Sometimes when I talk to agency owners or producers who are caught in a rut, the image of an amorphous blob springs to mind. I realize that may sound strange, but when they describe not knowing what to do or how to climb out of their rut, I often envision the weird clumps of matter I frequently see floating in the Gulf of Mexico. I really don’t know what those floating masses are or what their purpose is in the ecosystem; they just seem to bob along with the current.
Obviously people are not blobs—or at least they don’t have to be—yet many agency owners and producers find that it’s much easier to float along with the current than to change direction. Even if they wanted to, most of them wouldn’t know where to start. Furthermore, most of them do quite well for themselves, even if they’ve never had an actual business plan that they follow. Accordingly, there may be no real incentive for them to break out of their rut...
During a recent private ProducerFit program, I experienced one of my world-famous BFOs (Blinding Flashes of the Obvious). It hit me as I spoke to a group of mainly young producers that they probably hear the following repeatedly:
My BFO: What must you do to stop trying to prove to the world that you’re not?
If that’s something you hear on a regular basis, you’ve got a problem!
Most agencies know they should differentiate. However, most don’t. They’re strictly playing a commodity game. Furthermore, most are simply like everyone else—average. That means they’re the best of the worst and the worst of the best, as close to the top as they are to the bottom.
When producers and agency owners are asked why someone should buy insurance from them, they typically have the same responses: “We have the best service, the best people, we represent all of the major carriers, we’ve been in business for...
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....
Otherwise, we’d all be super successful, healthy, happy and wise, right? These wrong things prevent us from getting optimum results, so why do we do them?
Perhaps it’s because we don’t have to do the right things. After all, the independent agency is a great business model that allows the wrong things to still generate pretty good results. During our training programs, I often ask: “How many of you are making more money than you thought you’d ever make?” And, “How many of you are making way more than your friends and siblings?” And finally, “How many are making more money than you’d make if you had a real job?”
Every time I ask that last question, everyone in the room always cracks up! People realize that in just about any other business, they wouldn’t have the opportunities they have now. The reality is that most of us would be fired if we...
I would like to invite you to join me and other like-minded people in an extraordinary act of kindness that will literally change the world! If you accept this invitation, you’ll join us in Nicaragua to help build homes for deserving families, January 28-February 4, 2017.
It’s hard to explain the emotion and gratitude I have witnessed when dedicating a new home for a family in Nicaragua, that’s why I am going again this year, marking it my 12th trip! Below is a video clip of a prior trip to Nicaragua and what some past volunteers had to say about their experience.
The spirit and commitment from volunteers of Bridges to Community will continue as we make another trip to Nicaragua early next year. To learn more about Bridges to Community, please go to http://www.bridgestocommunity.org/
You can register online for the trip here: https://bridgestocommunity.org/volunteer/application-form/
Please consider joining us, it will help...
They have a very specific plan for the client experience—a map for the journey they’ll take their clients on. Their standards ensure that every client receives the VIP treatment. This is reflected in the quality of service provided and in the overall agency attitude: how the phone is answered, how quickly calls are returned, agent follow-up and follow-through, product quality and much more. A well-planned journey makes VIP clients feel valued and appreciated. In turn, they tend to be extremely loyal.
In keeping with their high standards, the best producers work only on prospects that are referrals or introductions. Of course, that doesn’t just happen overnight by proclamation, but that’s their mindset. While they may use social media for positioning, they believe their next great new client wants to meet them through a referral or introduction. After all, when you’re looking for services, isn’t that really...
At a recent sales training session, I was asked what separates the great producers from the pack. My response was “PS: Producer Standards.” We find that the best of the best hold themselves to higher standards, which they consistently meet and exceed.
Here are the basic standards that are part of our ProducerFit sales training strategies and ones that you’ll recognize in most $1 million-plus producers.
They have a very specific business model that becomes their laser focus. They’re always looking forward three years to five years, with a defined goal in mind. For example:
“Within three years, I will have no more than 50 clients paying me $20,000 each.”
This is not an overnight, get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a focus. They have their eye on the prize and a very specific plan for making it happen.
Remember, you can’t be a million-dollar producer writing $1,000 accounts. So if you’re going to put the time in anyway, you...
On a regular basis my smartphone, desktop, laptop and iPad all check for updates automatically. These system improvements are designed to optimize operational efficiency and performance, and in many cases, enhance security. (Not surprisingly, the app updates never seem to stop—I had 24 pending on my iPhone just this morning!)
What strikes me is that the majority of independent agencies are probably past due for some AUs —Agency Updates. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that most of them are probably on version 1.0 or 2.0, when they should be on version 8.9 or higher!
Now I’m not talking about your agency management system, which I assume you keep up to date (don’t you?!). If that’s the case, then why wouldn’t you keep all of your other agency systems current? Maybe you’re already doing that, but if you’re not, let’s take a look at some areas in your agency that may need updating.
Are you still doing an...
When I got into my vehicle a few weeks ago, a warning light popped up on my dashboard display with the message, "Annual Service 100 Miles Past Due." I ignored it for a few weeks and then received an updated warning: "Annual Service 300 Miles Past Due." That's when I remembered the old saying,
"A problem left unattended becomes a crisis."
Immediately, I booked a service appointment for my vehicle. Crisis averted!
That got me thinking about the warning lights within Independent Insurance Agencies that often get ignored. Let’s take a look at some of the warning lights that agency owners should never ignore.
The most successful entrepreneurs consistently invest in themselves. Yet I continue to see and hear countless ITB ("I’m too busy") excuses from agency owners and managers. They're just not willing to invest the time to get better.
I've often remarked that many people confuse Activity with Results. At the end of the day they'll lament, "I...
What causes agency apathy?
The number-one thing that happens is what one of my friends refers to as “ARS,” the Already Rich Syndrome. There’s really no motivation/need to change because in a great business like ours, you can get rich pretty easily.
Another common reason is that the owners and key people just don’t have that compelling, overriding vision of what they really want to accomplish because they’re doing well enough. They’re not driven to do more. They can simply do nothing and still be successful (or at a minimum, at least semi-successful).
Also, for so many, it’s a lifestyle business. Gary Holgate, my mentor in the consulting business (and the first-ever consultant to independent insurance agencies), noted that one of the big problems in most agencies is that their personal checkbook and corporate checkbook are one and the same. Consequently, they’re not really growing a business, but rather...
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