Effective leadership is essential
There should be one person within your business that has ultimate responsibility for leading the charge in winning new clients and this responsibility shouldn’t be abdicated, shared or delegated. It will only work if this individual takes the lead and is empowered for creating and bringing to life your “winning new clients” operational rhythm.
This individual sets the direction, agrees the proposition, creates the culture, decides the targets, leads the action, sets the meetings, agrees the language, holds people accountable to what they said they were going to do, encourages, reprimands and coaches. Not an easy ask, but it’s essential for someone to make “winning new clients” a successful part of your overall strategy. Many brokers don’t do this, which leads to a blame culture.
Find the time – no excuses
It’s too easy to come up with excuses as to why you can’t find the time to focus on winning new clients. It’s far easier (and you won’t get hurt) in servicing existing clients but wake up, look yourself in the mirror and work out who you are trying to fool. Yes, hunting for new business is tough. Yes, you are going to suffer rejection but as you’ve seen from my first blog, it’s a fact that in the absence of winning new clients, your business will go backwards.
Set yourself goals – if you are making outbound calls then do it together as one team, at one time of the week. No excuses (unless death or holiday) for not attending and completing your required activity.
Make sure that you book sales meetings into the diary for the whole year and begin with weekly meetings, moving to monthly when they begin to have a rhythm and are working correctly. Everyone should attend these meetings, so make sure they are compulsory and don’t take any excuses.
By taking these couple of actions you are now forcing yourself to start some dedicated activity.
Working together as one united team will enable you to learn together, win together and lose together. Rejection is bound to happen, but it will hurt less when you share the experience and work out together what you could do better next time.
When working together, make sure you reframe rejection. If you all understand that from every 10 phone calls you make, you will get four appointments, two quotes and one win that generates an average commission of £1,000, then every call you make (no matter what the outcome) you will have generated £100 commission. So celebrate rejection, it’s the fastest £100 you are likely to make!
Set achievable targets
Many businesses operate “team” targets but then no individual is accountable and under-performers will be rewarded alongside your high-achievers. This feels fair to the poor performers but unfair to your best. Individual targets generally work far better.
Effective targets should be both achievable and motivating and ideally are based on historical trends. If you’re setting them for the first time, then set them low as this can quickly build confidence and believability.
Target both inputs and outputs, if the outputs (new business commission) are ahead of targets then don’t worry too much about the inputs. But, when you are off target take a look at the inputs (conversion, lead to quote or number of leads generated). Identify where you are falling behind and correct it.
Review targets and results frequently, praise and reward along the way and at each milestone.
Keep sales meetings short and to the point. Why not try standing up meetings? Believe me, they go a lot quicker! Keep focussed, these meetings should only contain numbers – ‘how much commission will you win this week against your target?’, ‘how much commission will you win next week against your target?’ etc.
You can cover off any under / over performance outside of the meeting. As the leader, you can decide what assistance you can provide, it might be helping with an insurer’s quote or to roleplay how the client meeting might go, and this way you keep your meetings strategic. Your staff own their numbers, not you, this makes them accountable for their performance.
Initially, success will come in many forms, celebrate each small win along the way. Once you are up and running things will feel more natural and it won’t be long before you are regularly winning and the culture of your business will have changed significantly. Now you’re growing.
Click here to read my first blog on new business and why it’s critical to the survival of any broking business.