Stop Comparing Yourselves!

Look, if you want to build a culture of sales in your organization with high-performing producers and excellent account managers, there’s something you need to quit doing today:  stop comparing yourself to each other. You don’t understand? I’m going to break it down for you today.

Listen. I’m going to talk to you about something today that could change the way your agency operates and drive your production through the roof. Some of this you may have thought about before, but I can promise you some of it you haven’t.

Service vs. Sales

One of the most significant issues you have with the culture inside an agency is the divide between sales and service. It is not new, and everybody has dealt with it at some point. You’ve got your producers out there that are busting their rear ends to produce business and bring it in and help pay the bills. And you got the account manager that sits there and resents them because they’ve got the BMW, the custom suit, they’ve got the look, they act the part, and they’re jealous about it. Because the account manager thinks, “I’m the one who keeps the business once they kill it and drag it back to the cave.” Guess what? They’re not wrong. But they shouldn’t resent somebody successful in bringing that business in either.

Sales vs. Service

At the same point, the producer should not have an ego that compares them to the account manager and says, “I’m the one that’s going out and killing. I’m the one that’s supporting the top-line revenue. And you wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for me going out and producing. I understand that you do some stuff to help keep the accounts on the books, but let’s face it. I’m the real one that brought in the business. I’m the person that they can call on when they need something, and you issue certificates.” They diminish the account manager’s role. That doesn’t work either. Quit comparing yourselves to each other and make it a conscious effort to recognize that you guys need each other.

Agency Principals vs. Producers

But here’s where I’m going to take it a turn that you didn’t necessarily think was coming. Agency principles. Stop comparing yourself to your producers.  Opposition happens with producers and agency principals, athletes and coaches, and children vs. parents.  Any role where someone is the role model and has direct interaction with the person or the people who look up to them is the best way for you to gain their respect through your actions, not your words. Quit comparing yourself to your production team. When your producers aren’t performing, it’s not going to make them go out and have a world-class year by you telling them how awesome it was for you when you were a producer, and you were the best, and you brought in all of the revenue. And that’s why this agency is the way it is today because you built it on your back and should be thankful that you paved the way for them.

Even though you may not say it that way, guess what? That’s the way that information is received. So make sure that as you’re relating to your production staff agency principles, come from a place of education, come from a good spot in your heart. We’re competitive by nature, so it’s straightforward for us to slide back into that “Well when I was a producer” mode. Honestly, I can tell you it’s no different as an agency principal for me than being the parent of my four kids. As much as I love to produce, as much as I want to get my ego stroked by bringing in a big middle market account, I can assure you; I can’t produce as much as five other people. As much as I want to believe that, it’s just not going to happen. I would tell you that the satisfaction that I get when my producers go out and write a big account is way better than if I had done it myself. I love it.

Producers vs. Agency Principals

But here’s the next thing. Producers, you got to quit comparing yourself to your agency principal. In most cases, you haven’t put in the time yet, people. You’re there for a reason, and that’s to produce. Now, I’m not advocating that you shouldn’t have a voice in the agency, and I’m not advocating that you shouldn’t share your opinion, but you need to temper that. Again, we’re competitive. We can have a little bit of an ego. We’re outgoing. We’re driven. As a result, we feel our voice always needs to be heard because our opinion is the most important. Have a little respect for the man or the woman that did pave the way. And if they’re doing what I said in the previous little snippet, they’re not going to hold that over your head. So please don’t hold your point of view over their head either.

People, we’ve got to get to a place where there’s collaboration. We’re in an era of time where there’s a more significant divide than there ever has been before between the generation that came before us and the generation that’s going to come. If those two generations can’t get together and collaborate and share ideas and create value propositions and messaging around the differences and then utilize that to propel them to the next level, they’re just going to be sitting there treading water and get run over by the people who understand that you can’t compare yourself to each other at an agency, but respect the differences and use those to make you, your team and your sales culture stronger.

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