May 2013

May 2013

Strategies for Success Newsletter May 2013 Issue 89


Published by Emily Huling Selling Strategies
Copyright 2013 Emily Huling. All rights reserved.


In this May 2013 issue:

Emily’s mailbag
Thoughts from the road
Josmo’s Cafe
Stay Energized!
Emily Live


1. Emily’s mailbag – Creating a Culture of Engagement

Dear Emily,

I’m the owner of steadily growing independent agency. In the past four years, we’ve added ten new people, growing from 25 to 35. As our staff has grown, we seem to have lost our family feeling. Some employees just do their jobs and won’t engage with people outside of their departments or participate in agency-sponsored community activities. Is a culture of engagement possible as we grow in size? If so, how?


We’ve lost that family feeling

Dear Lost,

You most certainly can bring back a culture of engaged employees! It’s common to experience a shift when employee count dramatically grows. It’s easy for people to feel like a number instead of a valued member of the team if management doesn’t apply engagement-building strategies. Some ideas:

Keep people informed by holding monthly state-of-the-office breakfast or lunch meetings. While people are eating, agency leaders should briefly and enthusiastically speak on these topics: agency results; carrier news; department updates; staff changes and recognition; operations and technology updates; sales and service success stories. Allow plenty of time for Q&A and conversation.
Job-shadowing programs break down departmental silos by allowing people to experience firsthand what coworkers do during their work day. Allow at least a half-day for employees to work alongside others. Have employees report on their experiences at department meetings.
One-on-one supervisor/employee coffee chats. Quarterly personal visits keep communication lines open. Use a simple agenda for a 30-minute conversation: what’s going well; ideas to improve our agency; how can I help you achieve your personal goals?
MBWA – manage by walking around. Stopping by each employee’s workstation once a day to check in demonstrates a supervisor’s engagement, interest, and support. This practice saves time contrary to what some supervisors believe. When a supervisor stops by, he or she is better able to manage both the substance and time of a conversation.
Continue to offer and promote community involvement activities. Employees, not the management team, should select two or three causes to become involved with. Not every employee will participate, but as internal communication and understanding grow, people will be more comfortable with the idea of spending time together outside of the office, especially for a worthwhile cause.

Employee engagement happens when the leaders consistently communicate, ask, listen, and support.


If you’re not genuinely engaged at work, examine if it’s you or your employer who needs to change. EH


Would you like to improve your customer’s experience?

Great Service Sells, a book and companion audio CD, is a ready-to-use customer service improvement program for your agency staff meetings!

Great Service Sells: How Great CSRs Turn Service into Sales is designed for CSR group learning in staff meetings using both the print book and accompanying audio CDs. Presented in 21, five-minute chapters, the tips, techniques, real-life stories and personal challenges offer a year’s worth of education sessions. For a complete list of chapters and facilitation tips, go to

One book and companion audio CDs are $69.00. Five additional books are $49.00. Newsletter readers receive a 20% discount by using coupon code NEWS11 at checkout.

As a bonus, all orders will receive the priceless 2012 Energizer Minute Collection CD that includes 27 Quick Tips for Business Success!

View Details with Link to Purchase


2. Thoughts from the road

Resolve customer complaints

John and I were visiting my mom in Phoenix in April at the height of pollen season. Her car, a white Altima, was covered by the thick yellow dust. When we stopped to fill the tank with gas, we decided to take advantage of the quick, inexpensive drive-through car wash. Paying by credit card at the pump, we paid the additional $7.00 for the wash and received the code to enter into the payment machine. We proceeded to the entry point, entered the code and received the green light to proceed into the car wash. We drove ahead expecting to see the stop sign light up letting us know the car wash would begin. We saw the sign, but it did not light up. We stopped a hair past it. Nothing. We backed up. Nothing. We moved forward again. Nothing. By now there are two cars behind us so we exited.

We parked and John went into the store to tell the clerk about our trouble. When John returned to the car he did not look happy. “That guy treated me as if I’d never used a car wash before! On top of that, he told me it happens quite often.” We went back to car wash and are now waiting in line. So much for the quick part of the car wash! We entered the new code and inched forward so as not to miss the critical stopping point. Again, the stop sign did not light up. The bulb was burned out! It was malfunctioning machinery, not operator error. Luckily this time we stopped at the proper spot and the car wash started.

John and I wondered just how long the bulb has been burned out and how many customers had been annoyed and inconvenienced. Our wasted time was about 20 minutes and we weren’t going to waste five more going back in to tell them about their burned out bulb especially after John was treated as if he were the problem.

Moral of the story: Having an effective customer complaint communication plan is a critical component of a customer-driven organization. Do you have one?


3. Josmo’s Café

Sweet Georgia Vidalia onions are plentiful in North Carolina this month. These easy, fragrant, and delicious Baked Vidalia Onions make a great side dish to a simple chicken or pork entrée. All of our Josmo’s Café guests ask for the recipe which was created by John’s mother. Enjoy!

To learn the history of Josmo’s Café and access more café recipes, visit Josmo’s Café!


4. Stay Energized!

May Energizer Minute – Get supercharged with Energizer Minutes – one to two minute audio stories told by yours truly to energize, invigorate, and inspire! Click to hear Look Beyond.

Follow me on Twitter @EmilyHuling to read my weekday Energizer Moments.

Professional Impressions – Everyday Practices Are Critical to Success. Read my newest Rough Notes article and do a self-check. Better yet…use the article in a staff meeting to be sure everyone is up to speed!

Receive your complimentary copy of the priceless 2012 Energizer Minute Collection plus 27 Quick Tips for Business Success when you order $50 of books and audio programs.


Selling Strategies purpose is to build top-performing sales, service, and leadership organizations. We offer insurance industry expertise to companies, agents, and MGAs to accomplish culture change, strategic planning and implementation, business development, improving the client experience, and leadership and management development and coaching.

To learn more, visit or call me at 888-309-8802.


5. Emily Live

Please get in touch if you want to connect when I’m in your area or if you’re interested in a similar program for your organization.

Professional Insurance Agents of Indiana Annual Conference – Indianapolis, IN – A Marketing Plan: Your Roadmap to Success and Creating Sales Superstars – May 9-10, 2013
Private client – Great Service Sells – Appleton, WI – May 15, 2013
AAMGA Annual Convention – New Orleans. LA – May 20-22, 2013
International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP) Annual Convention – Take Charge of Your Career and Time Tactics: Accomplish More, Stress Less – Orlando, FL – June 5-7, 2013
Agency Management CIC – Shreveport, LA – June 26-27, 2013
Agency Management CIC – Kansas City, MO – July 18, 2013
Private client – Great Service Sells – Appleton, WI – September 18, 2013
NAMIC Annual Convention – Seattle, WA – September 22-25, 2013
NAPSLO Annual Convention – San Diego, CA – September 29 – October 2, 2013
Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado Annual Convention – Deliver Service That Sells and Protects and Kick Your “But” – Denver, CO – October 2-3, 2013
Independent Insurance Agents of Kentucky Annual Convention – Louisville, KY – A Marketing Plan: Your Roadmap to Success – November 8, 2013


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Selling Strategies: Strategies for Success Newsletter is published by Emily Huling Selling Strategies. For further information contact

© 2013 Emily Huling. All rights reserved.

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