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MARCH 2017



In This Issue Insurance Limits, Your Record Keeping, and How to Avoid an E&O Claim What Leadership Needs to Know About Sales Today’s Businesses Need “Gladiator” Leaders 14 Characteristics of Successful Insurance Agency Owners and Key Leaders

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere 2017 Texas PIA Annual Convention & Expo May 10—12, 2017 Moody Gardens, Galveston Network with agents, company representatives, industry experts and gain insight into industry challenges unique to Texas. Enjoy top-notch continuing education classes, exhibits, hospitality, entertainment and plenty of fun. Join us poolside for what promise to be an evening you won’t forget as we feature Texas artist Cole Degges in concert Thursday, May 11, 2017 from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. A Nashville songwriter, Cole has written songs for country music superstars like Kenney Chesney and Tracy Byrd. Secure our special room rate of $155 plus taxes and fees before the Tuesday, April 18, 2017 deadline and view a full agenda at COLE DEGGES


Golf Scramble Skeet Shoot President’s Reception Awards Luncheon

VIP Industry Speakers Live Concert 15% off New A1 Professional Memberships

A special thanks to our 2017 Partners Platinum




For additional information, visit us at or call (972)862-3333.


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In This Issue Insurance Limits, Your Record Keeping, and How to Avoid an E&O Claim



What Leadership Needs to Know About Sales



Today’s Businesses Need “Gladiator” Leaders

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14 Characteristics of Successful Insurance Agency Owners & Key Leaders Page 16

2017 Continuing Education Classes 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Dave & Buster’s Buffet Dinner Included San Antonio Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Houston Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Shirley Almany We are thrilled to announce that our new and updated website is live. The more user friendly site makes it convenient to use the site on your desktop, notebook or mobile phone anytime, anywhere. It is much easier to navigate the site with an enhanced navigation bar and more frequently used landing pages are located in the Quick Links and Upcoming Events bars on the right side of the home page. There are a number of features that make it more useful locating member benefits and member discounts that are accessed at the National PIA. And you now have more than 50 industry links at your fingertips.

Dallas Wednesday ,July 12, 2017 San Antonio Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Houston Wednesday, September 6, 2917 Dallas Wednesday, October 25, 2017 San Antonio Wednesday, November 8, 2017 See our full calendar for detailed information.

The new site also includes a member engagement community feature. We invite you to take a few minutes to update your profile and connect with other members.

Shirley Texas PIA P.O. Box 700877 Dallas, TX 75370 (972) 862-3333


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What Leadership Needs to Know About Sales By John Chapin In the leadership role you probably already get that sales is the primary key to massive success and prosperity. As you know, the most successful companies sell better and more than everyone else. Starbucks doesn’t have the best coffee, they’ve simply sold an enormous number of people on doing business with them. That said, to ensure colossal success for your company, here are the sales facts you want to ensure your company is living by. Fact #1: Sales has to be at the top of the food chain. Everything starts and stops with sales. Without sales, there is no service department, no installation department, and in fact, no people because you’re out of business. Until a product is sold, nothing moves. No money goes into the bank account, trucks don’t move, customers aren’t helped, nothing gets installed or serviced, and economies stop. Companies go out of business because they don’t sell enough at high enough prices. Companies thrive because they sell enough at the right prices to cover bills, payroll, growth, and mistakes. If you want to thrive in good times and bad times, independent of the economy, the President, rules, regulations, and other factors, you do so with lots of sales. Everyone and everything has to support sales first and foremost. Note: This is not permission for the sales department to run roughshod over everyone, treat anyone like a second-class citizen, or break rules in order to sell something. All business must be clean and ethical, and all other departments treated with the utmost respect and professionalism. Also, for the love of God, don’t ever verbalize “sales department first” to other departments. “Sales first” is an unwritten rule. I don’t want to see this in an e-mail or even scratched on a random notepad in bad handwriting. The other departments need to know and be told they are important. The key point: when push comes to shove, sales comes first. When the receptionist says, “that’s not my job” to a simple, reasonable request from sales, the receptionist’s attitude is addressed, not the salesperson’s demands or expectations. Fact #2: Your focus needs to be on attitude and activity within the sales department. A sales team with superior attitude and activity levels will always outsell a sales team with superior skillset and products. While skillset and product are important, and will be discussed in Fact #3, the actual acts of going out and connecting with a high number of people are paramount. The most important factors are how motivated the sales team is and how many people they talk to and connect with. When you’re hiring salespeople, you’re hiring attitude. You can’t teach drive and work ethic. You’re looking for people who are hungry, with a blue-collar mentality, and a thick skin. You’re also looking for people who are extremely persistent and resilient. They need to follow through and follow up, and follow up, and follow up. Next, what is the activity level? Are they coming in early and leaving late, are they working on the weekends? Are they working on the right things? Are they selling anything? If you aren’t sure of their activity, go on calls with them. You can also call them, ask where they are, and surprise them in the field. I know of one company that tracks their sales reps activity via GPS. They are able to ensure they are making the required 10 to 12 sales calls a day, beginning by 9 a.m. at the latest and finishing by 4:30 p.m. at the earliest. For those of you cringing right now, the only people offended by this will be the people who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Continued on Page 11


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Bottom line: hire attitude, set expectations around activity level, and hold people accountable. And remember, at the end of the day it’s all about production. They are either paying their way and getting the job done, or they’re not. Fact #3: You must invest in your sales team. A highly effective sales team needs tools, resources, training, and support. Your goal is to have them spending as much time as possible prospecting, presenting, and closing. This is going to take one: support people to do paperwork, order entry, and other non-sales related items, two: tools and resources such as CRMs, computer systems, and other technology, and three: systems and processes that standardize operations and remove all guess work. Among other items, you should have selling system in place complete with scripts, competitive information, and anything else that a salesperson could possibly need during an interaction with a prospect or customer. Next, invest in the development of sales skills. While attitude and activity are most important, a sales team that also has great sales skills is lethal. Invest in learning tools such as books, CDs, DVDs, classes, and seminars. Salespeople should be continually practicing, drilling, and rehearsing sales skills in sales meetings, in the car, with you and other salespeople, and even with friends and family members. You should also be throwing objections at them when you simply walk by them in the office. Preparation and knowing exactly what to say are critical. Fact #4: Everyone and everything affects sales. Everyone affects sales at your company from the receptionist, who is the first person people come in contact with, to the janitor, who runs into people walking in and out of your building, to your truckers, your customer service people, and your salespeople. All make an impression, good or bad, and that impression helps determine whether or not people do business with you. Taking it a step further, it’s my belief that because selling is your company’s most important activity, everyone should be directly involved in sales. Everyone knows people and they should all be looking for possible prospects for your product or service. Yes, even the janitor and receptionist. If they pass on a name to the sales department and a sale is made, they should be rewarded with money, a gift, or something else of value, but all employees should be sold on your product and looking for people to help. John Chapin is a sales and motivational speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or if you would like him to speak at your next event, go to:

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Alex Cao established his agency in 2009 and now employs a very small but very tightly knit staff of four, including his lovely wife Ana Cao. Mr. Cao is a big believer in the saying "you reap what you sow".

Alex Cao Licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Agent Pin Insurance

His family immigrated from Vietnam on October 12, 1981 when he was 14 months old along with his mother, father, older brother and two older sisters. He became naturalized on May 12, 2016. His first professional job was as a realtor from 2005 through 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He moved to Texas in 2008 and lives in Bacliff.


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Alex Cao Licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Agent Pin Insurance

Today’s Businesses Need “Gladiator” Leaders By Gregory P. Smith “Gladiator virtues” like bravery, integrity and vision can help your company rise from mediocre to extraordinary. Remember the heart-pounding, soul-stirring message of the movie Gladiator? Remember how Maximus, the Russell Crowe character, rallied his men around him and led them to victory, even in the face of almost certain defeat? Remember his “envision the goal” technique for getting through the horrors of battle? Now, consider the leadership in your own company. Any gladiators in the ranks? Are you a gladiator? The time is right for a more heroic style of leadership. Desperate times lend themselves to the rise of gladiators. Instead of seeing today’s economy as a negative, executives should view it as an opportunity in disguise—a chance to position your organization for the inevitable economic upswing. Here are eight virtues of Gladiator Leadership. 1.Gladiators have a mission for which they feel real passion. Call it a purpose, an obsession, a calling: whatever the terminology, good leaders have a defining mission in their life. This mission, above all other traits, separates managers from leaders. In Gladiator, Maximus lived for the mission of killing the evil usurper Commodus and restoring Rome to the values that made her great. 2. Gladiators create a vision. Having and communicating a clear picture of a future goal will lead to its achievement. Dare to think great! Maximus helped his fellow gladiators see that they could overthrow their enemies and survive the horror of the battles they were forced to participate in. In business, a leader may create an “enemy”—the economy, the competition, inefficiency—to challenge the energies of his or her people and give them something to fight for. 3. Gladiators lead from the front—they don’t dictate from the back. In the movie, both when Maximus was a general and a gladiator, he fought up front where the firestorm was heaviest. So does a good business leader. Working “in the trenches” shows you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, it helps you fully understand the issues your “soldiers” are facing, and inspires loyalty in your troops. 4. Gladiators know there is strength in teams. Where would Maximus have been if he had not trusted his men to fight with him and cover his back? Likewise, where would you be without your employees? While the gladiator leader has the skills to draw people together, he doesn’t hog the spotlight. He has care and compassion for his team and wants every member to be recognized for his or her efforts. This is especially important in a time when the old style “command and control” structure is waning. Younger workers (Generations X and Y) tend to be loyal to their coworkers rather than the traditional “organization.” 5. Gladiators encourage risk-taking. In the Roman Empire, gladiators were expected to die with honor. Refusing to lie down and let one’s opponents win was bucking the status quo. (And certainly, killing the reigning emperor—however corrupt—simply was not done!) If a company does not examine its way of doing things, if it does not push out its boundaries, if it never makes mistakes, it may become road kill. Continued on Page 15


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TEXAS PIA GOLF SCRAMBLE Moody Gardens Golf Course Wednesday, May 10, 2017 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 pm

Fee $100 (Includes Awards Party at Hotel) Fee $20 for 4 Mulligans (Proceeds benefit the David Almany Scholarship Fund) Register at For more information, call (972)862-3333. Skeet Shoot players will be scheduled for later tee times.

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6. Gladiators keep their heads in a crisis. Maximus had to think on his feet and refuse to give into terror and panic. He faced the most formidable foes calmly and with focus. Business leaders must do the same. They must take a position and defend it when things go awry. Being graceful and brave under fire is the surest way to build credibility—a necessity for sound leadership. Gladiators don’t retreat due to the slowing economy, but look for the opportunity under their feet. 7. Gladiators prepare for battle 24 hours a day. Essentially, a Roman gladiator was a fighting machine. To stay alive, his mind had to be constantly on the upcoming battle. Business leaders, likewise, must be obsessed with training and developing their people in good times and bad. People need and want to hone their individual skills and “sharpen their swords.” Furthermore, good leaders must constantly learn what’s necessary to survive and unlearn the “old rules.” Just because a management style worked a decade ago does not mean it will work in today’s economy—good leaders evolve with the times. 8. Gladiators are teachers and mentors. Maximus taught his soldiers the lessons they would need to survive in their new role as gladiators. In today’s rapidly changing environment, leaders must also teach and train those who may soon replace them. We are not necessarily talking about formal classroom training. We need leaders talking to people in the hallway, in the restaurant . . . everywhere. Everyone should be mentoring someone. Gregory P. Smith is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and business performance consultant. He has written numerous books including, Fired Up! Leading Your Organization to Achieve Exceptional Results. Greg has been featured on television programs such as Bloomberg News, PBS television, and in publications including Business Week, USA Today, Kiplinger’s, President and CEO, and the Christian Science Monitor. He is the President of a management-consulting firm called, Chart Your Course International, business ideas every month.

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14 Characteristics of Successful Insurance Agency Owners and Key Leaders By Billy R. Williams, PhD. 1. They understand that it is the discipline of working a process that makes it effective. An average process worked consistently is better than a great process that is barely worked 2. They understand that insurance is a contact sport. If you and your team are not willing to regularly contact customers, prospects, local businesses, and individuals that refer prospects to you by using a variety of live outreach and automated contact tools, you will never be a winner in this profession 3. They hire staff for their ability, not their availability. They hire staff that has the right mentality and personality for the position that they are filling 4. They don’t let their personal issues, or the personal issues of the staff sidetrack the agency’s processes 5. They set aside time to make sure the best people for making the agency money, have the time to do it 6. They don’t “Step over Dollars to pick up Dimes.” They don’t jump at every opportunity to spend money that comes along, or spend too much time and effort on things that offer no value to the agency 7. They don’t try to do it alone, they have a large referral source or multiple medium size referral sources made up of businesses and individuals 8. They delegate and empower their staff to make important decisions 9. They have a business savings plan or line of credit that allows them to have money available when a really good marketing or business opportunity presents itself 10. They have defined data management processes that everyone in the agency adheres to 11. The agency sales staff presents and clearly explains the coverage that will best protect a customer’s quality of life should a claim occur, even if it is not always the lowest cost option 12. They have a mentor (or multiple mentors) that they use to help them make the best decisions to grow the agency 13. They make sure that the agency utilizes modern, effective, efficient, technology that allows the staff to be more productive in the agency 14. They don’t allow their ego, arrogance, insecurities, and emotions to get in the way of them making good business decisions. If they see these things getting in the way, they get the hell out of the way and delegate the decision to someone with clearer judgment.


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Cole Degges in Concert 2017 Texas PIA Annual Convention & Expo 8:00 p.m. to 11:00p.m. Poolside Moody Gardens When Texas artist/Nashville songwriter, Cole Degges first came to Music City in 1994 he had no idea he would one day be writing songs for the likes of country music superstars like Kenny Chesney and Tracy Byrd. Currently enjoying the success of the Josh Ward hit "Highway" (which is at #1 on the Texas Charts); Cole also wrote 3 songs for Chris Janson - "Take It To The Bank", "Till A Woman Comes Along", and "Back To Me". Previously he wrote the Gary Allan hit, “It Ain't the Whiskey”, Cole has also penned the hits “Cheapest Motel” for Tracy Byrd, “Tattoo Rose” for Andy Griggs, and the trademark Kenny Chesney song “Live Those Songs Again”, which went triple platinum in 2002 giving the Texas native his first taste of major success as a songwriter. Songwriting is only one side of the complex artistry of this Texas native, and the roots provided by a musical upbringing combined with his love of life and the outdoors have allowed Cole to become a world-class performer. About to embark on a radio tour, Cole is currently making waves around Texas and beyond. Keep your ears open as he will be coming to your town soon! You can listen to some of Cole Degges “New Texas Band” music at


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Texas Connection - March 2017  
Texas Connection - March 2017