This is the third in a series of blog posts inspired by a conversation I had via webinar with Brett Rosen, VP of Mergers & Acquisition at Digital Insurance. During our conversation we discussed the “5 Surefire Ways to Catapult Your Benefits Business”.
One of the most self-damning aspects of the insurance industry is that the financial reward for mediocrity has been too high. It has allowed us to succeed, often times in spite of ourselves and without a focus on growth. That’s changed. Growth is no longer a luxury. There have to be growth goals, aggressive goals that come with accountability.
There are certain things that high-growth insurance agencies are doing to drive success, and through a series of blog posts, I will address each of those five ways. I will also share some action items you might use to help catapult your own business.
Previously posted strategies
Surefire way #1 – The best agencies embrace collaboration.
Surefire way #2 – The best agencies find a way to stay young.
The next strategy
Surefire way #3 – The best agencies invest wisely.
Successful investments require significantly more than your checkbook.
Successful investments are made with great Purpose
Successful investments start with an understanding of why the investment is being made. The most successful agencies drive success by having an unbelievably clear Vision of the agency they must become. They can describe in detail the resources, skills, behaviors, talent, growth, profitability, etc. that they are committed to having as their own. Not only is the Vision extremely clear in the eyes of leadership, they make the ongoing communication of the Vision to the entire team a relentless obsession.
Because of this clarity, they are immune to the “bright and shiny” syndrome that exists in their weaker competition. Those agencies who are constantly chasing the next “bright and shiny” find their team fighting against any change and whispering behind leadership’s back, “Just wait, this too shall pass.”
In the meantime, the best agencies are successfully making the next investment into their future, and, because their team understands where it fits into the big picture, they have the advantage of their team fighting WITH them instead of AGAINST them.
Successful investments take an investment of time
Just about every agency owner is willing to get out the checkbook. The best agencies understand that you can’t write a check as an answer, at least not to the most significant questions. When contemplating an investment, the most successful agencies get out their checkbook and their calendar.
The examples are commonplace, but let’s use one of the most obvious: hiring new producers.
Agencies go out and invest tens of thousands of dollars into a new producer. This is a position on whose shoulders the success of the business rests. The agency depends on this position to bring in new business and also disproportionately depends on it to keep the business that is already there. However a producer goes out and works in the market and becomes the reputation, the brand, of the agency. The type of business brought in, and the promises made to those accounts, determine whether or not the agency will even be profitable. Yet, most agencies have absolutely no plan or time committed to making a producer successful! Seriously??!!
Successful investments are planned for
However, the most successful agencies, before ever hiring a producer, ensure that there is a detailed plan in place to make that producer successful. At the core of the plan is a well-defined sales process. Such a process allows them to attract the best talent in the first place, provides confidence to that producer, and also allows for a focused investment of time. The sales process is the very foundation on which the agency will be able to build a successful producer through proper training and coaching. With a process and plan in place, everyone’s confidence (the producer, the rest of the team, and leadership) grows exponentially.
The bottom line recipe for a successful investment = Purpose of the investment + Dollars for the necessary resources + a Plan of implementation + a commitment of Time.
- Re-evaluate an underperforming investment – Identify what part(s) of the recipe is missing (Purpose? An adequate financial investment? A defined plan? Your time?) and what you can do to turn it successful.
- Next 3 investments – Identify what next 3 investments you need to make and what has to be put in place in order for you to feel confident making each investment.
Yes, this is going to be hard work, but it is this kind of hard work that is catapulting others to unprecedented levels of success. You can have this kind of success yourself; you just have to ask yourself, “How badly do I really want it?”