No matter where you are in the insurance world, if you’re looking to hire people for your agency, it can be difficult, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Opening or expanding an agency is a huge endeavor, but if you don’t hire the right people, it could put a damper on everything. If you’ve worked with many agents, you know that not all of them are good at everything – not all of them are successful conversationalists, or planners, or marketers. But if you think about all of the successful, wealthy insurance agents you know, they are all good at one thing: finding, hiring and keeping the best employees, no matter what size their staff may be.
Being good at hiring a successful insurance agent doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort to really know what process works for you. If you’re looking to up your game in the hiring department, here are 10 tips for knowing where to look, what to do and how to choose the best people for your agency.
1. Know your strengths and weaknesses
Before you can go out and pick up the right people, you need to have a thorough understanding of what you have to offer as a leader, a manager and a mentor – because to everyone you hire, you should hold at least one of those roles. If you can’t present yourself honestly and confidently, you’ll never find the right people to have around you. Read a leadership book from an author in your niche of insurance, or attend a training seminar by a successful insurance agent. The best way to find the right people for your office is by being the right person for your employees.
2. Start with the people you have
If you already have a staff, it’s time to evaluate each member with whatever measurement tools you have in place already, or by creating some new standards for achievement. Determining who your best agents are, and which ones may need some help or training (or a new job) is all dependent on what your structure is – the best agents in your office may look different from agents in other offices or fields. Once you know who your best agents are, study their work habits and check out the secrets to their success. If you’ve attracted the right people, they will attract more of the right people.
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3. The best sales personality is not what you think
When most people think about the typical salesman persona, you automatically picture some gregarious, overbearing individual trying to scam you into buying something you don’t really need. This isn’t the best sales personality, though. According to some of the most current research, salespeople who fall in the middle of the spectrum on extraversion are the most successful.
4. Be willing to look in unusual places
When we say unusual, we’re not talking about dive bars or talking to strangers on the street. But we are talking about expanding your field of vision – try something you haven’t tried before when looking for new hires. Put your job specifications out there on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook or even Craigslist. Talk to your younger agents to see where they might find someone to refer. As the age of technology and social media continues to grow, you will find yourself left in the dust if you’re not willing to try a new approach every now and again.
5. Hire locally as often as possible
Most business owners don’t necessarily consider a potential employee’s commute when they’re interviewing them, but maybe you should. Think about it – if the person you’re looking to hire lives 45 minutes (or more) away from your office, there are automatically a few drawbacks – they won’t know many local people or places, they would be less likely to stay late, work overtime or participate in office activities, and they would require more compensation for cost of living, gas prices, etc. It may not always be an issue, but keeping your business local is definitely a consideration.
6. Don’t hire for a license
This may sound strange, but if you only hire insurance agents who are fully licensed, you’re automatically removing the best agents from your pool. These days, it doesn’t take as much time to get your licensing completed – if a new hire wants the job badly enough, they will initiate the process of obtaining everything they need, or they aren’t the right people for you.
7. Offer a probation period
The phrase “try before you buy” might sound insensitive, but when it comes to insurance sales, it may take some time to know whether or not a new employee will fit on your team. Many agencies offer a 6 month probationary period to see whether or not the job will work for you or for the new hire, removing some of the pressure on both of you. You could also hire a new individual as an independent contractor or bring them on for a temporary project, so you can get a feel for their work ethic, their personality and their commitment.
8. Find the fire
Some agents have found that the best way to gauge whether or not a potential hire really wants the job is by telling them “no” at some point in the interview process. For example, if, during what may seem like a normal portion of an interview, you tell the candidate that you’re not sure if they have the right qualifications for the job at hand, you will see whether or not they have the fire needed to fight for the opportunity you’re offering. If someone is merely looking for a job, they will comply with your opinion. But if they’re desperate for the chance to work, they will sell themselves into the position, which will, in turn, make them a successful insurance agent as time goes on.
9. Test their skills
It may sound basic, but you can’t assume that the people you’re interviewing have the necessary skills to handle the day-to-day business of sales. While having the right personality is important, if the person can’t handle writing an email properly, working with spreadsheets or written documents or finding information effectively on a webpage, then the personality doesn’t really matter. You can develop a basic skills test as part of your hiring process, which will help to weed out any ineptitude.
10. Hire for the future
If you’re hiring employees, you’re obviously thinking about the future of your business. Finding the right people for a long term investment is imperative – you don’t want to hire just for your immediate needs. Take the time needed to find the right people – you won’t ever regret being patient and intentional in the hiring process, and your staff will thank you for being committed to quality over quantity.
If you’re looking for ways to improve functionality and efficiency for your staff, or you want to make sure you’re offering the best options for your new hires, consider using a tool like Call Logic. We have developed an advanced call center technology to help any business that makes phone calls on a daily basis more successful. If you want your employees to follow up on more leads, handle their cold calls more efficiently or close more deals, give us a call or request a free demo of our software today!
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