Correcting Complacency

When the economy is good, we all tend to be great sales people. Sales come pretty easy, at least relative to the way the come now. Between the soft market and the economic crisis of 2008 we have all been challenged a bit at maintaining revenue and if we have been able to maintain revenue, it’s been difficult to do so while preserving margins. It just stands to reason that when times are good it’s easy to complacent in terms of sales process and execution and conversely, when times are tough we look closely at how to cut expenses and efficiently add sales. Whenever a sports team gets complacent and their winning percentage drops. the solution is always the same. Let’s work on fundamentals. It doesn’t matter how much money you make or how much experience you have. Everyone needs a coach and everyone needs to review the fundamentals.

We recently recommitted to vigorous sales training in our firm as part of a back-to-the basics, lets-work-on the fundamentals, strategy to improve sales. The results have been great. Seasoned sales professionals respond to sales training and are extremely helpful to newer producers in this forum. Most seasoned producers don’t realize how much they know and with the right coaching and stimulation they can be a wealth of knowledge to younger, less experienced producers. By sharing their own experience, they are revisiting the fundamentals that made them successful in the first place. Insurance leads are expensive and sales training helps to assure you are getting your money’s worth. 

Start out by identifying your sales process. What are the five parts? For example here are the five parts we use…

1. Discovery Phase I
2. Needs analysis Phase II
3. Presentation Phase III
4.Cost justification Phase IV
5. Close Phase V

What are the producers doing during discovery? Are they all asking the same questions? Are they asking any questions? You’ll be surprised. What collateral material are they providing to prospects? Is it current? Are they using the brochures with the new logo? Are they selling based on price?
With a simple one-hour, weekly meeting, dedicated to improving the sales process you will be amazed at the results. We spend an hour and half reviewing the process discussing what works and what doesn’t. Making sure we are all on the same page, delivering the same message and sticking to the sales process. As part of the long-term effort,we have committed to purchasing four sales books per year for each of our producers. These books are required reading and are the basis of discussion at some of the training meetings. This way there is NEVER a lack of material for training. The first book we ordered was 10 copies of How To Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins. It doesn’t matter if you read this 10 years ago. It’s not a novel…it’s a text book. Read it again. I did and it’s really reinvigorated my personal sales efforts. What are you doing to combat complacency in your agency?