Hiring Insurance Agents to Grow Your Business
By Nick Gallo—
Hiring and retaining an effective team of agents is essential for growing your insurance business. Agencies rely on their agents to find clients, match them with the right products, and sell them policies to produce revenue.
As a result, there’s a direct relationship between the quality of agents working for your business and the sales it can generate.
Let’s further explore the benefits of hiring insurance agents and the steps involved in a successful recruiting system.
Why Hiring Insurance Agents Matters
Insurance agents are an integral part of your business’s sales process. They’re responsible for sourcing clients, answering client questions, and closing deals. As a result, the size and skill of your team directly impact your agency’s ability to generate revenue.
That makes hiring effective insurance agents essential to growing your business. A recruiting system that consistently attracts high-producing agents can transform your company over time, especially since the insurance industry generally has high turnover rates.
For example, an insurance agency employs 50 agents, each averaging $8,000 in monthly sales. One of these agents leaves the business every four months. Then, the agency implements a hiring program that attracts experienced agents to replace the ones they lose.
The hiring program turns out one loyal, high-producing agent every two months, each averaging $10,000 in monthly sales. Over three years, the team grows to 59 agents, and monthly revenues increase by $108,000.
Fortunately, digital technology makes it easier to build an efficient hiring system. Agencies that leverage tools like social media and automation software can simultaneously reduce time spent on hiring and produce more high-quality candidates.
5 Steps to Hiring Insurance Agents
A successful hiring system expands your agency’s sales team and grows your revenue. However, poor hiring plans drain your business’s capital, waste your current agents’ time, and generate candidates more likely to produce less or leave the company.
Here’s a five-step plan for hiring insurance agents and tips for optimizing each of them.
1. Find Candidates
High-quality candidates are as essential to hiring insurance agents as high-quality client leads are to closing deals. Here are a few approaches to finding candidates:
- Social media: Platforms like LinkedIn are goldmines for novice and experienced candidates. You can direct contact candidates or create ads to attract them.
- Current agent referrals: Each experienced, high-producing agent on your team represents a vast network that’s ripe for exploration. Offering current agents a recruitment bonus will encourage them to suggest other high-quality agents.
- Colleges and licensing schools: Your agency can only recruit so many experienced agents. You also need young talent to scale effectively. Building a close relationship with a trusted college or licensing school can help you attract the best and brightest seeking a new career path.
Using diverse ways of finding candidates can produce the mix of young and experienced agents you need to grow your business. Be prepared to adapt your sourcing strategies as your company’s staffing needs shift.
2. Review Applications
Your initial application should balance capturing numerous candidate leads with filtering out unsuitable applicants. It should be structured so it's not overly intensive to complete, and you can quickly review each submission.
One effective way to review is to tailor your application to reveal candidates who demonstrate the high-level qualities of successful insurance agents. Here are a few of those traits and some ways to sort candidates:
- Verbal selling skills: Selling face-to-face, both virtually and in person, is one of the primary duties of an insurance agent. Ask each applicant to record a short video selling themselves.
- Written communication skills: Insurance agents need to communicate effectively through email. Include an application section that requires a short written message, and review it as if it were correspondence with a client.
- Persistence: Insurance agents often hear “no” many times before they get the “yes.” Those who can follow up without being too pushy are often the most successful. Invite applicants to send a follow-up email.
When you’re reviewing initial applications, develop a list of red flags that suggest a candidate isn’t a good fit. Use it to identify unqualified candidates and to reduce the number of applications you need to review in depth.
3. Send Pre-Hire Assessments
Your initial application should weed out the most unqualified candidates. However, it can only do so much to reveal top talent. Remember, it can’t be so intensive that you scare off desirable applicants.
Fortunately, those who receive positive feedback upon clearing the first round of applications will become more invested. As a result, they will be eager to undergo more rigorous testing.
Pre-hire assessments capitalize on that increased interest. They can provide deeper insight into each candidate’s skills without requiring as much of your staff’s time as an interview.
Consider creating multiple assessment tiers. For example, you might create separate ones for young candidates fresh out of school, intermediate agents with a few years of experience, and highly-qualified agents who're already top producers.
4. Interview Candidates
The interview process is one of the most time-intensive aspects of the hiring process and can take your staff away from their day-to-day responsibilities for extended periods. As a result, you should only talk to qualified candidates.
In addition, each interview should be intentional. Do waste your staff’s or the candidate’s time. Eliminate any redundant rounds and connect candidates only with the most relevant parties, such as their prospective direct supervisors or would-be mentors.
It’s also beneficial to train your staff to conduct interviews and give them systems to follow. For example, consider providing them with a list of questions to ask and a standardized form for rating each interviewee.
5. Make Candidate Selections
There’s more to consider when making your final selections than applicant qualifications. For example, some candidates will turn your offer down or leave the company soon after joining. Factor these unknowns into your selection strategy.
For example, send offers to your top selections as soon as possible. Then, set an acceptance deadline that gives you time to send additional offers to your backup choices if necessary.
In addition, remember to consider your business’s current and future hiring needs. Company factors can change over an extended recruitment process, and the hiring quotas you had when finding candidates won’t necessarily apply anymore.
Invest in Your Hiring System
An effective hiring system is essential for long-term business growth. If you want to scale your insurance agency, invest time and capital into your recruiting process.