Don't be like the Denver Broncos — Play to win in 2013
Sunday, the day after the Broncos loss to the Baltimore Ravens and elimination from the playoffs, I sat there as a disappointed, down-and-out Broncos fan, still hurting over Saturday's game. It was frustrating, upsetting and unfortunately, a very predictable loss based on the style of play chosen by the Broncos that day. It was also very informative for anyone who owns a business: The Broncos were not playing to win, they were playing to not lose.
The underdog Ravens, on the other hand, were playing to win. There is a big difference between the two, and there are some pretty good lessons to be learned from the Broncos' loss as well. In order to make 2013 a winning year, let's take a look at the Broncos' mistakes to make sure we don't repeat them in our own business lives.
They never went long or took any chances
The Broncos never went for the big play — the long pass down the field for a touchdown. Instead, they stuck to the little runs and super short passes and, in doing so, missed out on the opportunity of a big score that could have put them so far ahead of the Ravens they would have never caught up.
Don't make the same mistake in your agency. You need to have the consistent smaller sales to keep moving forward, but don't neglect the big plays that will really make a difference in your yearly production. Be on the lookout for the large premiums and big cases and don't be afraid to go for it a few times per year. You never know when a large case will connect for a big score that can elevate you to a whole new level. Try asking at least one person a week if they need an extra $1,000,000 worth of life insurance. That would give you 52 chances at a big play, and you never know which one will connect if you don't at least try. They relied too much on others
Instead of taking charge and really pushing ahead, the Broncos' offense relied on their defense to do more than their fair share and keep them from losing. Meanwhile, instead of forcing a turnover or making big plays, the defense was relying on its offense to score more than the Ravens in case they were unable to stop the Ravens from putting points on the board. In a playoff game, and in the game of life, you are responsible to make it happen, and no one else is going to do it for you. There is an old saying that still rings true today: "If it is to be, it is up to me."
Take responsibility for your own success in 2013 and adopt the common denominator of success into your business. "Those who are truly successful form the habit of doing the things that failures are either unwilling or unable to do." — Albert E.N. Gray
It takes discipline and hard work to be successful, and as the Broncos players found out Saturday, no one else can be expected to do it for you.
They didn't make necessary adjustments
Champ Bailey got burned three times for big scores from the Ravens. The Broncos receivers couldn't get open downfield. Ray Lewis was being blocked effectively. The Broncos had the same problems from the start of the game all the way through a second overtime. But the even bigger problem was that they stuck with a flawed game plan and didn't make the needed adjustments to win the game.
If you're like me, you spent some time at the end of 2012 setting your goals for the new year and putting a game plan in place to succeed. But not all game plans work out. Home offices change rates or underwriting, consumers change what they want and things that worked a year or two ago may not work today. It's great to have a game plan, but don't be so rigid that you stick to something that isn't working. Make adjustments in your communication, closing techniques and marketing if your systems aren't producing the results you need. Keep learning, growing and tweaking in order to stay ahead of your competition and win in 2013. They quit before the game was over
With 36 seconds left to play and three timeouts left, the Broncos took a knee in the fourth quarter and quit playing. They didn't try to get down the field and score one more time to seal the win. They played not to lose, for fear of turning over the ball. Just like in football, it's not over until the final whistle blows. There is always more that can be done and a little more effort that can be given. As you finish each day, don't give up at 4:55. Make one more call, fix one more problem, try to get ahead one more time. If you quit before it's over, you're adding more work to tomorrow and missing out on the opportunity for one more win. If you made one more call on your way out the door every day, you'd have 200 more phone calls in a year. How much more successful would you be if you called an extra 200 people in 2013?
Everyone knew the Broncos were a better team going into the playoffs (especially if you live in Colorado). They were the sure bet in Vegas. They had home field advantage, an altitude advantage and had won 11 straight games. But they came into the game with the wrong attitude; they came in playing to not lose. Consumers and the insurance industry are always moving forward. If you're playing to not lose and just trying to maintain what you've got, you're going backwards. Make 2013 a great year by really going for it and playing to win. It's the only way to get ahead.