December 4, 2019
How Agencies Design Proformas To Boost Sales Hires
by Chris Winterboer
In Sales Presentations Guarantee Successful Producer Hires, I proclaim that producer hiring success is determined by whether or not your agency uses proformas. You create a lot of unknowns about the candidate if you don’t include proformas in your hiring process. The key is designing proformas to accomplish hiring success.
The Five P's Of A Productive Proforma
1. What is the POINT or PURPOSE?
A proforma starts by demonstrating that your agency and the candidate have shared goals.
- Desire growth
- Make money
- Increase call/meeting volume
To accomplish these goals, the proforma should also reveal that everyone will row in boat in the same direction. The tired methodology of hiring ten producers, hoping two work out, is ancient history.
Have the candidate include commentary on these topics:
- Strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness leads to strategic hires.
- Time, resources, and capital investment.
- Target clients- i.e. increase volume in specific risk categories or create momentum in a vertical market.
2. Don't expect PERFECTION
You MUST give candidates direction. Zero input = Zero output. Proforma are not an exercise in failure, but a living, breathing document. As the agency, your input responsibilities include:
- Encourage the creative process. Provide guidelines that you want to see outlined in 30, 60, and 90-day increments. Draw the outline and let the candidate fill in the gaps.
- Understand this is a two-way street. Assume the first draft will suck. Show what kind of mentor you will be by providing feedback, suggestions, tweaks, revisions, and ideas over additional conversations. Then, see what kind of candidate you have- someone open to coaching or resistant to change.
- Desire some vulnerability. Because no plan is perfect. Be happy when a producer admits they don’t know everything and are willing to learn. Constructive criticism is going to be part of the learning curve with an on-boarding process if you are to make the hire, so you might as well find out early how thick their skin is with this process.
- Crave diversity. You do not want a robotic salesforce. Encourage candidates to describe their ideal client and methodology for reaching them.
3. Include a PRESENTATION
Presentations and proformas are mutually exclusive. Candidates can create presentations without much in writing. They can outline an extensive proforma and never present it. For more details on presentation tips read Sales Presentations Guarantee Successful Producer Hires.
4. Outline PARAMETERS to achieve success
As mentioned earlier, the common theme in many business plans has been the 30, 60, 90-day plan. It is too easy to outline something flashy here that holds no accountability once the candidate comes onboard. Be sure to include goals that are achievable and easy to measure like:
- Number of meetings per week in the first 90 days. Reward for hitting and exceeding those goals.
- Securing expiration dates from two prospects per week in the first two months.
- Enter a minimum number of new prospects into the database each week.
- Close one deal in the first 90 days and celebrate that success.
The list could go on and on, but the important part is to be sure you are specific enough so that the producer knows when they’ve achieved success.
5. Require PARTICIPATION from management post-hire
Far too often agencies believe all of the work should come from the candidate. To truly take things to the next level, you need buy-in from management after the producer is hired. Here’s an example for some context:
Recently I had a Retirement Planning Producer create a business plan during the middle stages of an intense interview process. The CEO liked what the producer created but it turned out that the first draft didn’t really align with the agency’s vision for the division. Rather than ending the process, the CFO stepped in, provided some context to the situation, and together all three people created a true proforma that was complete, realistic, aggressive, and a win-win situation. They hired the producer and the rest is history.