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The Rough Notes Company Inc.



November 04
16:43 2021


 They’re there to support you. Let them do their job!

Shockingly, with rare exceptions, support staff are not simply waiting around for you to be ready for them to do something.

By Michael Wayne

There is a paradox in being a producer. Our worlds revolve around taking information we either get from a client or uncover for ourselves and then using that knowledge to peer into the future to design or create solutions.
We do everything possible to help clients protect what they have, to prepare for future growth, and to figure out how to preserve their legacies for coming generations. We do everything possible to figure out how to save organizations from overspending while keeping their employees healthy. We are absolutely all about developing timelines to keep everyone on task.

When the timeline is a condensed one, however, our Type A personalities don’t cope well. In short, we tend to be horrible about letting other specialists do their jobs. That is firmly on display when we are responding to RFPs, RFQs, and RFIs.
I get it. The pressure of the world is on you to win and retain business. This is life and death. It’s the most important thing that has ever happened in the history of the planet, maybe the universe. Nothing can be left to chance. Now, for those of you who have never had the experience of participating in the joy that is an RFP, RFQ, or RFI, at least keep reading if for no other reason than to be entertained.

One of the greatest faults we have as producers is staying in our lanes. If you work at a smaller agency, your behavior can be forgiven as being necessary. For those who are lucky enough to have support staff who were hired for a reason, however, this is for you. And the principles apply more broadly to teams, too.

Here are the Top 5 ways to support the staff who are there to support you with responses.

Give them as much time as you can. If you know that you are going to require the services of your support staff, give them a heads-up that something is on the way. Don’t wait until the last minute to spring a project on them. Don’t hold onto a response when the due date is three days away and expect that they are going to be able to drop everything to do your bidding.
Shockingly, with rare exceptions, support staff are not simply waiting around for you to be ready for them to do something.
Let them do their jobs. If you are collaborating with a team, remember that everyone does not operate the same way that you do. Staying on top of things and on task is important, but being a micromanaging megalomaniac is beyond annoying. For instance, shared documents like Google Docs exist, in part, to ensure that there aren’t multiple versions of the same document being passed back and forth-that nothing is being missed. Don’t use shared documents to question every little thing that is or isn’t going according to the plan that you have set in your head. Use discretion.

Do not abuse them. Relying on colleagues to do their jobs is vastly different than pawning everything off to someone else because you don’t feel like putting forth the effort. You likely have the access to company information and client information that you need to do the majority of research necessary for responses. Do the necessary “grunt” work instead of deciding you have better things to do while someone else can take care of your future success for you.

Know your place. You are a problem solver and sales specialist. You do not set your agency’s branding guidelines. The guidelines are there for you to follow. Templates are set up the way that they are for multiple reasons, including to reinforce your organization’s identity in the market and to make you a viable option for a client or prospect. If your organization’s established color palette is not to your liking, don’t insist it be changed specifically for your response. Focus on the content and what services and resources you what to provide. I assure you, that’s more important to a prospect or client than what shade of purple or green dominates the design elements in your response.

Refer your fellow producers to them. If you have great resources, promote them. If you have support staff that you are confident in and know would be beneficial for someone else, talk them up. Just like your prospects and clients need to build a relationship with you, you need to develop chemistry with your support staff. Just like with clients, you need to figure out what you can count on them to do, what you need to do for yourself, and what you can actually let go of when your attention would be better focused elsewhere.

Without a doubt, there is a balance that you need to achieve here. That’s not always easy, but you, your colleagues, and your organization will all be better off if you do.

The author
Michael Wayne is an insurance freelance writer. 

About Author

Rough Notes Editor

Rough Notes Editor

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