Want more sales from your producers?
Stupid question, huh?
Getting the most from your salespeople is one of the biggest roles of an agency owner but it’s also one of the most difficult.
I’ve worked with hundreds of agents across the US, and the ability to draw the most from their producers is a quality I’ve seen in the most successful agents.
And it’s always missing in the agents who fail.
I thought you might benefit from a few ideas to get your producers producing and your agency growing.
So here it is, 26 ways to get more out of your current insurance producers:
1) Better Lead Allocation
Are you allocating every lead to the salesperson most likely to close it?
Or are you using a random distribution by day of the week, first letter of last name, or an alternating “round-robin”?
Here are some other ways to consider for boosting close rates:
- By Location: Which producer leaves nearest the lead?
- By Age: Which producer is closest in age to the lead?
- By Gender: Do some producers sell better to one gender?
- By Other Demographic: Which producer matches the overall demographic of the lead?
- By Value: give the higher potential leads to the best closers
The more your salesperson looks, sounds, thinks and behaves like the prospect the more they’ll sell.
2) Constantly Remind Them “Why”
When you’re selling insurance all day long it’s easy to forget WHY you’re doing it.
Your salespeople can think they’re helping people, strengthening families, and contributing a valuable service to society.
Or they can think they’re insurance quoters.
Who do you think sells more?
Take every chance you can to show producers successful claims, congratulate them on doing the “right” thing for convincing a customer to increase coverage, and remind them constantly that selling insurance is a noble occupation to be proud of.
3) Provide Sales Improvement Material
If you’re lucky enough to have a producer willing to read books about sales, make it easy for them.
For $100 on amazon you could build a great library of resources in the agency. Just look for the highest rated and most popular books in the sales section.
Producer with a long commute? See if he or she wants to listen to audiobooks about sales.
At the very least, make your own books available to the office and encourage your producers to borrow the best ones.
4) Help Them Practice
Everybody knows practicing sales sucks.
But it works.
No producer is going to ask you to practice, but there are many who will be happy to and will benefit from it if you ask. You’ll need to create a relaxed and positive atmosphere.
Think “practice sessions” will bother your salesperson more than help them?
I get it.
There are other ways to improve their sales skills just by talking about how they’re selling. Discussing recent sales that didn’t close, new cross-selling ideas and ways to get more referrals. Just ask, “What’s working? What’s not?” and see what happens.
5) Sales Bonuses
Get your producers shooting for higher numbers with bonuses.
Your bonuses don’t have to be money. You could give away prizes, free time, free lunch, or any other perk your staff would enjoy. In fact, the more variety the better.
Remember that you WANT your producers to get the bonuses. It’s discouraging if they consistently fall short.
Set bonuses at attainable levels and do all you can to help your producers achieve them.
6) Free Coffee
Coffee is a stimulant. It wakes people up, makes them more attentive, more talkative, and more persistent.
Why should your salespeople ever pay for something that does that?
It should be required.
7) Keep Service Far, Far Away
Sales and service are two different worlds, and it’s best to keep them far apart.
It’s hard to sell something that you’re constantly hearing problems about it. The trouble with customer service in your agency is that you only hear from people who have problems. These only represent a few of your clients but when you hear about them all day long you start to question your product.
Every policy from every agency has service problems, rate complaints, claim problems, and other gripes from the customers.
Don’t let your producers hear about bad customer experiences because it takes away from their conviction in the products.
8) Sales-Only Time
I don’t recommend the same person doing sales and service but sometimes it’s unavoidable.
I just mentioned one reason in #7 above, another one is because the service work inevitably eats into the sales work.
Service is easier. And people will subconsciously gravitate toward easier work.
Producers tasked with both sales and service will find ways to spend more time on service, whether they know they’re doing it or not.
If both tasks need to be done by the same person, split their time throughout the day so every moment is designated as EITHER sales OR service but never both. Otherwise the sales won’t get done.
9) Alter Your Commissions
Relax, you don’t have to pay more.
If you want to get more from your producers take a look at your commission schedule to make sure you’re rewarding the right things proportionately.
Everyone wants to make the most money for the least effort, especially salespeople. So it’s a problem if your commission structure doesn’t reward them for going after the business that makes you the most money.
There are two general rules I tell agents regarding producer commission:
- Pay as close to 100% commission as possible
- Match your producers’ commission to your own so the more you get paid for something the more they get in direct proportion.
The closer your producer gets paid like you the more you’ll both be on the same page moving in the same direction toward the same goals.
10) Give Them Better Communication Tools
Look at all the different ways your producer communicates with prospects. Are there any opportunities for making their job easier?
- An autodailer service for telemarketing?
- A CRM for lead management?
- An appointment scheduling service (I use and recommend Calendly)
- A text chat option on the agency website? (I use and recommend PureChat)
- A better email service so their messages always get through? (I use and recommend Gmail)
- A cell phone for 2am sales calls?
11) Give Them Better Equipment
Take a look at your salesperson’s desk. Are you treating them like heroes of the office like you should?
- Do they have a comfortable office chair so they’re still energized to make that 4:59 call?
- Do they have a webcam to record custom videos for prospects?
- Do they have an iPad with quoting capabilities or a sales presentation loaded into it?
- How about an phone headset so they don’t have to hold it up to their ear all day?
Take a look at the desk and ask. You’ll find more ideas.
12) Ditch The Ball and Chain
Don’t just allow your producers to get out from behind the desk.
Encourage them to!
There’s nothing your producer can do at his desk that a GEICO call center rep can’t do at his.
Local marketing in the community is the largest advantage a local insurance agent has over direct writers but only if you use it.
13) Help Set Good Goals
Help your producers set good sales goals.
Here’s a few tips for setting good goals:
- Set goals for short, medium and long terms. (daily, monthly, yearly)
- Keep them challenging but attainable.
- Set goals for the entire agency to benefit from the team influence and support.
- Don’t focus too heavily on the end results if possible and instead focus on the behaviors that get to those results. (set goals for how many referrals you ask for instead of how many sales you made)
14) Ask What They Need
Just ask them.
Say to your producers, “Is there anything I could do or get to make your job easier?”
And when they say “better leads” you say “…besides that.”
15) Give Bigger Responsibilities
Some producers thrive when given additional responsibilities in the office. It makes them feel more ownership over the agency and that’s good for everyone.
Could one of your producers be in charge of:
- Agency cross-selling
- Agency referral process
- Office recycling/green expert
- Some other office process that needs improvement
Don’t just hand out the dirty work. Try to fit the task to the person. If they’re good at something put them in charge of it.
They won’t sell more because you asked them to scrub the toilet bowl.
16) Take Away The Admin Crap
Do your producers waste time filling out forms or some other mundane task that could easily be done by someone else?
Take it off their hands.
You’ll save time, relieve frustration, and most importantly you’ll make your salesperson understand exactly what their job is – to sell insurance.
They’re not here to dot i’s and cross t’s.
17) Get Rid of The Stupid Stuff
Are there any processes in the agency that aren’t even really necessary?
Pointless tasks waste time, but they also condition your producers to think their work is unimportant. Review everything your producer is doing to identify and drop agency-mandated tasks that are unnecessary.
18) Put Them on a Pedestal
Look around your agency and remind yourself that none of this is possible without sales. Your salespeople are the most important part of your business and they need to feel that way.
Salespeople can be like famous musicians, they may appear confident on the outside while desperately needing to feel important and cherished to perform.
Put them on a pedestal in the office and they will act more and more like sales rock-stars.
19) Create Competition
Get your salespeople competing with and against each other.
Keep it friendly because everyone still has to remain friends in the end.
Avoid any competition where everyone knows who’s going to win before it starts. That’s counterproductive.
20) Foster a Positive Environment
This isn’t as actionable as some of the other ideas here but it’s worth noting that every employee of your agency, including and especially salespeople, needs to feel comfortable to give their best.
Ask yourself every now and then whether all your employees are made to feel as comfortable and welcome as possible in your agency.
Keep in mind, if your agency isn’t a comfortable atmosphere for your employees it won’t be for your customers either.
21) Let Them Train Others
One of the best ways to get better at something is to teach others.
Teaching solidifies the knowledge in your producer’s mind which results in better execution.
It also makes your producer want to step up their game to set the right example for the person they’re training.
22) Hire Appointment Setters
Are your producers setting their own appointments?
Maybe it’d be more cost effective to outsource that to a telemarketing company or hire someone part-time?
What other activities are your producers doing that could outsourced to a less expensive part-time employee?
23) More Leads and/or Better Leads
Well this is obviously a tough one. I don’t have any simple solutions but you need to consider the value of your producer’s time here.
Would it make sense to invest in more leads or higher quality leads so they can sell more policies per hour?
What could you do to generate more leads in the agency?
24) Regular Sales Meetings
I know agents who are hesitant about running sales meetings. They tell me they don’t know what to talk about.
The point isn’t what you discuss. It’s about dedicating time to to demonstrate the importance of sales in your business and your commitment to make it better.
Here’s a simple formula:
- Highlight the big recent sales
- Ask what’s working
- Explain any changes
- Answer questions
- No complaining
- Everybody back to work now
Nothing will burn out a producer like long stretches of time cold calling.
It’s also ineffective for most salespeople.
Some people can hit the phones all day long and never tire, but for most it’s more efficient to do short bursts of high intensity cold calling.
26) Lead By Example
I honestly don’t think anything on this list can draw more out of your insurance producer than the example you set for them.
Be the businessperson you want your employees to become and they will.
You don’t have to sell better than they can. I know some amazing agents that suck at sales.
Your attitude, your commitment, your sincerity, your devotion, your hard work…
These will lead your salespeople to sell more.
Here’s What to Do Next
- Decide which of these ideas will resonate best with your producers.
- If you want to use several of them, come up with a sustainable plan to introduce things gradually so you don’t overwhelm your producers and burn yourself out.
- Don’t just come up with a plan. Follow through and MAKE IT HAPPEN!
If you know another agent struggling with getting the most from their producers, share this article with them.
And if you want more helpful articles like this let me know by hitting the like button or sharing it on social media!
Hope this helps,