Last week I wrote about becoming a 21st century producer. In that post, I explained how clients are thinking differently now due to technology. They want goods and services faster and more conveniently.

We as professionals have to build an online presence in a now consumer-driven world. We have to change our sales pitch—formerly stock full of information our clients can now access themselves online—to a more casual, conversational approach. Most of all, we have to create unmatched value.

The new agent must differentiate.

With tons of time being spent on adjusting, differentiating, and marketing online, many already busy agents are having trouble staying afloat.

“Ryan, creating a website with a blog, a Twitter, and Facebook to market my valuable services sounds great, but I don’t have time to do all of that in addition to my daily tasks, handling clients, and prospecting for new clients.”

You’re right. It can be overwhelming. You’re not alone.

You’ve heard of the saying “wash, rinse, repeat” before. Today I’d like to introduce the “standardize, systemize, automate” system. This method will help you optimize your agency and obtain your desired results.

Step 1: Standardize

Every single person in your company should talk to clients the exact same way. It doesn’t matter if it’s you and a partner or you have two dozen individuals working for you, everyone of them must buy in and deliver the same message.

Everyone—including the receptionists.

If actions are done and messages are delivered differently, there’s disconnect.

You must find consistency. We’ve standardized everything from marketing materials to e-mails, right down to the header and footer of a message. Now each has the same look and feel.

If something goes wrong and you have a standardized and consistent system in place, it’s very easy to see what broke and where it happened.

Step 2: Systematize

Create a checklist (a system) of everything that you’re in the process of doing and everything that needs to be done. If your system works, and it works for a consistent amount of time, you will have your desired results. Once you have desired results, the next step is very simple.

Step 3: Automate

There’s a system in place and it’s both standardized companywide and working well. Now it’s time to automate what you can. It sounds odd, but the less human involvement you have in something, the less chance there is to mess it up.

One of the most efficient ways to automate your processes is to leverage technology to create time. While it’s true that we want to remove the human component from certain areas, we don’t want to completely remove it. We simply want to remove ourselves from one area in order to create time in another. That other is human interaction and building relationships.

For that, you need time, right?

But instead our time goes to things like answering phone calls and responding to emails. Imagine how much more time you would have to create and maintain a relationship if you didn’t have to sort through 100 emails per day.

Without the time to establish those relationships with customers, you’re not as valuable, and thus, your business is not as effective.

Where Do I Start?

Start simple. Try beginning with your email.

Train your team to have the ability to deliver the same information and messages that you would (step one). Create folders and systems (step two) that help automate  (step three) your daily tasks. The items and tasks that can be forwarded to others should be. The tasks and projects that can be handled by an assistant can be delegated.

It takes time to get your process set up. But once you have a reliable, standard system in place, you’ll be freed up for more time with clients. Once you’re done, it’s a self-replicating process, one that is simply more efficient.

With more time, you can create that value that differentiates you from your competition.