Everyone talks about it, and no one argues the incredible benefits it brings to your agency: more revenue per customer, great retention, improved customer satisfaction, etc.
So why don’t we do it?
What is stopping us?
1. Culture. Every business, including your agency, has a unique culture. You may not have identified yours, but it is there. And if spend much time in various agencies, you can feel it when you walk in the door. No two are alike. It’s like the fingerprint of your business. Ultimately it is a reflection of the leadership in the agency.
And the agencies that do the best job of account rounding and selling between departments have in common is a sales culture that permeates everything–personal lines, commercial, benefits, service, etc.
As soon as you decide this segment is not sales, you diminish that part of your business to grow.
There can’t be a black sheep accommodation department in your agency (cough, cough, personal lines), because the order taking environment will begin to creep and spread throughout the office infecting all your segments.
Never will everyone in the agency be outside sales people, leaving the office cave, catching their kill, and dragging it back for everyone to see.
But everyone affects the sales process, and has a critical role to play on who becomes a customer and who stays a customer.
If anyone in your business interacts with the public and customers, they are a part of the sales team, and that must be ingrained in every action. If not, they will take orders and never ask about other policies, different coverages, and changing needs in the life of your customer.
2. Compensation. Nothing changes employee behavior like compensation. In fact, thinking of compensation as behavior modification may change the way things happen in your agency.
If no one in commercial or benefits is referring business to personal lines, it may be because there is no compensation.
My most successful agencies that see consistent growth, have some type of compensation for account-rounding, cross-selling, and even upselling coverages, regardless of whether the employee is designated as a producer, service staff, or account manager.
Compensation can be more than money. Not everyone is motivated by extra compensation, but time-off, gift cards, lunches, contests, etc., can be effective ways of changing behavior inside your business.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Agency Culture can be changed and compensation can be easy to affect that change.
P.S. Comment below about changes you have made in your agency that has helped cross-sell and account rounding. Also, I know many larger agencies stop paying for Personal Lines. Why?
Photo credit: Sebastiano Pitruzzello (aka gorillaradio) / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND