I’d like to talk about the importance of teamwork in an insurance agency. I just returned from a fantastic pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota. As I watched the walkers, the blockers and the bird dogs working together, I realized that pheasant hunting is a team sport in which individual accomplishment is still incredibly important. The same thing exists in an insurance agency with three groups of players that contribute to success. The first is the account managers. Those are the people who make sure that customers you already have are happy and satisfied. They hem in the losses and make sure that revenue is stable. Account managers are like the blockers who stand at the end of a cornfield to help prevent the pheasants from escaping when the walkers come after them.

Speaking of walkers, producers are the people who drive new

business to your agency, just as a walker in a cornfield drives the pheasants before it.

There is one other important player in the pheasant hunting game, and that is the bird dogs. The dogs do a lot of things. They don’t just scare up the pheasants, they also corral and find opportunities where the birds have hidden themselves.

Who in your agency plays the role of the bird dog? Is it your insurance company’s marketing representative? Is it your current customers who provide referrals to you? Is it the well-trained customer service agent who asks current customers what else they can help them with besides the policies you already sell them? It’s all of those people and more.

At the end of our hunt, I listened to several hunters brag about all of the birds they had shot and I realized that they were taking credit individually for something that was a team effort. Producers often do the same thing but we, as agency owners, need to understand that the reason they were successful is that we put together an extraordinary team. A team that functions terrifically to keep customers, to extend our business relationships with them and to sell them more products to make sure they were happy and satisfied. We work with our insurance company partners to drive even more opportunities into the waiting hands of the producer.

It takes teamwork to be successful in pheasant hunting and it is equally critical in growing a successful agency. As you think about 2020, how can you increase the teamwork in your organization?