Top 5 Tips for Recruiting New Producers
By Michael Wayne
Our industry, like so many others, tends to be a battleground. Some agencies continue to thrive as local components of their communities, while others are positioning themselves for an acquisition—knowingly and unknowingly. Several agencies appear to be looking for like-minded home-town agencies to merge with and retain their hold on their respective areas. Then there are national and global entities that keep expanding.
Regardless, most organizations are searching for new producers.
Whether it is to handle current or predicted needs or for succession planning purposes, everyone requires new blood at some time. Naturally, there is the tried and true tactic of poaching talent, but for those willing to onboard a producer who will require some time to develop under the guidance of one or more mentors, there are plenty of untapped resources.
- Find Producers, Not Insurance Producers Unless you are able to offer the moon and the stars, it’s unlikely that you are going to lure a top producer away from an even more successful firm than yours. Don’t get stuck searching endlessly for a unicorn that doesn’t exist. Individuals who can sell come from all walks of life and industries. In almost every instance, teaching a salesperson about insurance and its intricacies is easier than teaching someone knowledgeable about insurance how to sell. Look outside of insurance.
- Be Open to Different Styles of Selling Although producers may share the same resources, promote the same services, and even have identical premium or fee packages, seldom are they presenting them to clients and prospects in the same way. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If your interest is truly in making certain your agency’s book grows and not in finding clones or puppets, you must be willing to consider hiring producers who may not sell the same way you do or would. Realize that a new style may be exactly what your agency is lacking and why it may be lagging.
- Identify Resources You Need to Secure The primary objective of producers is to gain clients. Do you have everything in place to ensure that they can do that? Do you have the support staff to relieve producers of servicing clients’ day-to-day needs, taking care of n paperwork, and handling the infinite number of details that could keep them behind a desk instead of out presenting to prospects? If not, you may need to switch your priorities from hiring producers to investing in what’s going on behind the scenes. Responsibilities need to be clearly defined up front for newcomers to your organization. Otherwise you might simply be training a new producer for someone else with greener grass.
- Understand What Your Potential Producers Want If a prospective producer wants to work for you with the stated intention of becoming the region’s go-to agent when it comes to a particular industry, listen to him or her. Once you have digested what the candidate has said, you can determine whether you and your agency can get this person where he or she wants to be. Naturally, the path must be beneficial for you. Provided you can give the producer what he or she will need, and you trust the individual to elevate your agency’s standing for the long term, why not help construct the plan to make that happen?
- Know Thy Organization Although you might find a niche superstar who makes a name for him- or herself and your agency, you are also opening up yourself to having a competitor come in and lure away a rising star with greater ambitions. It’s simple on the surface, but you need to understand what you want to bring to your organization on an elemental level. Simply stated, what kind of producer do you need? Identify the pain points, much in the same way you would with a client or prospect when it comes to their coverage. Identifying your agency’s risk will go a long way in guiding your search.
Undoubtedly your search for new producers will be a search for the right fit. Understand that this cuts both ways. If you aren’t prepared to supply a producer journey that emulates the path you have charted for your clients’ partnership with you, finding new producers may become an oppressive challenge. Either they will leave early because of your culture, or they won’t walk through your doors in the first place because word of your culture has spread. A healthy culture is essential to attracting the top producers who will drive growth in your agency.