The Chevy Chase office has the answer.
As we prepare to enter the final stretch of the year, we are getting closer and closer to achieving our sales goal of $43 million. As of August 30th, we are roughly 70% to our company goal—which positions us to be on target to end the year on top. For some, the pressure just got real! But for one particular office, meeting their goal only motivates them to go even further.
Coming in at an astounding 153% to goal YTD, the Chevy Chase office is proud to have crushed their sales goal back in July and is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. The Maryland based office joined the OneDigital family back in January of 2017 and continue to serve the Maryland and Washington D.C. marketplace. We took a moment to catch up with Anmarie Gaalaas, Principal in the Chevy Chase office, for a quick Q& A about the team’s success.
With nearly five months remaining in the year, how were you all able to cross the finish line so soon? What is your secret?
Gaalaas: This is an easy answer. It is all about relationships! We view sales as more of business/relationship development, which by definition, maybe the same thing as sales, but more in line with our approach. The majority of our new clients come from HR or c-suite clients who have left a company for new opportunities. Their natural assumption is that they will be able to take us with them. They really do see us an extension of their team. This type of “sales” does not follow the typical sales cycle most are accustomed to following. It can take a bit longer, but remaining in touch with clients—who often become friends over the years—the relationship continues, just at a new company. And, the great thing about our office is that this new revenue comes from multiple people in our office, none of whom are designated as “producers.” We have always followed the “field of dreams” approach – if you service your clients well, new ones will naturally come – and it has served us well for over 40 years.
Was it your goal to accomplish this so early in the year?
Gaalaas: Our office has a friendly competitive edge to it (i.e. we count who gets the most Christmas cards from clients, and our gift swap at the Christmas luncheon can get quite contentious) so when given a “sales goal” which is still pretty new to us, I think we were all determined to meet and exceed it as a team. I keep a sales thermometer right outside my office door so when a new client comes on board, I can let everyone know where that puts us to the goal. Hitting that target so early in the year was something that we are so proud of but exceeding it the way we have has truly been a team effort and everyone shares in that success!! A new goal is to break $1 million in new business by year’s end, and I think we can make it!
Was there an account that took you by surprise?
Gaalaas: One new large client we attained this year came from an HR person that knew us from a prior place where we were and remain the broker – and that was Berkeley Research Group. This was a big win as we were up against multiple “big houses” to get the business. In the end, our attention to service, and large portfolio of capabilities like HRC, Visibility RX, our innovative ideas ultimately led to us being their broker.
Do you credit sales or retention more? Or was this a true balance between the two?
Gaalaas: There is a true balance between the two, as we do not have any “sales” focused people in the office. So if you bring in a new client, it is yours to keep, and that new revenue is the prize! The philosophy here, since we were never historically sales-oriented, was that if you focus too much on sales, you will lose your focus on service. While you may get some new clients, you will also lose old ones out the back door. We follow the silver and gold motto about friends—make new ones but treasure the old ones.
What are you all doing to celebrate this achievement?
Gaalaas: Although not everyone could attend, we celebrated at Uncle Julios with some tasty margarita’s and amazing Mexican food!!!
The pressure is on to finish the year strong, but we hope that everyone is taking this last quarter to make the most out of the opportunities they are presented. Just as an Anmarie mentioned, nurturing the relationships with clients will continue to be a key differentiator for our organization and a major selling point for prospects.