One of the biggest struggles, I have seen over the years with agencies is staffing. Where do you find people? Where do you find good people? Where do you find people who want to do insurance?
It can be tough but not impossible. First, what are you looking for in a new hire. Are you looking for a receptionist, CSR, producer, etc? Over the years, I have come to believe in personal lines every person you should hire that works with customers should have some sales skills. It seems that there is a stricter dichotomy in commercial lines between service and sales. Sales people in commercial tend to be outside sales who make cold calls and give presentations. Sales people in personal lines tend to do more on the phone and could be considered inside sales. Because of this most agencies will never have true personal lines producer, who are out in the field knocking on doors. Marketing will tend to drive customers to you, because of this sales skills are critical to personal lines staff.
Where do you find personal lines staff with sales ability? Here’s some ideas that I have culled from great agencies over the years.
1. Don’t put an ad in the paper or local insurance paper. This tends to just attract those already in agencies that are dissatisfied. Many times, you will take someone else’s problem.
2. Contact your local colleges and universities. Most colleges give credit to students if they work in jobs related to their majors. To become an approved business for credit is simple. Contact the school, and ask for the forms. These employees usually don’t cost as much as regular employees because they are earning college credit by working for you. You can use them to develop marketing programs, set appointments, call dead files, put in retention programs. There is a lot that they can do without being licensed that can add a lot of value to your agency. Think of their period of employment as a trial period. If they are good, you can transition them into a full-time employee.
2. Bank tellers. They usually are not making much money, but work with all kind of people all day long. Each time you go to your bank, target a couple of people and deal with them exclusively. You are pre-interviewing. If they are good with you, have a lot of rapport, seems to be sales savvy, then approach them about a job. I guarantee you pay more.
3. Coffee shops and restaurants. Befriend your local barista, and pre-interview like you did with the bank tellers. Again the good ones have great people skills. The same is true with waiters and waitresses. Many are great sales people in order to increase their tips.
Be creative where you find people, and think of it like you prospect for new clients and referral sources.