What is Your Sales Process?
If you ever hear me talk, you’re going to hear me say time and again, “It’s never the process. It’s always the person.” The problem is, your agency may not even have a process. How do you define your expectations and what you expect your producers to do for you, yet hold them accountable to revenue numbers that make no sense?
Everybody wants more business, and the problem is, it’s not easy out there. I mean, let’s face it, competing in the middle market is not a bowl of cherries. However, it becomes oh so much easier to produce and hold your production team accountable for results if you have a defined process. As I travel all over the country, working with agencies that want to get into commercial insurance production, one of the first things that I ask them to do is complete a business plan.
Write a Business Plan
It blows my mind how many successful agencies are out there that have never gone through this exercise, and yet it’s vital; you have to be able to do that. At Florida Risk Partners, we have our producers go through the business planning process every single year. Why? Well, it’s pretty easy. I want to hold them accountable for the numbers that they have projected. Not numbers that I have forced down their throat. So by going through the business planning process, they can not only tell me what they’re going to achieve, but I can see how they think they’re going to achieve it.
Define Your Sales Process
The next thing you need to do is to make sure you have a defined sales process. I’m not talking about something that’s in the works. I’m talking about something that you have vetted and tested repeatedly and prove that it will be successful on the streets. The first thing it has to be is understandable. It can’t be some convoluted menagerie of legal pad pages that you throw in front of everybody and expect them to digest. That’s how a lot of my ideas start, but it has to be more refined than that when you roll it out.
The second thing is, it has to be replicable. It has to be something that you can replicate across all of your producers and get the same execution from each of them. Now, producers will tweak what they want to tweak, but if you keep your process very easy to understand and replicable when they don’t hit their numbers, it’s straightforward for you to go back and find out exactly where they missed the boat in your process.
The third thing is, it has to be a process that allows you to hold them accountable. If you don’t have accountability measures in place, you’re not managing anybody. You’re not leading anybody. You’re merely paying people to go out and not perform. So you have to have accountability measures in place.
Most importantly, you have to have set milestones where you’re going to address that accountability. Maybe you meet with your producers quarterly. Perhaps it’s every six months. Maybe it’s monthly. Maybe you have somebody on a weekly plan. I don’t know. But you need to make sure that you have accountability measures in your process and understand them. They know when they’re coming. And then it’s never an emotional discussion; it’s a business discussion.
You either get your numbers, or you don’t. You either use my process, or you don’t. But don’t come and complain about not hitting your numbers, and we find out, well, you skipped this section, you missed this section, you forgot this section. Likewise, as an agency, if you don’t have that defined process, it’s pretty tough to hold a producer accountable when you have no idea what they’re doing out on the street. If you can get your process dialed in, if you can hold your producers accountable, and if that process is replicable, you and your team are going to kill it in commercial insurance.