While an insurance broker places his name under a larger corporate shingle, he is really a sole proprietor. Insurance brokers rely on commissions generated from sales to make a living. Like every other business, if an insurance broker doesn't have a strategic plan, he may find himself losing customers and losing sales.
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A strategic plans helps the insurance broker identify where business currently is and where he would like things to be. It takes into consideration more than just the desire to do better and grow his business; a strategic plan takes into consideration the things that are working, the things that aren't and any internal or external factors that may be affecting development and growth.
It is important to objectively identify the factors that affect a strategic plan. Of course, one of the first areas of study in the strategic plan are customers, new sales and repeat business. Looking for opportunities within an existing book of business to increase sales is a start. The broker must also look at the community and the needs of the people within it. Perhaps there is another product that can be offered to help satisfy a growing need or insurance gap in the community such as long-term care insurance for an ageing community.
Once a broker has established the need, it is time to create goals. Goals should be both broad and specific to the success of the broker. For example, a broad goal is to increase sales by 15% in a 12-month period. Specific goals should include adding five new clients per week or holding a long-term care seminar every six months at the senior centre. Breaking the larger broader goals into task-oriented goals helps a broker focus on practical things to do.
A strategic plans does not yield success overnight. Setting a time frame to achieve the goals within the plan is imperative. Not only should an insurance broker set a time frame, but he should create check points throughout the course of the plan to review progress and make adaptations. A strategic plan may have a five-year plan associated with it, but in should include a quarterly review and annual revisions.
It is important for an insurance broker to consider what might be limiting growth and success. While creating a strategy with an action plan is important, if the broker doesn't have the resources to follow through on the plan, everything is done in vain. For example, a broker who is not comfortable with public speaking who is holding a seminar at the senior centre may not gain the results desired. Part of the strategic plan in this situation would be to take a public speaking class or join a public speaking group to work on a skill to get better results.
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