I’m having trouble reconciling several frustrating experiences I had with producer recruiting last week. I talk to insurance agencies constantly about their recruiting plans. Their automatic response is, “We’re always looking for good producers.”
So, in the instance of my calls when I had several sales profiles to discuss, you’d think the automatic response would be, “We’d love to see the resume and talk with them.” Nope. Not even close.
I understand wanting to ask questions and having a critical eye for talent, but I still struggle with the break that happens. Somewhere in that process hiring managers find more reasons to say, “No,” rather than simply saying, “yes I’ll spend 30 minutes screening the person.”
Why is that? Well, I finally have a few theories.
1. A mindset of getting past openings.
If you’re only interviewing people when you have a vacancy you’re probably not interviewing a lot of great candidates and certainly very few salespeople. You don’t need a formal opening to hire a producer.
2. Get a body ahead.
The washout rate is so significant in insurance sales that you’re never ahead of the game. Even brokers that hire in droves (10, 20, 50, 500 producers a year) do so because they are trying to net 20-30% at best.
3. You’ll always have coffee with someone.
How much time does it really take to set aside 1-2 hours weekly for speculative interviews? Have the people come to you or buy everyone Starbucks and watch your rewards points rack up! Resumes and profile assessments are not an indicator of a person’s abilities or sales success. You need to talk to people. Sometimes the best candidate has the worst resume.
4. There is no such thing as a producer pipeline.
You’re kidding yourself if you think you (or I for that matter) have a rolodex of sales candidates lying in wait for you to make a hire. If they are good they will get snatched up by another insurance agency in a second. It only takes a napkin and a pen to work out a job offer with a producer.
5. How is your company in a sales industry but not constantly selling itself?
Interviewing is an opportunity to brand your agency. To sell it to a prospective buyer (in this case the candidate). I’m sure your producers call on plenty of accounts that are not quite ready to change brokers. Do you tell them to walk away and stop wasting their time until they are ready to buy? Or, do you encourage them to strategize and position an ongoing conversation? That same analogy is the difference between overscreening insurance producer prospects and talking to 90% of the resumes that come across your desk. At some point you will need that sales candidate. Don’t wait. Talk to everyone. Now!