Imagine being in a business where every single person needs your product. Imagine being in a business where 90% of your clients will buy from you again every year…even if you are average. Imagine being in a business with unlimited opportunity for growth and financial freedom.
Every one of these statements is true for independent insurance agencies today.
Yet, even with the unlimited potential afforded in the insurance industry, when I speak to agency owners, one of the top frustrations is the ability to attract, train, and retain the best talent.
Well, every independent agency is unique, but I believe there are three common areas in which many insurance agencies struggle to bridge the talent gap.
1. They don’t know who they are (Lack of Purpose)
As an insurance agency leader, how would you answer when I ask, “Why does your agency exist and why should anyone care?” For the typical independent insurance agency, this question results in a long pause followed by some mission statement that no one can remember.
You must do much more than sell insurance policies. Every agency sells insurance, but only the great ones know why.
Understanding the “why” behind your agency is not only important to your clients and future clients, but it’s important for every member of your team.
Great talent today wants to be a part of something great.
Every insurance agency knows what they do.
Most insurance agencies can clearly explain how they do it.
Yet, very few insurance agencies know why they do it.
Why has nothing to do with revenues or profit. Why is about your purpose, mission, cause, or belief.
Why is your agency in business? As leadership author and speaker Simon Sinek states, “Why do you wake up every morning, and why should anyone else care?”
Answering this basic, but all important, question is a key aspect in finding and keeping the best talent.
2. They don’t know what they want (Lack of a Vision)
The most successful insurance agencies are always on the lookout for good people. Right now, if I asked you the three top qualities you are looking for in a future leader, sales producer, or service representative, what would you say?
In fact, make a list right now. What are the top qualities you are looking for in your agency team members?
Now, here’s the important part. After you write down these qualities, take a minute to see which of these characteristics you possess. For example, if you want a high-energy person, are you a high-energy person? If you want a detailed oriented person, are you a detailed oriented person. If you are looking for an up and coming leader, are you a dynamic leader?
As leadership expert John Maxwell states, “Who you attract is not determined by what you want. It’s determined by who you are.” This principle is the Law of Magnetism.
Naturally, people tend to be attracted to and follow people like themselves. Therefore, as an agency leader, you must be very self-aware of who you are and the qualities you possess. Likely, these are the people you will attract.
If you don’t possess the qualities you desire in future talent, you must begin to work on your own leadership ability immediately. Leadership is a skill that you can improve upon.
If your personal qualities are those you seek in others, great! Now you must begin to seek those who compliment your skills and fill in the gaps. You don’t want a team full of only analytical thinkers or made up of all high-energy entrepreneurs.
The key is to raise your awareness of what you really want, who you are currently attracting, and how to be intentional about filling gaps in your team where you are deficient.
It's simple, yet often overlooked. The quality of the talent depends on you. Who you are is who you attract. Become the kind of person you want to attract and be intentional on seeking those who round out your weaknesses.
3. They don’t know what to do with talent when they get there. (Lack of Training)
I truly believe that one of the main reasons insurance agency leaders fail to find the best talent is because they realize they have no tangible way to train them.
Even subconsciously, it’s hard to attract the best talent when you doubt your agency’s training program (or lack thereof).
Instead of focusing on finding the best upcoming talent based on attitude and future potential, agencies often settle for someone who is average, but who has had some level of prior training.
This focus causes agencies to go for the “safe” choice instead of the “best” choice.
The best talent is looking for leadership to take them to higher levels. The best talent wants to be developed, encouraged, and challenged. Without a training process that helps your team grow personally and professionally, the best talent will find another place to grow.
A training process doesn’t have to be complicated. How can you place your most valuable asset, your people, in the best position to win?
High achievers want to be encouraged, challenged, and in an environment where they can grow to their full potential. Does your agency maximize the development of your people?
This is an amazing industry filled with tremendous opportunity. However, it needs an influx of new talent.
To find and keep the best agency talent, you must have a clear vision, plan, and execute. Great talent won’t just show up, train itself, and produce great results.
Finding and keeping the best talent is no different than finding and keeping the best clients for your agency.
You must first know your agency’s why. What is your agency’s value proposition?
Next, you must know what you want. Who are your ideal team members and how are you attracting them?
Finally, you must create an ongoing training program that allows for your team members to grow and thrive. What is your training process?
I believe that every challenge is an opportunity for those agencies willing to invest in their growth.
Finding and keeping the best talent is a process, but it’s a process you can start today. This will require you to be intentional, be consistent, be open to new ideas.
Brent Kelly is an executive coach and speaker with the Sitkins Group, Inc. At The Sitkins Network, we deliver proven agency results…..simplified. This includes hands-on training and coaching with exclusive agencies in the areas of leadership, sales, service, and finance/administration.
If you want to learn more about the Sitkins Network and see if a territory is available in your area, go to www.sitkins.com/tsn.
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