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  • Thu, October 01, 2015 11:20 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    By Dr. Billy R. Williams

    This is a question I am asked every day!

    There is a very simple formula that you can use with any campaign to correctly determine the number of prospects you need in order to reach your sales goals for a prospecting campaign.

    You will need three pieces of information from any prospecting campaign:

    The total number of prospects you started with,

    Your sales goals, and,

    The total number of sales from a currently operating campaign or a completed campaign.

    Active Inspire a Nation Members: Click here to go to a spreadsheet in the video and document library that you can use to input your numbers and see not only your sales goals numbers but quote/contact and ROI per campaign

    Of course you could also use the historical information from a completed campaign to help you determine the most effective lead sources and prospecting variables to use on a future prospecting campaign.

    The simple formula is Prospects X (Sales Goals/Actual Sales)

    This formula applies regardless of the type of prospecting campaign you are currently using since it is based on the results of a currently operating prospecting campaign or a completed campaign.

    You must always consider that several variables will impact your prospecting results, these include:

    • Lead sources,
    • Technology you use to prospect,
    • The time of day you prospect,
    • The method of prospecting – phone, email, mailing, conference calls, etc.
    • The sales ability of the person or team that is prospecting.

    Don’t over think the formula. Let the numbers tell you the real story, don’t try to skew the numbers to match what you want to happen, let them honestly show you what is really happening.

    Let’s apply the formula to 4 different prospecting scenarios:

    1. You purchased a telemarketing list of 1000 names

    2. You bought 100 real time internet leads for one of your producers

    3. You mailed out 500 postcards (The postcards all had the Inspire a Nation

    recommended wording and the 5 key items that dramatically increases response rates)

    4.  You bought 1000 aged internet leads

    Scenario 1 - You provided your telemarketer with 1000 names from a purchased list: Your telemarketer called between 10 AM – 3 PM (The absolute worst times for  telemarketing!), the campaign produced 5 new sales; you wanted the telemarketing campaign to produce 20 sales. Based on the formula you will need to provide your telemarketer with 4000 names to reach your sales goals. 1000 X (20/5)

    Mentoring suggestion: Change your prospecting times and you will get better results

    Scenario 2 - You bought 100 real time internet leads for a sales rep: You used a lead management tool to immediately reply to the internet leads, and you followed the Inspire a Nation recommended internet lead follow-up schedule. You closed 10 new sales; you wanted 20 new sales. Based on the formula you will need to provide the sales rep with 200 leads to reach your sales goals. 100 X (20/10)

    Btw, don’t forget to sign up for our current web series “All things Internet Leads” The remaining sessions are 10/5/2015, 10/8/2015, and 10/15/2015

    Mentoring suggestion: Though this percentage is actually pretty good, make sure you are purchasing the highest quality (Prospects provide real information and wanted a quote) real time leads available

    Scenario 3 - You mailed out 500 postcards: You received 100 call-ins, had 20 people download information from your website, and had 12 people show up for a conference call; All this activity produced 7 sales. You wanted 10 new sales. Based on the formula you will need to mail 714 postcards on your next mailing campaign. 500 X (10/7)

    Mentoring suggestion: Make sure you are mailing to areas that match the demographics of your target prospects.

    Scenario 4 – You bought 1000 aged internet leads: Your team emailed, called, and mailed postcards to the aged internet leads over a 60 day period and you followed the Inspire a Nation recommended follow-up schedule for aged leads. All the activity associated with the prospecting produced 14 sales. You wanted 25 sales. Based on the formula you will need to purchase 1785 leads to meet your sales goals. 1000 X (25/14)

    Mentoring suggestion: You did everything right the first time through. Make sure your x-date follow-up and re-quote process are just as thorough so you get the maximum return on investment

    Btw, don’t forget to sign up for our current web series “All things Internet Leads” The remaining sessions are 10/5/2015, 10/8/2015, and 10/15/2015

    Of course if you are using Inspire a Nation recommended prospecting templates, following the Inspire a Nation recommended follow-up schedules, utilizing Inspire a Nation recommended technology, and utilizing all of the prospecting options we teach you to offer a prospect, your results will be far superior to the average agent.

    Want more awesome mentoring information? Here are some options:

    1.  Join the Inspire a Nation Mentoring Program. The program has an amazing step by step video and document library as well as biweekly, live, mentoring web meetings. http://inspireanation.org/membershipinformation

    2.  Purchase the “How to Build a $10 Million Insurance Agency in 5 Years” e-book: http://inspireanation.org/10millioninsuranceagency

    3.  Subscribe to our blog: http://inspireanation.org/contact


  • Tue, September 29, 2015 5:14 PM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    There are 4 primary types of internet leads:

    1. Purchased internet leads
    2. Online search results
    3. Self-generated internet and web based leads
    4. Aged internet leads (leads that were generated by one of the methods above but they are NOT real time)

     

    Buying internet leads is usually a staple among businesses, especially insurance agents and mortgage brokers.


    In today’s fast paced world a prospect that submits their information on line expects to get an immediate response and expects that response to contain a good approximation of the cost and benefits of the product.


    Many insurance agencies treat today’s real time internet leads like they were yesterday’s call-ins from a yellow pages ad. That process is a recipe for: wasted money, disgruntled employees, and a bad attitude towards internet leads even though 70 – 80% of all auto shopper’s start with internet based research or outreach before making a buying decision.


    It all starts Monday October 5th at 3 PM Eastern. (2 PM Central, 1 PM Mountain, and 12:00 PM Pacific) Click here to register:https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5328979186526768129


    Not every agency is built to handle real time internet leads!


    Some would do better with web based leads; Leads that are generated from a prospect discovering or researching information as opposed to actually shopping for a product. For the purposes of this blog post we will consider a web based lead as: downloading information from a website, adding an email to a newsletter list, posting something on social networking that identifies a situation that usually requires a product or service your business can provide, etc. 

    These type of web leads are not time dependent but still show an interest on the part of the prospect.


    Some agencies would have better results if they focused on generating their own internet and web based leads.


    With a few simple steps you can create your own internet leads. While you will not get the volume that you would if you purchased internet leads, the quality will be far superior. Why you ask? Because the lead did not find you by accident, and they willingly provided you their contact information.


    They expect to receive a call from you and only you, or best case scenario, they actually call you! This is why it is so important that your phone number is prominently displayed on your website, landing pages, meta-description search results, social networking sites, and downloaded materials. Yes, you will receive calls from solicitors, but receiving real calls from interested prospects is worth the irritation.


    Some agencies would be more effective if they purchased aged internet leads. These type of leads are not as time sensitive, but still were the result of an online request for a quote.


    Many agents/agencies buy real time leads but work them so ineffectively that they turn the real time leads into aged leads before they ever get around to working them.


    What's the main driver when it comes to effectively working real time internet leads? Technology and automation.


    If your agency does not have current technology and automation to support real time internet leads, you are probably needlessly burning through your marketing budget.

     

    Here is what Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring is doing to help you understand the who, what, when, why, where, and how of internet leads.


    We are sponsoring a 5 web meeting series on “All things internet leads:


    We will have leading industry experts from companies that specialize in automation and technology, generation of real time internet leads, and supply of aged internet leads share their wisdom and experience with our audience.


    It all starts Monday October 5th at 3 PM Eastern. (2 PM Central, 1 PM Mountain, and 12:00 PM Pacific) Click here to register:https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5328979186526768129

     

    Check out some of our other blog post

    Really? Nothing works for your agency!

    7 MAIN LIFE SITUATIONS THAT CAUSE PEOPLE TO SHOP FOR INSURANCE


  • Fri, September 25, 2015 10:41 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Million Dollar Goals on Minimum Wage Discipline


    As an agency mentor I talk to hundreds of agents every year. Some are doing very well, some are doing okay, and some are doing poorly.


    The one constant that I hear from poorly producing agents is that “Nothing works in my agency and my staff is terrible.” Not one thing--not referrals, not mailing, not emailing, not internet leads, not telemarketing, not online search results--nothing works!


    Though I share, mentor, and train them on the exact processes, tools, workflow steps, and conversations that are working for the top producing agents and agencies around the country, they believe (We all know your perception becomes your reality!) that nothing will work in their agency.


    I think the thing that really gets to me the most is how far this type of agent will go to maintain the status quo. They will:


    · Lie to me even though they pay my company to help them


    · Withhold information from their staff that can help the agency because they feel if the staff finds out what the agent is not doing right, it will show how weak of a leader they are, and it will be embarrassing. Better to be a failure than embarrassed, right?


    · Make an excuse for every failure that occurs in the agency: they are jinxed, the hiring pool in the area sucks, the carrier's reps don't like them, their customers don't use email, and the agents down the street lie to their prospects to get their business. This type of agent has suit cases packed with nothing but excuses.


    · Blame staff for not producing even though they have never given them the training or resources to be successful


    While I could go on and on with the list, I want to go in a different direction. I want to identify a few of the symptoms of weak leadership that causes this type of agency environment to begin with, and some corrective actions you can take if you see some of your characteristics on this list:


    Problem: Personal issues and distractions outside of the agency.

    There are some people who enjoy leading a drama-filled life and they find a way to create drama wherever they go. Often they take on other people’s issues and use that as an excuse for abandoning their own insurance business. Sometimes they have a side business that is failing for the exact same reasons that their insurance business is failing: weak leadership!


    Corrective Action:

    Allow someone in the agency (or outside of the agency if you don’t have staff) to be able to make decisions when you are not around to make them. We all know that “pride comes before the fall,” but pride doesn't have to be the reason you fall. I.A.N. Members: This is why it is important that you allow staff to have access to the video and document library. We can only mentor and train them on what to do if you allow them to access our materials.


    Problem: Lack of discipline 

    Let's be honest with ourselves. Lack of discipline is generally the root of most of our personal and professional problems.


    Corrective Actions:

    1. Allow someone that you trust to hold you accountable. For I.A.N. members: make sure you schedule and attend your monthly mentoring session with one of our team members.

    2. Outsource tasks that you don’t have the discipline to do on your own. There are only two kinds of discipline: self-discipline and accountability. Paying someone you don't control to perform a task is one of the best accountability techniques. I.A.N. Members: In the mentoring sessions we will give you the tasks to outsource based on what we know about your personality and agency resources.


    Problem: The agent makes excuses for poorly performing staff members

    We all know that misery loves company, and often that is exactly what I see in poorly performing agencies: an office filled with miserable people. The staff is miserable because they have a weak leader who doesn’t give them any direction, accountability, or sense of purpose. The agent is miserable because the agency is performing so poorly that the staff is taking home a bigger weekly paycheck than the agent, and the really miserable part is that no one sees an end to this madness.


    Corrective Action:

    1.       Download a Marketing Plan from the front page of the Inspire a Nation website: www.inspireanation.org. This will give you a good place to start as well as detailed mentoring suggestions.

    2.       Have a heart to heart discussion with yourself and your current staff. Don’t just tell them what you want; actually listen to what they say they need from you in order for them to be successful in your agency. Make an agreement that the pity party is over and that you are going to bring in outside help. I.A.N. Members: Set up a mentoring session with one of our team members. Non-Members: Look at our membership program as an outside help option: www.inspireanation.org.

    3.       Set up a process workflow for one agency process. You can view a video mentoring session on how to create a workflow on the membership page of our website; http://inspireanation.org/membershipinformation.

    4.       An email confirmation process for your endorsements is one of the easiest processes to start in an agency. Changing a staff member’s natural conversation is a real headache and the agency needs something that is simple but also gives them a sense of accomplishment. An endorsement confirmation email can be as simple as:

    “Thank you for allowing us to serve your insurance needs. We processed the recent change you requested on your (auto policy). You should receive something in the mail from (Carrier) in the next 5 – 7 business days confirming the change. If you have any questions please email us or call us.

    We always want your referrals! We want to protect your family and friends, but we need you to introduce them to our agency. Please give our name to at least one person this week.”


    Problem: The agency doesn’t have any money to market or advertise

    There is a vicious cycle that occurs in a poorly performing agency: The leadership is weak, which leads to weak agency processes, which leads to weak agency production, which leads to weak commissions, which leads to weak staffing (You hire weak staff because that is what the agency can afford), which leads to weak production, which leads to weak commissions, which leads to a weak budget for marketing and advertising, which leads to weak production, which leads to weak commissions, and the cycle just keeps repeating. How do you get off of this hamster wheel?


    Corrective Actions: Utilize free marketing and advertising processes (I.A.N. Members – view process 02b in the Video Library: Free tasks that drive new business sales in an agency! http://inspireanation.org/page-1736875.)

    1.       Ask your current customers for referrals

    2.       Hand out your business card to 25 local businesses this week

    3.       Connect with 10 local business leaders on LinkedIn

    4.       Call some current customers and some non-customers and wish them happy birthday (Make sure they have a birthday coming up in the next 7 days)

    5.       Call some local professionals that have sent business to you in the past and start rekindling the relationship.


    It is my hope and desire that this blog post makes those of you who need it to take a hard look at yourselves and your agencies, as well as gives you some simple actions that you can put in place right away to help break you out of whatever mental and emotional pathway you are on that keeps your agency performing poorly.


    NoteI write these blogs as a form of marketing for Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring. At the end of the day I want to show our value as well as give you a taste of the wisdom and experience we bring to the table. I want those of you that need the type of mentoring we provide to consider becoming a member of Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring. Check us out at: www.inspireanation.org.


    Billy R. Williams, PhD.

    President – Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring


  • Wed, September 24, 2014 8:11 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    7 MAIN LIFE SITUATIONS THAT CAUSE PEOPLE TO SHOP FOR INSURANCE


    The following mentoring training is taken directly from the new “ How To Build A $10 Million Insurance Agency in 5 Years (Or double what your agency is currently producing) Manual and Workbook. The manual can be ordered on our website at www.inspireanation.org

     

    We as insurance professionals understand that people shop for insurance when emotionally triggered by a life situation. Unfortunately, the ability of agents and agency staff to quickly identify these life situations and have the appropriate conversations with our customers and prospects during these situations is becoming a lost art.


    Marketing research by online companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, show that these sites can determine when to show insurance specific ads to their visitors based on specific search items and keywords. Deeper analysis has shown that changes in a life situation is the primary factor that determines when a customer notices and responds to insurance marketing and advertising.


    While this information is not new to the insurance industry, the millions of queries and searches that support these findings from non insurance focused companies validates our insurance urban legends.


    Before I discuss these life situations, let me tell you what you and your agency should do to prepare to maximize these situations for the customer and the agency:


    • ·         The agency staff should always listen for one of these situations when prospecting and when servicing a current customer;

    • ·         The agency should role play conversations and talking points with staff members based on these situations

    • ·         Identify businesses and professionals that support people when going through these situations, create a business referral partnership with them, and coach them on how best to refer a prospect to your agency;

    • ·         Agency marketing campaigns should focus on identifying people going through these life situations

     

    Here are the top life situations that cause people to shop for insurance:


    Insurance is mandated by civil authorities; (Examples: buying a new house, changing residences, buying a new motorized vehicle (car, motorcycle, boat), changing vehicles, adding a driver)

    Change in the family situation that gives people the ability to “start over” such as relocation, marriage, marital separation, divorce, death, child birth, child or aging parent relocates to or from the home;

    A change that brings the current insurance relationship into the spotlight – claim, rate increase or decrease by their current insurance carrier, weather event that causes roofers and siding companies to solicit in the neighborhood

    Something bad happens to them or someone they know; (Accident, Illness, death)

    Their financial situation has a sudden change (This can be bad such as getting laid off from work, or suddenly needing to care for an aging parent, or good, such as a promotion, or getting a lump sum of cash);

    They are introduced or referred to an agent by a family member or friend they trust (i.e. Emergency Contact)

    They receive, see, or hear marketing ads, materials or presentations that interest them because they are going through one of the life situations mentioned above;

     


    Let’s quickly identify a few situations and some professionals and businesses that work with people during these life situations that you might normally overlook as a business referral partner.


    1. Insurance is mandated by civil authorities:

           A new residence, changing residences: relocation service, homeowners association, Property Management Company

           New motorized vehicle (car, motorcycle, boat), changing vehicles, adding driver: driving school, drivers aid instructor


    1. Change in the family situation that gives people the ability to start over:

           Marriage: Wedding Planner, Church, Temple, Synagogue, etc., New Movers List, Bridal Shop, Photographer

            Marital separation, divorce: Attorney,Beauty Shop/Barber

            Death/Illness: Health Insurance Agent, Medical Supply Store

            Child Birth: Party Supply Center,

           Child is added or removed from a current insurance policy: Driving School, College Campus Boards,

            Child or aging parent relocates to or from the home; Senior Centers, Medical Supply Centers


    1. They are introduced or referred to an agent by a family member or friend they trust:

            Emergency Contact

           Yard Signs (This family’s home is protected by XYZ insurance)



    What I am trying to make you understand is that almost any business or professional can help drive business to your agency if you properly utilize life situations and the right marketing materials for those situations.


    Google, Amazon, Yahoo, EBay, and many other online vendors understand and utilize this information to sell billions of dollars in marketing to the insurance industry. 


    You can utilize this marketing information (often for free) simply by creating business referral partnerships that could include, direct referrals, posting your information in their shops, or on their website, or giving out a link to your website that allows the prospect to download materials and information to better explain some of the options available to them as they go through situations that are unique to them, but common to you.  Again, make sure you pay attention during the business referral partner section of this manual.

     

    Thank you for time today!


    Billy R. Williams, PhD.,

    President – Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring & the Williams Family Agency Investment Group

     


  • Mon, August 25, 2014 12:54 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Tips you can use to help you overcome self-doubt and a fear of failure and rejection


    We are going to take a different path today. Instead of looking at processes, scripts, or technology, I am going to discuss some psychological and emotional issues that cause many businesses to fail or at the very least, not be as successful as they should be. These issues are self-doubt, fear of failure, and fear of rejection.

     

    The word rejection stems from the Latin word rejectio, meaning throwing back. Isn't that the perfect way to look at the act of rejection? Someone is simply tossing the ball back in your court to take the next steps. The ball could be an objection that you have to overcome, or a broken promise. The next step could be handling the objection, or moving on to the next prospect. I was always taught that NO was an abbreviated form of Not Right Now, so I have no problem with you telling me no at least once a year. I have not always had that level of self confidence; it was learned over time and experience.

    Unfortunately, many business leaders don’t see it that way. They see every failure or situation that didn’t go the way they expected as proof that they are losers in their chosen business field.

    They see every prospect that does not answer the phone or return their call as a personal rejection, and worse yet, they see other people’s perceived success as more fuel to throw on their burning pile of self-doubt.

    I often get credit for being a great business mentor, but I believe that I see my greatest success when I help others to see themselves and their business in the same way that I suspect God looks at us as children. We are born innocent and ignorant, just like most business ideas. We see people around us walking and talking and we too want to experience these awesome things, just as we see successful business ventures happening around us. We sit there in our wet diapers planning and scheming how we are going to take our first steps until finally we decide to take our shot. In this analogy a wet diaper could be a lack of money or knowledge. Of course the first time we try to get up we fall on our butt. We didn’t know it, but our parents did, which is why they usually try to coerce us into taking our first steps while they are holding our little fingers in their big hands.

    Who are you reaching out to that helps you in business? Who is holding your hand in business?

    We learn what to do and how to do it from the people we trust to teach and protect us. The safer and more protected we feel, the more challenges and risks we take on, until we fall on our butts. We cry for a little while, and then when we see our parents (or feel the presence of our God) so we feel safe again and we get up and try it again, but this time being a little wiser we might try it differently because of our experience.

    Life and business will always throw things back at you, and often they will knock you on your butt. The real question you have to answer is what do you do when you have another chance to get it right? Do you focus on how you got it wrong the first time and you don’t try it again, or like that baby I discussed earlier, do you cry for a little while and then get off your butt and give it another shot? Imagine if we all stopped trying to learn how to walk because we fell on our butt?

    How do you know if you have self-doubt and a fear of failure and rejection?


    Note: The following 5 statements come directly from Marla Tabaka of Inc. Magazine (One of my personal mentors)

    ·         You make excuses. When opportunity comes knocking, you are too busy, claim that it's bad timing, or dismiss it as not a big deal.

    ·         You hide your true self. You feel safer if you take on a phony persona so that the real you isn't rejected. It's as though you're living behind a mask.

    ·         You complain. You feel so frustrated with yourself that you blame others, complain about your circumstances, and feel negative emotions toward others because it seems easier than assuming responsibility for your lack of assertiveness.

    ·         You're a people pleaser. The fear of confrontation or, worse, losing someone is so disconcerting that you place the needs and desires of others ahead of your own. You have a difficult time saying no, even if it's not in your best interest.

    ·         You don't seek opportunity. You may have great ideas and many opportunities to connect to the right people, but you put it off until tomorrow. Of course, tomorrow rarely comes.


    OK, Back to Billy’s words

    Here are some tips that will help you overcome self-doubt and a fear of failure and rejection:

    1. Watch what you say to yourself.

    Some psychologists say as much as 90 percent of self-talk is negative. Pay attention to the words you say to yourself. Do you criticize yourself? Do you have a negative outlook on the future? Do you value yourself today based on your past? Do you let emotions guide most of your decision making?

     (Remember emotions are current feelings that are usually based on your history) Your history is a combination of your passions, hopes, dreams, failures, successes, and insecurities. If you aren’t saying positive things about yourself, surround yourself with people that will. A good mentor, while being honest, will try to address issues in as positive of a manner as possible.

    2. Don’t let your history control your future.

    Do you know when your psychological challenges began? Often you can trace your feelings back to certain life events and people. Did you have a parent that constantly berated you? Did you have a spouse that tried to control you through negative words? Did you struggle in school so you felt dumb compared to the other kids? Did you try a business venture that failed? Whatever the cause or causes, those things were in the past. You have to commit starting today to base your viewpoint of yourself on a “What did I accomplish today?” plan.  This means if you are struggling with a bad attitude, do your best to have a good attitude today. (Remember your attitude is usually a reflection of what you think about your future, and your future is looking better just because you decided to make it better!)


    3. Designate a specific time to get one important thing accomplished

    If you don’t make the time to be successful, all of your time will be spent fighting off poverty. 

    I have said these words a thousand times to almost anyone that would listen, and yet they never get old or outdated. Just like learning to walk, learning to be successful in business requires you to take baby steps, and just like a baby, you will probably have to hold onto to someone or something before you can do it on your own. Even that baby had to decide on a time to take the first step. A good mentor will help you select which baby steps and times are best for you. As you get one thing accomplished, you will find that you have more confidence to try the next thing on the list.

     

    4. Surround yourself with people that will help keep you positive and focused

    People such as mentors, role models, spouses that support your vision, and friends that are positive influences should consume the majority of your time that is not spent enjoying your family and your God. Make sure the people closest to you are energy makers, not energy takers.

    5. Get your resources in order

    Luck is when opportunity meets preparation plus time management. Bad luck is when opportunity meets a lack of preparation plus bad time management.

    Preparation includes resources such as educating yourself about your business and your chosen field, controlling your credit and your debt so that money is available if a good opportunity comes along, aligning yourself with good mentors and role models, creating business associations that can benefit you today as well as in the future, creating and protecting your business reputation by giving exceptional customer service, and most importantly aligning yourself spiritually with a group of like minded individuals that look at the positive aspects of who we are, and espouse good values.

     I am a Christian and while I would love for everyone to be a Christian, I do understand that people of every religious background and culture subscribe to my blogs and podcast, so regardless of what you choose to call God, honor your God in business just as you would in everyday life. That doesn’t mean you will be perfect, but when you get knocked on your butt spiritually just as you do professionally, grab a hold of something such as the bible, or someone such as a church leader or member, and pick yourself up.

    I hope these words of inspiration and encouragement have added value to your day!

    Billy R. Williams, PhD

    President – Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring


  • Fri, May 16, 2014 5:00 PM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Processes, Processes! Where do I start?

    You probably have the best of intentions, but so far you haven’t taken nearly the amount of action in implementing processes that you would like to; For those of you that have taken action, congratulations, but don’t stop reading this blog post.

    Here are some tips that will be helpful:

    1.       Start with automation, not conversations


    a.  Changing a person’s conversation means fighting emotional road blocks, highlights weaknesses that staff members often try to hide, and requires staff buy-in. That might be too much to bite off at first.


    b.  Automation requires little to no emotion, and if you start off with small bites of automation such as email, it should be easy to deploy.


     

    2.       Small bites of automation you can start with are:


    a. Register the agency on a few local directories (Agency Quick Start 1)


    b.  Send out a few birthday emails to customers and prospects that have a birthday coming up in the next week. You don’t have to create a huge birthday campaign, just use the birthday email template located in the video library and send it to a few people (The Birthday process)


    c.  Create a Testimonial Request email (or mail) and send it out to a few folks. (Testimonial Campaign)


    d.  Email out a few re-quote request to prospects (X-Date Process)


    e.   Email out a few Customer Policy Review request to some customers coming up for renewal (Customer Policy Review Process)



    3.       Get to work on hiring a marketing assistant:


    a.   Part time high school or college kids work best


    b.   Use our example ad located in the Marketing Assistant University


    c.    Allow them to set up the automated tasks that will help drive production and retention in your agency


     

    Start something! Once something is up and going the desire and momentum to do more will kick in.

  • Tue, August 27, 2013 8:15 PM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    How to successfully do "it"

     

    We all have an “it!"  Some task, plan, or action that we know could change our lives if we would only do “it” or finish “it."

     

    Here are 10 simple steps that I live by when it comes to “it." These steps have helped me in business and in life, and if you need them, they can help you too!

     

    1. Write “it” down (It’s not a real plan till it’s written down)

     

    2. Read “it” (Reading and rereading "it" reminds you of what the plan was all about)

     

    3.Talk to someone about "it" (Your behavior is often a reflection of your conversation)

     

    4. Practice "it" (Every professional understands the need and importance of practice)

     

    5. Schedule a time and place for "it" in your calendar (If you don't make the time to be successful, all of your time will be spent fighting off poverty)

     

    6. Do "it" (Taking half of a step is better than not taking a step at all)

     

    7. Gain experience from doing "it" (Without experience, including the screw ups and failures, you'll never gain the confidence and wisdom to master “it”)

     

    8. Do your best to perfect "it" (Practice and/or role play as often as possible)

     

    9. Teach "it"/pass "it" on to others (The best way to learn something is to teach “it” to someone else)

     

    10. Repeat steps 1 - 9 at least once a week (or as often as possible, depending on what "it" is)

     

    Billy R. Williams, Ph.D

    8/25/2013

     

    Check "it" out on our YouTube Channel: www.inspireanation.org
  • Tue, April 23, 2013 3:30 PM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    How much Green Time (Money Making Time) do you have in your agency?

    If you don't take the time to create wealth then all of your time will be spent fighting off poverty! I've heard this statement my entire life, it started with my father and continues on today through me to my children.

    In business it is critical that you identify Green Tasks and Times. What is a Green Task? It is a critical task that drives or protects revenue in the agency. Examples would be: lead follow-up calls, conducting policy review appointments, making cancellation/termination calls, visiting business referral partners, etc.

    So obviously Green Time is the time that is allocated and scheduled to perform Green Tasks

    It is super easy to fall into a reactionary mode when it comes to being an insurance agency. By setting aside Green Time the agency can increase its efficiency, complete task that increase the agency's overall production, and develop habits that will easily transfer to other staff members.

    There are two types of discipline in an insurance agency: self discipline and accountability. (I never rely on someone else's self-discipline to determine my success!) Green Time gives those that are self disciplined the ability to perform their tasks while others cover their back. For those that are not self disciplined and need accountability, it gives them a blocked off time to perform critical tasks that they might not schedule themselves. It also gives the agency leader or the person responsible for monitoring the undisciplined staff member the established time they need to make the undisciplined staff member accountable for their actions.

    Often when I force the staff members of agencies we have acquired to perform Green Time Tasks and their efforts are actually monitored and tracked, we quickly discover that they are not nearly as knowledgeable or trained as they pretended to be with the previous leadership.

    Let’s look at some of the problems and identify some easy to implement solutions related to this topic.

     

    Problem – Agents don’t know what tasks produce the most revenue in an agency

    Solution – If you are using a tracking spreadsheet or lead management tool, simply pull the report and identify where your lead sources are coming from and which source produced the most sales.

    (Members a lead tracking spreadsheet is provided for you on Process 05 of the video and document library. If you prefer to use an automated tool, we recommend you look at Blitz Lead Manager – www.blitzleadmanager.com)

     If you can’t easily identify where your sales are coming from, choose a prospecting campaign and assign at least one hour a couple of times a week to get it done.

     

    Problem – Agencies don’t know the main tasks that a licensed sales producer should consider as green time tasks.

    Solution – Here are a few of the tasks that the partner agencies of the Williams Family Agency Investment Group assign as Green Time Tasks to licensed sales producers: lead follow-up and quoting, claims follow-up calls, new customer follow-up process, emergency contact follow-up calls, cancellation/termination process, x-sell prospecting calls, office visits to business referral partners, etc.

    • (Members – Use the daily Schedule and the complete list of Green Time tasks located on Process 01A of the video and document library)

     

    Problem – Every time we try to conduct green time it gets interrupted.

    Solution – You are not truly conducting green time. Green time means you have prepared the environment to avoid interruptions. Examples of this would be: the person in green time has been moved from the front of the agency to an office in back, everyone has been briefed to only take messages for the person in green time, the person conducting green time knows they can’t take customer calls or handle walk ins during green time, if you are a one person shop, you lock the doors, and let the phone go to voicemail during your one hour of green time, you take your cell phone and make calls from your car, you hire an answering service to take messages for the agency during your green time, etc.

     

    The tasks you are performing during green time should only be revenue generating or revenue protecting tasks. Green time is not to be used for filing, scanning, cleaning, admin catch-up or any other non revenue producing task.

     

    As I stated earlier, there are two types of discipline in an agency: self-discipline and accountability. Used effectively and consistently, green time will give you the time and accountability that is needed for an agency to grow, you just have to muster up enough self-discipline to start the process.

     

    Billy R. Williams, PhD

    President – Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring and Williams Family Agency Investment Group

  • Tue, March 26, 2013 10:39 AM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Never forget this fact: “Where you are in life and in business today, are direct reflections of how you have handled your personal and professional weaknesses.”

    I'm going to say something that many of you will disagree with, here it is “Growing a successful insurance agency is easy when you have the right personalities, tools, and processes working effectively. Once those items are in place, all you have to do is locate the markets that best fit your carriers.” How can I be so sure, because I see it every day in my partner agencies, and in the member agencies of Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring

    Last week’s blog post was very well received and even plagiarized a few times, so please remember that this blog series is being created and written by Billy R. Williams, Ph.D., President of Williams Family Agency Investment Group, and Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring. Don’t have time to read the blog post? Click here and I will read it to you!

     

    Today were going to discuss the personality piece of the statement I said above.

    In business you need 3 types of personalities working at all times 

    1. Hunters - Aggressively pursue new opportunities – these are people, processes, and tools that locate  and drive your new business sales
    2. Gatherers – Passively pursue new opportunities – will gather all of the important information necessary to conduct business if it comes to them, and work best when working within clearly defined structure and processes.
    3. Nurturers – Avoid pursuing new opportunities, but enjoy servicing current relationships and like to keep current customers happy.

    While I use the word personality, a hunter, gatherer, or nurturer doesn't have to be a person, it can be a tool or process that you put in place to perform the specific function of that personality type. Within the Inspire a Nation membership we see all types, so pay attention to your agency’s dominant personality type and my suggested solutions.

    We all have a dominant personality type. When things are going good in our agency we tend to be a hybrid of our two strongest personality types, usually it isn't until we hit pressure situations or things go terribly wrong that our dominant personality type really takes over.

    Let's look at the strengths, weaknesses, and identify some solutions to cover the weaknesses of the different personality types:

    1. Hunters:

    Strengths: Aggressively pursue new opportunities, are always trying to locate new business, look for retention and referral opportunities, they always look for direct, pointed, solution driven conversations with customers and prospects

    Weaknesses: Hunters don’t wait for things to line up perfectly before taking action. They understand that taking action will force the situation to work out one way or another. They have to be careful as this way of doing things can often lead to rash decisions and impulse buys, if their ego is not “kept in check” hunters will over commit and under deliver as they believe they have the talent and skills to overcome any obstacle, hunters like to hunt and close but are usually bad at the small details like after the sale follow-up, they prefer to hand the deal off to someone else to do the paperwork and legwork.

    Solutions: Don’t clutter up your hunter with details and requirements that stop them from hunting. Hire a gatherer personality type, or put gatherer type tools in place to support your hunter(s), give them a specific amount of time each day to focus on hunting tasks, hunters like trophies, so make sure you are prepared to reward their positive hunting results with compliments, bonuses, and public acknowledgement. (Members – Review Green Time Tasks for Licensed Sales Producers – Process 3C, and The Top Producing Processes for an agency – Foundational Video 2)

     

    1. Gatherers :

    Strengths:  Passively pursue new opportunities, if the business is handed to them or falls in their lap they will work it effectively, work best when working within clearly defined structure and processes, they are very detailed oriented, you never have to worry about the T’s not being crossed, or the I’s not being dotted.

    Weaknesses: Gatherers want the prospect or deal given to them, they will close the deal if it is put in front of them, but they will not aggressively hunt down new business opportunities, gatherers like to see all of the specifics and details of a situation before they take action, this can often lead to paralysis by analysis, they keep track of all communications and records associated with the prospect or customer and can easily get bogged down in the details if left unchecked.

    Solutions: Give them a hunter person or tasks to support and let them fulfill all of the promises your hunter made to customers and prospects, (i.e., don’t try to make them a telemarketer, let them follow-up the leads the telemarketer drives to the agency) let them setup and create the mailings that go out, transfer x-sell or retention opportunities that come into the agency to them, but don’t expect them to ask every call-in or walk-in for a x-sell or up-sell opportunity, put tools in place that will start the conversation for them and let them finish the conversation (Members – This is why we use the Permission to Contact/Optional Coverage Form – Process 14A, and outsourced marketing programs if we have an agency filled with gatherers)

     

    1. Nurturers:

    Strengths:  Enjoy servicing current customers and relationships and like to keep current customers happy, they are very patient with problem customers, and will stay on the phone as long as it takes to rectify a problem. They are awesome when it comes to retention in the agency; they like non threatening or demanding tasks, and are very social when it comes to customers, prospects, and other staff members.

    Weaknesses: Nurturers only wants to work with existing customers and try to avoid prospecting of any kind including basic cross-sell conversation, (an example of a nurturer process would be an agency that mails a policy review form  to customers to avoid having a sales or service conversation) Nurturers feel that they are harassing the customer if they try to cross-sell them or introduce new products to the customer, they fight any new processes or change to the status quo, will usually point out why something will not work before giving it a chance, nurturers will overpromise and under deliver also, but not because of ego, but because they want to get away from the emotionally uncomfortable situation as quickly as possible. They need a gatherer to support them as well.

    Solutions: Every agency needs nurturer type staff and/or processes; you just can’t grow your agency if this is the dominant personality in your agency. You must use outsourced marketing tools because you will never turn a nurturer into a hunter, the best you can hope for is to make them a hybrid of a gatherer/nurturer but even that might be asking too much. You also need a gatherer supporting them to finish what a nurturer avoids, nurturers are not motivated by money but by emotional comfort, so putting elaborate commission and bonus plans will not produce any more sales. They are there to support existing customers and keep your retention strong, let them do what they do, and hire gatherers and hunters, or outsource as much as possible in the agency. (Members – review Foundational Video 2 - Top Producing Processes and our Recommended Vendors)

    In summary: You need all 3 types of personalities working in your agency at all times, but you must cover the weaknesses that come with each personality in order to maximize your agency’s growth.

  • Wed, March 20, 2013 1:35 PM | Billy R. Williams, PhD. (Administrator)

    Don’t have time to read the blog post? No Problem!

    Click here to hear the audio version of the blog post and I will read it to you!

    Most small to middle size insurance agencies never track their business processes enough to understand how their agency could operate more efficiently, at an overall lower cost, and still grow.  Some of them have purchased tools such as CRM tools (customer relationship management tools) lead management tools, and use predictive dialers. These programs will give them the math they need to make sound marketing decisions but often they ignore the math and hope things will work themselves out, (Hope is not a money making process, but it is the #1 leadership tool used by weak leaders. How often do you hear or say this statement? “I was hoping that my staff would do what I needed them to do, but so far they have not.”) As president of Williams Family Agency group this is one of my most important roles.

    By using standard core processes and tracking the results of those core processes agencies can answer questions such as:

    ·         What is the best marketing campaigns for my agency’s sales personality

    ·         Which of my staff is overpaid and underpaid for what they do in the agency?

    ·         Where am I wasting money on marketing?

    ·         What is a real weakness within my agency versus us just being lazy or irresponsible?

     What are you tracking in your agency? Answering the following questions can help you determine if you are using effective tracking tools and processes in your agency. This short list is by no means comprehensive enough to build a business plan around, but it will give you a good idea of tracking based weaknesses within your agency. You see each question tells you something about the efficiency of the agency, staff, tracking tools, as well as pointing out training weaknesses within your agency.

    1. How many outbound prospecting calls occur daily in your agency?

    2. How many outbound prospecting emails go out daily in your agency?

    3. How many quotes does each staff person perform daily?

    4. How many sales does each staff person make per quote (Quote to close ratio)?

    5. What is the average premium per sale for each staff person?

    6. What lead sources produce the greatest volume of sales?

    7. How many up-sells and cross-sells occur per endorsement?

    Let’s look at some of the questions and the information you get from the numbers

    Q1. How many outbound prospecting calls occur daily in your agency?

    ·            Let’s you know if the agency and/or staff is focused on prospecting tasks (hunter) or a reactive tasks (Gatherer or keeper)

    ·            Identifies if the agency truly has dedicated Green Time (money making time) or if prospecting it hit or miss in the agency.

    ·            Identifies if the agency leadership tracks important math based items such as quote to close ratio (How many qualified quotes does a staff person have to complete in order to get one sale?), Calls to contact (How many calls on average does it take to reach a prospect?), and the best times to outbound call.

     

    Solutions: Set aside one hour of uninterrupted time for staff to make outbound prospecting calls, start with x-selling current customers, make the use of a predictive dialer mandatory (for tracking purposes), and use a quote tracking tool. (A spreadsheet will work fine to start with if you don’t have a lead management program. Members – several tracking spreadsheets are provided to you in the library) If you honestly can’t or will not perform outbound prospecting, use one of the available outbound telemarketing services listed on the recommended vendors page of our website. Members – Review the Income training of I.C.E.C.R.E.A.M., review Green Time Tasks for Licensed sales producers (Process 03C), review Predictive Dialer Training (Process 10)

     

    Q2. How many outbound prospecting emails go out daily in your agency?

    ·         A value based drip email campaign for your agency is an important tool to have in place. It works on behalf of your agency without you having to micromanage it. The key words I used were value based. Send emails that are more important to the customer or prospect than they are to the agency, such as birthday wishes, wedding anniversary wishes, policy weaknesses your agency is focused on addressing this month such as: lack of jewelry protection, no pet insurance with the agency, or no life insurance with the agency. Set up a drip email campaign that touches your customers and prospects about once a month. I know that email marketing companies will tell you to send more often, but surveys from our customers show that once a month is enough without it becoming too much.

     

    Solutions:  Take the email addresses that you have in your database and set up birthday email campaign to customers and prospects, and a monthly policy weakness campaign. Members – review the suggested email templates and timelines in the video library (Process 08)

     

    Q3. How many quotes does each staff person perform daily?

    ·         You can’t sell insurance if you are not quoting! By tracking how many quotes are completed in the agency weekly, you can see the sales trends coming a mile away. If all of your quotes are coming from one staff person, you are building the foundation of your business on that person. That is ok if the agency principal is that person, but if it is a key staff person, what happens to your agency if they decide to leave? Tracking your quote to close ratio will help identify prospecting weaknesses, sales training weakness, and lead source issues within your agency.

     

    Solutions: Use a spreadsheet or an automated tracking tool to identify your quote to close ratio over a one month period. Review your lead sources; do you need to concentrate on more business referral partners, reenergize your customer referral program, or look at different lead sources? Members – A full business tracking log spreadsheet is provided to you on Process 5 Daily activity and sales log, also review Creating Business referral Partners (Process 11C)

     

     

    Q4. For the sake of space and time I am going to combine several questions into one overview question. Is my agency offering additional protection to my customers when they are servicing them?

    ·         We have one job as professional insurance agents: To offer the coverage that will best protect our customer’s quality of life should a claim occur! It is not to try and get them the cheapest insurance we can, or to cut out important coverage they need because we have to make a sales goal. I can tell when my staff is doing a great job of having value based conversations because I will see added coverage such as: increased rental car coverage on customers with new cars, lock and key coverage on a renter’s policy, increased building property coverage on condo policies, business interruption insurance on commercial policies, etc., This lets me know that the staff within that agency is spotting a weakness on a customer’s policy and more importantly they are pointing it out to the customer. All customers are price sensitive because no one wants to pay for coverage that will not protect them when a claim occurs. If your staff is only quoting apples to apples and they never point out a policy weakness when servicing a customer, they are not building agency value in the customer’s mind.

    All things being equal a prospect will always go with the lowest price.  What type of sales and service training is occurring in your agency so that your conversations are not equal to the cheaper competitor down the street?

     

    Solutions:  Role play at least once a week on how to spot policy weaknesses and how to bring them up to the customer when doing an endorsement or a policy review Members – review the DecisionFlow Handout on Process 01C, and continue to role play in your agency.

     

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