Are you the “GLUE” in your Agency?
After finishing the 3rd quarter reviews with my SGA’s and looking at the hierarchy charts, I have seen some significant changes in the shape of the American Income Life leadership teams this year. Whilst we have had some good foundational growth, it is clear is that we still need to work hard at both keeping agents and also assisting these new agents into their first leadership positions. For some of them this is the first leadership / management role they have had in their careers.
As leaders, one question we must ask ourselves daily is this: are we the “glue” in our agency? When dealing with independent contractors, it is vital that we recognize many of the working traits that we need to develop as leaders so that these traits become the “glue” to keeping people long enough to fall in love with the company and then recognize how much of a great career they can have with American Income Life and NILICO. Many of the actions that we have as leaders dictate how we are perceived, and this becomes the “glue” to people staying with our unique opportunity.
First impressions: It is critical that we make a good first impression. I am sure that you have all heard the expression “people buy from people”? Well at every level we are selling ourselves. It is not a surprise that the biggest part of a successful presentation is the rapport building aspect. It accounts for 40% of the sale. Why? Because if we do not make a good first impression, the rest of the sale becomes more challenging as we try to build that trust. It is no different with a first interview. Whilst everyone may not be a good fit for American Income Life, the ones that are need to feel good about their first meeting with you and feel like you are excited about the role you play and the career you are in. The first hand shake, the first hello, the first greeting, and especially all the first few weeks of a new agents career with you will decide if they like working with you and want to be part of your team. Make a BIG first impression.
Predictability: I regularly speak to my leadership teams on recognizing that they need to develop different skills in managing independent contractors versus W2 employees. It starts with making their work week as predictable as the environment many of the new hires came from. Craft a predictable routine in your agency and this will go a long way to improving the comfort level of each new hire.
Consistency: The more consistent you are with your actions within your agency, the quicker someone can learn. The longer you stay in any position, the easier it becomes. Teaching someone the ropes; continuing education on our products and the industry is the foundation for consistent performance. Be consistent with your messages to the new hires in motivating and encouraging them as they learn each new level of our business.
Dependable: Nothing builds trust better than saying and doing what you say you are going to do. Become dependable: dependable at turning up to the office in plenty of time for meetings, dependable to be on time in the field, always, dependable to write business each week, dependable to be there when things don’t quite go as well as you had hoped.
Optimism: Sometimes the margin for success in our business is literally one application. One application to give you one more week to bonus, one more week to get a pay check, one more week to get a promotion. It’s easy having a positive attitude during the good times. If you do not have a positive attitude during some of the bad times, people can sense something is wrong. Winners play with a whole different level of intensity; winners don’t ever show hurt; winners don’t ever stop; winners don’t ever show fear; Optimism can be learned. At AIL and NILICO we have so many reasons to be optimistic. Focus on the individual rewards of being associated with our companies, such as long term wealth building, residual income, unlimited earning potentials together with a multitude of awards and recognitions to lean towards a more optimistic view of your life and career.
Relationships: we say it all the time, but it really is a “relationship business”. I have seen some great relationships forged in this industry. Lifelong friends have been from people who have had nothing when they started other than someone else’s desire to help them be successful. THIS is the “glue”.
At the end of the day the barometer of how much “glue” you have in your American Income Life agency is the monthly growth in submitting agents. We are doing all we can to “buy time, all of the time” while attempting to forge committed, sustainable relationships with new agents and potential leaders. Focus on this key indicator and your agency will thrive, new agents will STICK around, they will STICK to American Income Life as a long term career, and STICK to you like GLUE!!!
“The glue that holds all relationships together – including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”
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