Seem like a silly question? Of course you do what you know needs to be done. But really, think about it for a minute.

You know you need to exercise, but do you always do it?

You know you need to coach with your team, but do you always do it?

You know you need to fire under-performers, but do you always do it?

I’m guessing for most of you the answer is “Well, sometimes… Okay, not as often as I need to.”

And I’m guessing this because we hear this answer every day. When we talk to agencies we really dig into their business. We ask questions that sometimes make people uncomfortable because we’re asking them to describe their behaviors and habits. And often the answer is that they’re not proud of their choices and behaviors and subsequent results. They know they can do better, and sometimes they’ve done better in the past, but they let things get in the way.

What if…?

If you know us, you know that we love What if…? questions and believe that they are the key to doing what you really need to do in your business. We believe so wholeheartedly in it that we’ve built our business on asking them – continuously, repeatedly.

What if commissions were cut completely and brokers had to create their own fee schedules based on the value they provide?

What if new companies from outside the industry came in with a re-imagined view of how the industry should work?

What if agencies continued to sell to the nationals?

Yes, these are real questions we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about and discussing over the years. And we’ve used the resulting ideas to create business models for agencies that allow you to remain independent, relevant to clients, and most importantly, NEEDED by clients.

Big questions like this are fantastic discussion starters that every agency should be having with your leadership teams to be reimaging your own businesses. You know you need to be doing it. Just like you know all these other things as well:

You know you shouldn’t have waited until the tech giants came in sucking up clients like a big vacuum to talk to your clients about technology and making sure they understood your value.

You know you should have been talking about commissions with your clients for years.

You know you should have been looking at fee structures and figuring out how to move in that direction.

You know you should have been setting goals for your producers and providing coaching and accountability to make sure they achieved them.

You know you should have a sales process around which to train them so they can meet those goals and be successful.

Turn your should-haves into must-dos

And we know that you know these things. But we also know that you haven’t done them. And we get that it’s hard. There are a thousand things you may feel that you should be doing, but you need to focus on the right things that will help you move your business forward in a significant way.

Turn around your “should haves” into “What ifs” and see what you could have instead:

What if we talked to every client about what we currently do for them and then set a plan for how we’re going to help them next?

What if every client knew how much they paid us in commissions and the value they receive in return?

What if we had fee structures in place for replacing commissions and/or for adding new services?

What if all producers had goals and they achieved them?

What if we had a consistent sales process that all producers used and all clients came onboard with consistent expectations?

When you can reimagine your business in a new positive light rather than from a negative should-have reflection on the past, it becomes much more motivating to get the work done – the right work.

We have a client who wrote down a What if…? question of his own and posted it next to his desk as a constant reminder to do what he knows he needs to do, “What if I did what Q4i told me to do?” And you know what he’s doing? He’s building a remarkable business that is a significant contributor to the success of his clients’ organizations.

Just do it

Follow through and do what you know needs to be done. So much time is wasted trying to find “new ideas,” when simply doing what you already know you need to do could generate so many results. Quit chasing “new” ideas and tracking down new solutions that you don’t really need or use. Focus on what you have, how to use it effectively, and how to drive value and results with your clients.

Decide what needs to be done in your agency and go do it. You’ll never regret it, but I guarantee you will most certainly regret feeling that you’re backed up against a wall and have no choice but to sell and lose your independence.

Photo by rozum