewardship reports that are due continuations that we had to work on situations with clients, they're all listed because just to show up and go, what's going on is very random. And we waste time rather than saying, so I've got this agenda from my service partner partners. I'm looking at it, I'm taking out my own calendars on my phone or wherever I'm keeping it, and I'm looking at everything that happened, and I look at the promises I made, did I keep them? Then I start planning out ahead. And when I get the agenda from my service partner partners, I'm looking at going, there's a couple of things I need to talk about here. I'll look at my relationship management calendars. I identify the things I do.

We want to start the week, lack of, maybe there's probably a better term, but I'm just going to call it, we start the week with an on purpose week. I know exactly what things that I have to bring forward from last week because it's not a perfect world, and I know exactly the things I need to do this week. And our better producers are looking really two weeks out. And then on top of that, if they have the relationship management calendars where we plan a whole year with clients, future ideal clients and centers of influence, we're looking at that too. The key here is stay ahead of the game. Stay ahead of the game. If you're playing from behind, you're never going to catch up or because you're playing from behind, you're losing other opportunities, wasting time, handling things multiple times versus committing to getting them done now.

So the key is, did I review last week? Did I plan this week? And is everything I do an on purpose or purposeful week, whatever you want to call it, and the amount of time and energy that's wasted on this is ridiculous, but you know what the best do? They get control of the game ahead of time because they're doing the things that others won't do. There's a great saying that we challenge producers with now saying, only 2% of people really get the best results. And when you look at what the two percenters do, and I read this someplace else, it wasn't in our business, and we're not going to claim authorship to it, but I love the statement the individual said, "I'm going to do what the 98% won't do so I can earn what the 98% will never earn." I can experience what the 98% will never experience. And that's the difference. That's the difference. It's being so purposeful on everything you do. The sad news, Brent, is that I can be random. I can be showing up and throwing up, blow up, come and go. I wonder what we're going to do today. And the good news, bad news is they'll do okay financially, but they won't be to financial freedom. You've got to maximize your time. You're got to maximize ROT - return on time.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, Roger, as you were saying that, I am just thinking from an emotional context of maybe people listening and like, well, that sounds great, Roger, but you don't know how busy I really am. The stuff that happens, and listen, I mean, I get that it happened, but what hits me on this, and Roger, you've heard me say this so many times, and I borrowed this from somebody I heard years ago, but they said, you have two options in life. You either prepare or you repair, and I think that's what you're talking about. And by the way, does preparation take time? Yes. Just even using the idea of 80/20, 20% to prepare so that I can spend 80% of my week in the green zone stuff. So I'm focused, I'm clear. I've got that preparation versus the opposite, which is what we often see is, oh, I don't want to spend that 20% to review and debrief and get ready and look at my promises and get my schedule ready and get ahead of the game.

So I'm going to spend 80% of the next week just putting out fires and beating that hysterical activity. And here's the thing, from emotional context, for producers in particular, I get it, but boy, there's a much higher level. What you're really seeking, hopefully, is some form of freedom. And Roger, you're right. You could be good without doing any of this. You could be good, but you're always going to have the what ifs and doubts and frustrations and knowing you get, have better relationships internally, externally, and even though you're getting by, there's that higher level of frustration, stress, and anxiety because you weren't deliberate in, as you said, reviewing, debriefing and pre-briefing the next week.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, here's the other thing, stress and anxiety on your service partners.

Brent Kelly:

That's a great point.

Roger Sitkins:

I mean, the pressure that's put on the service people by producers being very random in what they do. And then we talk with agency principals about the need to dramatically improve sales capacity and service capacity. Well, if your service people are always stressed out because producers are not doing what they're doing, you're never going to get service capacity up. You're certainly not going to get the producers doing what they should do. Thus, your revenue per employee is never going to get where it needs to be. I mean, you talk about a crazy pattern. Wow.

Brent Kelly:

One other analogy here, Roger. I referenced my family a lot, but it's funny. I mean, just thinking even at home when I am more prepared and they get up early and have stuff ready, and I'm calmer and more deliberate with my family, when I get up and it's all hysteric, my hysteric leads to their hysteric and everyone walks out the door a mess, right? Part of this, it's contagious. And you as a producer, you have influence. You're a leader. And if you lead with hysterical activity, you are perpetuating more hysterical activity throughout your agency, Roger. So that's very well said. Alright, let's get to number five. Keep this short and sweet Again, clarity, no future ideal client. So talk about how that leads to hysterical activity, Roger.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, producers just go, "I got a new account because I went out, it's going to be a big one. I might get it" if you have not specifically identified what a future ideal client looks like for you, and one of the biggest things overall is just minimum account size and targeted account size, minimum account size and target account size. What we see is that producers that will just randomly quote anybody, if they can fog up a mirror and it looks like their check will clear or their credit card will work, then I'll quote them versus saying no. Now, by the way, again, newer, younger producers go play in the traffic, get run over a few times and hopefully a few before you figure out. And every producer in every agency's future ideal client will change based on market and economic conditions. It changes. It changes as you grow.

It changes as you specialize as a producer. But one of your keys every year, part of your business plan is for this year, what does the future ideal client look like? And am I constantly raising the bar on my minimum account size and targeted account size? Because if not, we see that producers fall into what we've coined the 2-2 syndrome, too many accounts paying too little money each. I know you've talked about it on the podcast before. You can't be a million dollar producer writing thousand dollar accounts. Why? Because you'd have to write a thousand of them. No one wants a thousand accounts as a producer. It doesn't mean the agency doesn't them, doesn't mean we don't have a select business unit set up to handle smaller accounts or medium accounts, whatever you call. But the key here is to always look at, we mentioned it earlier, but ROT, what is your return on time as a producer?

What is your return on time as an agency overall? And can you afford to write really small accounts? Well, we get challenged, and I've been challenged through the years, people saying, well, you don't like personalized in small commercial. I love them. What I don't like are unprofitable accounts. We can make every account profitable as long as we structure it and we do the right thing. But as an individual agency, individual producer, if every account could be a great account, you're going to get sucked into the wrong accounts, and you're even going to wonder why I have them. Pretty scary.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, I was making a note as you said that this will lead into the next one, Roger. First of all, you said this so many times, you're going to replicate something. Yeah, right? You think about you're going to replicate certain accounts, so which ones do you want to replicate in a back to success, leaving clues? But it's interesting, I had a conversation with a producer yesterday. He was kind of going through this and he kind of knew it, but then when we were talking through it, he is like, oh, you're right. It seems to me like you're kind of operating on two philosophies and they don't work together. So you get to pick one. One is I'll write any account, any size for any reason at any time, and that's kind of how you've grown your business. But now you're stuck and you're saying, well, how do I double this?

And the other philosophy is, gosh, there are certain accounts I should probably work more on and be able to, again, to free myself up. I'm like, which philosophy do you want? And it's just one of those, well, yeah, you're probably right. And that goes to the knowing versus the doing, which is often where producers get stuck. So I think it'll lead into number six, because these correlate with each other. It's the predictable imbalance in the universe that we see again and again and again. So it's the 80/20 principle, Roger. So how does 80/20 relate to historical activity?

Roger Sitkins:

It's real simple. Okay? And we've done thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands now of evaluations on producers, books of business, on agencies overall. And it's really rare that the 80/20 rule is broken. Top 20% of the customers are 80% of the revenue. If you don't believe it, even though you've probably heard it a hundred times, if not a thousand, run your book of business report to find out, okay, it's not always perfect, but it's rare that someone really breaks it. And we break it down, as you mentioned before, that we have the A accounts, the top 5%, the B accounts, the middle 15% C accounts, the bottom 80%, top 5%, or 50% of the revenue, the next 15% or 30% of the revenue. And every time we do, I remember when you first joined us about four or five months into it, and we were really hitting hard in one of the producer programs in the 80/20, and you'd heard it several times before, and you said, how come other people aren't talking about this?

That's right. I said, Brent, it's one of those things where people go, oh, yeah, but it doesn't apply to me. Or they run the report once and then forget about it versus saying, no, this is something, every agency and every producer should run it at least once a year. So what happens with the agency overall is that we wind up spending more time, energy, effort, expenses, employees on the bottom 80% than we do the top 20%. And so in effect, and in fact, unfortunately, I see producers and agencies taking some of the top 5% of the customers per granted. Oh, they'd never leave. Have you ever lost an account you thought you'd never leave? Did you ever have even competition in an account you never thought you would? So you have to look at this and say, if the top 5% of the customers are 50% of the revenue, are they getting the level of service they should get?

Everybody deserves great service. We've talked about this before, but you get the level of the service you've paid for. So number one, if we're over -servicing the bottom accounts and under-servicing the top accounts, we're vulnerable. If you take the 80/20 even more, the top 2% of the customers, which we call the super A's are at least a third of the income in an average agency. So if I lost 2% of my customers, I would be in deep trouble. I would be vulnerable. The other thing on the 80/20s, it comes back to the initial when we talked about don't say call me. Don't ask for the service trial, your larger accounts, because of their structure. They have people that deal with the insurance program, whether it's the HR manager and the benefits with CFO, whatever it may be. Some have their own in-house risk managers.

Well, that's who your service people talk to for day-to-day items. The smaller account will literally say, well, I need to talk to my producer. She's the one that sold it to me. I need to talk to the producer. And the producer goes, oh, okay. Well, we talk about this so much when you look at your account. See, this goes back to activity versus results and hysterical activity. The reality is that the agency, again, provides a service, not the agent. As a producer, you don't get a hundred percent of the commission, which we talk about all the time. Duh, you don't get a hundred percent. You get a blended rate of between new and renewal. Maybe you get 30%, 35, whatever. It depends on their benefits. Well, the majority of the revenue generated under the producer's book of business goes to the agency. And we always say it's real simple.

You can give the activities, the service issues, and more your time or your money. You can't give it both. And what too many producers do is they give it money and then they give it time. Then they run out of time to make more money. So ignoring this and not working harder. And then the other big thing is that one of the strategies we talk about, one of the behaviors we stress, and it's going to sound real simple again, takes discipline. The ultimate growth strategy roundabout, retain and replicate your A's and B's. Oh, that sounds easy. Yes, but it takes discipline. It takes structure, takes training, it takes coaching to do it, but it's undeniable that roundout retain and replicate your A's and B's will lead producers to at least a 20% growth rate every year, at least if they have the discipline. But what happens is good intentions, I'm going to do that.

Or as we say in the south, we're fixing to, which always laugh about fixing to do it someday. I'll do that, but I'm too busy now, the ITB excuse and they get caught in all this stuff on the wrong accounts, just look at where you're spending your time, the top 5% of your customers, 50% of the revenue. Brittany, you said it just a minute ago, you're going to replicate something. Why don't you replicate them? Well, because I'm stuck over here and I'm stuck over there. See, all of these things, this hysterical activity leads to you being stuck doing the wrong things. And unfortunately, you'll make good money. You make more money than you make could be at a real job. Okay?

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, yeah. Well, Roger, again, I've got a lot of thoughts in my head, so I'll try to keep this simple. But I mean, this goes back to something that we as an organization have been talking about for so long. You've probably said in the podcast, I know I've said in the podcast, but I don't think it can be said enough. In fact, this goes back to my conversation with the producer yesterday. I said, well, it really comes down to what is your business model and what do you mean? I'm like, well, what is your business model? And of course, Roger, I'll you take it from here. You have sometimes people say, well, I don't really have a business model, which means what, Roger?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, yeah. When they say, I don't have a business model, I say, yes, you do. You have part-time. Clients do practice quoting on paid consulting. Your pipeline's dripping at best. Every account's a great account. You spend way more time in the service trap, the red zone than you do the green zone, and you just, you're kind of limping along and you get a raise every year. Well, that's not my business model. I said, look, it's an unintentional business model, but if that's what you do consistently, that's your model. So it's time to change the model. It's time to change the patterns. It's time to change the psycHAWGraphics, the beliefs, which we've talked about, where you've got, we stress so much. What are the beliefs? What are the behaviors and strategies that will support those beliefs? And are you getting the right results? And if your results aren't right, and I hope everybody's heard this from us before, that means your behaviors and strategies are incongruent, non congruent with what your beliefs. And so people, they fall into this, well, but I'm doing okay. Well, here's the big thing. You're not going to have financial freedom, and at the end of your career, you'll have regrets. It's pretty simple. Sad. But

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, it is so much more. And I want to get to number seven, and I love that you've got, I mean, I guess you could put whatever order you want, but I do like that this is last, because I think one of the things that hits me as I'm looking at this on the outline is that, and you said this, and maybe you'll expand upon this if you don't want to do it for yourself, change this. Do it for those around you at a minimum. So number seven, I want you to take this deeper, but number seven is that we make promises without plans, which leads to problems. Leave it at that, and hysterical activity for everyone. So tell us more about this one.

Roger Sitkins:

And a few minutes ago, I mentioned promise keeping, but it's one of the things that it drives me crazy. And when I catch myself, I'm certainly guilty of this at times too, I'm trying not to be, but the end of the day is we make promises to people, and especially if we're quickstart, if you don't know the Kolbe profile, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that. And once we say it's done in our mind, then we move on to something else. We move on to something else. And if our agency doesn't have a culture of accountability, then we wind up making promises. So we make promises to our service team that we don't keep. Yeah, I'll get that to you this week. Next week. Oh, I forgot to get it. What happens to your credibility? What happens to that trust factor? So we make promises to the service team.

We make promises to clients that maybe we don't keep. And we talk about this in the ProducerFit program all the time. How many times have you met up with a future ideal client prospect? And we talk about what you're doing. We do a discovery process, and you find out that the current agent made a lot of promises but didn't really keep them oh, all the time. And we say, are you guilty of that too? Are you making promises to clients that you don't keep future ideal clients, your family, yourself? And so one of the things that we see is the best of the best have really committed to making promises. The culture of the agency where we make promises, but we keep them. We also realize it's not a perfect world. We're going to break some promises. And that's why our new accountability model, we've gone to no longer just the producer performance agreement.

It's known as the two-way promise. So between the producer and the agency, there's two promises made. The agency's going to promise, these are the things we'll do to support you. And then the producer's going to say, here are the things I will do to get great results. So it's a very clean and crisp. It's not a legal document. It's just basically documenting what we said we were going to do because we're firm believers. If it's not documented, it never happened. So there's a two-way promise between producer and the sales leader. Guess what? By developing this, the producer is designing their own personal improvement plan. There's a second document that is between the producer and the service team. The service team says, here's what we're going to do. The producer says, here's what I'm going to do. So good example, service team leader says, every Friday we'll send you an agenda.

And producer says, sometime on the weekend, I'll review it and I'll make any additions to it. What happens if that doesn't happen? So what we say in the document is, look, it's not a perfect world. It's not a perfect world. But what we're going to do is understand that stuff happens when it happens. We're just going to challenge each other. So I'm going to say, Brent, help me understand why you weren't able to get that done. What can I do to help you? The people that are using it, and this is really new like month, month and a half now, the people that are using it are just ecstatic about the communication this creates, okay? But I would take it to you personally. What promises have you made to your spouse? What promises have you made to your kids? Okay, what promises have you made that you're going to be the chief financial officer of your Me, Inc.

And truly understand your money. That's not what you make. That's what you keep. And I just see that when we look at this overall and we say we're going to have a culture of promise making and keeping, we're going to hold each other accountable in a professional manner, knowing that what we're doing is helping each other because none of us survive by ourselves. So if our culture is promise based, we have very high integrity. And to me, that's the new big I. It's not the independent agents which we love and work with, but it's the big I is how big is your integrity? Because the troubles start when you break promises to your team. When you break promises to your clients, to your future ideal clients, to your family members, to your community, to your church, whatever's important to you, why not just say, here's what we're going to do, agree upon it, and then understand that it's not perfect. We'll call you up in a nice, professional, pleasant manner. The communication is unbelievable. So once we start keeping the promises we've made, we're getting rid of historical activity and the weight of the grave. We're purposeful. We're intentional about what we're doing. We're making deposits with everything that's important to us is all of our relationships. We're leading a better life, we're leading a better life.

Brent Kelly:

Wow, okay. There's a lot there. A few things to comment on and we will wrap up. And Roger, any final comments? Certainly just kind of putting this all together about the hysterical activity and moving out of that. And I'm guessing if, again, you're listening, you've listened to this, there's probably a few of these that hit home. As Roger said, none of us are perfect, but it's the awareness of moving forward in this. The last one you mentioned hit me yesterday. I had a cool opportunity. I got a chance early in the morning. I was so proud of these kids I was invited to speak at, this was an athletic leadership club, to come in and share some things. One of the things that I is something that's the hardest thing to do. And I asked the group, I said, who's the hardest person in the world to lead?

And they all kind of sat there and maybe know where I'm going. I go, you are the hardest person to lead because whether you said them verbally or not, the promises and things that you said or think you're going to do, and we know when we fall short, right? It's a heart. It's hard. It really is. But I wrote this down as you were talking about this. You mentioned culture, intention without tangible action is the ultimate culture killer. I mean, so you look at agencies talking about communication. It said, well, I thought they were going to do this, and they said they were going to do this and they intended to do this. And I will throw myself and be very under the bus, so to speak and be transparent. I had this conversation with my wife a few days back where she's like, Brent, there's a few things that you've talked about and you always mention that you're going to do, and I don't know that you've done them.

And that hurts. You're like, wow. Because sometimes it's, again, good intention, but it's a bit flip. Oh, yeah, yeah. And then it gets busy and a week goes by and two weeks go by and you're like, oh my gosh. And you want to be angry, but you should be angry with yourself. And you're like, you're right. And so here's my, I guess tip. I dunno if this is a tip on it, but if you're going to make a promise, and this seems simple, think about it before you just flippantly say, oh yeah, I'll do that, or I'll do that, or I'll do that. Is it something that you are truly committed to doing? Because as Roger said, it's not just about you, which it starts with you. It's the people that you impact, right? Also, side note and plug, that needs to be said, Roger.

I think you mentioned 3, 4, 5, 6. I don't know, different tools and resources and things that we use with our members. Hint, hint. That's all included. When you work with the Sitkins Group, right? You get access to not only our roadmap and our videos and our processes and all of the tools. It's all combined in conjunction with live training. So part of this is we want to help you and your agency make these things that are hard, make them easier, and it all really comes down to that. So Roger, as we wrap up here, what are some final words, thoughts you give to the audience here before we wrap?

Roger Sitkins:

Something that came up in a conversation with one of our private clients a couple of weeks ago that really hit home with me, and we've used it in the producer program the last couple of weeks, and people are really getting it. There's a difference between motivation and dedication. Okay, well, I'm motivated now. Hopefully people are motivated from some of the comments we've made here today, but motivation goes away. Okay, I'm going to go to another seminar. I'm going to listen to another podcast. I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that. I'm fixing to. And you tell others about it. Like you're telling your wife, yeah, I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that. So that's motivation. Well, again, motivation goes away. And the key is dedication. What are you really dedicated to as a producer, what are you dedicated to do as an agency leader? What are you dedicated to do as the head of your family? What are you dedicated to do with your kids? In my case, grandchildren, my church, my community. Don't be motivated to do it. That's the easy part. Make a promise that you're dedicated to keep and be the person that others look at and say, I trust that person. They always do what they said they're going to do. They always do. It's your choice.

Brent Kelly:

Good stuff. Thanks, Roger. Again, I appreciate you coming here. I know you've got a busy schedule stuff, although it's results focused, right? Yes. We're not busy too much. So again, I appreciate that. And again, agent leaders, audience members, thanks for being a listener. If this podcast and others have had an impact to you in any way, please go on, leave a rating review. We're always trying to grow this podcast and share value. It really fulfills our mission. I know Roger, as the founder and CEO, I always talk about our key mission is to help educate, to empower, to equip agencies to truly become that best version possible. And as I said at the beginning, if you'd like to learn more about our upcoming programs that start in the second quarter, they all start in April. It's not too late. Reach out. We'd love to have a conversation, learn how to help your agency truly get to that next level in performance. Just go to sitkins.com to learn more. Roger, thanks so much again. 

 

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