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Standardize, Systematize, Automate

A while back, I wrote about becoming a 21st century producer. In that post, I explained how clients are thinking differently now due to technology. They want goods and services faster and more conveniently. As insurance professionals, we have to build an online presence in a now consumer-driven world. We have to change our sales pitches to a more casual, conversational approach and find another way to distinguish the material in those pitches from information that clients can access online by themselves. Most of all, we have to create unmatched value. The new agent must differentiate.

With tons of time being spent on adjusting, differentiating, and marketing online, many already-busy agents are having trouble staying afloat. In other words, many agents don’t have room on the schedule to maintain a website, blog, Twitter account and Facebook page while juggling the rest of their daily tasks, handling existing clients and prospecting for new ones.  It can be overwhelming. You’re not alone.

You may have heard of the saying, “Wash, rinse, and repeat” before. But today, I’d like to introduce the “Standardize, systemize, automate” system. This method will help you optimize your agency and obtain the desired results.

Step 1: Standardize

Every single person in your company should talk to clients the exact same way. It doesn’t matter if it’s you and a partner or with two dozen individuals working for you. Every one of them, including the receptionists, must buy in and deliver the same message. If messages are delivered differently, there’s disconnect.

You must find consistency. We’ve standardized everything from marketing materials to emails—right down to the header and footer of a message. Now, each has the same look and feel. If something goes wrong while you have a standardized and consistent system in place, it’s very easy to see what broke and where it happened.

Step 2: Systematize

Create a checklist of everything that you’re in the process of doing and everything that needs to be done. If your system works, and it works for a consistent amount of time, you will have your desired results. If you have those in place, the next step is very simple.

Step 3: Automate

There’s a system in place, and it’s both standardized companywide and working well. Now it’s time to automate what you can. It sounds odd, but the less you have a human involved in something, the less chance there is to mess it up.

One of the most efficient ways to automate your processes is to leverage technology to create time. While it’s true that we want to remove the human component from certain areas, we don’t want to completely remove it. We simply want to remove ourselves from one area in order to create more time in others … like human interaction and building relationships.

Instead, our precious time usually goes towards things like answering phone calls and responding to emails. Imagine how much more time you would have to create and maintain a relationship if you didn’t have to sort through 100 emails per day.

Without the time to establish those relationships with customers, you’re not as valuable, and thus, your business is not as effective.

“Where Do I Start?”

Start simple. Try starting with your email.

Create folders and systems (step two) that help automate your daily tasks. The items and tasks that can be forwarded to others should be. The tasks and projects that can be handled by an assistant should be delegated.

It takes time to get your process set up. But once you have a reliable and standardized system in place, you’ll be freed up for more time with clients. Once you’re done, it’s a self-replicating process and one that is simply more efficient. With more time, you can create that value that differentiates you from your competition.

About Ryan Pinney

Ryan Pinney
Ryan J. Pinney is a five-year MDRT member with five Top of the Table qualifications. A regular contributor to financial publications such as, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business News, as well as, he is a sought after expert in using technology to drive insurance business and streamline the application and underwriting processes. He leverages his experience with search engine optimization, social media, and online marketing to assist agents and agencies alike create their online presence and profit from it. Utilizing the same principals and technology his firm provides to agents, his agency sold more than 16,000 policies direct-to-consumer over the internet last year.

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