I love to cook. There are a few of my dishes that seem to be a hit all the time. I’ve got the process down and sometimes get a little cocky. One of those dishes is what I call “Pato de Dan.” It’s a duck breast that I make on the stove top and in the oven. It turned into one of my success traps.
Recently, I was making Pato de Dan for my wife for her birthday because it’s her favorite dish. After getting the duck started on the stove top, I transfer the pan into a pre-heated, 450 degree oven for 12 minutes. After the timer goes off, I take out my duck and wrap it in foil. I then go back to the pan which is filled with all the great duck juice and make a wine reduction sauce. This is where I get lazy. In fact, on this occasion, I recall exclaiming, “Now the magic starts!” My next move was to grab the pan handle to position into place. Remember where I told you that pan was? In a 450 degree oven for 12 minutes. Ouch!!!
My hand wasn’t on the handle very long until I felt the searing heat. I had become so accustomed to being successful that I got caught in the trap. I should have pointed the handle inward so I wouldn’t just grab it out of habit. My prior success had made me so lax that I got burned.
The same happens to insurance agents all the time.
Insurance agents become highly successful by being diligent in activity. They are aggressively seeking new clients, asking for referrals, and closing sales. Pretty soon, the book of business grows and the income is really good. Success has happened. The trap is that this success is just going to continue to happen without the activity and effort that made it happen to begin with. It sneaks up on agents. Before you know it, you’re spending more time in the office, more time with existing clients, and less time marketing and selling. The results can be terrible. All of a sudden, the pipeline dries up, clients are lost or go out of business, and the steady income plummets.
I’ve seen the success trap in action. I’ve seen agents get complacent and satisfied with just the income part. Satisfaction and reward also comes with constant challenge. You need to be stimulated by emotional, financial, and intellectual forces. By sitting on a successful book, the only place to go is down. If you’ve been in this business any length of time, you’ve see it, too.
Avoid the success trap. Here are a three tips…
1. Keep marketing. Never stop asking for referrals, networking, performing pro bono work, sending out press releases, and staying out of the office.
2. Meet new people and prospects early and often. Never make sitting around your office your daily “work.” You may look important, but it’s an illusion.
3. “Cleanse” the bottom 10% of your book every 2 years. Find young producers to transition them to. Of course, if your the producer, the agency should buy the book from you at an agreeable amount. If you’re the owner, you will make more by doing this anyway.
The success trap is out there for any agents who cook in this kitchen long enough. Just like my “hot” fingers reminded me, consider this a warning for you. The success trap will burn you if you’re not careful.
P.S. If you like cooking and food, check out my hobby. I have a food blog called The Food Jefe.
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved