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Forming The Best, Most Productive Start Up Team

Your guide to creating the right team for your start up.

In big business, people can get lost in the shuffle. If one person is inefficient, odds are there’s another individual who can pick up the slack. That’s not the case in a start up, though. In the same way you value every dollar that comes through, each member of your team is crucially important.

To help you put together the best, most productive team at your start up, here are just a few things you should do.

  • Choose The Right People. We know you’d love to pick your friends, but don’t – unless your friend is already highly trained and deeply passionate in your specific industry. When you’re getting started, imagine each team member as the head of a future department, and pick a person who has the drive, focus, and skills to build out that department for you.
  • Empower Your Team. Once you get the right people together, be flexible with them. Since you have a vision for your start up, it can be tempting to micro-manage. Don’t, or you will not just annoy your team but you’ll also limit their productivity. Empower them to work how they work best. For example, if one of your team members is a night owl, let him or her shift hours to work later at peak productivity.
  • Don’t Be Too Involved. Similarly, you’ll probably want to hold a host of staff meetings and offer guidelines every step of the way. The problem, though, is that your team’s time is precious. Those little interruptions add up and detract from their ability to get stuff done for you. Stop bugging them unless it’s absolutely necessary! Trust us, an email will suffice.

Do you have more questions about building the best team? If so, contact Mike Stromsoe’s Unstoppable Profit Producer Program and attend our “Leave No Regrets” boot camp in San Diego, California. We’re dedicated to helping business owners work less, earn more, and enjoy life!

5 Tips To Encourage a Healthy Work Environment

One of the most important characteristics to maintain in your business is a healthy and happy work environment. When your workforce is happy, your company flourishes. Therefore, it is imperative that you follow these 5 tips to encourage a healthy work environment:

  1. It is important that you encourage interaction between team members. Workplace morale and productivity will increase as your team feels a sense of community.
  2. Invite your employees in your world. Share the company’s overall goals with them and encourage input and feedback.
  3. Motivate your employees by providing a career path. Knowing that there is always the opportunity to move up in a company will keep your employees on their best behavior and always working to achieve new goals.
  4. Encourage workplace physical activity. Consider hiring a yoga instructor to come to the office twice a week.
  5. Most importantly, be responsive to your team’s needs and show your appreciation for their hard work on a regular basis.

If you are a small business owner, and are interested in utilizing a wealth creation program, please contact Mike Stromsoe’s Unstoppable Profit Producer Program! We can provide you with tools that will lead you directly to success. Give us a call today!

Freedom ROCKS and How to Get More of it!

One of the most frequent questions I get from other agents and entrepreneurs is how do you get so much freedom and don’t you worry about leaving the office for extended periods of time, whenever you want?  I used to, but not anymore.  You see, the agency that supports the life of my dreams has been carefully built and, consequently, I’ve taught the people that have earned the right to be part of our team to also create their individual opportunities daily to support the life of their dreams too.

I’m talking about the slowly hired team members that work in the Living Agency Laboratory. Yes marketing, operations and the rest is of paramount importance, but having the right team members strategically positioned in each facet of your money machine is the NUMBER ONE priority. One of the keys to maintaining our team is something that we just completed, which I affectionately call “Team Member Vision and Check-Up Day”.  For me, these days are some of the most important days of the year and before the day comes I plan, plan, plan and visualize in my mind exactly how it’s going to go.  This is what it looks like:  Every team member gets approximately one hour in my office, behind my closed door, to have a conversation with me and me only about their current situation, their future situation, and how they can contribute to our business going forward.

Additionally, we allow them some time to talk about personal things, if need be.  Before I go into this day, I always prepare a one-page script of very pointed questions, designed to elicit information, thoughts, visualizations and other matters of importance that need to be discussed.  Through these conversations, we are able to help the team members solidify their current goals, personally and professionally, start planning for their next set of goals for the coming year, and overall discuss how they can be a better team member, contributor to our agency and to the goals of our agency heading into the future.  Every time these meetings happen, it gets better and better.  This not only gives the team members a lift and gives them clarity in what they’re doing, it also helps me be a better leader and helps all of us collectively plan for the future and to set goals for the coming year.

After going through the process this year, I’ve now decided that I’m going to perform this twice a year at a minimum.  The nuggets have become so valuable and have helped create great clearness in where we’re going into the future.  In addition to that, it positions me as a team leader and agency owner to make changes in our personnel and the way we do things, our scripting, our operations, and much, much more.  By designing these conversations with specific questions, we are able to help the team members see exactly where they’re at.  If there are things that need to be fixed, it’s the perfect opportunity.  In the sessions that just ended, I planned one of the chairs in our agency, a very key chair, for many years to come(as long as she holds up her end of the bargain).  That lifts a potential burden off of my mind, allows me complete focus on the things that I need to continue to do so that our agency continues to churn money week after week, month after month, year after year.

Thought it would be helpful to list a few of the key scripted, pinpointing questions that I asked my team t behind closed doors:

1.            What thoughts do you have about your progress and our progress in 2012 so far?

2.            Why do you show up daily?

3.            Are team meetings of value to you? Why or why not? What can be done, in your opinion, to improve them?

4.            What are your expectations of this business to support your growth and advancement in the insurance agency business in the future?

5.            Discuss your expectations for yourself for 2013

Note: the most important part of facilitating these conversations is to STOP TALKING after you ask the questions. The answers and information you are looking for will come if you just listen for it.

Make a Difference, Be Unstoppable, Leave NO Regrets

Mike Stromsoe

 

Freedom

The only thing that matters is helping you build a business that supports the life of your dreams.  About 6 or 7 years ago, our agency was gaining momentum and growing quickly. We had acquired an agency, brought in people from the acquired agency, and brought the entire team together through the definition of each specific, documented task. We were firing on all cylinders. I finally had a business that truly “supported the life I wanted to live”. I was free!

Shortly after that, I noticed the team needed direction. Another roadblock in our evolution. That’s when our Intranet was born. Building an Intranet for your agency business can bring a whole new atmosphere to your business and your team.  Here’s just a few of the benefits this can bring:

  1. 1. Reduces Cost – with an Intranet in place, you can publish most of the company documents, memos and such directly through a webpage, go paperless.  This saves you on printing and distributions costs.  What about training costs?  If you could upload training videos directly to the Intranet, for your teams’ use (when they need it), do you think this might free up your time?  That brings me to the next item…
  2.  

  3. 2. Saves Time – How much is your time worth? Have you recently calculated what an hour of your time is worth? With all of your agencies documents in one place, it is easier and quicker to add new or update existing information and make it instantly available.  When your top producer needs a form, they know right where to look – no more searching endlessly through computer folders, numerous workstations and simply wasting your valuable time.
  4.  

  5. 3. Teamwork – An Intranet offers an environment where your team members can share knowledge and support, edit and manage documents/projects as a group and promote virtual team working.  Keep everyone on the same page with announcement section, interoffice memos, team calendar, FAQs, employee handbook, team motivational programs and the list goes on.
  6.  

  7. 4. Increase Productivity and Effectiveness – By reducing cost, saving time at every corner and setting a stage for your team to enhance their communication and collaboration, you have become more productive and effective as individuals and an agency alike.

 

An Intranet has made a tremendous impact in my agency and many others. I encourage you to do a little research and see if an Intranet is the right solution for your agency business.  For an example of an intranet, check out Intranet Concepts.

To your success,

 

Mike Stromsoe, Creator of the
Unstoppable Profit Producer Program™
Phone 800.994.9984
Email – [email protected]
www.unstoppableprofitproducer.com

 

PS  BTW, building an Intranet was not easy and took months of blood and sweat during afterhours work.   If you would like to virtually eliminate your pain and take advantage of my pain, see my limited time offer below.

PPS  If you are ready to take the leap and start living life on your own terms, Call 800-770-9984 or email [email protected]  to schedule you F*ree 29 minute, In-Depth Agency Analysis today.  There is absolutely ZERO Cost and No-Obligations – you have NO RISK!

Does Your Team Stand Out When ALL of the Chips Are On The Line?

Our claims service report series is one of our most requested by agents…..so what the heck is a claims service report?

Claims service reports are a custom document that we sent out to our customers a certain number of days after a claim occurs, because in our agency, we monitor all claims activity.  We don’t wait for the document or the notification to come in; we go out and get it.  We proactively hunt for it on carrier websites, we look at things that come in, and once we see that we proactively contact our clients, and make sure the claims process gets started.  In addition to that, we talk to them about the claims process, and make sure the companies are standing up to their end of the bargain and are taking care of our customers in the manner that they should be taken care of.  We really feel good about that.  At the end of the process, we send them out a claims service report, and we ask for feedback on how the claim went.  Our claims service report have a lot of different questions on them, which kind of lead up to the final question, which is, “Tell us about your claims experience,” and those claims service reports just time after time bring great feedback, and a lot of the responses are GREAT testimonials.  “Thank you, your agency just took great care of us.  We appreciate you being there for us always,” so forth and so on.  So keep in mind that that also is a positive emotional situation.  In other words, it’s not anything negative, it’s positive, and they’re feeling good about the situation.  We also forward all claims service reports to the carriers, good and bad. Carrier claims reps need to hear the good reports too. Our carriers LOVE this. We also market to the CLAIMANTS. You got it. If we are provided a name and contact information, we start a separate campaign to the CLAIMANTS.

Here’s a situation that happened just last night:  I was in the office and it was late, a client walked in, I said, “Hey, how can I help you?”  And he said, “Something great happened, and I just had to come by and tell you guys, and in addition to that I want to find my agent, because I feel like I want to give him a hug.  I’m that jazzed about the claims experience I just had” and I said, “Tell me more,” and he told me about the situation.  What had happened was, the agent in our office had gone the extra mile.  He had gone way out of his way to help him out, to make sure that a situation was resolved.  It was a situation we didn’t make any money on, but he went the extra mile anyway, and got the situation resolved for our customer, and our customer was, so happy they couldn’t stand it, so they drove down here to tell him.  And that particular agent was on the phone, so it was a great opportunity, that positive emotional situation was at its very highest at that point.  So, fortunately, we were in an area of the office which is right near our marketing room, and our marketing gal, who’s always on it, she just kind of handed me the camera, and I didn’t even have to think about it.  So I said, “Mr. Client, would you mind if we helped other people with just a few words about what just happened to you?”  And he said, “Yeah, no problem, what do you need me to do.”  I said, “I’d just like to record how you were taken care of by our agent, so I can share this with other people who might ask about our services.”  He said, “I’d be happy to.”  And right there on the spot, full of emotion, he recorded the testimonial.  So, that’s a perfect example of a positive emotional situation, which is the time that you always want to ask for a testimonial, because that’s when you’re going to get your very best testimonials.

Be the “Go To” agency because you take care of your customers! “No one cares how much you know until they know you care.”

To your massive success,

 

Mike Stromsoe, Creator of the
Unstoppable Profit Producer Program™
A Coaching Program for Insurance Agents
Website – www.unstoppableprofitproducer.com – Get your 3 Complimentary Gifts Today!

PS The Claim Service Report is just one of the 251 tools given to our coaching clients…  Call and schedule your 29 minute In-Depth, Agency Analysis Call Today, there is absolutely ZERO COST and No-Obligation, it is simply just one more gift to help you.  Call 800-770-9984 or email us at [email protected].

A Picture of…

It’s been said “a picture tells a thousand words”… “a picture of efficiency”,
but a video!

Good news for you. I just shot a video showing the REAL WORLD TOOLS
at my own desk that make each person on our total protection team a
“picture of efficiency” which results in a money making machine,

 

 

Now please go implement!

PS Success Leaves Traces….find out yourself for free, Right HERE.

What Do Jim Irsay and Mark Davis Have In Common?

The ANSWER is here..

Having a world class team is the NUMBER ONE priority in any business.

If you would want more info about the Unstoppable Profit Producer Program™ or my Step by Step Hiring System, Take Action Now.  Call 800-770-9984 or Email [email protected] today and start living life on your own terms.

And remember, Implement, Execute and Take ACTION!

PS  “We don’t build businesses, we build people and people build businesses.”    ~ Zig Ziglar

Mike’s 10 Tips To Start Your Decade-Tip #5 Involve Others

Success leaves clues and here’s an important one: no matter who you are, where you live, what your goal is, somebody has already been there and done that.

So far in 2010, our first 4 tips are:

1. Being decisive
2. Staying focused
3. Write your goals
4. Plan thoroughly

The results have been amazing! We are on fire in all phases! Please join me at www.unstoppableprofitproducer.com, let us know how we can help you. Here’s tip #5 to start your decade with massive results:

If you are having trouble viewing this video – Click Here.

Tell us how you involve others today!

Hiring the Gifted Team-Part 3

Please accept my apology, this is long over due. Our total protection team continues to explode our agency.

Here is a real world sample of the exact autoresponder sent to prospective applicants who get past the first two steps. I am continually amazed at the number of qualified people who cannot follow directions!!

*******************************************
Hello $ToFirstName$,

Thank you for requesting more information about a position on our team. In this email, I want to accomplish several things all designed to save both of us time and effort:

1. Provide a list of requirements and expectations.
2. Provide more detail on the job description.
3. Provide some information about us.
4. Explain how to apply if you decide to pursue this opportunity.

If you can meet all of the following requirements and expectations, I hope you will continue with the next step of our hiring process.

* We are located in anytown, TX. You must be able to get to work reliably.

*Work hours are 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Lunch is 30 minutes and all team members are on flexible lunch breaks.

*You must get to work on time, period. You know yourself, so be honest right now. If you can’t get to work on time, please don’t bother applying.

*You must have excellent computer skills and be open to increased automation of all tasks. We file and fax electronically. We strive to eliminate paper wherever practical. While you do not need prior experience with electronic filing, you won’t be happy here if you are addicted to paper or afraid of computers or automation.

* A high level of proficiency in MS word, MS Excel, MS Publisher and MS Power Point is required

* You must be able to change job tasks on a dime

* You must be able to spell, do basic math functions, and have solid written communication skills

*You must have a positive, upbeat attitude.

*You must be honest and ethical too.

*You must be committed to work when at work. We do have a friendly, fun environment but it is work which is why we pay you. If it was all fun, we’d have to call it an amusement park and charge you to be here.

*Similarly, excessive contact with non-business persons during the work day isn’t tolerated. Everyone has a life. Some personal business must be conducted during work hours. Car’s in the shop, kids checking in after school. Understood. However, such contacts must be kept to necessary contact only – that includes emails too.

*You must be committed to learning. Change is constant and fast in our office. Streamlining and automating systems and procedures, new tools and software, and the ever-changing insurance world. If this scares you, you probably won’t be happy here.

*You must be able to work independently and be organized.

*You must be willing to follow procedures. Some things need to be done a certain way. Other things may require creativity and personal choice. When there are procedures, you must be able to follow them.

*You will work with several account managers. You must be willing to work as part of a team.

If you’re still reading at this point, here’s some information about the job itself. You do not need experience in all the areas, but the more the better of course. Responsibilities include:

*Processing support for licensed agents including data entry, electronic filing, and correspondance.

*Light bookkeeping in support of policy transactions.

*Preparing various insurance documents.

*Additional interface with customers including outbound phone calls to customers to gather data.

* Every day is different. Always a busy and changing environment. Marketing every single day is a must.

*Any other clerical or support tasks as requested. In other words, whatever we need done related to the business.

If you think you qualify and would enjoy this job, then here is some information about us and our benefits:

We are an independent retail insurance agency. We represent many insurance carriers.

We’ve been in business since 1977 and been family owned since 1982.

We presently have a staff of ?? full time persons and ?? part time people

Our benefits program is excellent. Currently it includes:

*Health

*Life

*Retirement Plan

*Paid time off which includes

* ?? paid holidays per year.

*Bonus and incentive plans after a specified period of employment.

If you are interested in applying for this job, please send me your resume and your salary requirements:

1. By email to [email protected] DO NOT reply to this email.

2. The subject line of your email must state two things:

a. Your first and last name
b. winner

Thanks for your interest

Super Team Leader
President and Team Leader
Future Mega Agency
******************************************

Once a qualified person responds to this, you should have a resume. Personally, I am looking for:

1. ability to write well.
2. not too many jobs in the past 5 years (loyalty to team)
3. intagibles

At this point, if you want to go to the next step, 1-2 aptitude tests are in order. This will be the next blog in our “Hiring the Gifted Team” series. Stay tuned.

How about you? Share your experiences, good and bad, to help others.

Should You Hire Experienced CSRs or Hire No Experience?

There’s great debate among agents over this. You’ll find agents on both sides of the fence, and most who just don’t know.

From my perspective – for many reasons I won’t get into here – hiring no experience is the way to go. However, I also know that sometimes you just have to hire an experienced CSR.

When you do, don’t just throw that person into their role thinking they require no training.

This is the main reason experienced CSRs end up causing problems. They bring somebody else’s business philosophy with them … and potentially lots of bad habits.

So, here’s a little training program for your newly hired, experienced CSR to adopt “your way” of doing business. Do this first and they’ll be much more effective in their CSR role.

Start the new person out as the receptionist or admin assistant – just for a week. Here they’ll see your systems in action at their simplest level.

They’ll work from an Accountability Checklist and refer to procedures that explain how to do tasks.

They’ll learn your phone and visitor management systems. They’ll learn your tools and software by actually doing simple tasks.

Bonus: you’ll quickly identify a hiring mistake without disrupting your service team or client relationships. How?

If your new hire can’t function within your simplest of systems, they’re going to resist everything you do and try to do everything their way. Cut ‘em loose and try again.

After a week, move them into an assistant’s role for another week. Here they’ll get deeper into your organized processes and procedures and learn more tools, checklists and software.

At this level they’re learning how you separate duties and delegate work. They’re learning all the things they will NOT do as a CSR.

After a week (or two) as an assistant, they’re ready to move into their permanent CSR position. They know your tools and systems. They know your way of doing business – your policies and procedures. They know what the assistants do and what to delegate to them.

Now they can focus on client relationships … and do things “your way”.

Think this through and develop your training program. Trust me, it’s worth the small effort!

Make a difference, Be Unstoppable, Leave No Regrets