One of the best parts of being an insurance agent is the opportunities it gives you to expand your business. Because you have an effectively unlimited client base, if you manage your business correctly, you’ll soon have more clients than you can handle. When you reach that point, you’ll need to hire some help.
There’s an art to knowing how to recruit insurance agents to your downline. Read on to discover some of the things you need to do when you’re bringing a new agent on board.
Focus on Your Own Success
Before you get ready to recruit other insurance agents, the first thing you need to do is to focus on your own success. Agents aren’t going to want to work for a company that’s already struggling. Talented salespeople will want to go somewhere that they know can offer them plenty of lead options, good support and training, and a strong compensation package.
Make sure you take the steps to grow your business into a thriving company before you start hiring other agents. Set up strong lead streams and get a healthy customer base going before you bring anyone else in.
Pro Tip: It will mean more hard work on the front end, but that effort will more than pay off in the long run.
Use Social Media
One of the most powerful marketing tools available today, whether for selling insurance or hiring agents, is social media. Nearly 70 percent of American adults use Facebook, and another 37 percent have Instagram. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any other single site that gives you access to as many potential new hires in one place.
Facebook has a section where you can advertise jobs, so be sure to post your listing there. But also make sure your business has an active Facebook page separate from job listings. Potential employees will want to find out more about your business before they apply for your job, and a strong social media presence will make them more likely to want to work with you.
Partner with Local Universities
Of course, another fantastic place to find young sales people just starting out is a local university. If there’s a college in your area with a strong sales program, set up a meeting with the head of the school. If you can get a good working relationship going with the school, they can funnel talented students your way.
You may want to consider setting up an internship program that hires students from your local sales program.
For one thing, this will give you an opportunity to ease into management with lower intern wages. But it will also give the students you’re working with some experience working in the field before they come to work for you full-time.
When you’re trying to hire new agents, you should rely on referrals from more than just your local university. Also, talk to the community of insurance agents around you to get referrals. They may have a fantastic intern who they just can’t afford to hire or a friend who’s looking to get into the insurance business.
Pro Tip: You do want to approach these discussions with some tact, however. You certainly don’t want your fellow agents to get the impression that you’re trying to hire talented agents out from under them.
Keep everything very above the table, and when the opportunity arises to repay the favor, make sure you do so.
Look into Independent Insurance Agents
If you’re wanting to bring in a new agent, but you’re not sure you want to dive headfirst into a full employment contract, you might consider working with Independent Insurance Agents.
These agents find their own clients, keep their own schedules, and go wherever the work takes them. They trade job stability for greater flexibility and the opportunity to work without pay caps.
Hiring independent agents can be a great way to get the extra help you need without having to navigate contracts, benefits, and management.
These agents tend to be independent and willing to work hard to keep their clients. You’ll get the benefits of their work without the limitations of a traditional employment arrangement.
Focus on Sales Backgrounds
Once you start getting applications in, you’ll want to look for a few key characteristics in your potential employees. First of all, prioritize the applicants who have some sort of background in sales. While being an insurance agent requires a few different types of expertise, it is primarily a sales position.
Having a background in sales will also give your agents the kind of tenacity they need to make it in the industry. As an insurance agent, you’re working with people during the worst periods of their lives.
Pro Tip: Your agents need to be able to handle some rejection and upset clients with poise if they’re going to last.
What to Look For
With applications rolling in, you’ll need to start narrowing down your applicant pool before you call interviews. There are a few qualities you’ll want to look out for that can indicate someone will make a stellar agent. You may want to consider asking for cover letters to get a better sense of these qualities before you decide who gets to move to the interview stage.
As we’ve discussed, an insurance agent needs to be a strong salesperson. They should also have experience handling rejection and should be able to come back from it better than ever.
Finally, they need to be honest; customers expect insurance agents to say whatever it takes to make the sale, and honesty can help build customer trust in your company.
Once you’ve narrowed down your applicant pool, it’ll be time to start conducting interviews. During this process, one of the big things you’ll want to keep an eye on is the attitudes of the people you’re interviewing. Even if an applicant has a stellar background, there are some things you just can’t change in an employee, and attitude is one of them.
Pro Tip: A bad attitude is going to show up with your customers and give your company a bad reputation. Look for applicants who are cheerful, polite, and charming.
Those qualities will go further in growing your business and keeping your clients happy than any amount of expertise or awards ever could.
Your insurance agents need to be able to handle a little bit of contradiction and a challenge under pressure. During the interview process, challenge some of your applicants’ responses a bit. The way they react will tell you a lot about how they’ll respond when there’s an upset client on the phone or when their leads aren’t responding.
Be sure to be polite during this process, and don’t use “gotcha” techniques. Remember, the point of the exercise isn’t to make your applicants feel bad about their response or to make them think they gave the wrong answer.
Keep your responses polite and professional, and make sure to thank them at the end for their time.
Use Panel Interviews
Most of us tend to think of an interview as a one-on-one discussion between an applicant and an employer, or perhaps a group of employers. And while this setup can work for a variety of industries, panel interviews may be a good option when you’re hiring new insurance agents.
Pro Tip: These interviews require agents to outsell their fellow applicants – a useful trait in your future agents.
Keep these interviews limited to three or four applicants at a time, and, again, don’t use “gotcha” tactics. Your goal is not to pit agents against one another or make them compete to gain your favor. Instead, you’ll want to pay attention to who does the best job of marketing their skills and navigating the group setting.
Keep Lead Flows Strong
Once you have your new agent on board, it’s your job as their boss to give them the tools they need to succeed. In this case, that may mean providing them with plenty of leads to work or giving them vetted lead resources (this depends on your business model).
While they should be doing some work to generate leads themselves, their role at first should focus on developing and following up with existing leads.
Keep your lead generation channels flowing strong, and don’t stop investing in them. Buy lists of leads, work your website sales funnel, and pursue organic leads. Continuing to invest this money in growing your business will help you to bring in more agents and step back your role in day-to-day operations.
Learn to Recruit Insurance Agents to Your Downline
If your business maintains healthy growth, you’ll eventually need to recruit insurance agents to your downline. Make sure you work with all available channels to find potential applicants and focus on those who have a strong sales background.
Consider conducting panel interviews, and keep an eye on potential agents’ attitudes and responses to a challenge. If you’d like to discover more insurance marketing tips, check out the rest of our site at TR King.
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