May 18, 2023
A Great Pitch Recruits Insurance Producers in a Competitive Job Market
by Mary Newgard
When The Great Recession’s impact was felt by insurance agencies in 2008, I was only 18 months into my recruiting career with Capstone. I remember agencies going from a high volume of claims, loss control, and account management hiring projects to virtually none in the non-revenue generating bucket. At that point in the economic crisis, firms only wanted candidates that generated revenue. My partners and I, ex-insurance producers ourselves, decided we had to pivot our focus to producer recruiting if we wanted to keep Capstone afloat.
What Not to Do When Recruiting Insurance Producers
Clearly, we kept the lights on. In 2022 Capstone celebrated its 20-year anniversary, and producer recruiting remains a huge part of our practice. We do it in ways that might surprise you.
- We don’t smile and dial for candidates.
- We don’t troll lists for anyone with an insurance license.
- We don’t post generic job ads.
- We don’t scream “We’re Recruiting Producers!!” on LinkedIn.
These things didn’t work 17 years ago, and they don’t work today, even though it’s how I see so many insurance agencies and recruiters targeting sales candidates.
Critical Elements Agencies Need to Entice Salespeople
You must strive to make every producer recruiting project unique. Recently an agency told me they plan to hire 10 new producers in 2023, but they could not distinguish one hire from the other. Unfortunately, they will have limited recruiting success because candidates tune out when a plan sounds homogenous.
You need to isolate specific skills (aka, a great profile) and have a compelling story (aka, a unique pitch).
The Target Candidate Profile
Think about this like any other hire. What do you want that resume to look like?
Experience: How much career experience and with what titles, types of companies, and success?
Source: What type of agency (large brokers, regional agencies, or small independents)? What about captives?
Compensation: What’s your structure — guaranteed salary or descending base? What are the commission splits — during and after validation? What is the max salary you will invest during validation? What is the first-year sales goal and estimated total first year compensation?
A Great Company Pitch
Saying, “Our agency is looking to hire good producers” doesn’t work. Three pitches pique a salesperson’s interest.
Liberation. They do not like where they work. You are the antithesis of their employer. This works if you want to source from big corporations or shops that are vulnerable to acquisition. Producers are willing to consider a job change when it’s obvious their agency doesn’t have a perpetuation strategy or will be constantly bought and sold.
Adoration. You need them more than they need you. You see ways to capitalize on untapped revenue, which benefits the candidate and you. You want to target producers in vertical/product groups (construction, trucking, healthcare, etc.). You want to expand geographically. By extension, their market knowledge carries the flag in new areas. You have upcoming retirements and cannot seed legacy business to a newbie.
Rejuvenation. They want to contribute in multiple ways. Some producers at the mid-point of their career want to contribute beyond just selling. This can be office and/or people leadership. Some can build teams and train/mentor other salespeople. Others want to contribute as an owner or shareholder.
Let Me Teach You a Better Way
My team takes time to think about how we will research prospects. We are extremely methodical in how we reach out to candidates. We care how the message is interpreted. Ultimately, we want to create commitment from all parties in the process. This isn’t a numbers game. Producer recruiting is quality over quantity.
I encourage you to do the same. You’re not going to find a rule book on producer recruiting, but I can help you customize the process to fit your culture.
You can also find additional producer recruiting info in earlier ATIR articles. Check out these previous Insurance Journal columns: Never Say This to A Potential Producer During An Interview and In Their Own Words: Why Producers Change Jobs.