Super Agent

Posts Tagged ‘communication’

Face-to-Face

With the rise of new communication technologies and the Internet, face-to-face interaction has been largely replaced by conference calls, emails, or text messages. But, although these modes of communication are necessary and important, don’t underestimate the value of engaging with someone in person.

In one of our first blog posts, we talked about an agent with a difficult issue who discussed the challenge with us and set a strategy for moving forward. Then, the agent asked: “Should I send my client an email detailing what we’ve discussed?”

In these types of situations, where important issues need to be resolved or discussed, an email doesn’t leverage the most powerful aspects of communication. In an article on Forbes, contributor Carol Goman wrote: “In face-to-face meetings, our brains process the continual cascade of nonverbal cues that we use as the basis for building trust and professional intimacy. Face-to-face interaction is information-rich. We interpret what people say to us only partially from the words they use. We get most of the message (and all of the emotional nuance behind the words) from vocal tone, pacing, facial expressions and body language.”

Investing your time and attention with your clients by having a conversation in person is the best way to resolve the tough issues. And, it’s also important to check in (in-person) periodically with your most important clients in order to sustain and grow the business relationship.

When was the last time you had a face-to-face meeting with a long-time client? Did you have an in-person meeting with a client the last time you were working to resolve a big issue?

Define Your Expectations

One of the biggest challenges and frustrations facing agency principals today is the failure of producers to perform. Producer sales goals aren’t being met, pipelines are weak and renewals are increasingly difficult. Unfortunately, most agencies don’t have an effective process in place to enhance producer performance.

There are a number of important strategies that can be incorporated into an on-boarding process or training program for existing producers, but the first step is to define your expectations.

If you’re focusing only on the revenue, you’re not setting your producers up for success. If other, more fundamental expectations are insisted on, then revenues will most likely be met. So, what expectations should you communicate to your team?

- Adhere to a sales/agency culture. Without a doubt, producers who are the most destructive to agencies are the ones who erode the agency brand. Failure to communicate the agency’s value proposition and follow the sales process can lead to decreased differentiation and confusion in the marketplace.

- Work only with right-fit clients that the agency has the capabilities to service effectively and consistently. Producers that use resources on deals that aren’t likely going to close or are a poor fit threaten the foundation of their agency.

- Develop and execute action plans to reach objectives and grow professionally. Producers who are expected to include performance activities on their calendars such as phone calls, first appointments, messaging campaigns, and networking opportunities are more likely to perform well.

“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our expectations.” – Earl Nightingale

 

When Sales Becomes Marketing

Originally, the internet was a warehouse of information—a one-way street where the average consumer could research and read but rarely contribute. Fast forward to today, and it has dramatically evolved into a place of constant engagement, communication and two-way interaction. Because of this, marketing has also significantly changed. When was the last time you checked out a review on Amazon before making the decision to buy? Have you ever noticed an ad on your Facebook newsfeed targeted specifically for you?

Whereas two-way communication was, at one time, only possible in sales, marketing is now also becoming more of a conversation. As new technology develops, the line between sales and marketing has become blurred. Attraction and early nurturing can be considered marketing, and although “inside sales” techniques can be effective, it’s important to discuss the dangers as well.

Here are a few questions to consider:

- Are you diminishing your role in the sales process “because most clients know what they want already”?

-Are you leaving out the opportunity for the prospect to self-discover risks to their business?

Prospects still need producers to be leaders, to move them away from a dangerous path, offer innovative ideas and find creative ways to help them improve their business.

According to Giovanni Rodriguez, Forbes.com contributor, “Salespeople will always be necessary with complex, expensive purchases, anything requiring customization, special services or “high impact” purchases…But as always, superior marketing will greatly assist the sales efforts of every company”