3 Keys for Recruiting Quality Insurance Producers

October 4, 2021 by

Many agency owners want to hire new producers, and the good news is that there’s a flood of candidates right now looking for jobs. It seems like it’d be a win-win, but the bad news is that most agency owners I talk to are still getting burned in the hiring process. They’ve tried to hire good people but consistently struggle to find quality talent.

You might never say this out loud, but maybe you’ve said it to yourself: “Why would anyone great want to work here? We have no real training, no system to make them successful. We offer them a desk, a telephone, and a computer. We help them get licensed and trained to understand a little bit about insurance policies. Then we send them out to do their best.”

But the problem is that most of your newbies fail, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of “I can’t find good producers.” Then after a while, you get stuck in an identity crisis and start recruiting what you least want because, to some degree, that’s all you believe you deserve. You honestly can’t reconcile why someone great would want to work with you especially when candidates have better choices out there like big tech, big pharma, and big VC companies. Plus, you know bigger agencies have more markets, better sales training, and more value-added services. And when it’s all said and done, you settle for what you feel you can get.

So how can smaller independent agencies possibly compete with the bigger guys? What do you even say to candidates to entice them? “Hi, we sell insurance and have been around for over 100 years. Would you be interested in coming to work for us?” It may have worked before, but unfortunately, this tactic doesn’t play out very well in today’s job market.

The truth is you do deserve great producers and have a ton of value to offer them. I promise, people want what you have. Think about it, how else can you make more money than a doctor, lawyer, or dentist — with no education, no investment, and 10 times more freedom?

To help you shift to this new mindset, you need to create a simple recruiting story. Nick Saban has one, Dabo Swinney has one, and Coach K has one. All hall-of-fame coaches have a powerful recruiting story they’ve crafted, rehearsed, and perfected. Something that causes their candidates to say, “Wow, that sounds interesting, how can I hear more about this?” Because when people can see themselves in your story, they’ll want to be a part of it.

My wife, Lori, and I took all four of our daughters on college campus tours. Some universities just told you where everything is like the lecture halls and cafeteria but the universities that got them excited were the ones that painted a clear vision of what campus life would be like there. Their top schools showed them how this place will position them to succeed. It’s the same for recruiting insurance producers, too.

One of the best recruiters I’ve ever seen was Rusty Reid, CEO of Higginbotham in Fort Worth, Texas. There were three distinct things that Rusty did that made him a great recruiter, and it really paid off. For over a decade, I assisted him in hiring 34 new producers, of which 29 of them were successful. That same group of 29 producers grew $17.5 million of renewable revenue during those 10 years.

The Industry

Rusty believed the insurance business was an exceptional profession. He would talk about it everywhere he went and why it’s such a rewarding career path. He had the natural ability to convince anyone that selling insurance was a promising career path.

Rusty would tell his candidates about how brokers get to meet an incredible array of business owners and entrepreneurs. How they get to see businesses from the inside out, what makes them tick, and how they make money. Then he’d get into the model of renewable income and how it can make you and your family very well-off. This part of his story opened the door for Rusty to compete with those big pharma, big tech, and big VC companies trying to recruit the same candidates.

When you get your story down, you’ll be able to paint commercial insurance just as sexy as those industries.

The Agency

Rusty would talk about how the agency is structured to help make producers successful. He’d provide them with a combination of sales training and ongoing coaching to improve their skills. His agency had a real commitment to Proactive Services, so they had differentiation that went beyond having the best price and coverage. He rallied his producers to win and built a culture of helping each other get deals done. Rusty was a powerful recruiter because he directly answered a crucial question: Why should I consider your agency?

Is your agency a great place to work? Do you provide resources for producers? Do you have a sales culture? Do you have a sales playbook? Are producers in your agency rockers and rollers? If so, you’ve got a great story, and you need to learn how to tell it. If not, you need to help create that kind of agency so that you can tell that story.

The Leader

Lastly, Rusty would talk about his relentless commitment to salespeople. He loves selling, and he has a strong passion for doing whatever he can to make their producers successful. Not just the typical, “Hey, we’re going to give you a computer, phone, desk and throw you some resources.”

Rusty would emphasize, “Mary, Jim, Michael, and I, we’re all here to make you successful.”

So, the last question to look in the mirror and ask yourself: Why should I work for you? Are you committed to helping salespeople be great? Are you a believer in salespeople? And how will you support them? Why you?

When you can confidently tell your candidates these three key things, you’ll have a powerful recruiting story to hire quality producers. But if you don’t have one yet, it’s time to create it, mold it, and make it work for your agency to grow. Because if not now, then when?