Insurance agencies are like snowflakes, no two are alike. However, after spending lots of time with agency owners in hyper-growth mode, I learned that there are several traits they have in common. Below are five that stand out, and duplicating these tips can help your firm become a high-performing agency.
Top-performers have a culture that’s focused on production. When we talk about building a sales-focused culture, people often assume that we’re dismissing the importance of great service. This is not the case. In fact, agencies with the best sales culture tend to have the best service teams as well. Keep in mind: You can’t flip a switch to create a world-class sales culture. It takes communication, training, charisma and an owner that’s laser-focused on their people, processes and tools. You’re slow to hire and quick to fire but top performers love working in your agency. Not only are they growing professionally and personally, they’re having fun doing it. You’re a leader not a manager, and employees know that they have your support every day.
Your attitude, not your aptitude will determine your altitude.
Agents experiencing hyper-growth understand that technology can scale a business quicker than manual processes. When they invest in new technology it’s implemented properly and everyone in the agency buys in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen agents invest in the latest and greatest technology then expect it to be a magic bullet. Unfortunately, it sits on the proverbial shelf and collects dust because they can’t culturally adapt.
It’s not faith in technology, it’s faith in people.
3. Sales and Marketing
Agency owners at the helm of fast-growing agencies view themselves as sales and marketing organizations that happen to offer insurance products. They’re active on social media, email marketing and have a top-notch website. They add to their pipeline with purchased leads and have a strategy for every prospect they encounter. They have a sales process that everyone in the agency follows and it’s reviewed in meetings, trained to new hires and most importantly, it works! The term “sales” isn’t a bad word but is embraced in the hyper-growth agency.
Nothing happens in an insurance agency until something is sold.
Agents that are growing know how many quotes they received today, yesterday, this week, last week, last quarter; well, you get the picture. They know how many sales, lines of business, premium and new commission is written, then celebrate when sales goals are reached or exceeded. They know how many cross-sells the service or sales team converted and chances are; bonuses are determined by these metrics. Whether they have 2, 20 or 200 people they know their teams closing ratios; which rep should get the next lead and have this data available in real-time. Agencies that are data-driven can turn dials, pull levers and make changes on the fly. This ensures a pipeline full of leads that are being distributed to the right person with the highest propensity to close.
Stop guessing! You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
How often have you looked at your agency and wondered what could’ve been? Change is a core principle that every agency owner needs to embrace or risks being left behind. Don’t be afraid, you can be whatever you want, but it’s not going to happen unless you change. The world completely changed outside of your agency, has it changed internally? Recruiting top talent, adopting a digital presence and developing a sales process for the connected consumer is key to your success. These are changes that need to be made if you want to not only survive, but thrive in 2015 and beyond.
If you’re not changing, you’re dying.
One of best things about our business is the ability to create whatever type of agency you choose. You’re unique and there’s nobody that can replicate what you do on a daily basis. You have a choice every day your feet hit the ground so maximize the opportunity and, lets get growing!
Stuart Ganis started his career as a producer in 1989 and later co-founded an independent agency that grew to 20 million in premium volume within 5 years. After the sale of the agency, Ganis started a consulting firm helping agents in areas of sales, marketing, operations and M&A advisory services. Stuart currently serves as the VP, Strategic Partnerships for EverQuote. Follow Ganis on Twitter @StuartGanis.