ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

KEEPING MOTIVATED IN THE FACE OF CRISES AND CHALLENGES

Motivation is easy when retention is strong and new business is flowing in. But what do you do when customers are lost, through no fault of your own, and there are no new clients on the horizon?

One of the defining features of successful entrepreneurs inside and outside of the insurance industry is how they handle failure and challenges.

Even life’s greatest crises, the ones that knock us down in business or personal life, eventually fade and we regain equilibrium. Look back on your worst times and you’ll find that, eventually, the tide turned again and successes returned. The defining factor is always how you react to the crisis. Many agents are Type A personalities, which are prone to depression and extremes when negative things occur in their lives. And during those negative times, the negative energy migrates from owner to employees and tends to build upon itself – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you look back at the crises in your life, whether business or personal, you reach a point where you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and blaming others for your condition. Stop being counter-productive and shake it off. Begin doing things that translate into positive activities. Eventually, small achievements turn into great victories. The motivation of your employees relies on the positive atmosphere you set forth. When you pick yourself up and regain your equilibrium it is as if a door opens and allows fresh air into your building. Your staff shakes off the doldrums when you do and their overall productivity heightens which manifest success which shows the strength of your agency. You start selling insurance again and talking to your clients again, gaining their good will – and referrals.

Crises and bad times will continue to occur in each of our lives as agency owners. You may feel personally depressed, unmotivated and have thoughts of playing golf, fishing, take vacations, or do pretty much anything that will keep you from agency responsibilities. These responsibilities may be the center of your depression. As Oprah so eloquently say, “You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others’”.

Prevent being infectious to your employees, keep doing the mechanics of agency and customer relationship management. The simple mechanics of the activity that makes your agency operate will become the salve and the cure for the curse of depression.

Most agents are not GREAT motivator, nor are they poor motivators. They are friendly people who enjoy helping others and making a living from the resulting sales. This means that they are much better motivators when times are good than when times are bad. If the agents can keep a positive center during challenging times, those negative hurdles will be overcome faster. Just as when you have a cold, taking medicine may not make you feel better, plenty of rest and fluid will get you back on your feet. It doesn’t make sense to exert yourself while in the throes of an illness; it also doesn’t make sense to do the very things that make you feel badly when you are already feeling badly.

The benefit to continuing your work routine even when facing a crisis is that you will begin to feel better faster and will work through the challenges much quicker than you would by feeling sorry for yourself. The organizational benefit is that you will allow your staff to continue their roles without catching your depression and this, too, will convert your bad times into normal times again.

The next time you lose a big account immediately go to visit your top five customers and let them vent their business frustrations instead of you venting yours. Remember, they consider you an asset and a supporter. At the moment of your personal crisis, they consider you strength. This will bolster your flagging confidence and you will realize that no single issue will destroy you or your organization and reputation.