As an agency owner, you know that your agency’s success depends heavily on your staff. A producer who is a born salesman will put your agency on the radar, while a disinterested account manager can lose a big account after too many mistakes. But, choosing the right people for the job is only the first step to ensuring that you gain new customers and keep the existing ones.
Your team depends on you to help them unleash their full potential for the benefit of your agency. With some advanced planning, time and small monetary investment, you can help your producers flourish.
In this blog post, we will focus on exactly that – the strategies you can use to help your producers to not only be on top of their game, motivating them to become better and better. We’ll highlight the five most effective methods you can use to help your producers sell more policies, maintain excellent relationships with existing clients, be on top of their renewals, and bring in new business
The #1 way to increase your staff’s effectiveness is of course training.
It has been proven over the years that a formal training program reduces mistakes, helps identify the weakest links and help them get stronger and increases productivity while adhering to higher standards.
Keep in mind that we are not referring to the basic new employee orientation and on the job training that most new hires receive. When a tenured employee or even a supervisor pass down their knowledge (as is the case with on the job trainings) they teach how to get the job done (for example instructing to send a proposal highlighting the best quote). However often such training lacks clear processes that shows the new hire not only what to do but also how and why. The lack of defined processes leads to mistakes and confusion both for the producers and the clients. The clients, in particular, may get thrown off if they need to work with a different producer that does things in a completely different way than what they are used to within the same agency.
A robust, company-wide training program requires a considerable time investment but will pay for itself with dividends. Such a program requires the agency’s leadership to determine measurable goals, training objectives and develop processes and company standards.
Career mentoring in the workplace can considerably boost the effectiveness of your producers. An effective mentor will be a sounding board for the mentee, someone they can always turn to for advice. They can help their mentee identify their goals in the organization, gain new skills and become more engaged in the workplace. All this leads to a more effective producer who has clear goals and a path to follow. More importantly, they feel that they are a part of the business which helps them be more engaged with coworkers and the organization.
Capable account managers and other support staff
Effective account managers and other support staff are the unsung heroes of any insurance agency. While the producer’s job is to get the clients in the door, the support staff’s job is to provide incredible customer service to make them stay. Retaining a client long term takes teamwork and coordination between producers, account managers, accounting and other departments.
You can boost your producers’ effectiveness by encouraging the conversation between all parties as to what the producers need from their customer service specialists to be more successful. Also, ongoing training for both producers and support staff will go a long way in identifying possible problems and creating processes to address them.
Many studies have shown that recognition consistently ranks as #1 motivator amongst organization’s employee. Even something as simple as a monthly email newsletter recognizing an employee of the month is one or more categories can do wonders in boosting morale and inspiring everyone to work that much harder.
In fact, recognition done right prevents turnover and boosts your profitability. Just think of the thousands of dollars in hiring and training new people that you can save with just a few kind words.
So what behaviors/activities should be recognized?
Small wins – By consistently celebrating and recognizing small wins you keep your team from getting lost in the setbacks that almost always happen. It also gives you the opportunity to acknowledge your team’s contributions more often which in turn makes them happier and more committed to going the extra mile for you and your clients.
Teamwork – In an insurance agency, nothing gets done without teamwork. Recognizing the ability of your employees to put aside their egos and work for the good of the team and the organization will promote healthy workplace culture and boost morale.
Going the extra mile – We can’t talk about recognition without mentioning the reason many customers stay loyal to an insurance agency despite competitors’ lower premiums. You guessed it – the reason is the employees that go the extra mile for them! By recognizing it, you show your producers that you see and value their contribution, loyalty, and thoughtfulness.
While recognition is an excellent motivator, another proven technique to motivate your employees is to create friendly competition within the team. It forces everyone to put their best foot forward and work extra hard to get the public recognition that human being is looking for.
Competition for most leads converted to sales, most overall premium written over a certain period of time, the highest account retention – are all ways that you can bring a little competition into the office.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can motivate your producers. Funny enough, none of these methods have to do with monetary rewards. Even though no employee will turn down a bonus or a gift, it’s not enough to keep the intrinsic motivation going.
You can start using the methods today to dramatically enhance the productivity of your staff and in turn your agency’s bottom line.