Why 68% of your sales producers fail in their first two years and how to change that statistic
By Mick Hunt
Imagine this: You’ve invested thousands of dollars and countless hours into recruiting, onboarding, and training a new sales producer. Fast forward two years, and they’re either struggling to meet targets or have already exited your agency. This isn’t an isolated incident; it’s a staggering reality for 68% of sales producers in the insurance industry. This figure isn’t just a statistic—it’s a crisis that demands immediate, actionable solutions. The question is, are you ready to face this crisis head-on, or will you become another statistic?
The silent killers: planning, action, accountability
When a new sales producer walks through your door, they’re often brimming with enthusiasm and eagerness. However, enthusiasm alone won’t cut it. They need a comprehensive, week-by-week, and quarter-by-quarter game plan—their personal roadmap to success, if you will—that outlines not just what to do, but how to do it.
A well-crafted plan should include key performance indicators (KPIs), training milestones, and regular check-ins to gauge progress. It should also be flexible enough to adapt to market changes and individual performance. Without such a plan, even the most enthusiastic sales producer is like a ship without a compass—destined to drift aimlessly.
A good plan is a living document, one that evolves with the producer’s growth and the market’s shifts.
The execution gap: where good plans go to die
Having a plan is one thing; executing it is another. This is where action comes into play. A plan without action is merely a wish. Agency owners must ensure that their sales producers are not just equipped with a plan but are also motivated and held accountable for executing it.
Leadership plays a crucial role here. Too often, unfortunately, leadership is the missing link when it comes to execution.
Regular one-on-ones, constructive feedback, and ongoing training programs can bridge the gap between planning and action. These elements create a culture of accountability, where sales producers know they’re not alone and that their success is a team effort.
Leaders should be the catalysts for action, providing the necessary resources and environment for plans to come to fruition.
The hiring conundrum: square pegs in round holes
In the urgency to fill positions, it’s easy to overlook the nuances that make someone truly fit for a sales role in the insurance industry. While technical skills are teachable, soft skills like empathy, patience, and relationship-building are not just boxes to tick; they’re essential traits that can make or break a sales career.
Traditional hiring methods like aptitude tests and reference checks provide a snapshot but not the full picture. A more holistic approach involves understanding the candidate’s motivations, work habits, and how they handle stress and rejection—factors often revealed only through in-depth interviews and trial periods.
The hiring process should be a two-way street, where both the agency and the candidate assess each other’s fit.
The blueprint for success: It takes a village
A plan is a great start, but it’s just that—a start. To truly set your sales producers on a path to success, you need to build on that foundation. Regular check-ins, mentorship, training and a culture of accountability are the pillars of success that will support this foundation.
When a new sales producer
walks through your door, they’re often
brimming with enthusiasm and
eagerness. However, enthusiasm alone won’t cut it.
Don’t underestimate the power of a supportive environment; a positive work environment truly can be a game-changer. When sales producers feel supported, they’re more likely to take risks, seek feedback, and invest in their own growth. This not only boosts individual performance but also contributes to a healthier, more productive work culture.
A culture of support is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for long-term success.
The time to act is now
The 68% failure rate is not set in stone; it’s a challenge and an opportunity. As agency owners, we have the tools and the power to change this narrative. It starts with a shift in mindset—from reactive to proactive, from lax to rigorous, from isolated to collaborative.
The future of the insurance industry is not some distant reality; it starts right now. Yes, the future—that of our industry, our businesses, our careers, and our personal lives—is being shaped by the decisions we make today.
By adopting a more strategic approach to planning, hiring, and mentorship, we can set our sales producers—and our agencies—on a trajectory for long-term success.
This five-point action plan can help you and your agency change the 68% statistic:
- Conduct a comprehensive onboarding program. A well-structured onboarding program should include not just product training but also soft skills development, role-playing exercises, and a clear outline of expectations and KPIs.
- Implement regular check-ins. Weekly or bi-weekly one-on-ones are not just for discussing numbers. Use this time to discuss progress and challenges, and to provide constructive feedback. Make the meetings a two-way dialogue where the sales producer also feels heard.
- Establish a mentorship program. Pair new sales producers with seasoned professionals who can guide them through the complexities of the insurance industry. This mentorship should be structured, with clear objectives and timelines.
- Invest in ongoing training. The learning curve doesn’t end after the onboarding period. Invest in regular training programs that cover industry trends, advanced sales techniques, and soft skills like negotiation and conflict resolution.
- Foster a culture of accountability. Create an environment where team members are responsible for their own success, but where they also feel supported and valued. Use performance metrics and regular reviews to hold everyone accountable.
Mick Hunt is a well-known CEO and strategic mastermind with expertise in global sales strategy, organizational leadership, and people development. As founder of the Premier Agency Development Institute (PADI), Mick has worked to revolutionize training and development for insurance professionals worldwide. PADI offers agency owners and their staff a suite of live trainings designed to foster sales excellence and leadership acumen.
Beyond strategy and leadership, Mick is committed to the individual growth of PADI members, providing an array of resources from actionable templates to comprehensive how-to guides. He imparts wisdom gleaned from scaling businesses rapidly and sustainably, and his influence extends across the insurance industry. For more information, visit mystrategybox.com.