Let’s get the obvious out of the way first.
Every (healthy) business has to have consistent top-line growth. However, we often see agencies/producers get complacent, comfortable with their level of income, and as a result, they stop producing new business.
Beyond the obvious top and bottom line impacts, here are some of the other reasons why consistent new business is critical for the health of your agency/book of business.
Energy – What we do is hard. To do it well requires energy. Celebrating new business brings that energy, the fuel to keep performing at a high level. Sure, renewing an existing account is worthy of celebration, but celebrating “not losing” isn’t nearly as fun as celebrating a new win. New business validates that what we have to offer continues to be attractive to the market.
Keep the vultures from circling – Like a lion stalking a herd of zebras, the competition will always target the weakest prey. If you’re not aggressive in the market, you will appear weak and vulnerable and quickly become the target of more aggressive competitors.
Relevance to carriers – Carriers are going to commit their resources (and favors) to those agencies/producers who are most aggressive in the market.
Ability to invest – Just because revenues aren’t increasing, doesn’t mean expenses aren’t. If revenue is flat, it’s safe to assume profit margins are going to shrink and your ability to invest in new technology, solutions, etc. is lost. Now, not only are you not moving forward, you’re moving backward.
Attract/retain talent – Aggressive, high-octane talent does not want to be working for complacent, “sit on what we got” employers.
Animosity – Even when producers choose to stop producing, everyone else still has to do their job. There is probably no greater source of problems in an organization than when one group is held accountable for results while another isn’t.
Opportunities for other team members – This is closely aligned with an inability to invest. Without growth, non-producer team members are limited in both their personal and income growth opportunities.
Momentum is hard to regain once lost – It’s infinitely easier to maintain momentum than it is to regain it once its lost. That’s especially true in today’s world where selling gets harder and more complex every day. Not only is not okay to back off of our sales efforts, we have to push a little harder every day just to keep up.
I know, for whatever reason, there are many agency owners and producers who won’t agree with me.
To those producers who feel as long as they have built a “reasonable” book of business, then additional production should be “optional,” I say you’re wrong. These are usually the same producers who when presented with a reduced commission schedule get up in arms and say “But we have a deal! THAT is not what I came here for!” To that point, I say, “I agree.” You made a deal when you came on board. The deal was that you would be paid fairly, and be provided the tools/resources you need, in exchange for producing business. If you want to protect that commission schedule and all the resources you use to make yourself successful, then your part of the deal is to keep producing.
To those agency owners who disagree, I just don’t understand. You should have expectations for every employee in your agency and, I believe, the expectations for the producers (who receive the greatest rewards) should be the highest of all.
In the end, consistent selling is about making a positive impact on the bottom line. However, it also leaves a lot of positive marks along the way. Not selling consistently will leave marks as well, but it will look more like the agency took a beating from the “ugly stick.”
Being consistent takes a great deal of discipline, it takes high standards, and it takes the team working together for the greater good. You can become that consistent sales organization; you just have to ask yourself, “How badly do we really want it?”