As we begin the new year—and a new decade—many of us are setting goals for self-improvement or focusing on personal growth. But what about professional growth? Have you considered setting goals for career or agency growth in 2020, and where should you focus your energy?
We contemplated these questions and asked the experts: “When it comes to business growth, what do you feel is the number one thing brokers and agents could or should be doing better?”
Increase Time Spent Selling
The concept of sales and marketing for business growth may sound fairly obvious. However, we heard from several industry experts who agreed that many agencies are simply not carving out enough time or putting together a clearly defined strategy specific to these efforts.
“One of my favorites sayings is, ‘You can’t grow unless you make the time to grow,’” said Brent Kelly, vice president and executive coach at the Sitkins Group. “The reality is that most agencies have producers who are usually only spending 5-10 hours per week in true sales and sales-related functions; one of the most overlooked key performance indicators is time spent selling.”
So, what does he recommend to the clients he coaches?
Make Marketing a Priority
When you think about sales, it’s difficult to avoid addressing marketing. According to Kevin Trokey, partner and coach at Q4intelligence, the number one thing agencies and brokers need to do better is the execution of their marketing strategy.
Although he clarifies, “Better isn’t really the right word. Most simply need to actually start marketing themselves. Every day, we see the evidence and impact of just how few insurance agencies have committed to marketing as the foundation of their growth strategy. To the rest of the business world, this sounds ridiculous—mostly because it is.”
According to Trokey, here are some tell-tale signs you are approaching a state of desperation.
- New business is down.
- Your retention is starting to slip.
- Your pipeline is inadequate.
- Your conversion rates and close ratios have plummeted.
- Every prospect expects your focus to be on quoting their insurance.
“Agencies that ignore these red flags do so at their own peril,” he added.
Specialize & Show Your Value
While sales and marketing are essential, they can only take you so far. If your agency isn’t offering strategic guidance and building strong client relationships, your growth will inevitably stall.
The role of agents and brokers has significantly changed in recent years, and if you aren’t keeping up, your clients will notice. Simply put, your clients want more. According to Frank Pennachio, principal at Oceanus Partners, a ReSourcePro company:
Karen Kirkpatrick, founder of On Your Mark Consulting, agrees and reminds her clients it’s about putting their customers first.
Resolutions for a Stronger 2020
The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past and make positive changes to impact the future—in both our personal and professional lives. Focusing on strategies for growth is an essential component of success. What new commitments are you making to grow in the new year?