For many of us, today is the officially OFFICIAL start to 2021. When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, we raised our glasses and our middle fingers as we watched 2020 turn back into the rotten, stinking pumpkin we knew it was all along. And as happy as we are to leave 2020 behind us, we should all be equally as excited to see what we can bring to our businesses in 2021.
While most would boast that we're already holding tightly to the tried and true processes that add value to our agencies, there is always room to try something new or to find a place where a bit more focus wouldn't hurt, and there's no better time than now to try them. Here are 4 things for you to try to get your agency off on the right foot this year.
1. HIRE SMARTER THIS YEAR
Your agency's hiring process could be costing you more than you realize. Not only is the time spent looking for the right employee draining your agency by having a role in which the daily duties are not being met, but the process of finding suitable candidates and vetting them is a timely one.
This year, make sure that your agency is hiring strategically, with little human emotion driving the bus. You want to be sure that you're only bringing people in who are shown producers and who understand what their role is. Are they driven, resilient, can they deal with rejection, are they good at relationships, are they smart, coachable? If they have come this far, they want this job. Don’t give away the farm, but don’t be cheap. Offer a salary that is enough to get by, but not much more. If they start negotiating too hard with you, help them to the door in a polite way.
2. PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR TRAINING IS
Training is not a one-off thing. It's something that each employee at your agency should plan to do regularly so that they're always learning new aspects to the industry. Make it an important part of the agency's budget. Employees must stay on top of market developments and have additional training and refresher courses to stay ahead of the competition. This will also make the agency a great place to work.
Employees need to truly understand the customer’s perspective to resolve issues and not push the problems or issues up the chain. As an entrepreneur, how can you bring people together to solve problems and build their trust in each other? Have question and answer sessions with employees to ensure the owner addresses concerns. This is the first step in building bonds between front-line staff and senior managers, which helps create open communication. Executives and managers need to get to know employees and identify skill sets.
3. GET IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA GAME
You want your agency to be as accessible as possible by everyone. This means going where everyone is, ALL THE TIME and that's Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter - at the very least. Your agency having an active and up-to-date website is the most important step in getting started. It's easy to create profiles and pages on these social media platforms so that your business can live there as well.
If your agency doesn't have someone in a marketing or social media role who is well-versed in the ins and outs of social media, you can do plenty of research on YouTube about getting started. Once you have your pages and profiles filled out with the appropriate information and links, your next step will be creating relevant and exciting content to engage your followers and prospective customers, but being there is half the battle.
4. ADJUST YOUR SALES STRATEGY FOR A NEW YEAR
At its core, a sales strategy is just a plan by a business on how to sell its product. The basics include: a description of the products being sold, a definition of the ideal customer, an outline of how customers will be identified and made aware of the agency and its products, the steps to contacting the potential client, how prospects will be qualified and scored (lead scoring), and details on the actual sales process, which includes information on sales presentations, handling objections and closing techniques. Goals and projections for the primary steps should be included for both individual producers and the agency overall. Tracking of performance is also a critical element that needs to occur regularly.
Developing a sales strategy for the agency will take time in the beginning and is an ongoing effort for continuous process improvement. However, the work upfront pays many dividends down the road. There are many books, seminars, and consultants that can assist in this strategy.
Whether it be sales, social media, or educating your team, take some time to find the places where your agency can be fine-tuned for 2021. Starting your year with the right intentions and always following through is the best strategy for a successful year.