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The #1 Reason Your Insurance Agency Isn’t Growing

growth leadership Nov 16, 2017

Several years ago, I heard a quote from leadership expert John Maxwell that caused me to stop and pause.  He said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” 

I think the word that caused me to stop and pause was EVERYTHING.

I believe that leadership is important in business growth and development, but EVERYTHING rises and falls on leadership?  That seems like a bit much.

Over the past few years in my own coaching business and now as an executive coach for The Sitkins Group, I can confidently say that John Maxwell is 100% correct. EVERYTHING rises and falls on leadership. 

Recently, our entire team at the Sitkins Group started to make a list of the scariest trends facing insurance agencies today.  After internal discussion and getting feedback from insurance leaders across the country, we discovered 8 common scary trends.  They include:

  •  Low organic growth
  • Anemic pipelines
  • Lack of processes
  • Straying away from the basics
  • Attracting,...
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Who is Running Your Agency’s Offense?

leadership sales Nov 09, 2017

What is the number one job of the offensive coordinator for any football team?

To score points.

Yes, an offensive coordinator has other responsibilities, which I will discuss, but at the end of the day, the success of the offensive coordinator is based on putting points on the board.

Every successful football team has a named and effective offensive coordinator.

What about your insurance agency?

Who is the person responsible for putting “points on the scoreboard?” In other words, who is driving your agency’s revenue?

I am often astonished that agency leaders are surprised that their producers are struggling when they receive no mentorship, coaching, and accountability.

Can you imagine a football team going out on the field with no preparation, no game plan, and no consequences for their performance?

It sounds insane and the reality is that a team with no offensive coordinator is likely to lose the majority, if not all, of their games.

So, who is in charge of...

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Make a Living or Make a Fortune

producers sales Nov 01, 2017

Several years ago, I heard a quote that challenged me. Looking back, I now realized that it also has changed me.

“Work on your job, make a living. Work on yourself, make a fortune.” - Jim Rohn

As a commercial lines producer for 15 years, I attended a variety of sales and product trainings classes from insurance carriers and associations. Most of them were very informative and did help my business, but I would often find myself falling back into bad habits.

Yes, I gained product knowledge and a new sales idea or two, but I wasn’t gaining momentum. That’s because most of my training focused solely on the technical side of the business.

- Technical sales training is important.
- Technical sales training has value.
- Technical sales training can help you sell more.

Unfortunately, technical sales training completely misses the emotional aspect of why people buy.

So why is it that most companies offer solid technical sales training, but completely miss...

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Three Communication Skills Vital to Every Insurance Producer

communication producers Oct 26, 2017

Studies have shown that effective leadership and influence, whether it’s with your team, your clients, or your company partners is 87% people knowledge and only 13% product knowledge. 

Reflect on that statistic for a minute, almost 90% of our ultimate success is not determined by what we know, but how we can relate what we know with the people we want to influence.   

What does this mean?  Well, I believe it means several things, but ultimately it begs the question, are we developing producers who can effectively communicate, and more importantly connect, with their clients and future clients?

Even in today’s world of digital disruption and insure tech, building high-level relationships will ultimately determine your success.

Let me state right up front, this doesn’t minimize understanding the technical side of the insurance business.  Every producer needs to be fully equipped to understand insurance terms, definitions, exclusions,...

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8 Habits of Highly Successful Insurance Producers

producers Oct 17, 2017

Ask most insurance producers how their day was and it’s likely that you will receive an answer that revolves around the words, “I was really busy.”

In most cases, that is true. Insurance producers are often very busy. The problem is that they are often busy with activities that do not directly correlate into results.

One of my favorite personal development books is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by the late Steven Covey. This book outlines the 7 key habits that separate successful people from all the rest.

Over the past many years, both as an active producer and consultant, I have found that high achieving producers focus their time and energy in 8 key areas. In this post, I want to discuss these 8 key habits to help all insurance producers move from “too busy” to productive.

Activity vs. Results

I can recall many days as an insurance producer when I would leave the office feeling like I had accomplished a great deal. I would come...

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The 3 Risks Every Insurance Producer Must Face

By Brent Kelly

“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller

If you have been an insurance sales producer longer than 10 minutes, you know all about risk.

Risk is defined as “exposure to danger.”

Danger surrounds insurance producers everyday. It could be in the form of a manager, company, prospect, client, product, or service. That list could go on and on, but the key point is that risk is clear everywhere you turn.

I believe you could categorize sales risks into three areas:

  1. Risk of rejection
  2. Risk of failure
  3. Risk of financial hardship

These three risks highlight that even though the sales profession is the highest paid industry in the world, only a small percentage of the population enters this line of work. Furthermore, this is why even a smaller percentage of sales producers survive.

I have dealt with these three risks consistently in my own sales career. Although the context of these three risks...

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5 Lessons I Learned From a McDonald’s Employee

By Brent Kelly

I rarely frequent fast food restaurants, but on one particular Saturday morning, I took my kids for breakfast at a local McDonalds. Besides their awesome and underrated coffee, I found something even better.

There was an employee I noticed who was in charge of sweeping the floor, cleaning up trays, and other typical unappreciated jobs. I would assume he makes minimum wage and gets little to no benefits. However, you would never know that by watching him.

In twenty minutes, he struck up countless conversations, engaged the customers, and put smiles on their faces. It was awesome. As I sat there listening to him talk to other customers, I couldn’t help but think; How come most salespeople don’t do this?

No, he wasn’t selling anything. He wasn’t making a commission. He just genuinely cared about the people in the restaurant. It wasn’t fake, rehearsed, or manipulative. It was simply from the heart.

I learned more in 20 minutes watching...

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One Reason Why You Must Adapt to Changing Technology

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that none of us can imagine what new technologies will be available in the next 20 years.

I found a clip on YouTube recently, and it absolutely blew me away. Not even 20 years ago, some of the “smartest people” on television didn’t know anything about the internet. I am not making fun of them, because in 1994, none of us really did.

In 1994, a new technology was surfacing that most of had no clue about. Today, we use the internet for just about everything and businesses would be crippled without it.

What’s my point?

The point is that new technologies are being developed right now that will completely change how we do business in 20 years. We don’t know exactly what they will be, but I guarantee you the face of business will change again in 20 years.
How do I know? Think about the changes made from 1934 to 1954 to 1974 to 1994. Does the automobile or television come to mind?

With that...

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Is the Independent Agent Doomed?

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Over 50% of People Now Shop For Insurance Online, Is the Independent Agent Doomed?

A recent article found that over 50% of people looking to obtain auto insurance quotes now go online to shop. This trend will probably continue as insurance buyers are looking for convenience and competitive pricing.  Large companies like Geico, Progressive, and Allstate are spending millions of advertising dollars to get these customers.

Does this mean the local independent agent is doomed? 

Quite the contrary in my opinion. I think this presents one of the greatest opportunities independent agents have had in a long time.  What do I mean?  Let me back up and point out a couple of things relating to that article first.

1) The article stated that 54% of consumers turn to the internet for a quote, but most still purchase through an agent or call center.

2) Customers still highly value customer service and typically will still only move to a new company...

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Build Your Confidence & Build Your Image

confidence Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

You want others to believe in you, your company, your product or service, and the value you provide. However, the most important question to ask yourself is, “Do you believe in you?”

Do You Breed Confidence in Others?

How others perceive you is in direct correlation to how you view and carry yourself.
You must project your self-image in a way that breeds confidence in others.

Have you ever met someone who looks sloppy, give a wimpy handshake, or can’t look you in the eye? They portray little to no confidence in themselves and therefore portray minimal confidence in the product or service they represent.

I am sure you have heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Although that made a great Head and Shoulders commercial, it is also true.

Whether fair or not, people make quick judgments and those judgments are difficult to alter.

How you think about yourself translates directly into how you act and...

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