Can you hear it? Can you hear the droning sound eerily reminiscent of a buzzing brood of cicadas?

Only it isn’t cicadas.

In this case, it’s benefits producers complaining about fourth quarter. It’s the time of year when producers build themselves into a frenzy about the craziness of fourth quarter, how many renewals there are to handle, and that “there just isn’t enough time for everything!”

The complaints go on and on, and it isn’t long until they have convinced themselves there isn’t time to get everything done; something must go. Unfortunately, they usually choose prospecting as the first thing to eliminate.

They're not entirely wrong

It's true, fourth quarter is busy. I get that. However, prospecting is the last thing a producer can ignore. If prospecting activity is abandoned for the last three months of the year, producers are digging themselves a hole that will make a successful 2023 significantly more difficult than it needs to be.

What makes the most successful producers successful? A steady approach to prospecting. Producers who only prospect when their pipeline is empty have inconsistent results and find themselves working on any account that will give them the time of day—and those kinds of accounts are often the wrong ones.

I'll concede that producers may not have as much prospecting time during fourth quarter as they do the rest of the year. But that doesn't mean they can ignore their prospecting responsibility completely.

Prospecting must remain a priority, approached with discipline.

Manage the fourth quarter beast

 Because there are legitimately more demands on the producer’s and collective team’s time during fourth quarter, time management is more critical than ever. By understanding what should be eliminated and what needs complete focus, not only will the quarter be more manageable, 2023 will be more successful.

Producers should not . . .

  • Get involved in routine service issues
  • Spend time in carrier discussions about every renewal and every option
  • Be random about how they schedule their week
Producers should . . .
  • Stay in their lane and let the rest of the team do their job
  • Hold themselves accountable for the quality and quantity of prospects in their pipeline
  • Block out time every day for prospecting (even if it’s only 15 minutes)
  • Identify their weekly “have to-dos” and dedicate time on your weekly calendar for their completion

I'll argue that with proper discipline, producers have time for everything they need to do—even in the fourth quarter. The key phrase is "need to do." The things that won't get done are busy work and noise that should be ignored anyway.

These "do nots" and "dos" are rules producers should follow all year long, but with the craziness of fourth quarter, they don't have a choice. And because much of the competition won’t find the discipline they need and will let their prospecting efforts go, it is precisely why it is time for prospecting and sales efforts to be pushed harder than ever.

Selling is a four-quarter game. If the offense doesn’t take the field for all four quarters, it’s an impossible game to win.

 

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