Lessons from a New Producer
Emily Huling, CIC, CMC
Our six-month new producer coaching program was coming to a close. Both Sarah and I felt we had accomplished much in laying the foundation for her long-term sales success. Through her own connections, during this time, Sarah successfully closed 20 new accounts. Through homework assignments and phone coaching sessions, we covered a variety of topics: creating her unique value proposition, moving prospects to clients using effective sales funnel activities, working with different personality and decision-making styles, and handling customer objections.
The purpose of our final call was two-fold. I wanted to learn from Sarah the top three lessons that she will apply consistently. The second piece of our discussion was to talk about where she goes from here. Here’s the essence of our conversation.
Three lessons Sarah will continue to apply:
Stay heavily involved with networking organizations. Half of Sarah’s new business success came through her BNI (Business Network International) connections. Her weekly group helps her hone her value message, networking skills, knowledge about the local business community, and gives her an opportunity to refer business to others.
It’s not about price. What a great thing for a young producer to learn early on! Sarah had chosen to work on a piece of new business that she knew had a long-time connection with an existing agent. She knew that the price and coverage she was offering was better than the buyer’s current program so she proceeded. Guess what? The lower price and better coverage did not move the account. The relationship between the account and the existing agent was too strong. Sarah will now do a better job of qualifying business and pay close attention to red flags.
Sales success requires harder work than she imagined. Although she had been told the hours would be long, she was amazed at how much there is to learn about coverage, rating, carriers and the selling process. Her first six months as a producer was a reality check.
Where did I suggest Sarah go from here?
Broaden her reach. While BNI has been an excellent source of business and connections, Sarah needs to create more connections building on the success that she had. One method is to approach her existing clients with a list of prospects that her client may know and ask for information and a referral. Another technique to generate more prospects is mind mapping which helps identify connections between clients and people they do business with. Joining and participating in the trade associations of target classes is another strategy. Sarah needs three to five channels that create qualified prospects.
Build her personal brand. Today, buyers want to do business with people they can relate to. They want to know some personal information about those they are doing professional service business with. Through e-newsletters, writing articles, speaking at business events, using LinkedIn and Facebook effectively, and even creating her own website with a link to the agency’s site, Sarah can communicate her business personality, areas of expertise, philosophy of client service, and community interests and causes.
Continuous learning. Having and applying knowledge is a key ingredient of anyone’s success. Sarah is creating a personal development plan that covers formal and on-the-job continuous learning opportunities. Key areas to cover include technical knowledge, communication, negotiating and sales skills, and carrier and competitor information. If all the agency staff works to discover, gather and share information, learning advances for all in the agency.
What Sarah learned and her game plan to move forward applies to producers and CSRs, new employees and seasoned staff. From this list of six, what’s one thing that you will do to further your career and your agency’s success?
About the author
Emily Huling, CIC, CMC helps the insurance industry create top-performing sales and customer service organizations. She is the author of Selling from the Inside, Great Service Sells, and Kick Your “But.” For information on her programs and products call 888-309-8802 or visit www.sellingstrategies.com.