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How To Become An Average Agency

growth leadership plan Mar 27, 2019

THE ROAD TO THE MIDDLE IS PAVED WITH NO INTENTIONS

Did the title of this article grab your attention? I hope it made you think, “Average? Why would anyone want to be average?”

Before I answer that, let’s define average: It’s the best of the worst and the worst of the best; as close to the top as you are to the bottom. In other words, average isn’t exactly terrible.

One of the good news/bad news scenarios in our business is that the average agency and the average producer do pretty darn well. When compared to what 95% of working people earn, this is truly a great business.

Of course, not everyone has what it takes to be average. To know whether you make the grade, it’s important to (1) recognize the characteristics of the average agency and (2) be prepared to replicate the specific behaviors of the average producer. Here are some pointers for those who aspire to be truly average.

Don’t be proactive. The average agency has primarily...

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What Kind of Agency Are You?

ON THE PODIUM OF AGENCIES, ARE YOU PLATINUM, GOLD OR SILVER?

Many names or labels have been attached to independent agencies throughout the years: Mom-and-Pop (a literal description of my parents’ business); Lifestyle (corporate and personal finances are commingled to support a comfortable lifestyle); Plateaued (working hard and doing okay, but clients are coming in the front door and going out the back, and every year looks about the same); Growth-Oriented (understanding how to retain customers at a high level while also maintaining an organic growth rate at two to three times the national average); Aggressive (it’s all about selling new accounts to the exclusion of taking care of the old ones); and many more than space permits.

In categorizing agencies, I basically believe there are three kinds: Platinum, Gold and Silver. I’d like to challenge you, as one of our readers, to think of your agency as described below and determine if you’re a Platinum, Gold or...

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The Agent Leader Podcast is Back!

leadership podcast Jan 31, 2019

 

You've been asking for it, and now Brent Kelly's podcast, The Agent Leader, is back!

What can you expect from these new episodes? Brent will be discussing from the heart things he's learning, dealing with, and situations and stories from agencies that he's currently working with. 

In this episode, Brent shares a bit about:

  • How to become your Best Version Possible and avoid regrets, not just in your business, but also your personal life.
  • Adding value to others
  • The greatest challenge of leadership

 

About the Author

Brent Kelly is an executive coach, speaker, and trainer for The Sitkins Group where he helps independent insurance agencies Sell More, Retain More and Earn More. Learn more about the Sitkins Network here.

Follow us on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter, or you can also sign up for our Podcasts and Blogs so you don't miss any updates on how to become your Best Version Possible.

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Is Your Agency Its Best Version Possible?

growth leadership Jan 17, 2019

At one of our CEO programs earlier last year, Brent Kelly, our vice president, asked me what it takes for an agency to be the best it can be. But it was what he asked me next that changed how we approach everything we do and has become the catalyst for massive, rapid improvements for everyone who attends our life-changing events, including our CEO, Sales Leadership, Producer, and Account Manager programs.

His question: “If you were having a conversation from your heart, using your almost 40 years of coaching the highest performing agencies and producers, what would your message be about becoming the best version possible (BVP) of yourself and your agency?”

This is important for agency owners, of course. But I also believe it’s something all of us as individuals should be asking ourselves. I can tell you it’s had a major impact on me personally, as well as everyone we’ve shared it with.

After Brent first asked me that question, I literally could not...

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Don’t Let Your Agency Settle for Good Enough

“Good is the enemy of great. And one of the key reasons we have so little that becomes great.” Jim Collins

Why do some independent insurance agencies hunger for never-ending improvement and growth while others simple settle for good enough? 

It’s a question that we ask ourselves all the time at the Sitkins Group.  Our mission is to help independent insurance agencies become the best possible version of themselves and live a life with no regrets.

In our recent live and online trainings to our Sitkins Network members, we have consistently asked the participants to stop postponing their greatness to ensure that they maximize their full potential. 

I think too many agencies sell themselves short of their true potential.  In large part, because this is truly a great business model.  If you give a solid effort, do a decent job in sales, and give your clients average service, you can still make a nice living.  In fact, a much nicer living...

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Stop Drifting and Create Your Best Agency

growth leadership questions Aug 02, 2018

HOW TO CHART A NEW COURSE AND STAY FOCUSED ON IT

After all these years of coaching independent agency leadership teams and producers, I’m not surprised by very much. For example, it doesn’t surprise me that the vast majority of agencies are simply drifting along. However, it frustrates me that this is a recurring theme at most agencies. They’re doing fine, but they’re just drifting.

I know this because whenever I ask prospective consulting clients specific questions about their business—their annual business plans, budgets, sales goals, financial models, training, etc.—most of them have nothing to say, because they don’t have any of the aforementioned items. (Maybe that’s why they’re calling me!) The reality is that you can be semi-successful in this great business without any of those things.

As you may recall, “semi-successful” means you’re doing really well financially (making more money than you’d make...

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THREE IMPORTANT STEPS INSURANCE PROFESSIONALS CAN TAKE TO BUILD LEADERSHIP APTITUDE

leadership Jun 14, 2018

If I asked you to list some characteristics of great leaders, what would you say? Do words like courage, tenacity, compassion, vision, drive, authenticity, determination, empathy, understanding, and results-focused come to mind?

Those are all great characteristics of leadership, but how does one become a better leader? More specifically, what should emerging leaders in the independent insurance agency channel focus on to prepare themselves to move their organizations and our industry forward?

It’s no secret that our business has been very well served through the years with solid leadership, but we’re seeing a growing leadership gap develop. Current industry leaders are continuing to transition into their next phase of life. And younger folks are taking notice. An up-and-coming insurance leader recently asked me a very important question: “What are some of the things that I should be doing to prepare and develop myself to become a better leader?”

This got me...

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Six Ways to Improve Your Insurance Agency

Top Leaders Adhere to Core Commitments

There are literally scores of strategies and behaviors that agencies can implement in their quest to achieve great results. However, I’ve found that the greatest results come from focusing on a few selected strategies. The opposite is also true: The more things you chase, the fewer things you catch!

Chasing too many strategies certainly doesn’t provide clarity and focus for your team. Too often what they’re chasing becomes the “flavor of the week,” prompting the staff to think, “Don’t worry, this too shall pass,” because they know you won’t stick with it.

During a private presentation to a group of agency principals recently, I was asked to identify the traits I see in the best agency leaders. Because it’s such an extensive list and because I believe that less is more, I narrowed it down to the Key Core Commitments of great agency leaders. In case you’re wondering, my definition...

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7 Questions for Agency Leaders

The quality of your answers is determined by the quality of your questions.  

While asking great questions to our team members, clients, and other influencers is critical, the most important questions we can ask are the ones that we ask ourselves.

As a leader, you have undoubtedly learned that experience is an effective teacher. However, is experience the BEST teacher?

Have you ever met someone who said they have 20 years of real world experience, only to realize that what they really have is 1 year of experience doing the same thing for 20 years?

Experience is indeed a good teacher, but only evaluated experience creates greater awareness and positive change.

I am a natural risk taker and eternal optimist. In many ways, these tendencies serve me well. However, they can also cause me to forget to stop, reflect, and make necessary improvements. That’s why asking great questions is so important.

Recently I read a terrific leadership book based around asking great questions...

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10 Rules for Agency Success

THE RULES OF THE GAME: ROGER’S TOP 10 FOR POWERING GROWTH, PROFITS, AND RETENTION

In a recent article, I discussed what I would do if I were an agency sales manager. It got a phenomenal response, prompting a huge number of questions and comments. Although producers weren’t so crazy about it, most sales managers loved it; they said it gave them a blueprint to follow. I also heard from several readers who wanted me to revisit the topic, but on another level. Their question: “What would you do if you were our CEO?”

That’s a great question! And it got me thinking about my “perfect vision” of an agency. How would I create the agency that exists in my mind and make it a reality?

If you’ve followed me at all, you know that I’m always preaching that numbers (your actual results) are the end result of the behaviors and strategies you have in place. Subsequently, the best behaviors and strategies become the “non-optionals” that...

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