September 5, 2019

Producer Recruiting: Two Schools of Thought for 2020

by Mary Newgard

Producer recruiting, the great white whale of agency hiring. The proverbial “bull in the china shop”.  The need for more talented salespeople never stops. It’s ever present alongside anxiety, frustration and costs that come with the hiring process. 

As you make hiring plans for 2020, ponder the comments I hear agencies make about producer recruiting. If you say these things you show that your agency has no vision or plan for adding sales talent. You might think so, but your actions tell me otherwise. These statements affect all areas of your agency’s hiring and you can miss out on seeing talented candidates.

“We Really Want Producers With Portable Books of Business”

My response to that statement is, “What agency doesn’t?” Here’s how that comment is received by producers in your natural market.

  1. This agency doesn’t have any money.
  2. This agency only makes acquisitions.
  3. This agency is an aggregator.
  4. This agency doesn’t know how to negotiate safe harbor deals.
  5. This agency doesn’t have any generational diversity.
  6. This agency is up for sale.

What I hear is an agency that has a Short-Term Gains Mindset. Rather than turn away an opportunity to see a quality sales candidate, I think you should talk to everyone. In those conversations share the short-term goals of the agency and how sales expectations may be a shorter turnaround to validation than at another point in time.

“We Have A Sales Candidate and A Lot of Other Positions to Hire For”

Producers are so hard to source that I don’t believe agencies have the luxury to work off their timeline. You must take advantage of situations and talk to people when they are available.  Here are some things to remember about the timeline of a producer’s search.

  1. Producers don’t interview opportunistically.
  2. Producers don’t sit in a database.
  3. Producers find and take jobs quickly.
  4. Producers want an expedited process.
  5. Producers don’t need eight suitors. One and done will do the trick.

Agencies are in the habit of negotiating away producer recruiting when I see them turn down the chance to review a sales bio. A better overall recruiting strategy will keep your attention focused on all hires- the ‘must haves & luxury’, the ‘short & long-term’- candidates. How does your 2020 strategy look these days?

For more on producer recruiting, check out April’s Ask the Insurance Recruiter column.


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