How to grow your business without losing the heart and soul of your agency.
As the owner of a community-minded insurance agency, I often found myself stretched thin—one foot shackled to customer service and the other trying to step toward new business. I wanted to reach more clients in the community but also needed to train my customer service agents to deliver the high level of advice in line with our agency's mission.
Discovering what your agency is at its core will lead to clarity in your mission and purpose. Other agents cannot define this for you, and asking for advice is dangerous ground when there are so many business models to choose from in the world of independent insurance.
Nevertheless, it is important to seek advice from people who are experienced in the business model you are trying to build. During my own journey, I landed on a couple of guiding principles. These realizations helped me design a business model that led our team to break the sales records we were chasing and enabled us to help more clients.
First, I acknowledged that our level of focus would directly correlate to our level of success. I separated sales and service into unique, defined roles and trained accordingly.
Second, I committed to our agency mission of making the biggest impact possible in our community. For that, I needed to invest heavily in our new business growth strategies.
Transforming our new business growth into a high-volume sales operation required both a financial investment and a cultural commitment. I invested heavily in marketing campaigns, digital sales leads and sales recruiting efforts. I committed to creating a team culture where top sales professionals were proud to work and changed the office environment to create the energy and momentum salespeople enjoy.
These efforts carried over to the customer service team, and, through training and education, I shortened the gap between the sales role and the service role. Our customer service agents began to embrace cross-selling and up-selling through policy reviews, using the techniques applied in the sales department.
Transforming into a sales organization accelerated our growth, brought us out of a plateau and created an environment where our team saw our mission coming to fruition at a faster pace. Our team saw the positive impact we made in the lives of our clients and took pride in the achievements that came along with the high-volume sales we generated together.
If you are juggling competing demands of sales and service in your agency, remember that heavily investing in sales and marketing does not mean you do not care about the clients you already protect. You can pursue a growth mindset as a team that positions you in front of even more clients and allows you to experience the positive impact of reaching even more people in your community.
Katlyn Eggar, director of education at Quantum Assurance and podcast host of Age of Independence, helps agents crack the code to high volume new business growth.