As an agency owner, I spend a lot of time working on my business. Owners often ask me what I mean when I say that and in order to answer their question succinctly, I need to mention one key aspect- I had to start working in my business before I could work on my business. Let me explain…
When I worked in my business, I would conduct daily tasks such as taking payments, issuing policies, handling billing questions, and answering phone calls. But to be honest, these types of tasks were not going to allow my agency to grow, nor will they allow yours to grow either. In most cases, agency owners started in the insurance business because he or she had the skills to sell insurance. What ends up happening though is, as the agency grows, the owner remains in the business, causing a plateau effect. Why is that? Well it’s because when the owner continues to work in the business, they don’t allow for growth to continue. I realized that handling billing questions did not help my agency grow. I also realized that taking payments and issuing policies weren’t going to help grow my business either.
In order to grow your business, you need to focus on the business. Working on the business provides me with the opportunity get out into my area and work with other centers of influence that can truly have a positive impact in our local community. This form of networking allows my agency to grow because I’m out there working with other people and businesses who make a difference. This practice has significantly helped my agency grow, and it can do the same for yours as well.
Another aspect of working on the business that I incorporate is attending conferences that are both insurance and non-insurance related. I believe that attending a wide variety of conferences provide me with the necessary tools to work on my business and allow my agency to grow. For example, when I attend an insurance industry conference, I make it a point to introduce myself and try to get to know as many other peers as possible. Many of those peers are very successful insurance agents and I want to make sure that I have the ability to learn from them. Additionally, I make a point every year to spend at least four days at other agencies in order to learn what is and is not working for them. This allows me to incorporate their successful ideas at my agency while also knowing what ideas or practices to avoid. Furthermore, I belong to a collection of insurance agency owners known as the Greenwich Group. We meet twice a year so it is not a time-consuming endeavor, however after every meeting, I am truly amazed at everything I have learned from the other successful owners. The reason behind venturing to other conferences that are outside the insurance industry is because I find it very important to keep up on social media and technology, and as such, it’s helped me develop one of my agency’s key strategies for 2014 – a mobile marketing APP.
One last tidbit I’d like to focus on is the investment required to work on the business. I believe in investing in my staff, and that’s why I believe we have put together an amazing training program that covers three main points. The first point is process and procedure. Process and procedure are extremely important, yet it’s amazing on how many agencies fail to accomplish this. The second point is sales training. I invest in my staff because I truly believe in them. They are the front lines of the business and they are in the trenches every single day. If we fail to invest in our staff, then we are simply saying that we don’t believe in them. As an owner, how can you criticize a lackluster closing ratio when you have spent little or no time on sales training? The third point is all about tracking where your business comes from. If you are marketing your agency, yet lack the ability to track your progress, then how will you ever know if it’s going to be successful? It is critical that owners understand exactly where their business is coming from. If it’s arriving from Google or other search engines, then you need to find out what your prospects are searching for (specifically- what are the key words that they’re typing into the search bar?). If your business is coming from a referral source, then it is critical to find out who the individuals are that are behind driving business to your agency. Simply enough, tracking is a very important part of understanding how your agency is going grow. I personally believe each and every one of us can prove the McKinsey Report’s validity, but we can also disprove the McKinsey Report if we all make the commitment to working on our business.