To run an efficient and profitable independent insurance agency you need to hire competent and efficient producers. Hiring the right producers is a sign that your business is growing, which is great. But finding and managing new producers is going to test your management skills. The success (or failure) of a producer ultimately falls on you, the boss.
A great boss will teach and guide producers to be great
Sometimes you’ll run across a producer who has all the right qualifications on paper, yet once they start working, their sales numbers just don’t seem to match their abilities. When you are hiring a new producer, it is important to set sales goals and stick to them. If a producer does not produce, you have to let them go. That’s the tough part of doing business. Hiring and welcoming a new person into your agency may be the easy part, but having the guts to let them go before they start to cost you money is a skill all on its own.
Of course, as we’ve said, it’s not just about dollars and cents. Sales matter but a great manager will be able to find the right person and then help guide, mentor, and mold them to become successful within your agency. When you look for a new producer to add to your team, finding someone within the industry can be a bonus, but making sure that their personality matches the rest of your team is equally important. This could mean looking outside of the industry entirely, finding a person with the right motivation and drive that fits in with your agency’s style and how you run your operation, rather than someone who has sold insurance before.
Know when to fire a producer who isn’t producing
The right producer for you may not have sold insurance before, but with your guidance and training, you can teach them to sell insurance. What you can rarely teach is a passion for selling insurance. That has to be there from the start. Even if a potential producer has never thought about insurance, your business model – perhaps even your dedication to social responsibility – as well as getting the chance to help people find great insurance, could be what brings over someone completely different than expected. Now it is up to you to help them grow into the producer you need to propel your business forward.
However you choose your producer, make sure that you give them the chance to succeed, but if they repeatedly don’t match your sales goals or live up to their full potential, then you have to bite the bitter apple and let that person go. Don’t let your business fall behind because you are trying to be Mr. Nice-Guy.
How to succeed as an independent agent
In a startup agency, any dead weight can be detrimental to your business. You can’t afford to have producers who aren’t producing. Sometimes people just don’t work out, and that’s okay, as long as you recognize the problem, and deal with it in a timely manner. Knowing what isn’t working is often just as important as knowing what is working!