As an agency leader, you are acutely aware of the importance of attracting business development talent. You spend time and expense searching for sales professionals who demonstrate the attitudes, beliefs, and skill sets that will thrive in your corporate culture. Yet, research and first-hand experience of our firm provides evidence that most agency leaders fundamentally lack an intentional approach to new producer development.
What is the solution? Something we call the “New Producer Onboarding Playbook,” which is comprised of seven “plays” designed to help your new team member get started on the right track during the first 6-12 months of employment.
Play 1 – History of Insurance
The first play provides fascinating insight into the history of insurance, dating back to Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House, where merchants, bankers, and seafarers assembled to transact business. Fire insurance emerged after the Great Fire of London in 1666, when flames destroyed 85% of the city over the course of five days. In 1688, England’s famed Lloyd’s of London was officially established. Interestingly, it was not until the mid-1700s that the American colonies became prosperous and sophisticated enough to develop the concept of insurance.
Your new producer can gain much by applying the lessons learned from the insurance industry’s experience during some of the most important moments in history, including the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, San Francisco earthquake in 1906, Northridge earthquake in 1994, World Trade Center attack in 2001, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. A comprehensive understanding of our industry’s ability to address evolving risk issues-including, but not limited to, cyber security, terrorism, the pandemic flu, workplace violence, remote employees, telehealth, and natural disasters-will serve as invaluable reference points.
Play 2 – Mentor
Your new producer will benefit from a mentor who provides an appropriate degree of challenge and support-emotional, technical and tactical-so that he or she can build competence and confidence. As the insurance and risk management landscape can be overwhelming at times, the mentor serves as a reliable source of information for decision-making, problem-solving, and ongoing encouragement.
Who makes a great mentor? Someone with experience in the business of insurance and risk management who has the ability to selflessly shape, guide, and mold behaviors, values, and actions that influence successful outcomes.
Play 3 – Tools, Tactics and Terminology
In order to be an effective producer, one must be equipped with the right toolbox. While our firm is a proponent of insurance carrier new-producer schools, we strongly recommend the Rough Notes-Pro and Rough Notes Advantage-Plus solutions. For a modest investment, your new producer will be armed with invaluable tools, tactics, and terminology to allow them to hit the ground running. A few samples include:
- Risk Evaluation System. A guide to the risks and uncertainties that businesses face. The Rough Notes system encompasses a brief narrative, questionnaire, coverage commendations, and E&O checklist for more than 725 different industries. The Risk Evaluation System serves as an invaluable teaching tool that adds knowledge, know-how, discipline, confidence, and credibility.
- Coverages Applicable. A guide for risk management and survey work, “Coverages Applicable” contains recommended coverages for 27 industry categories for commercial and personal lines. It is a wonderful teaching tool, as it empowers your new producer to master appropriate coverages that reflect their risk evaluation process.
- Policy Forms & Manual Analysis (PF&M). This unique resource is a go-to guide that enhances your producer’s level of expertise on P-C and specialty lines coverages and concepts. PF&M offers detailed discussions with examples and case studies to reinforce the producer’s understanding of coverage forms.
- Terminology. As you know, we have our own language in the business of insurance and risk management. The Rough Notes Advantage-Plus solution, Insurance Words and Their Meanings, is a comprehensive, easy-to-understand insurance terminology guide.
Play 4 – Producer Growth Assessment
Your new producers should become accustomed to evaluating their own knowledge, skills, performance, and process. Assessments enable producers to measure and record learning progress, skill acquisition, and mindset-integral components of their roadmap to success that will have a direct impact on performance. As mentioned in “Knowledge is Power … Start with An Assessment” in the December 2019 issue of Rough Notes. Beyond Insurance has developed the Producer Growth Assessment (PGA)-a complimentary tool that empowers your producers to evaluate their unrealized growth potential (UGP) in the following 10 disciplines:
- Growth Mindset
- Visioning and Goal Setting
- Mastering Value Proposition
- Building a Referral Network
- Prospect Research and Qualification
- New Business Hit Ratio
- Using Social Media to Drive Actionable Results
- Adding Value Through Cross-Selling
- Art of Negotiation and Power of Persuasion
- Priority Management Leading to Work/Life Balance
Play 5 – Skill Development
Since 2006, our firm has been studying the characteristics of high-performing insurance agents and brokers across a wide variety of settings, including virtual coaching, one-on-one interactions, and surveys. To date, we have evaluated the skill sets and performance of more than 10,000 industry professionals with business development responsibilities. The conclusion of this research indicates that the mastery of the above 10 disciplines has a direct correlation to growth, productivity, and performance.
For that reason, our firm developed Sales Accelerators-virtual skill development modules that directly correlate to the 10 disciplines within the Producer Growth Assessment. In designing the Sales Accelerators, we were mindful of our mission to help producers increase competence, build confidence, expand knowledge, elevate credibility, and fuel passion and purpose for the business of insurance and risk management. Assuming your producer chooses to complete all 10 self-paced online courses, he or she will earn the Accredited Sales Advisor (ASA) certification, a symbol of professional excellence in consultive sales.
Play 6 – Prospect Strategy Map
As prospecting is the lifeblood of a producer’s success, we encourage you to introduce a Prospect Strategy Map with four key components:
- Ideal Client Profile. Your new producers will benefit from having a clear picture of the ideal prospect, supported by a strategy map that helps them determine:
- Where to spend time and energy
- The industry and product knowledge they must possess
- People who are able and willing to connect your producer with the ideal prospect
- Products, services, and resources needed
- What issues drive the emotions of the ideal prospect
- Prospect Pipeline Management Plan. A comprehensive knowledge of the skills that support prospect pipeline development, including:
- Researching industries and specific prospects
- Social media strategies
- Positioning personal network for referral harvesting
- Community involvement
- Trade associations
- Sources to assist with prospect management
- Credibility Statement/Value Proposition. In the pursuit of new business opportunities, one of the most important deciding factors will be your new producer’s credibility statement and value proposition. The credibility statement inspires belief and trust, while the value proposition summarizes the reason the prospect should buy the producer’s particular product, service or solution.
- Phone and First Interview Scripts. The phone and first interview scripts are essential components of a new producer’s business development success. The scripts must be clear, concise, and compelling. It is essential that your producers rehearse and master them so that the words and conversation flow naturally.
Play 7 – Activity and Accountability Scorecard
From the moment your producer joins your firm, he or she must understand the importance of an activity and accountability scorecard. Why? Accountability is all about ownership and initiative. It means that your new producer accepts the responsibility for his or her actions, behaviors, decisions, and results.
Your producer’s activity and accountability scorecard should include meaningful metrics, such as the number of prospect phone calls, first prospect meetings, center of influence meetings, networking events, blog posts/social media connections, prospect proposals, referrals, number of new clients, new business hit ratio, and revenue generated.
Your New Producer Onboarding Playbook … seven intentional plays to enhance credibility, confidence, and results!
Article By: Scott Addis
Source: Rough Notes