Resisting Agency Partners: How to Get Stronger Buy-In

By | May 3, 2021

Sometimes agency partners are your biggest advocates for growth, and sometimes they are the biggest resistor.

I had a call with a majority owner the other day who told me, “Man, it’s time to get on with this thing. We’ve got to change the way we hire new producers and do a better job of developing our existing people. They deserve it. But I’m going to talk to my two partners, one is a huge fan of yours, I’m sure we’ll get this done. I’ll be back to you in less than a week.”

Not surprising, he emailed me back a few days later.

“One of my partners doesn’t understand what’s wrong. He said, ‘why do we need to do this? Can’t we figure it out ourselves?” (Even though they haven’t figured it out in the past 15 years that they’ve been partners.)

It’s a tragic story. And, perhaps one you have to live with unless you want to sell out, get a “partner divorce,” or live with mediocrity.

There is one critical question to consider moving forward in this situation.

Is getting buy-in from the resisting partner possible?

If the answer is “yes,” then here’s a three-step approach to get you stronger buy-in from agency partners.


Get out your big fat spreadsheet, crunch the numbers, and count the costs. Compare the value of a 2% growth agency versus a 5% to 7% growth agency. It’s important you put it in real numbers.

Calculate how much money has been wasted, if any, on new producer hires that didn’t make it.

Put it all together, including every partner’s retirement date. Remember, no one stays forever.

If you can’t make a clear financial case, you shouldn’t try to grow.


Our mindset is who we are and who we will become. Fear is the biggest driver.

Fear of failure. Fear of looking stupid amongst peers. And for many agency partners, fear of letting your family down.

The flip side of that is aspiration or desire. You might need to bring in a consultant or friend and do a little dreaming. And go through a quick review of “potential” wasted regrets.

If your partner is anything other than a robot without feelings — you should start to get some engagement here.


The process is how the work will get done. And when done right, it gives your people “something to believe in” within the agency.

If there is no process currently established then it’s time to introduce your growth playbook, along with testimonials of others that have done it.

There is no guarantee that your partner will want to engage, think, feel, and advance to the next level. But after you do these three things, you will have given it your best shot.

When it’s over and if there’s still no movement, you get to decide. Sell it, divorce it, or tolerate it?

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About Randy Schwantz

Schwantz is founder of The Wedge Group. Phone: 214-446-3209. Website: Email: More from Randy Schwantz

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Insurance Journal West May 3, 2021
May 3, 2021
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