How are you grooming the next generation of producers in your insurance agency? In the midst of a highly competitive job market, now more than ever any new agent you are hiring will need support from management and senior executives to help them grow and succeed.
One of the best ways to help them achieve success is through mentoring. Mentoring helps build confidence, trust in management and loyalty to the organization. If you can show a next-generation producer the ropes, they’ll also have a better chance at contributing to your agency’s bottom line.
But mentoring takes time, patience and setting attainable goals for the mentee.
After you decide which of your senior producers should mentor a new producer, there are three areas you may want to focus on to help ensure their success.
Work closely with them
When mentoring a new agent, one of the first steps should be having a senior producer join them at client and sales meetings.
Having a senior agent along on a sales call with a newbie can help them learn important sales techniques and avoid mistakes or being taken advantage of by the prospect. They can also step in to help the new producer if they falter during the meeting and risk jeopardizing the sale.
When a mentor comes along on meetings, they can also provide insight into those meetings and what the mentee could have done differently or better. After each sales call, they should sit and discuss what went right or wrong.
Working closely with the mentee entails more than just going to sales meetings with them. It should include regular meetings to go over their progress, successes and failures when reaching out to new prospects. Going out for coffee or having a drink after work can also build the relationship.
Set a schedule that includes both the new producer and the mentor at least once a week, regardless of how busy they are. This is important to gauge overall progress and progress in meeting goals.
Have a plan
Before the mentoring begins, management and the mentor should identify which skills are needed on day one versus day 100, and then write a plan for the mentor to help the newbie learn those skills during the training.
After that, the mentor and producer should sit down and map out a plan and milestones that the mentee should strive to meet. Also, the initial mentorship should have a goal, at which point the new sales rep has learned the necessary skills to be successful and does not need hand-holding.
The plan should also include specific goals. It’s best not to set a high sales or commission goal for them in the beginning. The majority of new producers will fail if that’s the approach.
A better tactic is to first start with appointment goals (like a set number of client meetings every week) and quote goals (a set number of insurance quotes that they will need to make).
Once they are meeting those goals, you can start setting commission goals for them.
Importantly, there should be a timeline of when the mentor finishes grooming the new producer and lets them fly on their own.
At the same time, the mentor-mentee relationship should continue in terms of the relationship so the new producer feels like they can go to their mentor for advice or input far beyond the time the initial training ends.
Don’t forget the mentor
It’s important that the mentor feels appreciated and that their career will also benefit from the mentoring.
The best mentors are committed to the organization and want to groom junior agents while sharpening their skills through training and also being a resource to give a bird’s-eye view of sales interactions.
Mentoring should also be financially rewarding for them, particularly if they accompany the new producer on sales calls.
One way to do that is to have them split the commissions on the first few sales, particularly if they are doing a lot of the heavy lifting at first. By doing this, the mentor is rewarded for their time and they will have more incentive to demonstrate sales and negotiation techniques that can best result in a sale and broker of record letter.
Of course, not all sales calls yield sales, but the ones that don’t are also valuable learning opportunities for the new reps.
Mentoring takes time, but it’s a proven way to build a solid sales team that knows how to sell and manage accounts and which has a sense of loyalty to your agency.
Matching new recruits with senior executives can also help your agency’s bottom line.