Doctor, I think I Have The Shingles!!
Every day, we receive calls from agents who have read the PIPELINE and other trade press containing various agency management articles that I have authored. They are certain that they need the specific topic covered in the article.
“My producers can’t seem to sell. I need a Compensation Program that will motivate them.”
“We’re sure we need a Marketing Plan. We can’t seem to grow anymore.”
“We’re quoting more than ever. It’s taking a lot of the producer’s time and the CSRs seem to be too busy to do it. Do we need a Placer or Marketing Department?”
“Last night I watched a hospital drama and I’m sure my symptoms point to the flu, shingles, a heart attack or the Black Plague. What shall I do?”
All of these comments (except for the last one) are almost verbatim from recent calls to Agency Consulting Group, Inc. Of course we do Incentive Compensation Programs, Producer Compensation, Marketing and Growth Plans and Organizational Development. But if I simply agreed and scheduled consults around these subjects, I may have been doing the agents more harm than good.
If you feel physically out of sorts, go to a trusted doctor, tell him the symptoms and let him give you as thorough a check-up as needed to peg down the real problem and solution. I strongly urge you to do the same with your trusted agency consultant.
When you tell your consultant the “symptoms” that you feel need addressed in your agency he should respond by asking to come and visit you for a few days, talk to your staff, and review your current methods, procedures, and programs. If he is a real consultant, he will diagnose your agency’s condition and provide you with solutions that will address the root of the problem as well as the symptoms.
But how do you know whether the consultant is actually analyzing your agency and tailoring recommendations to your specific and unique needs – or – whether he is wasting your time and your money and giving you “boilerplate” recommendations?
Any professional consultant will tell you what and how he is analyzing and for what purpose. The GPP covers the following agency operations:
Financial Operation Analysis
Book of Business Analysis
Market and Marketing Analysis
Producer and Production Analysis
Staffing and Productivity Analysis
Procedure and Workflow Analysis
Each category of analysis checks a different set of conditions and operations within your agency. They must all be done because, like some physical ailments, each specific test combines with the others to identify the complex strengths and weaknesses in your agency. The consultant should use the results to substantiate his findings and recommendations. He should NEVER be able to regurgitate a pre-printed program that is the solution to your specific problem. Every recommendation is tailored to your specific agency and your specific need. Even if one or more “treatments” are suggested to solve your problem, the consultant must judge how the different recommendations will interact with one another in tandem with the rest of your operation.
As the agency owner you are absolutely the best person to determine if there is something wrong with your agency. But in either case, let a professional conduct the appropriate analysis and prescribe the right treatment to get you back on your feet.
Please call us 800-779-2430 if you’re feeling “a little out of sorts” (your agency, not your physical condition). The “doctor” is always in and we’d be happy to provide you a GPP Analysis, identify the source of your problem and help you implement a solution.