It might be tempting to forgo setting goals for 2021, given how unpredictable and chaotic 2020 was. But by setting objectives and writing out a plan for how you and your agency will meet them, you’re more likely to succeed (even if your plan needs to adapt along the way).
No matter how well-run and successful your agency is, there’s always room for improvement. This might be a good time to hold a brainstorming meeting or team Zoom call to talk about what areas of your business could use some extra attention in 2021.
Here are some general ideas to get your agency started:
- Stay on top of trends and new products in the industry.
- Respond to clients quicker.
- Develop a client referral program.
- Conduct an E&O audit.
- Implement a client relationship management (CRM) system.
- Redesign your website.
- Get a new insurance certification.
- Develop a plan for recruiting new staff or agents.
- Be more active on social media.
- Promote more fun in your office.
- Track lead sources better.
- Invest in an employee training program.
- Break down silos within the agency.
- Get more involved in your agency’s community.
- Improve your sales conversations.
While these fifteen general goals are a great place to start—narrowing down the details is crucial. Setting specific goals helps you decide how to allocate your time, energy, and resources. Remember, agency-wide goals are particularly helpful in ensuring everyone in your office is rowing in the same direction. Without objectives, it’s more difficult to make—and track—progress.
SMART is an acronym that can help you map out your agency goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Each piece of the puzzle works together to help you define goals that are clear and measurable.
- Specific – Be as clear and specific as possible about what you want to achieve. The more specific and narrow your goal, the more you’ll understand what steps you need to take to achieve it. For example “I want to sign X number of new workers’ comp clients a quarter.”
- Measurable – How will you know if you’re making progress toward your goal? By setting milestones to meet on the way, you can check in and evaluate your progress—and step up your game if you’re falling short. For your goal to sign X new clients per quarter, you could measure your progress by the number of calls, emails, and/or meetings you’ve had with potential clients. For example, “To sign X new workers’ comp clients a quarter, I will reach out to at least at least X prospects per week.”
- Achievable – Can you reasonably accomplish your goal within the timeframe you’ve defined? Reaching for the stars is admirable, but if your goal requires a pig to fly for it to be attainable, you’ll just get frustrated. You want to push yourself, but within reason. Set a bar that will help keep you motivated and focused. Using the previous example, make sure your prospect pool is deep enough to sustain your efforts. Before you begin working toward a goal, decide whether it’s something you can achieve now or if there are steps you need to take first to prepare. For example, “I’ll create a database of all prospects who have completed a contact form on the website or called the office in the last X years so I can reach out to at least X warm prospect a week.”
- Relevant – When setting goals for yourself or your agency, make sure they’re relevant. Each goal should align with your agency’s mission, vision, culture, and overall goals. If a goal doesn’t contribute toward the agency’s broader objectives, you may need to tweak it or delete it altogether. Ask yourself why the goal is important and how it contributes to your agency’s long-term goals. Using the same example: “To help meet our agency’s 5-year growth plan, I’ll create a database of prospects so I can reach out to at least one warm prospect a week.”
- Time-based – We’ve built in a bit of a timeframe already with our example goal, but let’s add even more context: “To help meet our agency’s X-year growth plan, I’ll create a database of prospects by mid-February so I can reach out to at least X warm prospects a week and sign X new workers’ comp clients a quarter.”
As you can see, using the SMART framework helps narrow your goals, define the steps you’ll need to take, the resources necessary to get there, and guideposts to drive your progress along the way. By using this method, you’re more likely to achieve your goals efficiently and effectively.
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