A Lesson In My Public Humiliation

I was only 14, but remember it to this day…

Because the public humiliation rocked my core…

You see someone failed to show for work, so…

I was pulled from my stock boy position…

To take sandwich orders behind the counter…

… at lunch time – on a Saturday – at the busiest deli in town!

In no time at all, things were a total mess…

You know the feeling when someone who orders after you gets served first…

Now, multiply that by 10 or 20…

And that’s when this guy lit into me…

In front of dozens of other customers.

Now, we could easily argue his cowardice…

For taking it out on a kid instead of finding the owner…

But, ultimately…

The guy was right!

Now …

You might be tempted to say this story illustrates employee issues…

That it’s hard to find good people…

That people can’t be trusted to do the simplest of tasks…

After all, blaming is one of the easiest things to do…

But, I’m here to tell ya…

My story does NOT illustrate a “people problem”…

It reveals a “SYSTEMS problem”!

The BUSINESS failed to deliver the desired customer experience…

And, more accurately, the OWNER failed to design an easily-trainable ordering SYSTEM to ensure its unfailing delivery.

I was conscientious & willing…

I wanted to do a great job…

But, frankly, I was set up to fail…

And though I took it VERY personally at the time…

I now know … it wasn’t my fault!  (Yeah, no more therapy)

YOU can do better!

Develop and implement true business SYSTEMS that allow good, average people to produce extraordinary results…

That’s what good systems do…

If you want the personal freedom and independence that comes from an agency that thrives without your constant involvement…

… start by making the mental shift from people-blamer to systems-designer-and-implementer!

THEN…

If someone fails to execute your well-designed, well-implemented and well-trained systems…

You know you have a true “people problem”…

And can deal with that directly.

“Inside were real solutions to my agency problems, not a bunch of feel good, motivational fluff that I’d seen before.” – David Sanor, Salem, OH

The Freedom Through Systems Program for Insurance Agency Owners

Joe

“HOW TO GET 52% MORE COMMISSION GROWTH”
Without One Extra Lead or Marketing Dollar Spent and Without Having to Hire Another CSR or So-called Producer
FIND OUT HOW RIGHT HERE

Do you know what that (bleep) said today?

Pardon my language …

But I never had a boss that wasn’t an a**hole …

At some level …

And I’m guessing you’re one, too!

Now, don’t be offended …

Hear me out and I think you’ll learn something important.

Before I became a business owner …

I had two great bosses…

Whom I love and respect to this day…

But truth be told …

They were both (bleeps) from time to time!

Why?

Because there was no way for them to avoid it!

They made decisions for their businesses that affected my life…

And sometimes I didn’t like it!

So, guess what I said to my buddies over a beer?

“Do you know what that (bleep) did today?”

Fast forward …

When I became “the boss”, I realized something undeniable …

My team (some more than others) surely feel the same way about me…

And I GUARANTEE you …

YOUR team feels the same way about YOU …

… from time to time!

Short of being a “puppet ruler” there’s no way to avoid it, because …

No matter what you do or say …

You can’t make everyone happy all the time …

And, when they vent to their family and friends …

YOU are referenced with unpleasant adjectives.

Who cares … get over it!!!

But what’s the point?

To put your head on straight when it comes to the TRUTH of the employer-employee relationship …

If you need to be liked, find some friends. (Call me – I’ll pat you on the back.)

Because standing at the helm of your agency is NOT the place to seek approval from those in your charge.

Now, I’m often misunderstood on this topic…

So, let me clarify a little…

I’m NOT saying devalue people & treat them poorly.

Quite the contrary…

Treat them well. Pay them well. And hold them to high standards.

Just don’t kid yourself about the TRUE nature of the relationship…

Then do what’s best for your agency’s future …

Even though someone on your team doesn’t like it…

And that makes you the (bleep) —– again.

Joe

Free Productivity Tool ANYBODY Can Use

I’m sharing my SUPER-simple method …

… for being SUPER-productive with …

Marketing projects … (are you having your marketing session with yourself every week?)

Systems projects … (what about your systems session?)

Anything at all that you just can’t get done …

Because you’re swamped putting out fires all day long!

ANYBODY can use this method to be instantly more productive.

Below is a link to a secret back page on my website …

You can download my ridiculously simple tool for free …

And I shot a really short video to show you how to use it.

Take a look … and start getting more done today!

CLICK/TAP HERE

(trouble with link? https://freedomthroughsystems.com/free-productivity)

Does your team love or hate true business systems? (and why it matters …)

It was one of those coaching calls where …

The agency principal had an emergency come up …

Couldn’t make the call …

So his “right-hand person” and I were all alone …

Time for me to see what’s REALLY going!

Our discussion came around to checklists, and she proceeded to tell me unprompted …

That she loves the checklists!

They help keep her and the rest of the team on track …

No important tasks get missed …

And all the steps of a complex process are completed …

Awesome … the checklists are doing their job!

And it reminded me …

So many agency owners – with sales personalities …

Just can’t imagine that most of their team – with service personalities …

Thrive in STRUCTURE more than chaos!

If you’re going to realize your personal freedom through systems, here’s something you must see and truly understand …

Check out these letters written by three of my former agency employees …

All I asked was their opinion of the agency’s business systems, and I was blown away by what they wrote …

First, an unlicensed, entry-level position – click here

Second, a newly licensed CSR position – click here

Third, an experienced CSR focused on writing new prospects – click here

Important points …

Nobody said they liked me … I didn’t manage to be liked.

Nobody said they really enjoyed our great times at the bar across town … I didn’t engage my team as life-sharing friends.

But they ALL said this … true business systems …

  1. Made their jobs easier
  2. Prevented mistakes
  3. Made them more productive
  4. Made our clients very happy

And true business systems gave them satisfaction in their jobs knowing they were doing the right things, the right way and at the right times.

You have no idea how much I wish …

I could just inject that into your brain!

So …

Have you fallen behind on your systemization efforts?  The letters above should truly inspire you!

Have you not started, yet?  Get moving!

Check out these articles to help …

How to get it done one part at a time
The magical power of blocked time and momentum

And if you don’t yet have your copy of the Freedom Through Systems® program, save 25% now AND get 2 hours of free coaching time … right here.

Joe

Use the Crazy to Get Better and Better

We all have crazy stories about ridiculous things employees have done …

Some are horrifying …

Like plotting to take a book of business to another agency …

While less harmful events just confound the laws of common sense …

Like this …

A coaching client of mine just parted ways with a recent hire …

… who didn’t know how to properly address an envelope!

Personally, I have a handful of almost as ridiculous examples in my bag of crazy stories …

And you probably have your share, as well.

The problem is …

It’s easy to laugh as we tell these stories, but …

Why don’t we use the crazy to make our agency business machines better?

Here’s what I mean …

I once employed a sharp young lady as my receptionist …

This was the beginning of her professional career – before that she made sandwiches at the local deli …

Long story short …

I was sitting next to her when the first visitor she encountered entered the office and approached the desk …

Have you ever seen a puppy tilt its head in reaction to a new sound?

THAT was her greeting!

Not a word came out of her mouth …

Just a tilt of the head as if to say, “What the hell do you want?”

Thankfully I was there and jumped right in …

After the client left, did I fire her?

No … as I said she was sharp and stayed with us for many years …

And I have no idea where she learned that her greeting was acceptable – the deli maybe?

The point is …

I learned an incredibly valuable lesson in that moment …

Take NOTHING for granted!

From that crazy incident …

I created and documented my standards for how we greet and manage visitors …

Not just talk, but well-considered documented standards …

And with them I established a consistent, high-level standard of client experience for all visitors to our agency …

And then I used them to train every new receptionist that came after her …

Because …

It’s NOT common sense! …

You only think it should be!

Even though I tell that story repeatedly in agency management seminars …

… and get a lot of laughs from it …

I USED the crazy to make my business machine better …

Now, back to my client whose former employee couldn’t properly address an envelope …

My advice to them?

Use the crazy!

Add addressing an envelope to your prospective employee skills test!

“That’s ridiculous!”, you say?  I say …

You can continue to allow your real-life experiences …

… to simply happen to you again and again …

OR … you can use the crazy to …

NEVER let it happen again!

Systems Improvement Thinking …

… a cornerstone of the Freedom Through Systems® program …

… compels us to use everything that “goes wrong” …

… to adjust our business systems so it never happens again!

We don’t just solve the problem …

We fix the system to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.

Here’s your take-away …

Don’t just laugh about your crazy stories …

USE them. Make your machine better and better. Don’t let THAT happen to you again.

Do it every month, every week, every day …

And one day soon you’ll look back and be amazed at what you accomplished.

“Inside were real solutions to my agency problems, not a bunch of feel good, motivational fluff that I’d seen before.” – David Sanor, Salem, OH

See the latest deal on the Freedom Through Systems program now!

Italy + Leather = A Valuable Business Lesson

In Italy earlier this summer (a fantastic two weeks!) …

… I happened upon an artisan shop turning out handmade leather goods. (In Montepulciano, I think … not certain.)

Gorgeous, highest-quality workmanship, for sure …

… and well-reviewed in travel guides (i.e. legit) …

… and quite expensive as you can imagine.

However, this craftsman justified his lofty prices with a sense of humor …

The slogan on his sign translates as follows …

“Buy the best … and cry only once!”

Isn’t that awesome!  EVERYBODY can relate to that …

Haven’t we all regretted a “bargain” purchase …

Understanding too late that the more expensive option was the TRUE bargain?

I think it’s a great slogan …

And then I was talking to a coaching client about employee training …

And it came back to me …

“Buy the best … and cry only once”

Now, let me be ABSOLUTELY CLEAR …

I am NOT talking about paying outrageous wages to supposed “rock star” employees …

No. No. No. But …

I AM talking about your approach to employee training itself …

Now follow me here …

Training a new employee requires an investment …

Primarily of your time and personal frustration …

And the tendency is to short-change employee training …

Because you’re so darn busy …

And because you continue to believe that Alice “should just get it, she’ll be OK” …

Unfortunately, that approach is almost invariably followed by …

… weeks, months, even years of crying over those same employees! (I hear it all the time.)

So, I say bite the bullet …

Invest the time and effort necessary to train a new employee the RIGHT way …

AND CRY ONLY ONCE!

No matter how you approach it, training time is a necessary step backwards …

You can’t avoid the investment entirely …

You must train your new employees … and that takes time …

So, commit to paying “the higher price” of doing it right … and cry only once!

Now here’s the good news …

Doing training the right way can … and should … be an efficient process!

Check out this article on my Productivity Training Method

The important point here is this …

Even though my Productivity Training Method makes training fast and easy …

Never short-change your investment in the process!

Remember …

You can make the right investment now and cry only once …

Or short-cut the process and cry for years to come.

“Inside were real solutions to my agency problems, not a bunch of feel good, motivational fluff that I’d seen before.” – David Sanor, Salem, OH

Save 25% now! The Freedom Through Systems Program for Insurance Agency Owners

Joe

Yet another frightening story you shouldn’t ignore …

With heart pounding, he forced out the words …

“Have you been running another business on agency time and equipment?”

(Now that’s a question you don’t ask unless you already know the answer)

Surprisingly, the truth came back without a fight …

“I was.”

“What do you think I should do about that?”, he followed up.

Without a word …

She got up and left …

Both his office and his agency … forever.

Now, I say ‘forever’ like this is an old story …

But it’s meant as a prediction, because …

This just happened less than 3 months ago! …

To one of my coaching clients …

And just so we’re clear, this was …

A LONG-time employee …

Someone with whom the agency was built …

Someone about whom anyone would say …

“She would never do something like that.”

And yet … she did.

Why did he even know to ask?

A tiny uptick in client complaints …

Uncharacteristic and enough to make him wonder …

And MOST IMPORTANTLY …

He investigated his concerns!

Of course … as you can probably imagine …

After she was gone he uncovered the true extent of the damage …

Non-response to client requests …

And even non-renewed accounts!

If you’ve been with me for any amount of time …

You know I share stories such as these from time to time …

Why?

To snap you out of your naïve complacency!

That part of you that insists …

“But MY people would never do that” …

Bull-snot!

You don’t have to become cynical, but …

You can’t be a dupe, either.

Because the sad part is he didn’t catch it sooner …

He could have …

He admittedly ignored some signs along the way, because …

There were just too many other “priorities” …

But he finally dug into his concerns … saw what was happening … and put an end to it.

Better late than never, and after a painful recovery …

His agency will be all the better for it.

And that’s really the moral of the story …

Cutting out what is hurting your agency will be painful, for sure …

But you and your agency will be all the better for it!

I promise.

Take your head out of the sand and …

Deal with what needs your attention …

You can do it!  And you’ll be all the better for it.

“Inside were real solutions to my agency problems, not a bunch of feel good, motivational fluff that I’d seen before.” – David Sanor, Salem, OH

Save 25% now! The Freedom Through Systems Program for Insurance Agency Owners

Joe

Sound advice that’s dragging you down …

You’ve heard the advice …

It’s perfectly sound … essential really …

“Work ON your business, not just IN it.”

BUT that wisdom is often misunderstood …

… sometimes intentionally abused for personal gain …

Dragging you deeper into the pit of disorganization and chaos.

Here’s the truth …

Marketing … business development … shaking the tree … whatever you call it …

… is NOT working ON your business

Hold on … follow this logic …

What’s the purpose of marketing?

Clearly to increase lead flow …

And that means more sales activity …

And that means more clients on the books …

And that means more service calls, claims, etc.

Right?

So here’s the million dollar question …

How does your agency business machine get better at what it does …

By simply having MORE of it to do?!

Do you see?

Here’s the harsh reality …

Getting more of something you don’t manage well isn’t going to solve your problems …

It’s going to make them worse!

Your agency business machine does NOT get better at sales or anything else …

… because it has more prospects to handle!

It gets better when …

… you intentionally improve your sales SYSTEM.

The only true activity of working ON your business is this …

Process and workflow systemization … period.

Building a better business machine!

And when you truly work ON your business …

… when you intentionally tweak your business machine to run at peak performance …

… you can successfully handle all that additional workload your marketing and business development efforts generate … AND …

Do it at maximum profitability.

Here’s what to do …

  1. Invest just 1 hour per week to working ON your business …
  2. Use that time to create your better business machine through SYSTEMS …
  3. Do it EVERY WEEK … that’s the key … build and maintain momentum!

In a year you’ll be amazed at what you accomplished …

In three …

You just might be FREE!

Need help?

“Inside were real solutions to my agency problems, not a bunch of feel good, motivational fluff that I’d seen before.” – David Sanor, Salem, OH

The Freedom Through Systems Program for Insurance Agency Owners

To Keep Good Clients How Much Do Details Really Matter?

In the classic work on small business systemization, “The E-Myth Revisited”, the author says …

“…a business doesn’t miss the mark by failing to achieve greatness in some lofty, principled way, but in the stuff that goes on in every nook and cranny of the business …”

Absolutely true!  As the old adage goes …

The devil is in the details.

That means a client doesn’t bad-mouth your agency because they disagree with item 3 on your vision statement.

They do it because some personal interaction with one of your team members – or you – made them feel bad.

And a client doesn’t send you 20 referrals because you hung “The Client’s Rights” on your wall.

They do that because of a tremendous … personal … experience with your agency.

The angel is in the details, too!

I’m not nay-saying written goals, vision statements and the like. They’re very important.

But I AM saying …

They don’t change a thing!

Not until you integrate those “lofty principles” into …

Your agency’s moment-to-moment actions and interactions …

With prospects and clients.

And that does NOT happen by magic …

Or by sharing your visions at a staff retreat …

Or even by involving your team in writing them.

Ensuring your agency business machine consistently delivers on your vision ONLY happens through one thing …

Systemization.

Why?

Because no matter how much your staff seem to “get it” …

They don’t!

Not like you do.

That doesn’t make them bad people.  It doesn’t even make them bad employees…

It just makes them normal.

And to ignore that reality is a huge mistake.

Plus, staff come and go.  How can you expect the new guy to deliver YOUR client experience right out of the gate?

He didn’t help write the vision statement or attend the retreat.

But that’s what TRUE systems are all about …

Guaranteeing your lofty vision is actually delivered …

In every “nook and cranny” of your business … every time.

Without systemizing your agency, I don’t see how truly delivering on your vision is possible.

My recommendations …

Invest at least 1 hour per week – every week – to creating your better business machine …

Execute the action plans in the Freedom Through Systems program …

Use your free coaching time (if you have it) to get unstuck …

Most importantly … MAINTAIN MOMENTUM!

In a year you’ll be amazed at what you accomplished …

In three … You just might be FREE!

“Inside were real solutions to my agency problems, not a bunch of feel good, motivational fluff that I’d seen before.” – David Sanor, Salem, OH

The Freedom Through Systems Program for Insurance Agency Owners

Where to find someone with good sales skills

Believe me … I know …

It’s hard to find someone with good sales skills and background.

But here’s a quick tip that may lead you to a fantastic hire …

Those who know me well already know about my dual personality …

On the one hand I’m very tech-savvy …

On the other hand I voluntarily reject a lot of modern “gotta stay connected” technology …

So, when I tell you I found myself in the Verizon store the other day …

You’ll believe it when you understand I was their with my wife!

The last time she went phone shopping …

I was with her then, too … and the same revelation occurred …

So, I thought it can’t be a coincidence …

Those people know how to sell!

They take ridiculously complicated technology …

And more ridiculously complicated offers and billing plans …

And explain it in language anyone can understand …

And send you out the door with purchase in hand and a smile on your face!

They’re not afraid to not only explain things …

But to make a recommendation based on your answers …

And isn’t that exactly what you need in your insurance agency!

I think it is … so here’s my recommendation …

Go phone shopping …

If you get a rep that wants to impress you with big words …

… and show you how much they know that you don’t …

Walk away.  But …

If you get a rep (like I did twice) that explains it in plain English …

And shows you good sales chops …

Chat them up. They may be your next greatest hire!

Happy hunting …