“I’m not scared of training employees who leave—I’m scared of not training employees who stay.”
I heard this quote from agent Tomasz Alemany, owner of Top Whole Life, and it just really struck me, so much so that I decided it should be front and center for this article. We’ve heard lately from some insurance agency owners who are concerned they are investing too much time and too many resources on training insurance producers who will leave their agencies.
I’m here to say that this fear, although totally understandable, should definitely not keep you from nurturing your biggest asset—your people.
Why should you seriously invest in training your agency producers?
- If you don’t train them well, they won’t sell as much. Ultimately, your business needs to generate revenue, and if this is unsuccessful, you have to find out why. Untrained (or poorly trained) insurance producers cost your company in terms of profit, time and lost opportunities because they don’t know how to work leads or close business efficiently.
- Additionally, untrained (or poorly trained) insurance agency producers are often not as motivated as properly trained producers. Unmotivated employees usually leads to high turnover—so not training producers properly doesn’t serve your interests well at all, as they may leave without helping you write enough premium to even justify the cost required to on-board them!
Face it: Sometimes you will invest time in an insurance producer and they will leave. It hurts, but it will happen. The bigger picture is this: Selling is the engine of every insurance agency, so it’s a mistake to ignore the “fuel” for that engine—your insurance agency producers.
Here are six best practices for training your insurance agency producers.
1. Create an insurance agent and producer training program for new hires.
All new producers should immediately jump into a comprehensive training program that maps out exactly what they need to do, day-by-day, in their first few weeks or months on the job. The exact length of time depends on your agency’s needs—Tom’s agency has a 12-week program that looks like this:
Step 1: Identify motivation.
Motivation is the “why” that drives the people in your insurance agency. Insurance agents who are training producers should be clear that everyone in the business is first helping people—it must be relational first, or you will run a high risk of either burning out or never being successful to start with. Agents should understand the value they are providing their customers, whether they’re selling home insurance, property and casualty insurance, life insurance, or any other products.
Step 2: Understand the product.
Producers need to understand, be knowledgeable about, and believe in the insurance products they’re selling. Without this buy-in, your agency has little chance of success—who wants to buy from an insurance agency that doesn’t believe in the value of what they’re selling? At this point in the process, agents should focus on training producers about why customers should choose their agency, their services, etc. Identify your unique selling proposition here, and be absolutely sure your producers understand it.
Step 3: Learn the sales process and how to track activity.
Your insurance agency producers need to be trained on your specific sales process and how you will be tracking insurance sales activity. No matter what kind of insurance product you sell, you need a strong sales process that your producers can follow from the beginning (finding and calling leads) to the end (binding policies). (If you’re not 100% sure yours is successful but don’t want to start from scratch, we have a free template you can use to start training your agents.)
Calling all agents! Make sure your producers are trained and set them up for success. Download The Insurance Agent Sales Process Quick-Start Template today.
Tom’s agents ramp up on the activity side; they start during week one with product information and lower-level activities. That means they aren’t on the phone for two hours from day one, but they are on the phones just enough to get the butterflies out and become more comfortable talking. With every week that goes by, Tom’s expectations for producer activity increases.
2. Train all of your insurance producers frequently.
According to Tom, the highly skilled nature of sales makes it important to not only train new insurance producers right from the get-go, but to continue training producers throughout their tenure with your company.
This is because, in insurance sales, running a good business can be a matter of percentages. Your sales team is going to encounter different cases which require fine-tuned skills to convert the prospect and generate revenue. Success in insurance sales is not something you do once and forget; according to Tom, training your entire team of insurance producers once a week should be a minimum requirement.
How To Get Better Leads For Your Producers
Once your team is assembled, you’ll need to provide a consistent supply of qualified leads to keep their pipelines full. If you don’t currently have those high-quality leads, contact us.
People who come to our website are already looking for insurance products like the ones you sell; we then provide that lead information to agents like you, in real time. It works for thousands of agents (including top agents like Perry Olson), and it could be what helps your agency reach that next level of success. You can schedule a call to talk with us about our process here.
3. Schedule weekly case management time with all your producers.
A once-a-week case review session with your sales team is an important part of continued training for insurance producers. Weekly case management should include reviewing specific cases in large and small groups, allowing for question-and-answers, sales role-playing, discussion, and anything else that keeps it engaging and interesting for everyone.
4. Get on the phones as soon as possible.
I mentioned this in number one above, but it’s too important to not call out here: Brand new producers need to be on the phones as soon as possible. Yes, they may be nervous, and they may hate it, but you need to insist they do it.
The sooner you teach them to start working the phones—and the more often they do it—the sooner they’ll get over their fear. To help make sure your team of insurance producers is making the most of every lead, check out our article, The Ideal Insurance Producer Daily Activity Schedule. In it, we outline best practices for an insurance producer’s daily activity schedule that, based on our years of experience working directly with agents, leads to optimum performance.
5. Establish structure within your insurance sales training program.
Insurance sales training isn’t a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it thing. (Tweet this!) Whoever is creating your insurance agent training process needs to review it at least a couple times a year to make sure it’s up to date and follows best practices. Too often we see insurance producer and agent processes that are outdated and ineffective. For example, if your agency has done all of its work on paper and decides to move to computer systems, are you adapting your training processes to align with this upgrade?
6. Use general sales resources to train producers.
One last suggestion from Tom was to pick general sales books and resources and implement their suggestions into your training programs. These don’t have to be insurance-specific - from The Challenger Sale to To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others - there are a ton of great non-insurance focused sales books out there; reading them can help your team learn about different strategies for selling successfully.
More Resources For Insurance Agent & Producer Training
- 8 Proven Insurance Sales Prospecting Tips for Producers
- Insurance Producers & Agents: Doing These 9 Things Will Tank Your Sales Goals
- Insurance Producers: How Agency Owners Hire, Train & Manage Top Performers
- My Best Tip For Improving The Insurance Customer Experience At Your Agency