Individual - the landlord - granting the lease. Term in the motor carrier industry referring to the owner of a commercial vehicle who contracts with the entity that holds operating authority for the use of his or her motor vehicle (with or without a driver) in the motor carrier's business as it relates to owner-operator situations.
The hard market is of great advantage to the agency that has positioned itself to be a sales organization. Proper sales management equates to great sales. Sales management in the average agency still relies upon more traditional and less focused methods of producing business. By this I mean waiting for the phone to ring. This attitude towards sales will not only prevent the agency to benefit from the increased pricing, but will also be reflected in diminishing profit margins. As competition from larger agencies for not only the large accounts, but also, the small to mid-sized accounts grows, sales management is no longer a luxury. It is a matter of survival.
While there are numerous aspects to the sales management effort, for the purpose of this article, I will focus on commercial sales and specifically on the following areas:
Creating A System of Sales Establishing And Managing A Marketing Effort Before any calls are made by the salesperson, the successful sales manager will have established a system of sales. Without an established system, each salesperson is "shooting from the hip" on each sales call. The sales system should have several components. First is the initial call. This is best done face-to-face as soon as possible after the initial marketing contact. During this meeting, the sales person should ask structured questions to determine if this is a good prospect. After this visit, the salesperson should be able to tell if there is a chance to write the account or if they are just being used.
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Next comes the solicitation of information necessary to generate the proposal. The salesperson should be given a form to use to gather the data and should be coached to discuss the benefits of doing business with his/her agency.
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Finally comes the presentation of the proposal. Salespeople should be coached to eliminate the word "quote" from their vocabulary. Quote indicates to the buyer that price is the main or only differentiation between your agency and the others. The presentation should address not only the exposures to loss and the insurance remedies, but should also provide the prospect with information about the unique services provided by the agency. Obviously, there is much more detail necessary to establish a sales system. However, the aforementioned steps are a minimum requirement for training the salespeople and allowing the manager to critique each and every sales effort.
Auto Dealer Workers Compensation Once the sales system is established, the sales manager must establish a marketing plan. Most agencies do very little in marketing itself to the buying public. The marketing effort usually includes yellow page ads, some advertising in local newspapers or athletic programs, very basic web sites, and word of mouth. To be successful today, the sales manager should establish a process to insure the flow of new business leads to the agency. Successful agencies have used the following methods:
Referrals Telemarketing Combination of Referrals and Telemarketing Most agencies rely upon passive referrals. In other words, the client refers someone to the agency and the prospect calls the agency looking for a "quote." In my experience, this is a sure way for an agency's sales effort to plateau. A seasoned producer can usually maintain the same number of accounts and if there is no loss of a large account, will maintain their income level. This is especially true in the case of a hard market when increased pricing covers the commission reductions and the loss of some accounts.
Let me expand upon the marketing process. The active solicitation of referrals is the most cost effective way of acquiring a list of prospects. However, just asking the customer for 5 prospects puts a lot of pressure upon your customer to<