Producer Recruiting and Retention Is the Same Issue for Agencies

By | June 15, 2020

Why? This is the entire question for agencies when it comes to producer recruiting. Well, maybe not. Here are the elongated versions of questions I field on this issue.

  • Why is it so hard to find sales candidates?
  • Why can’t I seem to recover my investment before they cut and run?
  • Why do producers leave my agency for another?
  • Why do they want so much money guaranteed?

My partner once told me, “The easiest person to sell to is a salesperson.” If that’s true producers should be the easiest recruit. I believe that’s the case if not for one fundamental flaw with most insurance agencies. They have no idea how to sell themselves.

Producer Recruiting & Retention: Your Problem Is Branding

You train your current salespeople on how to prospect, correct? You arm them with information on the agency’s history and culture, philosophy on client service, risk management/consulting resources and marketing/broker of record (BOR) capabilities.

What is your sales pitch to recruit producers? (I’ll pause here for a moment as you think about it). If you struggle with producer recruiting, it’s because you don’t have a good answer to this question. A lot of insurance organizations have no idea what candidates find appealing or attractive about working for them.

  • Find out why your current producers like working for you.
  • Use this, verbatim, in your recruiting pitch.
  • Introduce prospective candidates to those employees during the interview process. They will be honest and positive brand ambassadors.

This exercise is a hunt for retention information, too. If your employees cannot answer why they like working for you then you’ve just identified a serious culture problem.

Producer Recruiting & Retention: Your Problem Is Preparation

What is your producer recruiting plan? I’m guessing that you require sales plans from your current producers, so they aren’t just pounding the pavement without direction. Therefore, what’s your strategy to recruit new sales talent? (I’ll pause here for a moment as you think about it.)

  • The fact is agencies that struggle to recruit producers have zero plan.
  • They kick back on their laurels and wait for people to come to them.
  • Their leaders are not actively engaged in ongoing solicitation of new sales talent.
  • Rarely do good prospects (people or business) fall in an agency’s lap. You need to be better hunters of men and women.

This exercise is about self-reflection. Too many agencies languish in poor producer hiring which leads to poor producer firing. You will retain your best producers if you elevate them from the pack. If you’re keeping marginal people on staff, then you’ll eventually drive the real producers away.

Producer Recruiting & Retention: Your Problem Is Adaptation

What is your producer recruiting profile? Do you want your current producers to be specialists with a niche market focus? I’m guessing so for very tried and true reasons. Do you apply that same principal to recruiting? (I’ll pause here while you think about your ideal persona.)

  • Experience. Are you an agency with great training? Then hire newbies. Are you an agency that needs immediate ROI? Then only acquire producers with books. Are you an agency that invests in talent? Then hire experienced, validated producers.
  • Source. Where do you want producers to come from – across the aisle, big or small agencies or pivot from non-agency firms (carriers, out of industry organizations, college recruiting)?
  • Location. Is there anyone in your local market? Do you need to relocate people in? Are the best people remote and can launch new offices?

This exercise is about self-awareness. You’ve made good and bad producer hires. You should be learning and adapting from each one. If you’re not, then history will repeat itself. Producers who feel like they fit in with your culture will stay. Producers that feel like an anomaly will leave.

About Mary Newgard

Newgard is partner and senior search consultant for Capstone Search Group, a national recruiting firm dedicated to the insurance industry. For questions and comments, email: More from Mary Newgard

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Insurance Journal West June 15, 2020
June 15, 2020
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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