Effective Leadership – How to Implement It

By Tim Sawyer | January 15, 2013

This post is part of a series on insurance marketing and training sponsored by Astonish.

In part one, we defined effective leadership and why it’s essential to insurance agencies’ success in a marketplace crowded with competition. One of the first steps toward becoming an effective leader is to define your agency’s mission. If an agency is hyper-focused on the service, it’s time to migrate toward becoming more sales focused. That new focus needs to be defined in the new mission.

A mission, however, won’t be achieved without implementing initiatives to execute it. Simply defining the mission and communicating it to staff won’t inspire the agency to become more sales-driven. That’s why you need to create sales-oriented initiatives. Implementing sales initiatives are one of the most effective ways to implement leadership.

How do you implement a sales initiative?

Here’s some advice:

#1. Clearly define it. Do you want staff to focus on getting new business in the first quarter of the New Year or rounding out accounts? Figure it out and assign a number to it. How many accounts? How many should each agent or CSR shoot for? In what time frame? Each aspect of the initiative needs to be defined and clearly communicated.

#2. Make sure everyone understands his or her roles. Each person must understand his or her role in initiative. They must understand what is expected to meet the goal of the initiative and be given the training or tools needed to meet it.

One key point here: Understanding that sales and service go hand in hand. They aren’t separate entities. Each is fueled by the other.

#3. Make sure everyone knows why his or her role is important. To foster a true sense of purpose, each employee needs to believe the products and services provided by the agency are the best solution for customers. They must believe that it’s better for customers to have all their policies with the agency. If they don’t believe it, they won’t be able to sell it.

#4. Don’t placate. Participation in the initiative shouldn’t be optional. No matter how vehemently a staff resists change, giving the option not to participate is setting up the initiative to fail. Any future attempts to change agency culture will be moot. An agency leader must show 100% commitment to reaching the goal of the initiative.

#5. Elicit help from a passionate team member. When the initiative is launched, agency leaders will be able to gauge their staff’s interest level. Some employees may be more passionate than others. They may express that they think it’s the right direction for the agency. Ask that employee to help make sure the goal of the initiative is achieved, whether it’s setting up meetings or monitoring the progress, etc. This will help ensure the goal doesn’t get lost in the shuffle when other distractions are present.

By following these simple steps, insurance agencies can reap the benefits of effective leadership – the importance of which should never be understated. If anything, agency leadership is paramount to effectively selling to and keeping the modern consumer.

About the Author: Tim Sawyer is the Co-founder, President, and Director of Client Services for Astonish. His company offers a complete digital marketing system that includes coaching and insurance sales training for local agencies. Showing agencies how to harness the power of company values and sales goals is just one of the benefits of working with Astonish coaching. Many successful local agencies are seeing extraordinary growth and profitability by incorporating the Astonish system into their marketing plan.

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