The How and Why of Hiring Great Producers and Leaders
“Hiring good people is hard. Hiring great people is brutally hard. And yet, nothing matters more in winning than getting the right people in the field. All the clever strategies and advanced technologies in the world are nowhere near as effective without great people to put them to work.” —Jack Welch
How Your Producers Sell Matters
As a rule, 20% of team members are responsible for 80% of sales volume in a given industry. The same is true for insurance. That means how your top producers perform matters: it’s what keeps you competitive in an increasingly competitive market.
In their 2001 book How to Hire and Develop Your Next Top Performer, Herb Greenberg and Patrick Sweeny noted, “As our service economy shifts into high gear, what it takes to succeed in sales is a little more complicated than it once was… What the best people truly sell are solutions—solutions that uniquely meet the particular needs of each client. ”1
What customers want and how they buy has continued to evolve, and your agency needs to bring in the right producers to serve those shifting desires. You need people who understand how to use data to increase personalization and improve sales and service. As an agency owner and leader, you need to redefine who you hire to create a successful agency, moving your business from surviving to thriving
Personalization in Sales Matters
66% of consumers said they would share “significant data” to obtain personalized services (up from 54% two years ago)2
20% of customers said a “lack of personalization” was the “main reason” they switched insurance providers3
Agencies that increased personalization have an over 80% customer retention rate4
What is the Job?
The first step in redefining your producer hiring is answering the question: what is the job? What exactly do you want your producers to do, simply answering ‘write business’ isn’t enough—where should they focus? How do you plan to support them? The answers may seem obvious, but be explicit in your communication.
Be specific about the tools you provide, the sales methodology you use, how your agency works, and the types of clients you serve. Include information around education and training, compensation, room for growth, and what constitutes success to craft a clear image of who you want in the job.
Areas to Define
- What are your target industries and ideal customer profiles
- How to move from building a pipeline to consistently closing business
- How leads are generated
- What type of mentorship and support you offer
- How they can grow personally, in your agency, and in the community
Who is Doing Well and Why
Part of understanding who you want in the job starts with who is already there. Who are those 20% of producers bringing in 80% of your sales, and what makes them so successful? Get feedback from those individual producers, their team members, and customers to help discover their “special sauce.” Ask yourself what you like about working with them, too. It’s important to understand how successful team members work with each other and how they interact with customers.
What You Find in a Great Producer
- Empathy for the customer’s needs
- Drive to succeed
- Resiliency in the face of rejections
- Motivation to serve
What to Ask For
Once you have a job description and idea of who will succeed, determine what to ask for in your job posting and what to look for in your hiring process. Be careful about focusing on industry knowledge and skill—these can be taught over time. As successful businessman Jack Welch said, “When hiring, you have to make a trade-off. Do you hire someone to get a job done fast, or do you hire based on potential for growth? My advice is: try to pick the second option.”5 Look for someone who has the personality and skills you defined a successful producer has. Industry and agency knowledge will come with time
Traits to Look for in a Producer
- Honesty & Trustworthiness
- Superior active listening
- Sense of Risk / Adventure
Equipping for Success
The work of hiring doesn’t stop the moment you sign a contract; it continues for as long as the candidate is a member of your team. Hiring is relatively easy compared to retention. Ensure you’ve set up your agency with: opportunities to learn and grow, strong leaders to define success and guide your team, and the right tools to help your team work efficiently.
Our Partner Platform agencies find that the ease of use of the Partner Platform agency management system makes a difference in helping their team work better and faster. With an intuitive design and hands-on training, we ensure each agency team member sees Partner Platform as an asset to their work. And with a built-in insurance CRM, personalized contact cadence, and customizable outreach content, Partner Platform is fully equipped to bring leads from contact to a lifelong customer. Plus, our Partner Platform Community offers a wealth of educational opportunities and chances to connect and grow with other like-minded agents.
Find out what our Partner Platform agencies have to say about this innovative system and get in touch at [email protected] or 800.747.7005, Option 6, to request a demo today.
Essential Elements for Success
- Strong leadership & communication
- Training & educational opportunities
- Mentorship & room for growth
- Top-notch tools for growing sales
- Dedicated community to support growth & learning
- Greenberg, Herb, Harold Weinstein, and Patrick Sweeney. How to Hire and Develop Your Next Top Performer. New York: McGraw Hill, 2001
- Welch, Jack, and Suzy Welch. Winning. New York: HarperCollins, 2005