Never forget this fact: “Where you are in life and in business today, are direct reflections of how you have handled your personal and professional weaknesses.”
I'm going to say something that many of you will disagree with, here it is “Growing a successful insurance agency is easy when you have the right personalities, tools, and processes working effectively. Once those items are in place, all you have to do is locate the markets that best fit your carriers.” How can I be so sure, because I see it every day in my partner agencies, and in the member agencies of Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring
Last week’s blog post was very well received and even plagiarized a few times, so please remember that this blog series is being created and written by Billy R. Williams, Ph.D., President of Williams Family Agency Investment Group, and Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring. Don’t have time to read the blog post? Click here and I will read it to you!
Today were going to discuss the personality piece of the statement I said above.
In business you need 3 types of personalities working at all times
- Hunters - Aggressively pursue new opportunities – these are people, processes, and tools that locate and drive your new business sales
- Gatherers – Passively pursue new opportunities – will gather all of the important information necessary to conduct business if it comes to them, and work best when working within clearly defined structure and processes.
- Nurturers – Avoid pursuing new opportunities, but enjoy servicing current relationships and like to keep current customers happy.
While I use the word personality, a hunter, gatherer, or nurturer doesn't have to be a person, it can be a tool or process that you put in place to perform the specific function of that personality type. Within the Inspire a Nation membership we see all types, so pay attention to your agency’s dominant personality type and my suggested solutions.
We all have a dominant personality type. When things are going good in our agency we tend to be a hybrid of our two strongest personality types, usually it isn't until we hit pressure situations or things go terribly wrong that our dominant personality type really takes over.
Let's look at the strengths, weaknesses, and identify some solutions to cover the weaknesses of the different personality types:
Strengths: Aggressively pursue new opportunities, are always trying to locate new business, look for retention and referral opportunities, they always look for direct, pointed, solution driven conversations with customers and prospects
Weaknesses: Hunters don’t wait for things to line up perfectly before taking action. They understand that taking action will force the situation to work out one way or another. They have to be careful as this way of doing things can often lead to rash decisions and impulse buys, if their ego is not “kept in check” hunters will over commit and under deliver as they believe they have the talent and skills to overcome any obstacle, hunters like to hunt and close but are usually bad at the small details like after the sale follow-up, they prefer to hand the deal off to someone else to do the paperwork and legwork.
Solutions: Don’t clutter up your hunter with details and requirements that stop them from hunting. Hire a gatherer personality type, or put gatherer type tools in place to support your hunter(s), give them a specific amount of time each day to focus on hunting tasks, hunters like trophies, so make sure you are prepared to reward their positive hunting results with compliments, bonuses, and public acknowledgement. (Members – Review Green Time Tasks for Licensed Sales Producers – Process 3C, and The Top Producing Processes for an agency – Foundational Video 2)
- Gatherers :
Strengths: Passively pursue new opportunities, if the business is handed to them or falls in their lap they will work it effectively, work best when working within clearly defined structure and processes, they are very detailed oriented, you never have to worry about the T’s not being crossed, or the I’s not being dotted.
Weaknesses: Gatherers want the prospect or deal given to them, they will close the deal if it is put in front of them, but they will not aggressively hunt down new business opportunities, gatherers like to see all of the specifics and details of a situation before they take action, this can often lead to paralysis by analysis, they keep track of all communications and records associated with the prospect or customer and can easily get bogged down in the details if left unchecked.
Solutions: Give them a hunter person or tasks to support and let them fulfill all of the promises your hunter made to customers and prospects, (i.e., don’t try to make them a telemarketer, let them follow-up the leads the telemarketer drives to the agency) let them setup and create the mailings that go out, transfer x-sell or retention opportunities that come into the agency to them, but don’t expect them to ask every call-in or walk-in for a x-sell or up-sell opportunity, put tools in place that will start the conversation for them and let them finish the conversation (Members – This is why we use the Permission to Contact/Optional Coverage Form – Process 14A, and outsourced marketing programs if we have an agency filled with gatherers)
Strengths: Enjoy servicing current customers and relationships and like to keep current customers happy, they are very patient with problem customers, and will stay on the phone as long as it takes to rectify a problem. They are awesome when it comes to retention in the agency; they like non threatening or demanding tasks, and are very social when it comes to customers, prospects, and other staff members.
Weaknesses: Nurturers only wants to work with existing customers and try to avoid prospecting of any kind including basic cross-sell conversation, (an example of a nurturer process would be an agency that mails a policy review form to customers to avoid having a sales or service conversation) Nurturers feel that they are harassing the customer if they try to cross-sell them or introduce new products to the customer, they fight any new processes or change to the status quo, will usually point out why something will not work before giving it a chance, nurturers will overpromise and under deliver also, but not because of ego, but because they want to get away from the emotionally uncomfortable situation as quickly as possible. They need a gatherer to support them as well.
Solutions: Every agency needs nurturer type staff and/or processes; you just can’t grow your agency if this is the dominant personality in your agency. You must use outsourced marketing tools because you will never turn a nurturer into a hunter, the best you can hope for is to make them a hybrid of a gatherer/nurturer but even that might be asking too much. You also need a gatherer supporting them to finish what a nurturer avoids, nurturers are not motivated by money but by emotional comfort, so putting elaborate commission and bonus plans will not produce any more sales. They are there to support existing customers and keep your retention strong, let them do what they do, and hire gatherers and hunters, or outsource as much as possible in the agency. (Members – review Foundational Video 2 - Top Producing Processes and our Recommended Vendors)
In summary: You need all 3 types of personalities working in your agency at all times, but you must cover the weaknesses that come with each personality in order to maximize your agency’s growth.