31 Ways to Make Your Insurance Agency the Happiest Place on Earth

Written by John F. Carroll on . Posted in Agency Management, Customer Service, Humor, Sales

selling-insurance-can-be-funFor my first job out of college I sold long-distance phone service door-to-door.

I marched under the hot Albuquerque sun cold-calling on 50-100 businesses a day who couldn’t care less about long-distance and didn’t hesitate to tell me.

I wore Underarmour shirts so I wouldn’t sweat through my suit while driving to my territory in an AC-deprived ’95 Ford Aspire.

Want to know why I was able to keep selling day after day, week after week, month after month?

It was the most fun company I ever worked for.

Every morning and evening we’d have sales meetings that were fun! We’d do sales training and play games, scream, run around, and all kinds of goofy stuff.

It was silly, goofy, and immature. But it was fun!

And because it was fun we didn’t see how tough it was, we didn’t absorb all the rejection, we stayed positive and kept on selling!

Selling anything consistently is hard. Your agency doesn’t need to be Disney World, but if it isn’t fun you’re missing the chance to be way more successful.

Here’s 31 ways to make your agency the happiest place on earth.

1) Bang the Sales Gong

insurance-sales-motivationRinging a bell after a sale is for wussies.

Get yourself the biggest, baddest, loudest gong on Amazon or Ebay and every time somebody makes a sale, GONG that thing!

Is gong a verb?

Anyway, don’t worry about interrupting other people’s phone conversations. You’ll sound like an awesome place to do business when your coworker casually explains, “Excuse me, that was just my coworker banging the gong…”

2 ) Have Lots of Sales Contests

Sales and commissions are rewarding, but over time they can become repetitive, boring, and uninspiring.

Keep things fresh with new sales contests between your producers.

Try to set it up so everyone has something to go for and win, not just the best salespeople in the office.

Run contests that reward the behaviors that lead to sales (i.e. getting referrals or x-dates) instead of the actual sales themselves. You don’t want to hang the carrot too far out in front of your rabbits.

3) Make a JibJab Video

You’ve probably seen one of these before but no matter what, they’re always funny. Post it to your Facebook page or just send one via email to your co-workers or clients.

Here’s me doing Gangnam Style:

4) Buy a Pinball Machine

Why not?

It’ll give your employees something to do every now and then to get a break and what could be cooler for your clients than playing free pinball while they’re waiting for an appointment?

Extra bonus:  it keeps the kids busy while you’re talking to mom about life insurance and 529 plans.

If you’re really considering this, I’d use Craigslist or Ebay because they’re expensive new.

5) Paper Airplane Contest

This one’s kind of silly, but it takes less than 10 minutes and can work wonders for breaking the monotony on a Wednesday afternoon.

Of course first prize goes to furthest flight but don’t forget honorary mentions for creative design, longest hangtime, and most interesting flight path.

Don’t forget to take pictures for Facebook!

6) Give Commissions in Cash on the Spot

Have you ever thought about paying commissions in cash right at the moment a sale is made?

I’m sure you’re thinking, but what if the policy doesn’t get through underwriting?

It doesn’t matter, it’s just about doing something different and exciting to get the office charged up. You can do just five or ten dollars and then pay the rest of the commissions at month end.

7) Take Silly Pictures and Post Them on Facebook

fun-insurance-officeReminding Facebook fans you’re fun to do business with is as easy as posting a funny picture of your agency once a week.

I wish I could give you a bunch of ideas here, but I think the candid spur-of-the-moment stuff is going to work the best.

Don’t forget to include your customers. (if they don’t mind).

8) Middle Name Day

I’m guessing you can probably imagine what this is all about. Just call everyone in the office by their middle name.

It sounds stupid and pointless but I promise you it’ll be funny. I don’t know why people have such silly middle names.

Maybe I should ask my mom… my middle name is Fredrick.

9) Celebrate Achievements Way More Often

When’s the last time you set a group goal for your agency and had a big celebration when you achieved it?

Often in sales, as soon as you hit a goal it’s time to start focusing on the next one. That’s a great way to burn yourself and your team out.

Set lots of different goals: daily goals, weekly goals,  product goals, monthly goals. Set goals for everything and I’m sure you’ll have something to celebrate at least once a month.

10) Outside the Agency Team Activities

team-building-activityYou can learn a lot about your co-workers by interacting with them outside the normal environment.

Go to a movie, go bowling, play laser tag, go out to eat… find ways to get your families to meet each other.

Find a time that everyone can be a part of it. And if no one wants to do anything with you, maybe you’re not any fun.

It doesn’t have to take a long time. Happy hour is only sixty minutes… (although I’ve probably never gone to a happy hour for less than that)

11) Keep Track of Office Records

Do you know who in your office holds the record for the most policies sold in one day? The most cold-calls in one week? The most x-sales in one month?

Keep track of all this stuff and put it in a highly visible place that everyone can see.

Throw a big celebration (see #9) when individual and team records are broken. Maybe you could have some trophies or a plaque.

12) Make Sales Wagers

At the beginning of the day, week, or month, call out one of your producers or co-workers for a friendly sales wager.

Whoever sells the most, earns the most referrals, upsells the most coverage, gets the most x-dates, gives more quotes, makes more phone calls whatever… gets a reward.

One of my favorite wagers is the good old pie in the face for the loser.

13) Give Out a Best _____ of the Week Certificate

fun-sales-certificatePrint out a blank certificate that you can write anything you want in and give out an award every Friday for something new.

It could be for the best sale, best customer service, best teamwork, best joke… whatever.

It might be a stretch, but maybe you could use it for a customer every now and then.

14) Listen to Fun Music

Try to be in a bad mood after listening to Walkin’ on Sunshine, ABC, Don’t Worry Be Happy, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Chumbawumba.

You can try… but you will not succeed.

15) Haiku Contest

This one’s great because it immediately throws you back to 7th grade English class and justifies all those years in school because you remember the syllable count of a Haiku.

Selling insurance,
Without ever having fun,
Will drive you bonkers.

16) Trivia Contests for Clients

Put a sign on the receptionists desk with a trivia question. Any clients who get it right get some kind of prize with your agency branding on it.

Or if you want to make it a bit more engaging, get a box of Trivial Pursuit cards and have the client pick one.

Get the whole office involved and if anyone knows the answer the client wins.

17) Buy a Dart Board

You might have to check with the OSHA first, but I’m pretty sure you can do this.

It could be in the back room for a fun break every now and then. Or maybe you can even work it into the sales day with something like this: everybody throws one dart and that’s how many cold-calls you have to make that day.

Watch out for the triple 20!

18) Hang Up Children’s Pictures

funny-kids-drawingIt could be artwork your kids make or your customers’ kids make, but there’s something fun about seeing artwork from the young ones hanging up.

Maybe you could get kids to draw funny insurance pictures like, “Mom’s car after the accident” “What Dad does at work all day” or  “The Gecko getting run over by a Mack Truck”.

19) No Complaining Contest

Every time someone complains about anything they have to drop a dollar into a jar. At the end of the week, the person with the least complaints gets to keep the pot.

If your agency is like most it’ll be a huge pot by Friday. You might just want to do this for one day at a time.

20) Group Stretch

Those mid-afternoons late in the week can get pretty slow from time to time. When you sense that happening get your whole team up out of their chairs and do some stretches.

Stretching will get more oxygen to your brain and get your blood flowing.

And this way no one will “pull a hammy” when they run out the door at 5:00pm!

21) Helium Balloons

When you give a little kid a helium balloon it absolutely makes their day.

This will make you feel great and if the parents are like me they’ll be thrilled that their kid stopped whining for a few minutes at the insurance agency.

You can give them to your producers for a job well done too!

22) Funny Dress Up Day

insurance-fun-office

This is obviously fun to do on October 31st. But if you really want to have some fun have a crazy dress up day on a random day.

Here’s some ideas: Dress like the 1980′s… Wigs for everyone… Everyone in pink… Dress like your favorite movie star and then everyone else has to guess who it is…

You’re going to feel a little silly when you go out for lunch by yourself but it’ll make a great Facebook post!

23) Paint The Office Brighter Colors

Assuming you don’t sell for a company that dictates the color of your walls, the furniture in your office, and the brand of toilet paper you use in the bathroom you could go with some brighter colors to liven things up a bit.

You might want to get the opinion of someone who’s good at this kind of stuff so your office doesn’t end up looking like a pre-school.

24) Funny Photoshopped Pictures

funny-insurance-imagesWho doesn’t find it funny to photoshop your co-workers face onto a famous celebrity?

You probably don’t have to buy a photoshop program though. There’s some online ones that work okay like Pixlr and Splashup.

Just be careful. DO NOT do anything that could offend someone.

You don’t want to be in court explaining Exhibit A – A picture of your co-worker’s face coming out of an horse’s backside.

25) Office Anniversary Celebrations

Throw a party for employees on the anniversary of their employment, the day they passed their first licensing exam, or when they made their first sale.

Birthday parties are cool, but when you throw a party for someone’s anniversary at work it shows their time spent is valued.

Unlike a birthday, office anniversaries are only shared with the office, which makes it a bit more special and exciting.

26) Smile and Laugh More

I’m not getting into the biology here, but smiling and laughing fires special neurons in your brain and the more you fire those neurons the more they want to fire.

When you consciously make an effort to smile and laugh more your brain will reward you by wanting to do it and finding reasons to do it more often.

Don’t go overboard. If coworkers hear you laughing by yourself in the bathroom they’ll start laughing behind your back.

27) Share Funny Stuff on Your Agency Facebook Page

This is really more to show your clients you’re fun to work with than to boost the agency morale, but you don’t have to work too hard to find funny pictures and quotes to post on Facebook.

Funny car accidents, cartoons about insurance, insurance jokes, etc.

You can get some good ideas for insurance Facebook posts over here.

28) Install a Nerf Basketball Hoop

Simple but cheap and easy.

And to be honest, a Nerf Basketball Hoop is fun for a few minutes every now and then but it’s not going to distract your staff for hours when you’re away like a dartboard or pinball machine might.

Don’t be a ball hog. Let your clients take a shot every now and then.

29) Magic Word Contest

Pick a random word and hold a contest to see who can use it first when talking with a client.

It’s actually a good game for salespeople because it encourages conscious conversation and thinking on your feet.

Although I can’t deny that I would probably laugh, I strongly recommend you to stay far away from dirty words here.

30) Good Natured Office Pranks

office-jokesThere’s not many things in life I enjoy more than a great prank.

Try this one on your co-worker. Leave them a written message that Mr. Lyon or Mr. Behr called and provide the phone number to your local zoo!

If you do that one you have to let me know how it goes!

31) Set the Example

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years in the insurance agency business, it’s that the attitudes and dispositions of everyone in an agency always come from the top.

If the agent sees half-empty glasses everywhere so will everyone else in the agency.

When an agent brings laughter and positivity every day the entire agency will follow.

Decide you’re going to have fun with your business and do it today.

I’ve given you enough ideas.

Note from John:

If you know any other agents that like to have fun at the office would you do them a favor and email a link to this article?

And if you can’t think of anybody, click the Like button so more agents will see it on Facebook.

Thanks and HAVE FUN!

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John F. Carroll

John F. Carroll is the founder and CEO of InsuranceSplash. For years, John has consulted insurance agencies with internet marketing and sales strategy and he is dedicated to making insurance marketing easy and effective for all insurance agents. If you're an agent, connect with John on LinkedIn, he wants to connect with you!

Comments (6)

  • Tina Hockensmith

    |

    I was just wanting to let you know that I LOVE your ideas and I have used several already, I have your website added to my favorites and I check it everyday! I am a new agent/agency. Very new, I should say, I was a stay at home mom for 11years and I was wanting to start a business for myself. It is an exteremly hard business to get your name out and trust out there. I have joined a Chamber, I am also a Secratary of an organization, I know its just going to take some time. I always welcome any suggestions you would have. Keep up the great posts. Oh I am also on FB if you could like my page, I am trying to get to 30 likes by the end of the month!! Hockensmith Insurance

    Thanks again,
    Tina Hockensmith

    Reply

    • John F. Carroll

      |

      Hi Ms. Hockensmith,

      Thanks so much for the positive feedback! I’ve worked with many parents returning to the workforce and have usually found they’re better equipped than those who never left!

      I wish you the best of luck reaching 30 likes and growing the agency.

      Thank you!!!
      John

      If anyone else wants to help Ms. Hockensmith reach that goal of 30 likes they can do so here, http://www.facebook.com/HockensmithInsurance

      Reply

  • Debra Hartley

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    Do agencies really do this? All these ideas would be so much fun and make the work place more alive! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  • Francis

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    Superb ideas! How I wish my company is like this.

    Reply

  • Hj

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    Hello john
    ive been running around the cyber world lile a headless chicken looking for those few words of wisdom that would lift my spirits and gear me up for this new challenge ive taken up… im a fashion designer\ artist turned financial adviser. Whenever I seek adivce or tell anyone what ive done all they do is shake their heads n say ” thats a tough one, I sugguest don’t take this up if you think u cant do this”. But I know I have goos communication skills and have always been complimented on my convincing power and i thrive challenges. Ibe been scanning my head for some creative ideas to approach clients and im open to suggestions.
    Tell me something before I give up n go back to my cave.

    Take care
    hj

    Reply

    • John F. Carroll

      |

      If you have good communication skills and convincing power and you thrive with challenges I’m confident you’ll be fine as long as you can persevere through the beginning. Good luck.

      Reply

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