Motivating and training a producer to sell optimally are not easy tasks. Before you set out to get the best out of your new hire, it’s important to think about how you will get that person up and running most efficiently. We hope our tips below are helpful for you. While all producers are not the same, there are some training and management styles that apply to them all. We have 8 important tips to keep your producers and your business poised for growth.
Don’t neglect your new producer.
How many times have you hired a producer and expected them to just figure it out like you did? Well, it’s time to stop comparing yourself with your new hire. Not everyone gets thrown into the lake to find their swimming fins. Some people do drown because not everyone is buoyant! Look, everyone you hire wants to do a good job, so don’t think your producer can’t or doesn’t want to do the job right. It’s easy to get demoralized with just a phone, desk and words of well wishes from you especially if it’s the first job. Start your producer off making money, even if it’s not writing new business. Tell him or her to make cold calls but also give him/her an existing book of business or a former producer’s book of business and have them call for updates and referrals. Go over upselling and cross-selling tricks that have worked for you in the past and tell them to get to it with the book(s). In short, give clear directions so that in between calls that may end up nowhere, the producer gains some confidence with small wins.
Create well-defined and reasonable goals.
When it comes to hiring insurance producers, management must have goals that fit within the parameters of the products they are selling. For instance, a goal of $100,000 for the year (or $25,000 for the quarter) is not very reasonable for a new producer working only in home and auto insurance with a few small business commercial policies sprinkled on top. You aren’t making the producer work harder with unattainable goals. You’ll make them second guess themselves, lose confidence and lose prospective clients. You cannot set goals simply based on figures you’d like to see. You need to set goals based on what’s achievable to keep a new producer feeling like he/she is getting it and is on the right track.
Set reasonable but challenging goals together.
It’s easy enough to set goals but how do you make sure your producer is really trying to reach them? Believe it or not, they will be more motivated to reach the magic numbers if they came up with the goals themselves. Obviously, you don’t want to give the producer carte blanche to do as they like with an agreement that they can set their own goals. Set up a time to meet after coming up with your own set of numbers. Be reasonable and base your numbers on past earnings in that particular quarter, not based on a fantastical wish of what you want the agency to bring in (not fair). Also, take into account your producer’s experience. Keep your numbers to yourself and pull some numbers from the producer. Ideally, their goals and yours will be in the same ballpark. If they are not, you’ve got deeper issues than you thought you did, especially if you’re being very fair. Chances are, however, that your producer’s goals will be in line with yours. Now, don’t let the goal just dangle in the air. Get it in print. Consider having the producer sign it, as a way of committing.
Discuss the ups and downs in reaching goals.
Monitor the progress of your producer. If you have a quarterly goal, check-in every week or two weeks. If you had an annual goal, check-in once every month at the very least (we suggest more often). Don’t wait until the tail end of your deadline to see where your producer is. Take these meetings as an opportunity to go over the wins and the setbacks. Yes, it’s very much worth discussing the leads that got nowhere. Why did they end up nowhere? Do you see a trend with the producer’s failures and successes? Is there anything to be learned that can reverse the trend of duds? It’s definitely worth examining, and you may hit upon your producer’s weak points, which they need to strengthen in becoming a better salesperson. You’ll sharpen your own skills trying to come up with ways you may have been able to win over clients you lost.
Buy the producer leads.
Start buying your producers leads and tell them what it’s costing you. Despite the pressure you’ve just put on them, don’t expect astronomical closing figures. If your producer is closing 50% of live-transfer leads, he/she is doing a phenomenal job. Not only should you give your producer the occasional lead as a bonus, but you should also buy leads (even for yourself) during slower seasons. That’s what insurance technology companies, like SmartFinancial, are for. What’s the point in sitting around feeling sad that there’s no business. Make a lot of calls and make business. Warning: If your producer is doing a lousy job, it may not make sense to buy him/her leads. But if your producer is not good at producing leads but closes them like a champ, you have a winning formula for a strong ROI.
Practice different scripts.
If your producer is great at producing leads but is weak at closing them, see what he/she is doing wrong. Or, practice some scripts. Many agents swear against scripts, saying they make for awkward or forced conversations but that’s just how a bad script turns out. A good script is flexible and adaptable to any call. Your producer must understand that it’s just a springboard and that they are not expected to memorize the script verbatim. In teaching anything, everyone starts with a script, whether it’s to teach English or a yoga class. As a producer, you are teaching your clients about insurance in simplified terms. You need a script! Maybe go through prospective lead lists and do some mock conversations (yes, using phones). You may feel silly, but there’s some truth to the cliche “practice makes perfect.”
Consider training schools.
Only you know how much you want to invest in your producers. Some people just bite the bullet after failing with several producers and face facts: It’s them, not the producers. You may know how to make great commissions but you may be expecting your employees to be mini-mes, a hard role to play. If you’re interested in getting professional training (for yourself or your producers), the carriers have great schools they’d be happy to enroll you in. If your producer trains fast, the investment may be well worth honing their skills. No, you can turn a flop into a success with sales training so make sure they have potential before you burn dollars.
Take the producer with you.
One great way to get your producers up and running is to bring them along on some meetings or have them sit in and listen on a call. And just work your magic. While your producers will still make mistakes, there’s no better training than learning from a seasoned professional. Plus, you know better than anyone else how you want your producers to represent you -- so show them! After the meeting/call, go over the conversation with your producers. Hit upon all the tricks you used so they’ll be able to emulate you. You may also want to go along when your producer is the one selling -- or not. You know better if he/she will crack with you present while trying to close a deal.