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The DNA of Successful Multiline Agencies

Learn common characteristics of successful multiline agents.

By Troy Korsgaden

Webster's Dictionary describes DNA as “the molecular basis of heredity in many organisms.” As human beings, we are made up of DNA that identifies our uniqueness. A comparison can be drawn between successful multiline agencies that share common characteristics—similar to the DNA shared in families.

I have studied thousands of multiline agencies across the United States and even some in other countries while training more than 40,000 agents, brokers and staff. In this process, over 5,000 pages of leading practices have been catalogued. The successful agencies are dedicated to offering a suite of multiline products to their customers, including life and financial services.

Successful agents constantly learn so that they can have superior product knowledge.

Common threads
Let’s look at the common threads of successful multiline agencies.

The agencies focus on selling life and financial services. They include the selling of life and financial services as a specific goal in their marketing and business plans. Goals are precise and include the number of appointments set for life and financial services monthly, weekly and daily. Goals are set for the number of applications written monthly, weekly or daily.

Agency leadership has a strong conviction about life insurance. Our own agency has a strong focus on life sales due to the fact that I am personally a product of what life insurance can do for a family. When I was a young child, my father died in a car accident. A few months before he died, he purchased life insurance. Can you guess what kind of policy it was? It doesn’t matter, and to this day, I don’t know either. All I know is that the life insurance did what it was supposed to do—help my mother raise five children on her own. All my brothers and sisters grew up to be successful and happy, and I believe that life insurance played a major role in that.

These agencies have reasons to sell life insurance. A great man once said, “If you are armed with enough reasons, you can do anything.” Successful agents and life producers have two lists of reasons for selling life insurance. One is a list of why people need life insurance. The other is a list of why the agency should offer life insurance as a value proposition to their clients.

These agencies educate and do not sell. Successful agencies educate clients who need life insurance and don’t worry about clients who don’t care. All of us have enough relationships to give us the freedom to choose the people we do business with. I like to say, “You must choose the person you do business with to be successful in the future.” Don’t waste your time trying to sell to people who don’t care. Instead, educate the customers who need you to help them connect the dots to protect what they currently own and help them build for the future. Remember that you are a personal trusted advisor.

These agencies keep a short list. This list is what you use to put immediate appointments on the calendar—people you can be in front of now. This short list is constantly refreshed from your long list of prospects.

These agencies keep a long list. This is your entire database and includes the names of those who have purchased products from you in the past, clients with other lines of insurance or financial services, referrals and a “suspect” list that you create.

They understand the products they sell. Successful agents and their staffs constantly learn so that they can have superior product knowledge. They are not limited in their thinking. They understand the value of all the products in their portfolio because they have taken the time to understand the pros and cons of each product.

They make selling a game. All selling organizations that want to win understand that people have to have fun every day to thrive. Contests and competitions are a fun way to help accomplish this goal. Contest payoffs are always included in ongoing marketing programs.

They know the numbers. They quantify everything. A great friend of mine always says, “You’ve got to inspect what you expect.” Set the goals and follow up to make sure you know where you and your staff are, in terms of performance, at all times.

They are consistent. Consistency is one of the major factors in achieving long-term success. There is an old saying in the insurance industry that goes, “It worked so well, I quit doing it.” While this makes no sense whatsoever, the saying and the practice are widely accepted. The masses are easily side-tracked. Don’t be one of those who fall into the I-got-sidetracked trap. The winning agencies stay on the plan.

Twice named Agent of the Year from among 14,000 Farmers Insurance agents, Troy Korsgaden is a speaker and has trained nearly 40,000 financial advisors. For more information, call TKS at 800-524-6390, fax the company at 559-625-1603 or go to


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