6 Tips for Moving Plans Into Action
Life is planning. That’s as true for insurance agents as it is the rest of the world. Unfortunately, something else we share in common is that it’s a lot easier to make a plan than to carry it out. This can be true for a number of reasons.
Maybe you are too afraid to find out that perfect marketing plan had some holes in it. Or, maybe you are so proud that you can’t stop patting yourself on the back long enough to see if the thing has legs.
Maybe you’re exhausted. Bored. Whatever.
What we’re going to show you today is how you can overcome all these factors and stay on track by executing. Let’s get started!
1. Determine your overarching goal
What is the primary thing that you wish to accomplish if you accomplish nothing else? Go through each area that is vital to the success of your business. Marketing, sales, sales techniques, customer service, employee retention.
Ask yourself, “What MUST we accomplish to succeed this year?”
Now unpack this. What does it mean to succeed? Stay in business? Have the best year you’ve ever had? Beat your previous highs by 10% in sales? 15% in sales? 25% in sales?
Get specific. Also, see how one thing can connect to another. What’s in a sale? Outreach, customer service, employees to help on the administrative end as you acquire more customers. List them all out, then start over.
“What MUST we accomplish in sales, improving sales processes, employee retention, etc., to be successful this year?”
2. Welcome unexpected results
As you build a plan of any kind, you’re going to need a list of action steps. Some of those action steps will be proven from previous experience. Others you will need to guess at. Still others may have been right once, but they don’t meet the circumstances in your present situation.
All of this is fine. If you’re going to execute your planning effectively, you HAVE to anticipate the unexpected and know how to respond when your results call for a change of, or alteration in, course.
Value your talent
Whether it’s just you plugging away looking for clients or you run a massive agency with many agents and administrative personnel under you, you need to value your talent.
Growth is a necessity for any small business — insurance agents especially. The only way to reach your full potential is to bring in new business without losing the ones you’ve got.
If you’re juggling everything on your own, you can value your — as in YOUR — talent by not allowing the unimportant things to waste your time. Your focus at this point should be on two primary things — prospects/leads, existing customers.
If you can’t adequately serve them and handle the backend necessities, then you should think about bringing someone else on board. Once it’s no longer just you, you need to start thinking more about valuing your talent — as in YOUR EMPLOYEES’ talent — because employee retention keeps you doing the things you’re good at without allowing the business to fall behind in other key areas.
How do you respect your employees’ talents? By letting them know, by making them feel integral to the success of your business, and by making it easy to communicate with one another.
That’s a great start anyway.
Pay is also helpful, but it isn’t the most important thing to your workers, and there is data to back that up.
We alluded to it at the end of No. 3, but it deserves its own point. You have to be able to communicate effectively if you want to execute effectively. That’s because you need to be able to restate what’s working and what isn’t about your plan as you see it in motion.
This allows you to reformulate and “re-plan,” if you will, at critical points in your action plan.
5. Analyze, analyze, analyze
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons people hate, or are hesitant about, executing is they incorrectly consider it a process they can’t stop once placed into motion.
However, stopping to take stock of things and to analyze your results is as much of an action item as anything else.
No business could survive without data analysis, especially insurance agents of the 21st Century.
How else would you know what product lines are performing best? Why you’re losing new hires every few months? What your overhead is? How much in sales you need to be profitable? How many meetings you have before getting a conversion? How much revenue you’re generating per customer?
Analysis paves the way to meaningful action, and although it’s something you do with your eyes and brain more than your body, it’s still integral.
6. Prepare for the worst
As the old saying goes, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket for the same reason you wouldn’t want to carry your net worth around in cash. If one thing happened to knock you off course — if you dropped the basket off the top of a three-story building or someone mugged you — then you’d be done for good.
Everyone needs a contingency plan, so knowing the absolute worst-case scenario is essential for avoiding it. As with your initial planning, you want to unpack that statement from the abstract to the concrete.
The worst thing that could happen business-wise is that you don’t make a single sale all year and have to work a menial job for minimum wage.
So what do you need to do to avoid that? First, you need to know the amount of money needed to maintain your lifestyle. Then, you need to know how many insurance leads you touch before actually turning one into dollars. From there, you can decipher how many leads you have to generate and meetings you have to take before establishing the amount of sales necessary for sustainable revenue.
That was just a simple exercise that produced a lot of detailed answers, and it all began by knowing the worst-case scenario.
Sometimes it’s tough giving yourself that much-needed kick in the pants, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to build a strong insurance business. Don’t let a good plan go to waste! What are some execution tips that have helped you?