Time Or Money?
So, what is more important to you? More money or more time?
I remember being asked this question years ago and my first response was more money. That may be the correct answer in the short term, but time is much more important than money.
But what if I could help you get both? Well, this comes up frequently in my coaching calls and I wanted to share with all of you.
I think it is vital that you create a business that allows you to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. As fast as everything moves and with all the changes that happen almost on a daily basis, it’s hard sometimes to imagine how you go about creating more time for yourself. I will concur that it is not easy, but for most of you, the sooner you get started, the better.
I think we all know that duplication and delegation is key in an agency. You can only do so much yourself. You have to have people in positions to help you sell new policies and service your customers.
But it goes well beyond that if you want real freedom.
To create more time for yourself, you need an integrator. You need someone who can be a second set of ears and eyes for you and can help you implement your vision. THIS is the key to creating more time.
Think about all the things that you do all day long. How many of those things can be taught to someone else? The answer is simple. Every single one of them. You just need to hire, train, and develop someone to do it. And yes, you may have to go through a few people to find the right one.
This person could be someone currently on your team or it could be someone that you need to bring in from outside your agency. How do you decide? Well, many times agency owners make the mistake of simply promoting their best sales person or the person that “knows how to do everything”. Just because someone is great at sales or has a lot of knowledge does not mean they will be a great integrator.
A great integrator is someone that has a couple of key characteristics. One – you have to trust them. This is imperative. Without trust, it is very difficult to share information and have them execute your plan with loyalty and integrity. Two – they have to be able to influence other people. If they can not influence others, they are going to struggle mightily, and the entire process is going to be very frustrating for everyone involved.
A few tips for you:
1. Never put someone in this position until they have sold and serviced policies. Someone can be an amazing coach, but they need to have credibility and the respect of the team, or they will have a difficult time.
2. Once you have identified someone who you think has potential, instead of promoting them and changing their comp right away, have them lead a meeting. Watch how your team responds to them. If your team is staring at the floor with their arms crossed, that’s not a good sign. However, if they are engaged, listening, and asking questions, that is a great sign. Again, evaluate their ability to influence others.
3. Once you have made the decision to promote, do everything you can to take them out of production. It is very difficult to manage and develop a team of people while also being asked to produce, and it can actually create animosity amongst your group. If they don’t have enough people to manage without producing, then you should probably question whether you need someone in this position at this particular time. Maybe you should focus your time on developing their skill set while they produce until you do have enough people for them to manage.
4. Pay them correctly. Instead of just paying them a percentage of the premium written every month, consider paying them a flex bonus where part of their monthly compensation changes from month to month based on key metrics. You want them aligned with you as much as possible. You will likely need to leverage comp to make that happen. Need a hire? Make that a metric. Need a new hire to get up to speed? Make that a metric. Need to increase bundling? Make that a metric. Give yourself the flexibility to change the metric each month as priorities and circumstances change so you both stay aligned.
5. Development. Let them fail forward. Allow them to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Don’t bail them out every single time. Failures produce lessons and help people develop faster. A great tip here is to also have them record their interactions. If they do a coaching session with a team member or conduct an interview with a prospect, have them use their phone to gather the audio (or record via zoom) so the two of you can review later and look for areas of opportunity to improve.
There is obviously a lot more to developing an integrator, but if you truly want to have freedom and ultimately more time, THIS is the key to making that happen. And if you do it right, not only will you have a lot more time, your cashflow will likely increase as well.
If I can help, reach out anytime.