A Glimpse Of The Future: The Study Group On Steroids
By Russ Alan Prince and Arthur A. Bavelas
How can I become more successful as a producer? Exactly what would it take for me to reach the Top of the Table or the International Forum? How can I make an income of $1 million a year or more as a producer? If you are asking these questions, then you are interested in learning how to achieve greater professional success.
In our experience, there actually are a number of different ways producers can achieve significantly greater production. The common denominator is becoming more competent as marketers and as business people.
Most producers interested in the next level of success already are expert in the technical aspects of what they do. Now the challenge is how to bring their skills and knowledge to a wider group of affluent clients. That is where becoming more proficient as marketers and as business people comes in.
Producers interested in learning these business development skills seek out training. There has been exponential growth in coaching programs. Attendance at top-flight conferences and workshops is up, another indicator of this trend. Study groups are proliferating, too.
Study groups are self-directed programs created by producers themselves. They provide producers with a support system they can use to enhance their skills. Traditionally, producers have used study groups to talk about the industry and to enhance their technical skills and knowledge.
We decided to look closer at the study group phenomenon and tease out what they do, and dont do, for producers. Do they make producers more successful? Do they help producers jump-start their practices to the next level?
The Value of Study Groups. To evaluate the value of study groups we compared the production differential between producers in study groups and producers who were not study group members. We statistically matched the two samples of 262 producers (131 producers in a study group and 131 producers not in a study group) on an array of factors such as time in the business, geographic location and targeted markets.
We created two groups of producers who have the same profile (statistically comparability). The only difference between the two groups is that one set of producers is involved in study groups and the other is not. This methodology allows us to compare the two groups of producers in an apples-to-apples fashion.
The first finding is that study groups work and work well. We found that producers in a study group were 35.2% more financially successful than producers who were not in a study group.
Specifically, the nonstudy group set of producers earned, on average, an annual income of $71,000. Study group producers earned more; on average they have an annual income of $96,000 (see Exhibit 1).
We can conclude from this research that study groups have a very significant and meaningful impact on the financial performance of producers. Study groups make producers more successful.
But this study was focused on successful producers but not the producers at the high-end of the industry (as you can tell by the income figures). Do study groups work for more high-end producers? We decided to replicate the research among high-end producers (those with incomes of $250,000 or more).
We enlisted 102 high-end producers into the study panel using the same matching methodology. This time we discovered that the value of study groups is inconsequential.