When I started my insurance agency, I worked by myself for years, with no staff. It wasn’t until I hired my first staff person that my business started to grow – and it grew by leaps and bounds.
As you begin the new year and plan beyond, take a hard look at your business. Are you spending time on what you do best – spending time in front of customers and prospects?
Or are you doing support work that someone else could and should be doing? Imagine how much your agency firm or practice would grow if you had staff members help you manage all aspects of your business every day.
Let’s look at five main steps of a staffing plan.
No. 1: Determine how many staff members you need, and in what roles.
Many agents hesitate to hire staff members because they think they can’t afford to pay someone a salary. Think of it as an investment in your business. Time is finite. You can’t work many more hours than you’re currently working, most likely. The only way to increase your productivity is to add to your staff. Crunch the numbers to figure out that sweet spot between the amount of money a salary will cost you and the amount of revenue you could generate if you have an additional full-time support person.
No. 2: Create positions before you fill them.
Start working on the big picture. Write down all the tasks you need to delegate so you can spend your time in front of clients and prospects. Write a job description for each position you want to fill. Then, when you have the money to invest, you can hire someone because you’ve done all the preparation work.
Don’t switch people around to fill positions they don’t fit into well. You might specialize in life insurance, but you also help people with home and auto insurance. You might be a home specialist, but you help people with life. You might be an auto person, but you help people with life.
Here is the key to paying for your staff members’ salaries: life is the fuel that gets us more staff. All staff members are paid for their first six months, by Agency life insurance commissions. After six months, if they’re not paying for themselves, they don’t belong in the building. Does that mean they don’t make us money in their first two or three months? Of course they make money, but for you to be a profit center, there has to be consistency.
No. 3: Set up a review program with your employees.
Set specific goals for each staff person, and for the agency team as a whole, in terms of production and customer satisfaction. Ask your staff members what types of resources and technology they need to accomplish those goals. Stay in front of this; don’t wait for them to come to you three, four, or five months later and say, “I needed this four months ago.” Constantly review the ideal resources with them.
I recommend meeting with your staff members twice a day, if they will be meeting with clients: once in the morning to discuss what their game plan is and once in the evening to review the day.
In our office, the office manager meets with our staff team members every day. They write out a pre-plan discuss what they’re going to talk about and role-play the situation – whatever the discussion with a client might be. The staff member might need to present life insurance to a new client or gather details for a claim. These meetings with the staff are brief, no longer than 15 minutes each.
I think it’s best to hold meetings like this on Tuesdays, not Mondays. Mondays can be super busy because people are thinking over the weekend about calling your agency on Mondays for whatever reason. Meet with staff members every day if they will be meeting with clients.
At the end of the day, we discuss the client meetings – how the conversations went, and if the client didn’t make it to the appointment, why not? We don’t wait until the next day to “rewind the tapes.”
The purpose of these meetings is to improve our staff members’ skills every day. We want to improve their scripting, the way they deliver those scripts so they sound conversational instead of stiff and the way they respond to questions.
No. 4: Require employees to maintain current calendars and client files.
In our business, it’s critical for everyone in your office to have a daily plan, and that comes in the form of a calendar. Everyone in the office keeps a calendar to keep track of all the people they are going to see, call and follow up with. Every reminder is on their calendars.
Underneath the calendar should be working files. They contain clients’ information – which coverage clients do and do not have and what we will be presenting to them.
No. 5: Mechanize everything.
Technology effectiveness will help make each one of your new hires a profit center.
Everything related to sales and service in your agency needs to be completely mechanized. You can keep a paper copy, too, but everything has to be transferred/scanned into the computer. If it’s not in the computer, then it never happened – you won’t have vital details recorded about client interactions. Also, it needs to be in the computer so everyone else in the office can tell, at a glance, the status on any service issue, sale, claim, update or meeting.
Computer access gives you the 360-degree view of every client. Everyone in the office needs to know details such as the name the client likes to be called. You can never say a person’s name enough.
Hiring your first or additional staff member will give you an incredible boost in your ability to build your agency the way you’ve always dreamed.
Article by: Troy Korsgaden
Source: Property Casualty 360