A prospective client asked me how to weigh the odds for success with a new producer hire.
My answer: it’s ~50% WHO you hire and ~50% WHAT YOU DO after the hire that determines a successful outcome.
Nature AND nurture.
Maybe my percentages are off but my point is to avoid the following scenario.
Agent/broker makes a new sales hire and then throws a minimal amount of orientation and training support behind the new producer.
Enrolls them in an insurance carrier’s new producer school.
Hopes for the best to happen – organically.
As if your new producer will, through osmosis or raw sales animal instincts, be able to:
- Begin to grasp the technical breadth of the commercial insurance profession.
- Learn how your independent agent/broker firm works and sells, and their role and task responsibilities.
- Self-generate leads, prospect effectively, and create an adequate amount of qualified prospect discovery appointments.
- Convince a future ideal client (prospect), once they get in front of them, to fire their current agent/broker so they can hire them and your firm.
Commercial insurance broking is a hard profession at the start.
Most new producers will struggle early.
New producers don’t look back with nostalgia about their first year or two in the commercial insurance broker career.
Year one can be especially joyless and unrewarding (psychologically and financially).
Great producers, if they’re honest, will admit that they had second or third thoughts during the first year about choosing this career!
The best new producer hires are naturally curious to figure stuff out.
They are so driven to achieve that they will MacGyver through the learning curve and all of the first year trip wires.
But why make this a bigger struggle than it already is?
How about you give your new producer a helping hand along the journey?
We recommend that you support a new producer with a complete development program.
One that focuses on leveraging the prospecting and sales skills that they bring to the job.
A program that emphasizes learning by doing, that is, by generating new business opportunities and then working these early new business deals through the entire sales process with the help of mentors and experienced insurance professionals.
An effective, complete New Producer Development Program should be a structured program that includes these 4 parts:
- Learning curriculum. We recommend a new producer complete an on-the-job orientation to learn about your agency’s sales process and understand the key people, systems and processes that will enable their success in your agency’s environment. The new producer should also, once they obtain their state producer’s license, complete a series of self-study online courses in commercial insurance. WebCE offers a solid curriculum of cost-effective courses. These online technical commercial insurance courses serve two essential purposes: (1) enable the new producer to be more confident as they make prospecting calls; and (2) bridge the new producer’s technical insurance development between the basics they learned to pass the state producer license and future (optional) participation in an insurance carrier’s new producer school AFTER they have been a producer for at least 6 months.
- 90-day producer business plan. Guide your new producer to create and execute a starter 90-day business plan. This one-page plan helps laser focus the new producer on targeting niches, leveraging their centers of influence, making prospect calls and setting prospect appointments.
- Sales coaching and monitoring. Conduct recurring weekly sales coaching calls or face-to-face meetings with the new producer for at least 6 months. The new producer is responsible and accountable for their own activity and results; the sales coach is responsible for monitoring progress. Have your new producer submit a prospecting weekly activity report to their coach BEFORE each weekly coaching call/meeting. This weekly accountability reporting is a great positive constraint for a new producer. They will make more calls and set more appointments because they need to keep score.
- Experienced producer mentoring. Provide your new producer with an experienced producer as a mentor, who takes an active interest in and collaborates with the sales coach on the new producer’s development, and is a source of advice and encouragement to the new producer. The experienced producer mentor will team with the new producer as a sales partner/closer. The new producer will set initial appointments with prospects, but will be accompanied on these first appointments by the sales partner/closer. The sales partner/closer will be responsible for proposing and closing qualified prospects, but also for using the new producer throughout the sales process to facilitate learning and prepare them for selling solo.
A plan for new producer success contains all 4 parts.
From our experience, most commercial insurance agent/brokers struggle to sustain #3 (sales coaching and monitoring) and #4 (experienced producer mentoring).
Certainly, these demand serious time and resource commitments during the new producer’s first 6 months to a year.
To protect the valuable investment in your firm’s future that a new producer represents, stack the odds for success by making the commitment in active, day-to-day sales coaching and experienced producer mentoring.
P.S. Please let me know if we can help your new producers with our 6-month coaching based program.