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By Paul Martin, CPCU • May 4, 2018

5 Things Successful Agents Do

They never stop learning
Even if you’ve been in the game for 20, 30 or even 40 years, there’s always more to learn. New types of coverages are developed to adapt to our changing world. Was drone insurance, cyber liability or active shooter insurance considered 15 years ago? Continuous learning means keeping up with the technical details of policies and endorsements, underwriting practices and new coverages types; but it also refers to working on your soft skills. You can focus on learning new and more effective communication styles, sales tactics, navigating the changing consumer mindset or improving your management style. Maybe now that you have so much experience under your belt, you want to become a public speaker. Hone these skills through workshops, learning and practicing.

Manage their time and territory
Some people are pros at time management, but the rest of us struggle with competing priorities, goal-setting and sticking to a plan. Take a week where you plan every hour of each day. Stick to it no matter what comes up and see if you are more productive than usual. Minimize non-revenue activities during the sales day and try to stay out of the office unless it’s sales related or urgent AND important. Remember, just because something is urgent doesn’t mean it’s important or that it’s even a priority. Cut down on windshield time but thinking ahead and using smart planning. If you find yourself on the busiest highway in town during rush hour, you might have been able to plan ahead to avoid it. Learn more in a related post: Managing Your Time and Territory.

Build expertise in a niche
Do you notice that you enjoy working with certain accounts more than others? Or find yourself spending more time researching one type of industry and its insurance issues just because it interests you? Look at accounts you already write and determine if there is a larger potential in that space. Dive deeper into those accounts to learn their operations, their challenges and what motivates them. Then, find the right underwriter to partner with and write those accounts again and again. You will both develop a strength in that area and become a solid team to provide excellent service to your clients.

Set ambitious but realistic goals
Could your goal-setting routine be revamped? Maybe you can be more specific or try incentivizing different metrics this year. Set quarterly or monthly goals to ensure you’re on track for the yearly goals. Forward-thinking agencies have long term goals in the 3-5 year range and a company mission. Once you set these long-term goals you can work backward to set medium-term and short-term goals. Goals must be ambitious enough to create a sense of urgency, but realistic enough that you can create a step by step plan to achieve them. A sense of urgency is needed to light the fire. A great quote from Leonard Bernstein embodies this idea: “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

Build network of friends and satisfied customers
Above all, you must provide excellent customer service. If you can’t serve your existing customers in the moment they need it, all other activities don’t really matter. Satisfied customers breed more customers, and as long as you continue providing excellent service, the cycle will continue. Your personal reputation will certainly affect your company’s reputation and brand perception. If your friends and family know you are trustworthy and have a strong work ethic you will likely get either business or referrals from them.