If you’re like me you spend the majority of your days trying to figure out where the day actually went.
You get into your office and make yourself a cup of “something hot”. In my case that is supporting my ever-growing coffee habit.
Before you know it you are about 5 minutes past leaving on time to get your kids.
No one else? Just me? I must be the only mess here. In talking to a few newer agency owners I started to find the common theme of the “disappearing day” becoming more and more of a daily problem.
However, it’s not because of why you might think, or even how it relates to my agency. The disappearing day is happening because agency owners and producers are spending more time focusing on getting themselves ready for the big game as opposed to actually performing in it.
You starting to get pumped up? If not… do a few push-ups… get swole and here we go.
Let me make sure to give you something to sink your teeth into.
What if I told you that agents are so busy trying to follow their “hype” that it is actually destroying their agency?
Before we can get into the specifics it is imperative to go over one crucial definition:
What is a Hype-man?
A hype man in hip hop music and rapping is a backup rapper and/or singer who supports the primary rappers with exclamations, introductions, interjections, and who attempts to increase the audience’s excitement with call-and-response chants.
In rap music, the hype man is what I like to so lovingly call “the pre-game“.
However, what is happening I am seeing more often than not in our industry is that we as the “main event” are actually starting to be the ones who are listening more intently to our hype man than focusing on our performance.
Our hype-man is so darn convincing, he or she is so great at motivating you to be successful that they have you convinced to spend more time on planning to be great or “thinking positively” than actually doing the hard work it takes to make the money.
So you might be staring at your mobile device or desktop and thinking, this chick is off her rocker.
And if that is what you are thinking- then I will be transparent in telling you that this was actually me… 1 year ago.
I had become my hype man’s biggest fan.
You see what’s wrong with that, right?
My hype man took the shape of me reading every motivational blog known to man, getting more excited about the buzz around me than my agency production, and most importantly it came from the feeling I got when I heard someone tell me that once I have my “purpose” everything else will fall in line.
And I am just going to be bold and say it… that might all feel well and good in the morning folks, but is that going to pay your bills when you are on your 5th motivational podcast of the day and still haven’t sold a single insurance policy?
It didn’t pay mine.
The Hype is HOT… I get it.
The motivation feels good right after you have it, but if you need motivating every day to be successful in your own agency are you really living your life’s dreams? I had soon realized being motivated and being disciplined were two very different things.
In my recovery of being a “hype man fan” here are:
5 things I focus on in my agency to keep my head down and policy count up
1) Pick your mentors and who you listen too closely
What I mean by this is do your research. DO NOT. I REPEAT DO NOT be a lemming here.
Everyone has different demographics for their agency (and if you don’t then you should), different ways to communicate with their clients, and different end games (more on end games in a moment). So it is imperative you surround yourself with people who you actually want to be like or have been in the trenches. I say this with all the love in the world, if you are trying to learn how to sell or market insurance policies then you should be listening to people who are selling, have sold, and quoted an insurance policy.
I am a scratch female agency owner who started in her master bedroom. So for me to study an agent who inherited a family agency and follow their moves would be…. well how can I say this? A dumb move. I can’t relate to them, they have their own set of struggles that I can’t even pretend to understand. You see where I am going with this?
I know I could learn something, however, is the risk for me to learn just one thing worth me sifting through the mountain of things that don’t relate?Visa versa.
Pick a power team that actually relates to you as a producer or an agency owner. How do you know you have a power team? Because they are tactical… not motivational. They respect you yet challenge your ideas a little (while loving you along the way) and want you to spend time on stuff that brings you CASH MONEY.
Your “power team” is huge because above all else, they never run. They engage in battles, conquer challenges, and whatever else comes your way, with you… head on.
2) Your own goals and strategies crush everyone else’s
Stop listening to other people on how to run your agency. I realize what you’re thinking “but Erin you are trying to tell me how to run my agency right now“… and what I say to that is, challenge me. Read what I am saying and think about when the last time you spent as much time reading someone else’s articles, listening to their podcasts, rather than focusing on something as simple as your monthly new business production.
Something that worked for me is I open my new business and annual production every day. I look at my production, my agency production, and my retention every day. I spend time looking at it for about 20 minutes a day and have a very real “how to improve with myself” chat every day, and once I started doing that- everything changed.
I sure felt like I could do anything after starting my morning with motivational podcasts but how much better I feel now knowing that I have done everything I can on a daily basis to be successful. Be intentional about what you are listening to and reading.
I favor tactical and strategy podcasts over “rah rah sis koom ba”.
3) Put your process down and execute
This subject I am humbled to have agents who have shared with me their struggle and in turn, I have learned more from other agents rather than myself on this topic. I have been fortunate to be an implementer (mostly because I drink too much caffeine and have too much energy) so this one comes easily to me; however, I believe so strongly in this number because of the turmoil it’s caused agency owners that I feel compelled to share it.
Have you ever found yourself saying something like the following “I can’t wait to start September 1” or “this next month is gonna be it for me, I just need to get to next month.” Or what about this doozy… “I need to make sure my plan is all laid out so that way we can attack” (insert eye roll here).
Now I am not saying you shouldn’t plan but at what point does the planning stop and the writing of the business begin? In speaking with a newly established agency owner I soon realized that there are just some who will take the few moments of planning and propel into greatness.
Then there are going to be those agents who are EXPERT PLANNERS but don’t actually know what to do when it comes to putting the plan to work.
If you are spending more time planning to work than actually working…. welp…. I will just leave that right there (taking a giant gulp of my delicious 2 tbs sweet cream coffee).
4) Get out of your own way
Fun Fact* 3 years ago, I went from being a 9-year agency producer extraordinaire, to an independent agency owner. It was the most humbling experience I had ever gone through.
I HAD NOTHING.
When I say nothing I mean I didn’t even have a laptop to work off of because my prior agency owner owned it. I was in the trenches (and super super pregnant while in them I might add).
I had to build the agency with my own two hands (ok 10 fingers really just typing away) and I didn’t have “time” to pay attention to what everyone else was doing because it didn’t pay the bills (funny how I got that then but then as I got bigger it somehow slipped out the window).
Then what happened to me at year one probably was the worst thing that could have. People started noticing. Other agency owners started seeing new things I was doing, seeing new ways of obtaining business, new ways of marketing.
It CREATED A MONSTER And my largest mistake was I let it happen. I let the “whirlwind of agency look at me” become my hype man. Guess how much premium that brought me? Here don’t guess….. I will tell you. $0.00.
Guess how great my retention was once I stopped focusing on my customers? Don’t guess… it was awful. Once I realized what had happened it was almost too late… almost. I had to pull out of the “agency look at me coma” and start remembering what made me money.
Customers care about three things: 1)that you are there when they need you 2) you lookout for their rates/coverages 3) you give them something they can also relate to. Customers didn’t care how motivated I was by others on a daily basis… they only cared about how I affected them directly.
Since they are the ones paying my bills, maybe it was a good thing I got out of my own way and started remembering I was an insurance agent first.
5) Re-Direct your Hype Man
It was almost as if a giant cup of Starbucks Hot White Mocha flew at me when I realized it, my hype woman (ladies your welcome) should reflect how I want to hype my customers right? Prepare them for you… The Main Event. So I started focusing on my hype… the right kind of hype. I found a professional to create a hype for me online through my insurance agency website.
I got consistent about my social media presence for my customers. I became an accountability force to myself in focusing on agency retention. I got intentional about the time I invested in organizations and groups (don’t waste your time just being a part of something to be a part of it- if you don’t believe in it).
My customers are the ones that pay the bills right? Your hype man is to pump your audience up so that way when you arrive they are excited and ready to receive the greatness.
I wish I knew everything there was to know about running a business, how to keep up with the endless amount of fruit snacks my kids ingest on a daily basis, or even how to keep my ish together. I am an insurance agent who has and is still learning every day. These are just a few things I have used as I fight daily to go back to the humble woman I was day 1 of Integrity Insurance Services. What is it the kids are saying these days?
You are an agency owner… you are an agency producer… whatever your roll in the agency, I can assure you don’t have time to wait until the 1st or Monday. All motivational crap aside, learn from the amount of time I have wasted in trying to follow things or trends that don’t sell policies. Or listening to the hype that surrounds you rather than listening to your gut that tells you that you need to keep your head down and focus on your end game. So what is?
All motivational crap aside, learn from the amount of time I have wasted in trying to follow things or trends that don’t sell policies. Or listening to the hype that surrounds you rather than listening to your gut that tells you that you need to keep your head down and focus on your end game. So what is?
My endgame is that I am an independent insurance agency owner.
If yours is to be an expert motivational planner… all power to ya. If that describes you, your agency probably won’t last.
You may not realize this, but your agency is secretly begging you to stop. Put the highlighters, sticky notes, and motivational pins down (trust me this pains me more to say than it will be for you to do because I love me some motivational pins).
Your hype-man has a purpose, and it’s not to get you excited about you.
Give your hype man a new position in your agency, let him do his job of hyping up your audience (your customers) and let him be your biggest fan.
Make the change.
You have my permission to blame it on me…
image credit: Darren Coleshill