The Nadelhoffer Family (pictured above) joined Brightway as Agency Owners last year opening Brightway, The Nadelhoffer Family Agency in Warrenville, Ill.
by Leslie Kolleda
Vice President of Agency Growth & Development at Brightway Insurance
Like with any business, owning your own insurance agency is empowering.
And, like with any business, you wear multiple hats. One day you’re a business planner, the next an accountant, the next a marketer, the next a data analyst, and so on.
Have you ever thought of what it would be like to just wear the owner hat, encouraging your team to sell new business and reach their potential?
Leveraging the business platform that the leader in insurance distribution, Brightway, has built, can empower you to do just that, even if insurance is new to you.
Brightway has been helping entrepreneurs build powerhouse insurance enterprises since 2008. Here are tips you can follow to help ensure you’re on the road to #winning. If you'd like to learn more about joining Brightway, fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
1- Take the time to know your customers’ needs
Sure, industry knowledge is imperative when it comes to selling insurance, but what’s equally important is listening. If you don’t know your customers how can you give them what they need? Because our agents are given the freedom to focus on selling, they are able to take the time to build strong relationships with their customers and truly become their insurance advisors.
2- Build relationships with referral resources
Focus on the quality of your connections versus the size of your network of connections. Make a schedule that includes dedicated time to building new relationships in your community, and ask your connections how you can be of service to them – most referral relationships are mutually beneficial, but even sharing some of their social media content is a quick and easy way to assist, for example.
We provide our agents with resources, tips and training to help them maximize their referral efforts. For example, an Open House handout allows our agents to provide competitive quotes for Homeowners insurance on properties for sale, helping home buyers understand their total cost of home ownership. The form is available in Brightway’s Marketing Resource Center and is completely automated, giving our agents a quick and easy way to produce turnkey marketing materials.
3- Use the power of social media
Posting a “Happy 4th of July” message on Facebook won’t cut it as a meaningful social media strategy. Think about what your audience likes and what is engaging to them. A silly meme may seem too far of a stretch for an insurance agency to post but there are many ways to make things relevant to your business. One of the most engaging pieces of content Brightway’s Marketing team posted on our franchisees’ Facebook pages was a play on the famous Game of Thrones Starbucks cup goof.
4- Avoid distraction of unimportant details
Sometimes we distract ourselves by over-analyzing things that have no relevant impact on our business. Always keep the big picture in mind. Ask yourself- will this have an affect on me, my employees or my customers? If the answer is no, move on or delegate.
5- Use tools that remove the guesswork
Finding talented Producers is tough. Either you’re highly skilled at it or you should be using a tool that makes you great at it. At Brightway we invested in a new tool that helps our franchisees assess talent from outside the industry by measuring sales and cognitive ability. Further, we’ve benchmarked the tool using our most successful agents, providing everyone in the Brightway system with a “measuring stick” against which to compare candidates. We believe this tool, that we make available to franchisees at no cost, will revolutionize both how we recruit and the level of talent we hire.
6- Cut the cord quickly
Fail fast. And that means firing people quickly. Not letting go of underproducing staff in an efficient timeframe is costing you time and money and can lead to low morale within your agency.
7- Embrace a growth mindset
Embrace the philosophy that “challenges help me to grow and I can learn to do anything I want. Like any new business owner will tell you, it takes time to build something great. Move quickly, fail fast and learn. This will help you grow.
We seek out people with a growth mindset to partner with – our experience tells us they are the most successful franchisees. If you have already adopted this philosophy in your life, you are more than likely a perfect partner for us.
8- Don’t fall into the fixed mindset trap
The sky’s the limit unless you’ve told yourself it isn’t. The property/casualty industry is a $900 billion opportunity. The sky is literally the limit. It’s Brightway’s mantra.
About the author
Leslie Kolleda has over 32 years’ property/casualty insurance experience. At Brightway she leads all franchisee-supporting groups including Franchise Marketing and Sales, Onboarding, Agency Support, Agency Development, Agent Training, Marketing/Social Media and PR/Communications/Web.
Throughout her career, she’s been instrumental in building tools to help independent agents throughout the country grow profitably. She brings that experience forward as she leads her teams in helping Brightway business partners grow as quickly as possible, starting with comprehensive onboarding and supporting them throughout their careers with world-class marketing and sales tools and consulting.
Leslie was named one of the Women in Franchising, leaders influencing the franchise business model, by Franchise Business Review.