I’m a new mom—my daughter is now 5 months old, and I’m not sure where the time has gone. They are not kidding when they say they grow up quickly! She’s a fireball, who’s also somehow a completely content child, and she makes us wonder if we even want another because there’s no way we’ll get this lucky twice.
No, this blog isn’t just an excuse for me to brag about my daughter. ;)
This blog is about helping agency owners realize that running their business is a whole lot like what I envision raising a kid will be like (or an entire family, for that matter).
How? It’s about living these next 4 ideas day-in and day-out when it comes to external communication with clients and prospects, organization, accountability, and trust-building with clients, agents and staff.
1. You Have to Have Clear & Abundant Communication
For one, it takes a lot of patience and communication. Kids are unpredictable, and so are prospects and clients. You can never assume that you know what they’re thinking. That’s why asking is important—keep the lines of communication open so you can always address their needs and concerns.
Just like your children want to communicate with you (sometimes all the time in their own language), prospects and clients want to hear from you too. In fact, 81% of clients leave an insurance agency due to lack of communication. Don’t let this be you! Clients should hear from you at least 4-5 times a year. If you’re thinking, “how am I going to have time for this when I already have a million other things to do”, let’s talk about automation.
Within an agency management system (AMS) like AgencyBloc, you can automate client and prospect communication like lead follow-up, policy renewals, birthday wishes, and more. Once automated workflows are set up, emails are automatically sent and/or activities (to-dos) are automatically created within your account so you never miss an important touchpoint with your clients or prospects.
Cross-Selling Email Campaign in AgencyBloc
Automation saves you a lot of time, but it’s still your responsibility to make sure you’re reaching out personally with your clients when it makes sense. For example, the above image shows the setup in AgencyBloc for sending a cross-selling email campaign. Cross-selling not only helps you sell more policies, but it means you’re trying to cover all of the bases for your clients, and they’ll appreciate that.
You can do this in AgencyBloc by identifying opportunities and sending an email (like the above example), or you can simply run a report and call up the clients on the list if it isn’t too long. I suggest always doing a combination of emailing and calling your clients.
Clear and abundant communication doesn’t stop with just your clients and prospects, though. The lines of communication must be open within your agency’s staff and employees, as well.
I’ll use the next three points to illustrate how you can accomplish this within your agency.
2. You Have to Be Extremely Organized
From packing diaper bags to never missing a soccer game or dance recital, you have to be organized when you have children. Whether that’s with connected calendar apps for mom and dad or a big whiteboard calendar on the kitchen fridge, everyone in your agency has to be on the same page.
When you’re managing a large amount of data (clients, prospects, agents, policies, etc.), it’s crucial that the data is housed in a way that’s organized, easily searchable, and makes sense for your agency.
In AgencyBloc, your agency can take advantage of customizable fields, although it’s made for life and health insurance agencies, so hopefully not much customization is needed. An individual (could be client or prospect) record in AgencyBloc looks something like this:
Individual Record with Summary in AgencyBloc
John Able is connected to the group, Olympia Cable, and has some in-force policies you can see on the right. When data is entered into fields and statuses as opposed to spreadsheet cells, that means it can be easily found by running a search, like this:
Advanced Search in AgencyBloc
This is only one example of countless searches you could run, but you get the idea. When you can quickly pull up data, you can service clients quickly, follow-up on sales opportunities immediately, and just be sure everything is running smoothly. The same kind of information can be found in AgencyBloc within Dashboard Analytics or running reports.
3. You Have to Have Accountability
If you’re like my parents, you leave to-do/chores lists for your kids to keep them busy (summers consisted of my brother and I putting off the chore list until 15 minutes before my dad would be home).
Though the chores weren’t necessarily fun, checking things off a to-do list is, and it works for many people. However, some agencies are still using sticky notes to remind themselves of the various tasks they need to accomplish, but there’s no accountability or reminders there.
Insurance agencies are, therefore, opting for Activity lists in an AMS like AgencyBloc.
Activity List in AgencyBloc
Each user (agent, employee, etc.) has their own Activity List in AgencyBloc so they can manage their workload in their own way. However, the lists interact with each other. So, you can assign something to someone, comment on a “to-do”, assign due dates, and work collaboratively together. Having your day laid out this way keeps you accountable and lets an agency owner see where team members may need help.
To put it simply, AgencyBloc’s Activity List is a way to keep yourself on track and to communicate with others on your team. This adds to the communication and organization that are crucial for running an agency as well.
What else is necessary for running an agency (and raising a kid!)? TRUST.
4. You Have to Have Trust
A family functions best when parents and children completely trust each other, and the same can be said about a business, its owners, and its employees. Being transparent isn’t always the easiest trait to master, but it’s an incredibly important one.
As an agency owner, creating an environment where employees feel comfortable to bring questions, concerns, and ideas to you should be your #1 goal. Not only does this ensure you’ll address the needs of your current employees, but it is helpful for hiring new employees as well. People will want to work for you in a trustworthy environment like this.
TTG Consultants speak to creating a trustworthy work environment. They say you must:
- “Establish and maintain integrity. It is the foundation of trust in any organization. Integrity must begin at the top and then move down.” As an agency owner, senior agent, or employee, you set the tone for the rest of the agency. You are responsible for creating the type of environment you want to work in.
- “Communicate vision and values. By communicating the organization's vision, management defines where it's going. By communicating its values, the methods for getting there are established.” Put your mission statement up on the wall in your agency; or, at the very least, in a document that everyone has access to. Make your vision and values a part of your’s and your employees’ work life. When you’re all on the same page, working towards the agency’s goals becomes exciting for your employees. Your mission is also something you should be sharing with your clients because in order to have a good client-agent relationship, you should have the same values and expectations for the relationship. You can and should be somewhat picky about your clients! The relationship is a two-way street.
- “Consider all employees as equal partners. Trust is established when even the newest rookie, a part-timer, or the lowest paid employee feels important and part of the team.” Every agency should attempt to make their organization as “flat” as possible. At AgencyBloc, we all have “titles”, but we’re all equal, important contributors to our team. When every employee or agent feels they’re genuinely important to attaining the overall agency’s goals, they’ll feel a sense of inclusion and responsibility and their work will show for it. This is arguably the most important on this list to creating a trusting environment. Not everyone thrives in this sort of environment, so your agents and employees are trusting you as an agency owner to hire the right people who will contribute positively to the environment.
- “Focus on shared, rather than personal goals. When employees feel everyone is pulling together to accomplish a shared vision, rather than a series of personal agendas, trust results.” Getting your own personal tasks done is important, but when your team knows what they’re doing those tasks for, they’re more likely to work harder because they know the “why”. Getting together on a regular basis—whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or whatever works for your team—helps everyone rally around the shared goal/vision. Use this time to share your team’s progress and to celebrate individual successes as well.
- “Do what's right, regardless of personal risk. We all know intuitively what's "right" in nearly every situation.” I don’t need to say much about this one; just do the right thing. This covers everything you do, whether it’s for yourself, your clients, your prospects, or your co-workers. When your employees and clients can count on you to do the right thing, that’s huge for building trust. And always make it known that you expect the same from them. Again, the relationship is a two-way street.
Bringing It All Together
So, how are you doing with these 4 ideas currently? Do your agents and staff communicate easily with each other whether it’s at the office or remotely? Do you contact your clients proactively at least 4-5 times a year? Do you feel organized at your agency? Is there a way to hold everyone accountable for their individual activities, and does the entire agency come together to discuss common goals? Most importantly, is your agency an environment where there is trust?
To successfully run an insurance agency:
- You Have to Have Clear & Abundant Communication
- You Have to Be Extremely Organized
- You Have to Have Accountability
- You Have to Have Trust
If you’re feeling iffy on any of these, it’s time to take a look at areas you can improve. If one of these areas you’re struggling most is simply getting everyone on the same page and organized, an agency management system (AMS) like AgencyBloc can help.
Beyond the examples above, an AMS keeps agencies organized, on task, accountable, and provides an avenue for effective communication amongst team members. If you’re interested in learning more about AgencyBloc, check out our overview video!
Or if you’re more of a “ask questions” kind of person, schedule a live, 1-on-1 demo with someone on our team to see inside the system for yourself and get your questions answered.
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