Last week I wrote about the need for an agency to have a perpetuation plan and what goes into creating such a plan. For those agency owners who want to pass on their agency to family members or other employees, it is important to have both a healthy agency operation and able buyers. These two ingredients go together in that a healthy agency operation means its producers are growing their books of business and by doing so they become more financially able to buyout the agency owner.
A recent article in the IA newsletter discussed 11 reasons why producers fail to achieve success in growing their books of business. By doing what they can to help their producers avoid these reasons, an agency owner can go a long way toward ensuring their agency’s healthy operation. The reasons involve failures on the part of the producer (not asking for help, not learning the people side of the business, all talk, no action), as well as the agency management (no training program, not connecting the producer with other staff that could help, not using readily available referral sources). Perhaps the most interesting point made in this article was that studies have suggested that prospects are not generally ready to buy from a salesperson until at least five prior contacts have been made and maybe as many as 10 or 12. So it is important for the producer to be persistent in their dealings with prospective customers.
Another recent IA newsletter article discussed eight tips for successful sales appointments that would be a helpful guide for all producers. The tips focus on the importance of the producer being comfortable with themselves and putting themselves in the shoes of the prospect to arrive at an approach that would be of interest to the prospect and would make things as easy as possible for the prospect to decide to do business with the producer. Perhaps the most important tip is the first one. The producer should be clear about the purpose of each contact they make with a prospect. Until the producer decides what they want to achieve with each contact, it will be difficult to decide on the proper approach. What they want to achieve will depend on where in the sales process the producer is and who they are dealing with.
This IA newsletter article also suggests a couple of approaches to getting appointments that involve using the names of existing customers. That is one of the approaches suggested in a recent article in the Property Casualty 360 newsletter that discusses eight great opening lines for producers. The others range from being honest about the possibility that what the producer may have to say may not be of interest to the prospect to suggesting the use of online presentations.
Finally, for those producers who just can’t seem to get going, another recent article in the Property Casualty 360 newsletter suggests eight steps that can be taken to overcome the tendency to procrastinate. These steps are probably familiar to anyone who has dealt with this problem, but they offer a handy guide for what to do and why to do it.
If an agency owner wants to be able to successfully transition from owner to retiree, there is no more important thing they can focus on than how to make their producers as successful as possible.