Goals are vital to the success of any business. Without targets to aim for, you'll easily end up adrift and unsure whether you're on the right course.
When it comes to selling insurance, you need goals that will keep you focused on adding new clients and providing your existing ones with even better service. But how do you decide what to aim for? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you make sure you achieve them?
Let's look at a few key aspects of your agency that need some regular goal-setting, and a few key practices to keep you on course to hit those targets.
Before you set your goals, it's helpful to think about the different types of business targets you might have in the first place. Understanding whether your goal relates to general business, operations, marketing, or sales will help you keep your priorities on track and plan accordingly.
General business goals are some of the most common targets in the insurance industry. For individual agents and agencies, these might look like:
Business goals don’t always have to be revenue-based. For instance, you might decide that you want to set a goal for team member growth or achieve a set number of certifications for all agents. Any objectives that will help your business thrive typically fall under this category.
Reviewing your historical data can help you set current goals. Some examples to jump-start the brainstorming process include:
These goals may target different aspects of your business, but they all aim to help your agency succeed.
Your operations are the heart of your business. It’s where things happen and where you render your services.
Despite how critical your operations are, setting goals for this particular area often goes ignored. Agents and agencies tend to focus on execution and forget about how their operations affect their overall success.
Operational goals can reflect several aspects of your business, such as customer satisfaction, process consistency, team growth, administrative efficiency, and more. The idea is to set your sights on improving the service and operations of your agency.
Are you having trouble coming up with operational goals? Some examples to help you get started include:
All businesses should focus on providing exceptional customer service. Your agency's operations play a big part in whether you can deliver.
In the past, most agencies relied on word-of-mouth advertising. Satisfied customers told their friends and families about their experiences. If that customer knew someone in search of similar insurance products, they’d recommend you.
While this is still one of the most effective and cheapest forms of marketing, people do things differently today. The rise of the internet and social media means that insurance agencies need to adapt their strategies. and make more “noise.” You have to be louder than your competition so that your target audience will find you over the other guys.
In any agency, marketing drives sales. Therefore, you need to have solid, strategic marketing goals. Here are a few ideas
Sales goals revolve around — you guessed it — sales. You might decide that you want to set quarterly revenue goals, sell a certain number of new policies each week, or create seasonal sales goals around the open enrollment period. The more specific you are, the better. If you’re wondering how to create sales goals, some examples to consider include:
Is your overall business goal sales-related? Maybe you’re looking to close a specific number of sales or reach a target revenue. If so, setting sales goals can help you find the incremental steps you need to achieve it.
Besides just setting goals for your business, how you decide your goals and set out to achieve them can have a big impact on your success (or lack thereof). Here are some tips to help you stay on target.
While there’s nothing wrong with setting broader goals like “earn greater trust from our customers,” you’ll also want to have some specific, quantifiable goals too. Quantifiable goals are the ones that are the easiest to measure. They also make it easier to know whether you’re staying on target and help your team members connect with those goals.
Quantifiable goals help you more readily measure your success as an insurance agency. Whether you’re setting overall business goals, sales goals, marketing goals, or operational goals, keep them as specific as possible. Make sure that you have something you can measure so you can monitor your progress.
Whether you're running an agency or operating as an independent agent, you should have a business plan that includes a mission statement and a vision statement. Your mission statement outlines what you do, while your vision statement describes where you’re going.
Going a little deeper, your mission statement offers a brief description of your agency’s fundamental purpose. In essence, it articulates why you exist for those on your team and for those you serve. For example, you might have a mission statement along the lines of “We aim to provide our customers with excellent coverage and claims handling through careful and diligent underwriting of risks.”
Your vision statement is a sentence or short paragraph that describes your agency’s goals. It essentially serves as a standard for all of your actions as a business. Your vision statement might be: “We strive to be an essential part of our local community and serve our clients with the best possible service, highest respect, and unparalleled professional advice.”
Any goals you set should help you carry out your mission and achieve your vision. For this reason, you should never lose sight of your mission and vision statements — your long-term focus and purpose — when you’re creating goals for your agency. Stay true to your identity. Set goals strategically to help you advance your mission and your vision.
If you don’t work alone, you shouldn’t keep your agency goals from others on your team. Make your plan public to everyone at the company. After all, how can a team achieve anything if they don’t know what you’re aiming to do? Everyone needs to be on the same page so you can put forth a united front.
How do you keep everyone on the same page? It takes consistent effort and constant communication. Talk strategy, share results, coach, give pep talks, and troubleshoot issues. Don’t forget to take the time to celebrate your successes, too. You might also consider offering incentives to encourage your team members to go above and beyond.
Don’t just talk the talk, though. Model what you want to see your team do, and they’ll follow your lead.
In many cases, a little extra training can go a long way. It could be just the thing your team needs to achieve the goals you set for your agency.
Training can take different forms. Depending on your budget and needs, you can invest in online education for your team members or bring in a professional to work with them on best practices in the industry. You might also send them to workshops or networking events. Either way, it's a valuable investment that will challenge your team to think critically about what will drive the highest results.
As a leader, you also need to invest in yourself. Take online courses or attend lectures and events that can help you strengthen your weaknesses and give you the skills you need to lead your team along the path to success. There’s always something new to learn. The more education and training you and your team have, the better off you’ll be.
Goals don’t mean anything if you don’t evaluate your performance and check your progress toward those goals periodically. Taking a look at your monthly and quarterly progress and comparing to last years numbers allows you to see how far you’ve come and how far you need to go.
As you evaluate the performance of your agency, take some time to identify any weaknesses or opportunities and put an action plan together. See how your goals can address these particular items and help you and your team become stronger.
Don’t wait until the end of the year to evaluate your progress, either. Schedule regular check-ins and assess your progress on a quarterly or even monthly basis. That way, you’ll be able to adjust as needed and ensure that everyone on your team stays focused on hitting your goals.
If you notice that you’re not hitting your goals or that the goals you set earlier in the year don’t actually align with your mission or vision statements, don’t be afraid to adjust or develop new ones.
Let’s say you realize there’s something you want to improve in your agency, but you’re currently between your goal evaluations. Guess what? You don’t have to, nor should you, wait until your next check-in to set a new goal or make adjustments. Add it to your current list. When it comes time for your next evaluation, be sure to start checking your progress toward your new goal along with your original ones.
If you do add a new goal to your current list or adjust existing ones, don’t forget to communicate those changes with your team. As mentioned above, everyone needs to be on the same page to ensure that you all work together to achieve your agency’s goals.
In ensuring they get all of their work done each day, your team members may start to lose sight of the bigger picture. They may begin to lose their motivation and excitement for meeting and exceeding agency goals.
While setting goals for your agency is critical, you don’t want to forget about keeping your team motivated. One of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects of goal setting is rewarding those who are actively working to achieve those goals.
Creating incentives and offering rewards for your team can go a long way toward keeping them motivated. Working with your team, along with a rewards program, can help keep everyone focused on your agency’s goals. You can help them overcome their challenges, avoid slumps, and keep them from losing their passion.
When it comes to incentives, consider your team. Think about the things they like and what might motivate them to achieve goals. You might offer gift cards for local restaurants or a bonus in their paycheck. If you’re looking for non-cash rewards ideas, you might consider tickets to a local sporting event, a tech gadget, or even a unique learning opportunity. Not sure what to offer? Send a survey to your team to see what things might keep them motivated.
When you commit to achieving specific goals, you have to accept that there will always be the risk that you could fail. It’s an intimidating thought, but it’s the nature of owning a business. Don’t let fear stop you from setting goals.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at any point, take a look at your goals and break them down into smaller chunks. Having smaller goals to achieve can make things appear more manageable. Instead of a yearly goal, set quarterly, monthly, or weekly ones. When you complete the smaller goal, you can move on to the next. The next thing you know, you’ve achieved the primary goal that had you nervous in the first place.
Remember, success is great, but failure isn’t so bad either. You can learn a lot from failure if you own it, reflect upon it, and use it as an opportunity to better yourself and your agency.
Setting goals is vital for the success of any insurance agency. They provide direction, simplify planning, and motivate you and your team. Goals also make evaluating your overall performance a breeze.
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This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.