For Brokers, time is money. The more time you’re able to spend prospecting and selling, the more profitable you’ll be. Simple, right? But for most brokers, the average work week isn’t composed entirely of selling. There are administrative tasks to take care of, along with the creation of proposals, quotes and sales material. Being able to take control of your time is one of the most important steps for brokers to elevate their ability to sell more.
1. Identify Where Your Time Is Being Spent
The first step to getting more organized and managing your time is understand where your time is being spent. According to the Balance blog, “Activity tracking lets you see where your valuable time is being spent, and gives you the data you need to set goals and make the changes to your work habits that will make you more successful.” Take a look at your average week and identify what percentage of time is being spent in some of these places:
- Sales Calls/Sales Meetings
- Sales Preparation
- Organizational Meetings
- Administrative Tasks
You may certainly have more or different groupings than what’s above, but this will give you an idea where to start. Once you assign a percentage of time being spent in each area, determine if you are spending enough time in the areas that bring back the most value. For example, if you find that administrative tasks are taking up 15% of your work week, that means you have 15% less time to dedicate to prospecting and sales activities.
2. Prioritize Tasks
Once you have a good concept or where you’re spending your time, you need to understand how to properly prioritize tasks. Many brokers that struggle with project and time management will focus on task urgency; it’s the classic example of, “I need to have that quote to ABC Company yesterday!”
Urgent, or Important?
Task urgency is certainly important, but so is value and importance. Process Street references the Eisenhower Matrix, which is a simple and quick reference for how to prioritize tasks:
- Urgent and Important – Do it now
- Important Non Urgent – Decide when to do it
- Urgent Not Important – Delegate it
- Not Important Not Urgent – Delete it
The “2 Minute Rule”
Another quick rule of thumb for prioritization is the “2 Minute Rule”. This essentially states that if a task takes less than two minutes, do it now. That means if responding to an email after you’ve read it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now. If confirming an appointment takes less than 2 minutes, do it now. You get the picture.
Planning Your Day
When prioritizing, consider the following: most small business owners start work at around 7 or 8am, so taking time in the morning for prospecting and sales calls can potentially yield better results. This allows you to focus on other tasks in the afternoon. Also consider the simple fact that every day, you’re likely eating breakfast and lunch (or maybe cramming breakfast in on the way to the office or a sales call). Make this time more efficient by scheduling breakfast and lunch with prospects or clients. Finally, when you’re planning your schedule for on-site sales meetings, try to identify clients or prospects in the surrounding area(s) that you could plan meetings with as well. This saves you drive time and lets you get more client and prospect exposure in less time.
3. Eliminate, Automate, Delegate
When looking at where you’re spending your time and prioritizing your tasks, it’s important to understand that not everything needs to be done now, or possibly not at all. A great way to become more efficient as a broker is to identify opportunities to eliminate, automate or delegate.
Let’s first look at the hardest one – eliminate. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this task need to be done?
- Does it help me to where I want to go?
The process of elimination sometimes means getting better at saying “no”. This could include saying no to calls or meetings that won’t produce value, or saying no to the common question, “do you have time to [insert task here].” You don’t want to close the door on opportunities or become unsupportive to co-workers, but you do want to be mindful of and value your own time.
Once you’ve identified any opportunities to eliminate unnecessary items, consider how you can automate activities. This is likely the biggest area of opportunity for brokers, because creating more efficient processes means more time spent prospecting and selling. What are the tasks that take the most time for brokers that can be automated?
- Quoting – Collecting medical information and pulling rates from carriers can be a tedious process. Each carrier can require slightly different information in a different format, and this information has to be manually entered if collecting from paper forms. Brokers can leverage a health insurance quoting engine like FormFire to automate this process, leveraging one uniform online interview for Employees that is compatible with thousands of Carrier forms.
- Presentations – Creating a unique presentation for each client adds a nice touch to the sales process, but it can also be very time-consuming. Automating this process can save a lot of time. FormFire’s OpenShelf interface allows brokers to present numerous quotes to prospects in a polished, shopping-like experience.
- Outreach and Follow-Up – As a broker, you want to ensure that you’re staying in constant communication with prospects and clients. But with a growing client base, remembering when and how to communicate can be challenging. Start with a basic CRM to manage all contacts in one place. Then enlist in a sales or marketing automation platform to automate your outreach and follow-up communication for certain times and based on certain rules.
- Inbound Prospecting – When a prospect comes to your website, you may be relying on them to call you or fill out a form. At that point, you need to use internal resources to engage this prospect and understand what they’re looking for. Leveraging live chat can be a nice way to add some lead generation power to your website, but chatbots can take inbound prospecting one step further and collect information to pass along to a broker before a conversation happens.
Now that you’ve determined what can be eliminated and automated, it’s time to identify whether the rest of the workload should stay with you, or be delegated to someone else. A few questions to help you in this area:
- Is there someone that is better suited for this task, or could perform it more efficiently?
- Do I have someone to delegate to? (Or do I/we need to hire someone to delegate to?)
For independent brokers or small health insurance agencies, there may not be enough work for delegation to hire a full-time employee. In these cases, virtual assistants can be an option to support only the tasks that need to be taken on. Are you ready to take control of your time and sell more in 2018? Check out FormFire’s benefits management platform, and realize the advantages of online quoting, better presentations, and simplified benefits management.