If you watch Food Network, Travel Channel, or other similar channels, you have probably seen one of the shows where there is a struggling business, often times a restaurant, bar or hotel, and an expert is brought in to fix the problems and turnaround the business.
When I watch these business makeover shows, I always notice a common theme on why they are failing. Week after week, show after show, the problems are always the same. These businesses always seemed to lack the same things: Leadership, consistent processes, and marketing. These businesses struggle with low revenue, which are exasperated by poor customer satisfaction and employee morale. Not too different from real life. Think of the businesses you avoid going to. What do they have in common?
Poor customer service?
Bad service or products?
The business is just "meh," and doesn’t stand out?
Who is to blame for the business’s failure? Is it the staff?
It seems that everywhere you turn, someone will tell you about the latest and greatest way to market your insurance agency. Whether it’s the latest social media craze, or a new automated tool, there is always something new in marketing. However, with the rush to these shiny new marketing tactics, agencies sometimes forget a proven “old” marketing strategy, your blog.
New Years is the time when majority of people set “resolutions” for the upcoming year. Whether it’s making more money or losing weight, many people set resolutions that unfortunately will never be attained, and there’s a big reason why.
“The best offense is a good defense”
If you’ve ever played or followed sports, you’ve heard that championships are won with defense. Even if you don’t follow sports, logically speaking, if you hold your opponents to zero points, how many points would you have to score to win the game? Conversely, if you allow them to score 100 points, how many would you need to score to win?
So why am I talking about defense and sports?
Too many years ago, when I was in high school, I played sports like basketball and volleyball for the school teams. As much as I loved playing the sports, being 5'9" made it quite a challenging to succeed in tall people sports. In spite of this, I found some success and even made varsity.
However, as I played on these teams, I never truly felt the sense of “team”. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun. But many times, it felt like we were several individual players playing the same game, instead of a team trying to achieve a common purpose.
The activity that brings me the fondest memories and also taught me the most about teamwork, mindset and winning, was not playing sports, but being in the marching band
Some salespeople believe it’s how you close a sales call is how you win deals. The harder you close at the end, the more deals you win, right? What if I told you it’s actually how you open the sales call that will help you win more deals?
The fact of the matter is, even if you understood the modern sales process, sometimes the sales call just simply gets away from you. Have you ever had a sales call where the prospect takes over and asks you all the questions, or tell you to just give him/her the price? Have you ever had a sales call where you feel like the prospects is uneasy and just doesn’t seem engaged with you?
This happens to even the best salespeople. However, a lot these issues can be reduced by starting with this simple tactic at the beginning of the sales call that many salespeople simply forget to do.
People leave bad leaders, not companies.
Finding and hiring great talent is tough. Keeping great talent is even more difficult. In fact, one of the top reasons why people leave positions is due to bad leaders. As great as a company or agency can be, a bad leader can cause the organization to lose great talent it should have retained.
For a new and growing insurance agencies, increasing sales is of utmost importance for both survival and expansion. Everyone knows the more leads, the more sales you will have. The challenge is, how do you get more leads? The problem for many agencies is they do not have a consistent plan for lead generation. When I screened new agencies for direct appointments, one question I always asked was, “what is your sales and marketing plan for new business?” The most common answers I got were, “we network,” or “cold calling.”
Don’t get me wrong, networking and cold calling are valid methods of getting leads, but they should not be the strategy, but rather a tactic within an overall strategy. They should be part of an overall lead generation plan.
Imagine a large a city like Los Angeles or New York. How many roads lead into that city? Your goal for lead generation is to become that city. You want to build several roads for customers to reach you and for you to reach your target customers. Unlike the city, heavy traffic is a great thing for your business when it’s filled with qualified leads.
One of my favorite TV shows is Shark Tank. In fact, my kids watch it with me religiously. They still don’t quite get concepts like valuation and equity, but they love cheering on the entrepreneurs, and critiquing their businesses like the sharks. Even though the show is designed to entertain, there are always good core business lessons in every show.
The fundamental flaw of every entrepreneur, myself included, is that we fall in love with our business. Why not? We put our heart and soul into the business. It doesn’t matter if you are starting your agency or have been in the trenches for decades; it’s your blood, sweat and tears. It's your baby.
Selling insurance is no easy feat. Not only is there a tremendous amount of competition, insurance is also mostly viewed as a commodity where price is the determining factor for purchasing decisions. However, as I was told early in my career, if selling was easy, everyone will be doing it. This is why top producers are rewarded handsomely for their results.
Below are 14 tips to help you make more sales and reach the level of revenue and income you desire.
(Side note, bonus points if you can name the movie the quote came from)