What we’re going to be talking about today is leadership and if you’re a leader, here’s what I want you to be thinking about, the difference between where your agency is today and where it will be tomorrow and deep into the future is in direct proportion to your ability to lead and develop your sales team. So I think the key phrase there is ‘it’s in direct proportion to your ability’ and if you don’t continue to develop your ability then your salespeople won’t develop themselves and your growth is predictable. And so as we get into you developing your ability, I really want to get into some of the things from three of my heroes: Bill Belichick, Nick Saban and coach K. I mean when you add them all together, there’s over 15 plus world championships. I mean big time stuff and so I want to just do that quote for you one more time so that we set the tone for why we need to listen to Bill and to Nick and to coach K. Hope you tune in to hear the rest… Listen below. Or click here to read a transcript.
Welcome to the Agency Growth Machine podcast where it's all about transforming potential into profit. And now your host, Randy Schwantz.Speaker 2:
Hey everybody. How are you doing? This is Randy Schwantz with another episode of Agency Growth Machine. What we're going to be talking about today is leadership and if you're a leader, here's what I want you to be thinking about, the difference between where your agency is today and where it will be tomorrow and deep into the future is in direct proportion to your ability to lead and develop your sales team. So I think the key phrase there is 'it's in direct proportion to your ability' and if you don't continue to develop your ability then your salespeople won't develop themselves and your growth is predictable. And so as we get into you developing your ability, I really want to get into some of the things that three of my heroes are Bill Belichick, Nick Saban and coach K.:
I mean when you add them all together, there's over 15 plus world championships. I mean big time stuff and so I want to just do that quote for you one more time so that we set the tone for why we need to listen to Bill and to Nick and to coach K. So here it is, the difference between where your agency is today. So where's your agency today? I mean you start thinking about it, you know, you're at x number of million dollars revenue, you have certain producers, some of them produce well, some produce a little bit, some produce not much at all. It is what it is. And then as you start looking at that group of producers; you also start to look at what their potential is or what their capability is and almost everybody has some potential to be developed.Speaker 2:
Is it a little or a lot? Well, I don't know. You have to make that decision, but it's there. We know it's there. Human beings are always going to be doing better. That's why I'm talking to you today because you've got more potential. You've got potential to grow as a leader. You've got potential to grow as somebody who can make other people better. So again, to demonstrate where your agency is today, however many million dollars you have, and then whatever type of producers you have, whether they're good, bad or indifferent, the difference where you are today and where you are going to be tomorrow and the day after and the day after and a year from now and three years from now and five years from now, 10 years from now is not going to be game of luck, unless you just decide that's how you want it, but it's in direct proportion to your ability. You. Your ability to lead, coach, train and develop your sales team and the better you get at leading, coaching, training and developing your sales team, the better they will be and the more revenue they'll produce. But as you think about that, it's not just the guys and gals you have now, but the ones that you want to recruit and add to your firm. So, the difference between where you are today, your firm and where it's going to be tomorrow, next month, deep into the future is in direct proportion to whose ability? To YOUR ability. To YOUR ability to train, coach and develop these people, and as you build that, you go. So let's take Bill. Bill Belichick: an amazing guy! I got five things from him, five leadership chaacteristics. And number one is this; he says leadership means building a team that's exhaustively prepared but able to adjust in an instant. And he says, the only sign we have in the locker room is from the Art of War. He said, every battle is won before it's fought. Every battle is won before it's fought. And Belichick is a guy who started breaking down films of opposing teams when he was seven years' old; he'd hang out with his dad. His Dad, Steve was an assistant coach at Annapolis. He says, you have to know what the opponents can do, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what to do in every situation. So let's just take a moment: Leadership means building a team that's exhaustively prepared. Okay. So maybe the word exhaustive just wears you out. So let's just make it, it means building a team that's prepared. Prepared to do what? Prepared to win, prepared to beat the incumbent, prepared to leverage your differentiation, prepared to retain that account forever. Prepared to make cold calls, set appointments. Prepared to ask existing clients for introductions, so prepared, prepared to follow your game plan, whatever it is, and again, specifically using Bill and The Art of War. Prepared means you know what the opponents can do, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what to do in every situation. One of the things that I spend a lot of time on with my coaches, our clients, is teaching the leaders how to do what we call a CRISP sales meeting and the purpose of that CRISP sales meeting is to get your producers in the room. Get an account up on the electronic screen, get the incumbent in the room, and then make that producer define and defend how they're better than that incumbent. All for the sake of preparing them to understand what the opponents can do, what their strengths are, and equally important or more important, what their weaknesses are. And so here's what happens when you do that over and over and over again. Your knowledge of the competition becomes more voluminous and as you know, I mean we built technology to start to capture that: build the incumbent database, build the incumbent agent and agency database, with all those producers, what they do, how they do it, caption their proposals, going out, going to war with the intent to beat them, and most of the time you do. Come back and document it: Here's what we did, here's the things we do, here's our services that we do that they're not doing. Let's go leverage the crap out of that in the future. And then Bill comes on to say: that ability to adapt on a dime is what Bill Belichick says you spend so much time building teamwork from having the team trained with Navy Seals to organizing trivia nights where incidentally all social media is banned. That's kind of an interesting thing there, but the ability to adapt on a dime. So once again, I'm sitting there thinking about what we're trying to help people do. The ability to adapt on a dime is we've got this whole, yes, no, maybe matrix and it came from a book I read called John Boyd. John Boyd was a fighter pilot who changed the art of war. It was what was written about him and he became known as 42nd Boyd at Nellis Air Force Base after going to the flight weapons school. So that was to the army air force what Miramar and top gun school is to the Navy. All the best pilots in the world. And he had a standing bet with anybody who showed up. We'll get up into a dogfight, you'll be on my six o'clock, meaning you'll be on my rear end and within 40 seconds we will have shifted and I will have shot you down. He never got beat. He only got tied once. Read the book, John Boyd. So the ability to adapt on a dime, John Boyd would say is: I've got to understand what my competition can do. He had his airplane and being a nuclear engineer and thermodynamic engineer, he knew that the envelope by which that plane flying and so it's imagined probably a better way to describe that as if you're a race car and you're going 150 miles an hour, how hard can you turn to the right without losing control? So now that airplane, how hard can you bank without breaking that thing or going out of control? How hard can it bank? And you know, if you understand what you can bank and you understand what your competition can do, now you know your competition, you know their strengths and their weaknesses. And so what John Boyd said was for every move, there's a counter move for every counter there's a counter to the counter, for every counter to the counter, there's the counter to the counter to the counter. It starts all over at zero. Well, my belief is that this ability to adapt on a dime is, that anything a buyer could say is highly predictable, and if we will work our producers through getting good at that, then it becomes incredibly predictable. So back to the top. Number one, leadership means building a team that's exhaustively prepared, but being able to adjust instantly. That was leadership number one. Let's move onto number two. Leadership means having the discipline to deploy your 'dependables' and he goes on to say, you know your star performers, the ones who can dazzle and amaze, except when they don't, they're definitely appealing, Belichick says. But over the years he's learned that they're not his type. He'd rather stick with the tried and true people. He calls them his 'dependables'. He says, there have been times when I've put too much responsibility on people. They might have been the most talented or the people you hope to do the right and best thing and they didn't come through. Belichick says. Big mistake. When it comes to getting things done, especially critical things, forget the high flyers. You have to go with the person who you have the most confidence in, is the most consistent, and if it doesn't work well, it just doesn't work. But I'm going down with that person. The dependables. So you know, I think this is really relevant to building a sales team. I mean you've got the high flyers, you got the Prima Donnas, you got the superstars, but are they dependable? And when you want to build a team, you need the dependables. I know once again, when we're helping an agency client of ours in the iWin Agency Growth System, we know that you as a leader can't do it all and if you're not careful, you become the bottleneck. And there are five roles in an agency. When we start talking about sales leadership, that when those five roles are being played out, the ability to grow goes way up. So what is one of them? Well, one of them is the head coach. We call it the culture creator. Somebody has to be the head coach. Somebody' has to be talking about where we're going and beating the drum and talking about it and laying out the vision. And because of the culture creator, in most cases, they can also help certain producers open big doors. They're also great recruiters or they can be. So that's one role. Culture Creator. Next role, we'll call them CRISP Sales leaders. Somebody's got to run great sales meetings, you know, many sales meetings are kind of like, I refer to them as this spreadsheet liar's club meeting; you're going through the spreadsheet - Is this yours? How's it going? blah blah blah blah, blah blah. And you never really get anything that's just bold and real. And so when you run a CRISP sales meeting, you're really getting that producer to define and defend how they're better than the incumbent. And that goes back to preparing them to win, exhaustively preparing them to win. So role number one: Culture creator. Role number two: CRISP leader. Role number three: Training coach. So, if you don't train your producers over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and build skill, build skill, build skill, build skill, build skill, and you're not preparing them. If you're not preparing them, they won't be confident. If they're not confident, they won't perform at the level they could. Preparation is huge and role play is huge and we understand most producers don't 'like to role play', but it doesn't really matter. It's what we do and we got to create those opportunities and put them into it. Now what makes role play really hard is when it's just a bunch of random crap and you don't know where you're going to go. If you put them on a path, and the Wedge sales call is a path that's very well defined, it's easy to do, it's easy to coach and it has one outcome in mind and that is to not only build the relationship, but to bust the incumbent relationship. So you're preparing them. So again, the five roles, culture creator, CRISP leader, training coach, and then next comes the proactive services manager. My belief is that the only sustainable differentiation or competitive advantage is your proactive services platform. It's not your price/coverage. It's not that you're local, it's not that you have good people, it's not those things: it's not that you're knowledgeable, it's not that you're experienced, it's not that you're a niche player. I mean all those things are nice characteristics and attributes, but the problem is, you're competing with local nice people that are working the same niche, that have the same carriers and the problem with price/coverage is you can't control it. The underwriter controls it, the underwriting company controls it. The only thing you can control is your proactive services platform, and when you define that, then it's those proactive services that you do that the incumbent doesn't do, that's where your prospect is being underserved. So what are the five roles again? Number one, culture creator, number two, CRISP leader, number three, training coach, number four, proactive service leader. And then number five is the accountability coach. And here's what's been really interesting to see. When I look at it, I call it the three things of accountability. You can't have accountability unless you've got a contract in place. this is what we've agreed to do, unless you can count so you know what's going on, and then number three, you got to have consequences. Well, what we know, and this is no big surprise, is that agency owners don't like to be the heavy hand and we get that. That's fine. So many times when you can find an accountability coach within the ranks of your leadership, let them be the heavier hand. Let them set those expectations and call it out and put a spotlight on it, because what we know is that one of our core philosophies is: prospecting is a core activity, and one of the biggest weaknesses of most agencies is a lack of discipline around prospecting. So let's go back to the top: Bill Belichick. Leadership means building a team that's exhaustively prepared, but able to adjust on a dime. Number two, leadership means having the discipline to deploy your dependables. Build your team of dependables. People you know you can count on to get things done. Number three, leadership means being the boss. Now this is going to be interesting for some of you. Here's what he says. Belichick says, this principle came to him when he was just 23 addressing the Colts, I guess Indianapolis Colts, I don't know where they were at that point, as a special teams coach, and here's what he says: two players, one of them, a talented starter, spent the beginning of the meeting, giggling and chatting. On the inside Belichick recalls He was seething and he goes, I'm not afraid of these guys. It's either them or me. We can't run a team like this. And then finally he let loose: Look, either you shut up or get out of here. That's it. And he says, it worked and it was an Aha moment that has guided him since. He goes, I don't care if they're a star player. He says, I don't care who they are. And he goes, you have to set the tone. Well, this is kind of tough for a lot of people, because you're afraid, many times afraid, that you're going to lose a star performer or star producer, somebody who's a stud, a prima donna and that money's going to walk away and you go, it's not worth it. And hey look, we get it, but there's a reality in all this sort of stuff and that's where it kind of ties back to the dependables: Who your dependables? How do you create peer pressure on these guys as well, but also who's the boss and, and how you're going to handle that. So here's the next one that, now kind of really balances that went out. That leadership means being the boss. Number four, leadership means caring about everything going on in the lives of your people. And when I look at Bill Belichick and Nick Saban and coach K, you're going to find this theme going throughout it. It says, leadership means caring about everything going on in the lives of your people. He says, Bill Belichick strongly believes you must see your team, not as just players per se, but as people who have full three dimensional and often, listen to this, messy lives. There are a lot of things that affect what happens on the field that occur off the field. There's a lot of things that happen to producers in their lives that affect how well they perform as producers and he's gone on to say players, they have wives and girlfriends and they have babies and they have personal situations. They have parents who are sick and all of it runs together. So Bill Belichick is saying work and life, in other words, are inseparable. And it's incumbent on leaders to help their people sort through it. The more you and the organization can take care of personal situations, the smoother the ship runs on the football end. So this is the other side of it. And you're going to hear what Nick says and what coach K says here in a little while, about getting to know your people, make it about your people, learn your people, help them through life, not just help them through becoming a better 'producer'. That's what's going to help make the big difference. And, it's a huge deal. One of the things that we do in the iWin Agency Growth System to initiate that and get that going and make that even more real is what we call the Private Producer Portal where we're helping them map out their future. Now these professional football players that Belichick deals with, many of them are, some of them are already rich when they sign a contract, you know, they signed a five year, $5,000,000 a year contract, you know, some of the linemen even assigned the two and a half, $3,000,000 contracts, right? And so if they're going to be there for three years, that's 10 million bucks. If they handle it well, they're rich. So money might or might not be a big deal. I mean, how many NBA players did you hear that went bankrupt because they got big contracts, they spent it all and they got 30 cars and a 30,000 square foot home and anyway, you get the whole point. So money is a big point of stress for a lot of people. So in the Private Producer Portal, that's a part of the iWin Agency Growth System, we believe all about helping map out a producer, map out what's going to happen to their family and how much money it's going to take to to buy them cars and to pay for university and to pay for weddings and to fund their own retirement and get them clear on that and then be there to help them accomplish that through your sales culture. Help them, help them first of all, understand what they really want, and then help them build a plan to go get it. Because what he says: leadership means caring about everything going on in the lives of your people. It's not just how much they produce, but, what they produce and how it affects their life, their people, their family and all that sort of stuff. And then Number five - here goes: Leadership means never resting on your laurels. Ask Bill Belichick if he's still celebrating the stunning come from behind Superbowl victory in February and you get another "You're killing me here. Look, we're onto the next year and nobody cares about last year." You can't look back. We don't talk about last season, we don't talk about next week. We talk about today and we talk about the next game. That's all we can really control. So here you listen to that phrase: That's all we can really control. Here's what you're going to learn about Belichick, Saban and maybe coach K, but, Bill Belichick, and Nick Saban are both what I call stoics and a stoic is one that really recognizes what they can control, what they can't and all their time, energy and effort is focused on what they can control, not what they can't. You can't control how somebody feels about you. You can't control what the carriers are going to do. You can't control what technology is coming onto the market, what you can control, is what's within your focus of control. You can control your actions, you can control your decisions. That's what you can control. So Belichick's always talking about that's all we can really control. Focus on it. And he says it's okay to celebrate a big win, but get over it fast. So it's great to celebrate. Hey man, you just wrote a big account. Now let's get on with writing the next one. Let's focus on what's in your pipeline now. Who's the competition? Let me prepare you to go win. Go beat those guys. So Belichick, whether you like him or not and you know, you see them on TV along with Nick Saban and they both got this kind of growl on their face and you go, man, are they having any fun? And I'm going to let you be the judge. I think behind the scenes they're having a lot of fun and some great leadership things. I'm going to lay on a few quotes with you coming from Bill Belichick. I think this one's good. He goes, there's an old saying about the strength of the wolf is in the pack. I think there's a lot of truth to that. On a football team it's not the strength of the individual players, it's the strength of a unit and how they all function together. So when you think about growing your agency, the strength of the wolf is in the pack. The strength of the producer is in the agency. It's not just that individual person who can go out and knock on doors and do things, but the strength is how we all function together. How as a sales leader, you're making them think, as customer support you'll help them really build a value proposition and rocking it, man. Your customer support and account managers, they know our product of services. So now as a leader I can go out there and this is all pasted together. I mean, as a producer, I can go out there and I can go sell it with confidence that somebody there's backing me up, I can go sell it and knowing that my leader wants me to sell it and that beating the incumbent it's what it's all about, that the strength of the wolf is in the pack and the strength of the producer is oftentimes in a pack if they want to grow a big deal, grow a big book of business. Here's another interesting one. Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling. So what's the difference between character and talent? Talent is, I've got the ability to go do it, but character is being disciplined, doing the right thing, doing it over and over and over and so if you find talented people with a high floor that are also full of character and discipline, then you can have a very high performing team. So, and then I love this one and then we're going to wrap up on big Bill. He says, my personal coaching philosophy, my mentality has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice. However bad we can make them, I make them. So I thought about why, why would it be that way? Why would his personal coaching philosophy, his mentality be to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice? Well, it goes back to his number one leadership deal, you know, get them exhaustively prepared. Yeah, they're going to come up on some tough situations and so if I can make it tough for them in practice, when they get into game time, now they'll be able to play, because I've developed them. I've exhaustively developed them. And so that's why I feel that our CRISP sales meetings need to be as tough as they can be. You know, you're putting the opportunity up on the board. And here's why. Frankly, people asked me, well, why do you not like Salesforce.com and Microsoft dynamics and pipe drive and all those other tools out there. Well, they're fine. What they don't do is they don't make it easier for me as a leader to put that account up on the board where I've got the business and the buyers and the incumbent and then make that producer define and defend how they're better than that incumbent and you just think about this... If this were weightlifting, you would really expect that producer to get on the bench and push, right, and max out and build muscle and so in a sales meeting when you're sitting there making them max out, push to build that mental muscle about their strengths, the opponent's weaknesses and how they're going to go exploit that, what they're going to do to go win that piece of business. When you do that and you just keep making it as tough as possible, then what happens is your producers get tougher and they get better at articulating that differentiation. I've seen well over 100 agencies that have spent a ton of money on Succeed and Zywave and becoming a risk architect and in-house loss control and claims management. Not to mention wellness platforms and benefit administration systems and wellness type things and communication systems. And producers know we have them, but they don't know what those people do. They've never been made to articulate what those services really do and how it's better than the competition that has that same core service. So when you come back to this, my personal coaching philosophy, Bill says, my mentality, Bill says, has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice. So when we're in the house, when we're in OUR house, when we're in our CRISP sales meeting, we make them as bad as we can, because that's what makes them stronger. Look, if you're a producer, you really want a strong leader. That's who's going to develop you. If you're a leader, even though sometimes they resist it, people want strong leaders, unless they're just so insecure that they can't handle it. And so that's your opportunity and it goes back to the quote, The difference between where your agency is today and where it's going to be tomorrow and deep into the future is in direct proportion to your ability, Mr. Leader, Mrs. Leader, it's in proportion to your ability to lead and develop your sales team. Look, I know that you're saying, hey, Randy, I don't have time. I have my own book of business and that's where I make the majority of my money. I'm going, I know, and because of that your producers are not getting developed, so if you don't have a system that makes developing your producers easier for you, you won't do it, and my feeling is until you get some counter evidence that the iWin Agency Growth System is the only system where there's a one to one to one relationship between the training, the technology and the coaching. Here's what I mean by that. When we train a producer to go get Red Hot Introductions, then we're working them through: there you are, there's your client, your clients know those people. Now let's work through the mental barriers that are stopping you from asking a client to introduce you because getting introductions is not hard. Asking for introductions is the hard part. Producers feel something less than worthy. They've got some sort of mental barrier that's stopping them and it's not part of your culture, so then we train, let's come over to the mental barriers, and then strategically they spell it out. There's your client, who does your client know you want to meet? Okay, now let's talk about what you would say to get them to do it and then when they say they will, now coaching them through what you want them to say about you, so that that prospect wants to meet you, not because of a political favor, but because of what your client is saying about you. So now that's the training piece. Now, so if you train producers to do that and you'll leave all that database development on a piece of paper or you put it in the system that wasn't designed for it, now it makes it hard for the producer to manage it. It does. It just makes it hard for them to manage. Well, if it makes it hard for them to manage it, it makes it almost impossible for you as a leader to measure it. And if you can't measure it, then it makes it really, really hard for you to then coach them up. And here's what I mean by that. When you go to a producer and go, hey man, how's it going with Red Hot Introductions? Oh real good. Well, if you can't get right to what they've done, what they haven't done, support what they've done, coach what they haven't done, if you can't do that, then you're not going to be a very good coach and you can't delegate that coaching if you don't want to do it yourself. So when I say iWin Agency Growth System is the only platform out there where there's a one to one to one relationship between training, technology and coaching. And I'm always concerned when an agency leader gets blinded by the silver bells of the world largest CRM, where they get well here at salesforce.com we're the biggest platform on the planet and you can attach anything to it that you want and you can customize it to do anything and you can, you can, but you're going to spend in many cases, 100, $200,000 doing it and it still becomes clunky. It's like bolting things on to something and yet people get starry eyed and go, well, we're going to go with salesforce. So you can tell that I've lost some accounts to salesforce. And then when I call them back 12, 24, 36 months, they do that humina humina on me. Like, well, you know, we're still working on it. Well dude, not my clients. My clients are way beyond that. We're working on it. They're doing it , because this was built, the iWin Agency Growth system was built to drive growth in an insurance agency environment in a position where agency owners and leaders are really, really busy and they need all their training, all the technology, all their coaching right at their fingertips, prepared, planned and developed and ready to roll. So, hey, look, that was a shameless commercial, but I appreciate you listening to it, because if you want to grow your agency, we're here to help, here at The Wedge Group using the iWin Agency Growth System. Alright man, until next time, have a good one. This is Randy Schwantz. I'm signing off.