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So, we have this bell…………..

October 22, 2009
Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

When my business partner Dennis Dressel decided that we needed a bell in our offices to highlight our sales activity, I must admit I thought that it was kind of, well, hokey. His idea, although not a new one is a simple one, every time a new sale is made, the person that made the sale would get to ring the bell. He took great pride in finding the right bell and when it came in I was surprised that it was quite heavy and of good quality. It was decided that addition to the commission, we would tape a $5 bill to the bell to be peeled off by the “ringer” for good measure.

Now, this is not just some small tea bell, or a push button bell, but a bell that when rung properly can be heard throughout our office like a thunder strike. Our young sales people, to my surprise, became quite competitive as to who was going to ring the bell first. Our service department staff wasn’t quite feeling the adrenaline rush and some of them thought that the whole thing was just silly.

Within a day, Joe Lipski, one of our personal line sales people rang the bell and everyone stopped and clapped! Dennis’ idea wasn’t turning out to be hokey after all. Now that we have a lot of bell ringing going on, it’s interesting to note each person’s approach to the bell. In our “Main Street” personal lines service unit, Jemeli Grocki, a generallyanita_ward_ring_my_bell quiet and somewhat shy Account Manager was the first in her department to ring the bell, which was followed by her offering me a “high five “pointing out that she was the first in her department to ring the bell! Some of our team members ring it loud and ring it proud. Some hope that it doesn’t make too much noise and wait until they think that no one is around. Some of our “more seasoned” staff member could be heard singing Anita Ward’s 70’s Disco hit “You can ring my bell!”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJSW7KiBfbM  

In many of my blogs, I have talked about our value proposition and the need for us to make sure that we are living that proposition with our clients. The Founders Group, like many independent agencies has always been a service organization. We will look for ways to continue to improve upon that, but we are in the business of selling insurance. Culturally, we have to make that change so that it flows through the entire organization. It’s a lot of baby steps, but we are getting there. We now recognize that its lots of little things that make for a great organization. It’s a game of inches and kudos to my partner Dennis for not being afraid to make a statement. The bell isn’t a sales plan; it’s simply a reminder of who we are and who we are striving to be!

Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2009 4:28 pm

    We use a bell in our personal lines department too — actually it’s a large gong (although not quite as large as the one used on The Gong Show). And as in your agency, everytime it’s rung everyone within hearing distance applauds.

    One of our VPs likes it so much that he wanted some sort of “DING” (similar to the Southwest Airlines Ding program) to go out on our computer network whenever a PL or a commercial lines sale is made. We have six offices throughout central and north Florida — our I.T. department is still scratching their heads figuring outo how to make THAT happen!

  2. October 22, 2009 4:33 pm

    Sheri,
    Thanks for the comments! Our just “rang” a few minutes ago. It’s really exciting when you hear the whole office clap!
    Thanks for following Founders!
    Cindy Donaldson – Marketing Director

  3. October 22, 2009 5:37 pm

    Great Post. I have been as a couple of other agencies that have the bell. It had the same positive and interactive effects you have described here. Everyone want recognition for a job well done. I think this is a great one.

  4. October 27, 2009 2:03 pm

    Nice but not original – Dana and I were the sales force @ Dressel Buonocore and we rang a bell too! Great idea tho.

  5. Chris permalink
    October 27, 2009 3:50 pm

    Hi Julie;
    In the first part of the post, I mentioned that this is not a new idea, but to my surprise, it has exceeded our expectations. Our main focus is to involve everyone in the agency in the sales process, not just producers, but every department. Our agency, like most agencies, has been traditionally a service organization. We would like to continue to be service oriented, but we believe that a stronger sales culture will be needed for agencies of the future. Thanks for the comments!
    Chris

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