Lessons Learned: COSTCO & Insurance Sales

Let me first say that COSTCO is my favorite store on the planet.  I love COSTCO.  And it is not just what they sell, because they are relatively limited in variety, but it’s more so the people that work there.

Store workers are always highly motivated and in constant motion stocking the shelves, helping customers, or giving out free food samples! 

I was shopping with my wife at COSTCO earlier today and I noticed a rather large bulletin board in full view from the checkout lines. 

It had thumb-tacked to it a large spreadsheet with all the names of the checkers listed down the left-hand side and a series of numbers next to each one. 

Each number represented the average number of items each checker had processed in one minute.  Everyone was ranked in order of productivity.  I’m thinking there must be a prize or reward behind these rankings.

So what does this have to do with insurance sales?

A lot.  Almost three years to the day, I was doing some executive coaching for a well-known insurance broker client of mine.  My objective was to help them increase commercial lines insurance sales.  Sales had been flat for several years and the sales staff was getting complacent.

I took a page from my own playbook at my office which is to rank all my recruiters from top to bottom on a list that is posted in the coffee room for all to see.  It tracks their daily and weekly activity including phone calls, emails, presentations, meetings, and closing ratios.

 The impact was immediate.  Productivity went through the roof.  Peer pressure using activity metrics is an amazing motivator.

My client adopted the same approach.  They created a ranking system of insurance producer activities including phone calls, prospect interactions, proposals, and closed deals.  Same thing.  Posted it on their internal collaborative online board for all to see.

 What happened next?   

Activity, productivity, and sales production increased by 36% over one year with the same exact staff and resources.  Three years later, sales have since doubled.

From now on, I’m going to call this approach, “The COSTCO BOARD.” 

Every office should have one.

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