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What All Sales Professionals Can Learn From Starbucks?

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

As I was sitting at my laptop one afternoon in a Starbucks I realized something obvious. Starbucks employees know how to ask for a sale and they are very good at it.

When I first went to the counter to order my coffee (plain, no cream or sugar), the nice lady asked if I wanted a delicious cookie for some sugar energy. I politely declined (thank you My FItness Pal), but actually had to think about it for a few seconds. She didn’t just say, “Would you like a cookie with that,” she said, “do you want a delicious cookie for some sugar energy?”

I don’t know about you, but I like delicious things, sugar, and energy.

As I began to work, I overheard one customer after another being asked if they wanted a “warm roll, yummy treat, or a bigger drink for only $0.30 more.” About half of the people who were asked agreed. HALF. There was no pressure, no pushing, and no hard sell. They simply asked.

It got me...

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Does My Business Need Workers Compensation Insurance?

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

If you are small business owner that is looking at hiring your first employee, have a family member who works for your business, or you are using a subcontractor, you may have asked this question, “Does my business need workers compensation?”

So you started your business out of your home and now you need some part-time help.  Do you need workers compensation insurance?  

Your family member is helping you on the weekends and you are paying them for their help. Do you need workers compensation insurance?

You hired a one-man subcontractor who does not have workers compensation insurance on himself.  Do you need workers compensation insurance?  

The short answer in almost all of these cases is YES.  That answer; however, is a little too simple.

The first idea you need to understand is that workers compensation laws vary by state.  If you live in New York, the workers compensation laws may be much different than what they are...

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What in the Heck is an Experience Modification Rate?

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

If you have been in business a long time with multiple employees, chances are you are aware of the experience modification rating factor. However, if you are new in business or just starting to add employees, you may be thinking, “What in the world is this guy talking about?”

The experience modification is simply a factor that insurance companies use to adjust workers compensation premiums based on your loss experience.  There is a very complex formula to determine this factor, but I simply want to explain how it can affect your business.  I have met with many business owners who really do not understand the experience modification rate and how it affects their business and more importantly their profits.

The basis of the experience modification concept is to determine if your workers compensation loss history is above or below average.  If your business has had less claims than other related business, you will receive a credit.  If you...

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9 Ways to Dominate Your Industry and Blow the Competition Away

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Any person or business can become a dominant force in their field, but you must have guts.

If you want to stand out from crowd and become the point of comparison, you have to think outside the box, be creative, and do things others aren’t willing to do.

Most sales professionals and businesses I know put their blood, sweat, and tears growing their client base, but that usually involves doing the same types of things the competition is doing.  This typically includes attending networking events, direct mail, cold calling, word of mouth, newspaper or radio ads and e-mail newsletters.

All of these things can be effective in growing your business, but I think there are nine ways you can cement yourself as the “true” industry leader and expert.  Let me caution you, these nine ways aren’t easy and they very likely will take you out of your comfort zone, but if you want to dominate you have to take risks and be bold.

At this...

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Three Reasons Why Many New Insurance Agents Fail

agents failure training Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden

Despite what some people may think, the insurance industry is a highly noble profession. So why do insurance agents come and go? Why do so many new insurance agents fail and experienced agents plateau?

The insurance industry offers amazing career opportunities for those who seize it. This is especially true for insurance agents/producers. I spent 15 years as a property & casualty agent and have had many ups and downs. There were moments of great success and days where I simply wanted to throw in the towel.

The insurance industry needs some new young talent and strong leadership.Unfortunately, young people aren’t flocking to become insurance agents. For those new agents that do take on the challenge of becoming a new insurance agent, many fail. Why?

I think there are three main reasons why insurance agents fail.


1- Expect too much too soon.

Let’s face...

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3 Reasons Why Cold Calling Could be Wasting Time

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Do you cold call? Does your boss make you cold call?

If so, I believe you could be wasting valuable time.

Let me ask you some straight forward questions about cold calling.

  • Do you get excited to cold call?
  • Are cold calls adding value to your prospects?
  • Does cold calling leave you frustrated and dejected?
  • Do you have days you would rather not show up to the office because you have to cold call?
  • Do you have many current customers who have thanked you for cold calling them?

Long time sales professionals and managers will state that cold calling is part of the deal. You put your time in, work through the rejection, and if you make enough calls, you will get some appointments.

The last statement is true. If you make enough calls, you will get some appointments and eventually some sales. YAY!!!

Here is my response.

  • How many calls does it take to get one appointment?
  • How many people did you piss off in the process?
  • How much time have you wasted?
  • How much do...
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Brent Kelly Joins Sitkins Group

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2017

Sitkins Group, Inc. is pleased to announce Brent Kelly has joined their team as a coach for independent insurance agencies. With the addition of Brent to the team, Sitkins Group will be able to expand their training and development programs for agents.

Brent comes to Sitkins Group with extensive hands-on insurance industry experience, having spent 15 years as a successful commercial lines producer. In 2012 he was named one of the top 12 young agents in the country. Knowing what it took to make an agency successful, he decided to take the leap into starting his own speaking and coaching business in 2015. Brent has been focusing on his passion to help insurance professionals gain influence, maximize their potential, and grow their book of business. He is a strong keynote speaker, coach and trainer, and this background makes for an easy transition into his new role with the Sitkins team.

“Brent’s experience and his passion for personal development make him a perfect...

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Is Your Agency Too Comfortable: Part Two

growth May 26, 2017

Ways to get uncomfortable

No doubt, you’re eager to discover the joys of being uncomfortable. But seriously, getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to achieve greatness vs. “okayness.”

1. Start systematically challenging everything you do. This means questioning the What’s, Why’s, and How’s of your agency’s operation. Why do we do this? Why are we doing it this way? How do we improve that? How do we get better at doing that? To quote Thomas Edison, “There’s a way to do it better—find it!” Why not use that as a guiding principle for your agency?

2. Force your producers to rehearse every presentation. Remember it’s okay to look stupid in the office when practicing (low-risk practice). It’s not okay to look stupid in front of clients or prospects. That’s high-risk practice!

Also, when practicing, record your rehearsals and then critique them. Regrettably, far fewer than 5% of agencies do this,...

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Is Your Agency Too Comfortable: Part One

growth May 12, 2017

Great growth requires letting go of complacency

It dawned on me recently that too many agencies and their teams are too comfortable (or complacent) to really grow. What they have are “lifestyle agencies,” which is absolutely okay if that’s what they want.

Gary Holgate, my mentor in the business and the first-ever true independent agency consultant, always said that what happens at so many agencies is that the owners start out selling insurance and wind up running a business. So often, they get overwhelmed by the day-to-day minutiae of operating an agency and subsequently fall into the trap of just being busy.

Now the good news/bad news is that you don’t have to implement many— if any—of the Sitkins Strategies to do just fine. As we’ve discussed many times, in this business, owners and producers can make a great living and support a very nice lifestyle without having to do too much, aside from just showing up. It’s hard to find fault...

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Circle of Choice: Part Two

process producer Apr 28, 2017

Outside the circle

Let’s take a look at some of the OTC things we can’t change, no matter what we do.

  • The national/global economy. None of us can make a significant impact here.
  • Insurance carriers’ appetites. You can’t stop them from changing, but it’s important that you understand them.
  • Agency automation system/technology. It’s not going away, so you need to adapt to it and maximize it.
  • The service trap. Allowing yourself to stay “too busy” doing service work OTC means you can’t get ITC.

Inside the circle

Now let’s put a laser focus on the things that are ITC:

  • Personal business model. What are you working toward?
  • Ideal Client Profile. What does your ideal client look like? Not everyone is an ideal client, and in fact some can be quite un-ideal.
  • High-Performance team. What are the roles, responsibilities, and makeup of your high-performance team? Calling them high-performance doesn’t necessarily mean they are....
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