Insurance Agent Development 
Managing a system. Part 2

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Managing a system to achieve your goalsManaging a system

Why is it so important to follow and
use systems to achieve results? 

Managing a System as an Insurance Agency Manager, Recruiter or a Personal Producer is the key to developing a successful insurance agent or agency.

In any insurance sales organization, or for that matter in any sales organization, we have the managers and we have the personal producers (salespeople).

Both must learn how to manage systems to become successful.

So let's take a look at what managing a system means, and how managing a system can impact an agency manager, recruiter or a personal producer.

In Part 1, we already discussed the difference between
managing a system vs managing people?

Why Should Agency Managers Manage a System?

One of the biggest downfalls of most agency managers and insurance recruiters is that they are of the mindset that they should be managing people when they really should be managing a system. 

Let me give you an example.

In my agency building manual, just about every step in the recruiting and development of new agents, has a success system. A step by step procedure with timelines and requirements. (As an example: Study for insurance test, role playing phone calls, making joint phone calls, prospecting, running the interview and so on. All have precise timelines and deadlines, which need to be followed to the tee.

Lets look at a situation and see what an inexperienced 
manager might do?

In this example, let’s assume that the system (timeline) says that you are to complete a certain study lesson or a task by a specific date and the agent comes in and says:

  • “ I ran into a problem and was not able to complete the lesson on time because I had to babysit, take kids to school, etc”. 

The inexperienced manager will probably say:

  • well I understand, when do you think you will have it done?” (This is called managing the people and allowing their excuse to prevail.)

That manager just violated the main principle of managing the system. The system required that the agent complete this lesson by such and such a date, as laid out in the new agent development manual. By not completing this on time, this now sets the whole action plan behind. This can create a real problem if you are in the process of training several agents at one time.

What the manager done here is decided to “manage people” and not the system. The problem with managing people, and their excuses, is that you will be constantly dealing with new excuses, not meeting goals on time, with the end result being that you just started teaching your new agent that goals and timelines are not important. This leads to future management problems, whereas agents end up not completing deadlines, work units, meeting goals and so on.  

Then you wonder "why is my agency having so many problems" or "why do I keep losing people."  People want a strong manager, new agents respect a strong manager, someone to give them direction, someone that is fair, someone that is firm, but is not a dictator.

Remember, a leader is someone that will take a person to a place that they would not go by themselves.

You manage people by creating a positive environment, cheering on people, developing a win-win situation, positive reinforcement, showing them how to correct mistakes, etc. Those are managing the people skills. Don’t confuse this with managing a system.

What should have been done

When I was developing my new agents, and if one of them came in and did not complete a certain task on time, I would call them into my office and basically say. “Mr/s agent I have a problem. You did not complete your task as agreed upon, and that indicates to me that I don’t think you are taking this career opportunity seriously.

They will look at you kind of funny and say “What do you mean?”  I would respond by saying “I am making a 100% commitment to making you successful, but it seems to me, you are not 100% committed to me.” So what are we going to do about it?

I will let agent respond and then I would say. “The reason we have a successful dynamic agency is because we have a success program and a system. That system includes a new agent training system that lays out dates, timelines and goals. When you agreed to join our team, we both sat down and put together this timeline with your approval.

This is what is called a system. It was created to make you a successful agent on my team, as well as keep my agency development numbers on a success track. I can relate to your excuse, but maybe you should not have waited till the last minute to get this lesson completed.”  Going forward, I want you to consider that this is your first warning.  If you have any doubts about being able to follow our system, and cannot be 100% committed, I need to know.

I certainly understand if there was a family death, accident or something of that proportion, but if you continue to not be able to meet your deadlines and goals, we are on our way to failure before you start. Remember, you are now your own boss and you are working for yourself as a business person. Your income will be determined by how you manage yourself. Learning to follow a system and meet deadlines is the most important thing you can learn.

Why Should Personal producers Manage a System?

Now let’s talk about the personal producer and managing their system.

As a manager, you need to help layout a complete system for that new agent. Do not expect that a new agent knows how to do this. Think back to all the things you needed help on, that you learned over time and now are just automatic. This is usually reason number one that most new agents fail.  Mr/s manager just assumes a new agent can build their own plan by themselves.

Below is one part of a producing agents system.

It is called a work unit. Lets take a close look at this work unit. This work unit is the criteria that new and existing agents need to use to meet their income needs. This work unit is basically what is required by a new inexperienced agent.  As the agent gains more experience, the numbers in this work unit will become more productive. 

As a Personal Producer, You Have to Learn to be Two People 

As a personal producer, I read somewhere that you need to be two people. You have to be your own manager and then you have to be your own employee. Sort of a schizoid.

In other words, you must learn to be your boss and you employee at the same time.

You must first be your own boss. The boss sits down, takes out a yellow pad and puts down in writing what the employee must do this coming week. That employee is your other self.

Let me explain. First of all, as a personal producing agent, you, the boss, needs to build a daily action plan. That action plan consists of the many tasks that the employee (the other you) must do every day and every week. It is the system you will follow to become successful at your career. Having a good book keeping system to check your results every week, every month. Development of a system to create a continuous supply of prospects (inventory) to see every week, and so on. 

Bottom line is that a producing agent  needs to have/create a system, manage the system and fine tune that system, then follow it. This is one of the reason I developed my agency building manual. It has all the systems and shows all the steps required to be a manager and develop personal producers. In fact many of the modules can be used by new agents to help them with their day to day system development plan.

So there it is. This is what is called managing a system and not the people.

Please feel free to pass this article on to other people you may know in the insurance business. They will appreciate it.

Have a great day. 

Ted Wolk, website author and creator 

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