Insurance 911: How Do I Hire Great Producers?

Fran Majidi
January 28, 2019
hiring top insurance producers

The dream is that your agency hires a new sales guy who will take your city, state and eventually the whole country by storm. He just has “it,” whatever that undefinable “it” is. He’s charming, friendly and always has something nice to say every time you see him. He’s polite, hardworking and remembers names. People simply love him, and he can sell water to a well. This is the stereotype of the perfect producer if you’re in the business of selling insurance. Where do you find someone as amazing as this?

First, you need to shake off the idea that a great insurance salesman is going to be a great guy or even a nice guy. This winner is largely abrasive and wants things done yesterday. He’s persuasive and he somehow runs the conversation, even when you’re talking more than he is. In short, he can be off-putting and straight-up manipulative.

Chances are that the greatest salesperson will turn you off and you won’t hire him. But you should! Just because this person can make clients like him and take his advice doesn’t mean that he’s going to be easy-going in the office. This is important to remember because he’s a loud, anxious pusher!

Here are 6 tips on hiring and keeping a great salesperson:

  1. Hire a great seller, not a friend. Chances are you won’t ever really like this guy. He may be undisciplined and too hyped up for you to want to have a beer with him. Your customer service reps will probably want to strangle him. But he can sell. Enough said.
  2. Remember that you are the owner. By virtue of this fact, you defy comparison. Don’t expect a great producer to outsell you. The fact is that it doesn’t matter how talented the people you hire are. You’re always going to have an easier time selling because you’re the owner. In fact, you barely have to sell and people tend to come to you when and if they consider doing business with your agency. Now, keep this in mind when appraising your producer’s success. Don’t compare any producer’s book of business with your own. This is a sure-fire way to lose a good salesman.
  3. Hire from top competitors. Great salespeople are not known for their loyalty but for their success in making lots of money. If you have something to offer this guy, you’ll know where to find him. This is the guy who can sell life insurance to a corpse. Just have your HR department look him up on LinkedIn or on the company website and give him a call.
  4. Look at other industries. A great salesperson can sell anything as long as he or she learns about the product. It doesn’t matter if you’re hiring within the insurance industry or if you’re pulling in a salesperson with a background in aviation sales. All you need to know is that he has “it.” In fact, this high-achieving personality type may appreciate the challenge of changing over to a new product. It’s always worth a shot.
  5. Pay attention to folks in finance. While you may be able to cull a good sales person from any field, you should be especially inclined to hire someone in sales in the areas of finance and real estate. If that person can convince clients that he or she is an expert in personal finance, the gates will be swung wide open for your agency to handle all of their clients’ insurance needs, not just auto. Pay attention to bankers, financial analysts and accountants who exude the proverbial hustle.
  6. Attend trade shows and conventions. Not only will you meet people within your industry, but you will also get a chance to really sit down and get a feel for your prospective new hire. These are great opportunities to network and meet people. But, remember tip #1.

Traits of a Good Producer

  1. Eye Contact. Does your prospect seem like he’s earnestly listening when you talk or does he seem disinterested or distracted. If he is fully at attention and you get the sense that he sees through you, you have a winner.
  2. Doesn’t Take No for an Answer. It’s all about the hustle but more than that it’s about continually trying to open doors that have closed or are only slightly ajar. Not everyone has the constitution to take rejection and keep pushing after they hear no. People who’ve overcome obstacles often make great salespeople.
  3. Competitive. People who have a background in sports or any activity in which you compete against an opponent excel in sales. For many, closing a deal is much like the rush of scoring a point. Some offices even treat a sale much like a score, with cheers, clapping, etcetera. A good salesperson is going to come in and go for the top of the list right away without wasting any time.
  4. Money Matters. If money is not important to this person, he will make a crummy sales person. Just watching the numbers add up gives good salespeople a sense of accomplishment. For some folks, money is secondary to other factors, like good benefits or a warm and fuzzy office environment. A winning producer has laser focus and wants to be able to make as much money as possible and as fast as possible. This person will get straight to work and won’t ask you how to get leads. He’ll bring them.
  5. Armchair Shrink. Many good producers can generate leads, but what about closing deals? A great salesperson knows what people are thinking and what motivates them. While most people are similar in their wants and desires, each client is different and has different priorities, lifestyles and budgets. A good producer understands physical and verbal cues and can guide a lead towards a desired end-goal. They do this, not by talking in circles, but by listening attentively.
  6. Confidence: It takes a unique type of character to constantly hear “no” and keep pushing. Not everyone can do it. A natural born salesman is generating and buying insurance leads with a closer mentality. He or she is going to turn every hesitation around. Not only that, but a great producer will see each insurance lead as a win even before closing. He/she is optimistic and convinced he’s already closed the deal and that the client just needs a little convincing.
  7. Making Connections: People buy things from people they believe in. It’s that simple. A good salesperson naturally connects with people but not only that: They influence people because others want their admiration. There’s a certain charisma, too, that makes people trust in what they are able to accomplish for them.

After You Hire a Great Salesperson

You’ll want to keep talented producers motivated and excited. If you bore this person or don’t allow him/her to flourish to their maximum financial potential, they will find a better work situation or go solo. We always recommend buying insurance leads for top performers, as a thank you and as an opportunity to max out their sales beyond their organic potential. This sort of rewards system is also more beneficial to you than, say, a gift card or a free lunch. We hope our primer on hiring winning producers has been helpful. Stay posted for more tips in the coming weeks and months.