We recommend hiring great Business-to-Business sales people from OUTSIDE insurance.
Then, you support them with a complete new producer development program.
A program geared to leverage the B2B sales skills and network that they bring.
That emphasizes learning-by-doing.
Focus your new producer on generating new business opportunities and working those 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 is a structured program that includes these 4 parts:
1. 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, agency management system, and processes that will enable their success in your agency’s environment.
Consider enrolling your new producer in a practical, rapid-fire, online insurance onboarding training program for new hires – Total CSR— that a client told me about. (Note: Don’t be mislead by the name — this is a practical onboarding program for any new insurance hire, not just CSRs. Also, this is a free plug as I have no financial interest in this program).
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 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 crammed 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.
2. 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. Its focus should be 10% strategy and 90% execution.
3. 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 and report on results.
4. 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.
Please let me know if we can help your new producers with our 6-month coaching based program.