Summer is (unofficially) over.
Time to get moving on your 2019 plans.
You KNOW your commercial insurance agency/brokerage needs new producers.
Hell, you needed them this year too, remember?
You went fishing for a “whale” (an experienced, successful producer with a portable book of business).
That line came up empty.
When you cast your fishing net, all you caught were “recycles” — unvalidated producers at other agencies and journeyman 1099 brokers.
So, why are you fishing in the tiny (and often toxic) pond of existing insurance producers?!
We advocate a more predictable and replicable way: go fishing for your new commercial producers in the huge ocean of local, qualified, available and interested Business-to-Business (B2B) sales people in OTHER industries.
We know it works because we’ve helped hundreds of successful B2B sales professionals make the transition from sales JOBS to true sales CAREERS with our clients, the country’s top commercial insurance agent/brokers.
But BEFORE you jump into new producer recruiting mode, first figure out if this organic growth strategy makes sense for your commercial insurance agency/brokerage.
Not every firm can or should hire new producers.
It’s OK to choose to NOT be a growth agency.
Be self-aware when assessing your firm’s new producer readiness by answering these questions BEFORE you recruit a new producer.
- Can we afford to invest in a successful new producer; can we afford to absorb the cost of a possible new producer failure? Your agency should be $2+ Million revenue.
- Is our agency an attractive place to work and does our agency’s social media reputation reflect this? Refresh your agency’s website and LinkedIn and Facebook company pages. Check your agency’s reputation on Glassdoor, Indeed, and various social media platforms where prospective employees will go to check out your firm.
- Are we growing and do we have a clear sales and marketing plan? Ideally your agency has industry niche expertise and unique client services that enable a new producer to compete to win and become successful quickly.
- Does our agency have a track record of investing in and developing new producers? If your agency has a spotty history, you need to build a real plan for supporting a new producer.
- Are we enthusiastic about bringing on a new producer and do we view and treat a new producer as a valuable investment in the firm’s future? A new producer should be welcomed and supported by the owners, producers, marketers and service team.
- Do we have a sales manager and experienced producers available as mentors? Active, day-to-day sales management and experienced producer mentors are must-haves. Your support system for a new producer is as important as hiring the right person.
- Do we have demanding, but realistic, first year expectations for a new producer’s prospecting and sales results? The first year is mainly about pipeline-building and generating 2-4 quality prospect appointments per week. A good thumb rule for first-year sales: a successful new producer roughly covers their first year salary in total agency commissions sold (though expect these sales to be back loaded in the second half of year one).
- Are we willing to commit to a reasonable starting compensation plan to attract and retain a new producer? We’re in a crazy hot, full employment labor market and competition for great sales talent is fierce. Lots of variables, but you need to budget $60K to $80K first year compensation, mostly guaranteed salary.
- Do we have a realistic plan and timeline to validate a new producer? A new producer is a “long play” investment. Build a 3-year bridge to validation.
- Are we prepared to effectively recruit a new producer? Your agency needs to be effective at finding and attracting top sales talent; your hiring process needs to balance thoroughness with a sense of urgency. If you move too slowly in this overheated labor market, you will NOT hire top sales talent — you may not hire anybody!
Answering these 10 questions candidly will help your firm to assess new producer readiness. You don’t need a perfect score, but seriously pause and reconsider hiring new producers in 2019 if you answer “no” to several questions or can’t find a way to change a few “no” answers to “yes.”
Please contact me if I can help you recruit new producers.