Elevate is an annual conference put on by Agency Nation that attracts many agents who are thinking about how to do business in a new way. The topics and speakers tend to focus mostly on technology, social media and marketing. It’s really a great show: lots of edgy content, a very high energy level and tons of enthusiasm. Many discussions take place on how an agency can enhance the customer buying experience and increase customer satisfaction. There were sessions on how an agency can enhance and improve in nearly every aspect of the customer journey. It’s really quite amazing to see the level of sophistication that some agencies are operating.
Not long ago, a “high-tech agency” basically meant that an agency used the Microsoft Office suite of products, an agency management system and some sort of comparative rater. At Elevate, there were sessions on using technology for lead generation, automated marketing campaigns, customer conversion, customer on-boarding, providing 24/7 customer support, measuring customer satisfaction, employee engagement and much, much more.
One analogy that was shared with me in a private conversation (yes, over a hurricane on Bourbon Street) was that the agents in attendance at Elevate are more of your Rocky I agencies, while the vast majority of independent agencies are Rocky III agencies. I love both sports and movie analogies, so this one really resonated with me. In other words, the agencies at this conference want to grow, and have ambitious goals that they are trying to obtain, like in Rocky I. Most agencies however, are more like Rocky III – they have reached a level of success that they are content with, and have really stopped learning and growing. They live in the big house and drive the fancy car, and life is really good. Why train as hard as back in the day, right?
And frankly, I think that is a valid point… but on one condition. Are you ready to surrender your championship belt? If so, then that’s great. You can sell the agency and enjoy a well-deserved retirement. But what if you’re not planning on giving up the belt anytime soon? If you’re a Rocky III agency, then you need to know that Clubber Lang is coming, and he is investing in technology and people in order to offer up a far better customer experience than what you can deliver, and if you step into the ring with him, it’s going to be ugly.
But what I want (and I think that you would want) would be to think back to how Rocky III ended. After getting destroyed by Clubber Lang in the first fight, how did Rocky respond? He completely reinvented himself. He got lighter and quicker (remember him chasing the chicken as part of his training?) In short, he evolved as a fighter and was able to compete with Lang. If while reading this, you kept thinking about you and your agency as being a Rocky III agency, please let us help you evolve BEFORE you set foot in the ring with Lang the first time. I promise you, we do not want to see you get pulverized!