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Kevin Daly - Oct 27, 2020

Round-Up Review - How Does Your Region Compare When Helping Agents Survive

In our recent Round-Ups (Part 1 and Part 2) we asked Agency experts the ways they help new Agency recruits survive.

I have been asked how the feedback compared regionally, given that we received feedback from 20 Agency experts in 6 different regions. In addition, Value-Ad has front row insight into how the same issues are tackled as we provide lead management services to increase sales for clients in these and other regions too. 

Figure 1: Regions that participating in round-up

 

The regional differences we see, and not just in this Round-Up,  are very interesting.

So that you know where my insights are coming from here’s a bit about me. My background is that I grew up in South Africa, in a very insurance/financial services focused family. Since then we have grown our customer base, helping hunting salespeople (especially insurance agents) sell more, on 3 continents in 7 countries. I am currently based in Singapore.

Firstly, why is recruit survival so important?

High level benefits include:

  • the Company has less recruiting costs, and higher revenue;
  • Managers spend less time recruiting and have more stable teams; 
  • the Recruit benefits because if given a chance they are more likely to succeed; and importantly
  • Clients also benefit from improved recruit survival as it is more likely they will have a more effective and experienced salesperson who is more likely to stay around to look after them. 


In the Round-Up results, by far the top strategies recommended by most of the participants in all regions, were Mentoring and then Training. However, there are large differences in how these are actually handled. 
But as an agent’s journey begins at the recruitment stage, let’s start there.

Recruiting: the number of people recruited and selection methods used

The best outcomes we have seen are when strict selection criteria are applied when recruiting. If a salesperson does not have any of the ingredients to succeed in this tough profession to start with, then their chances of success are greatly reduced.

However strict selection criteria mean that fewer people are recruited, and more work involved in the recruitment process.

Training: the type and duration of training provided

The best outcomes are seen when more than just upfront product training is received.

Selling insurance is tough. Most often it is sold not bought. This means the skills required include: concept presentation, telephone skills, closing skills, ability to read sales signals, handling rejection and client personality understanding.

Training also needs to be provided on an ongoing basis, and trainers need to be accessible to the new recruits after they have started.

This cost outweighs the benefit because if more staff survive, then less needs to be spent on recruiting. 

Mentoring: hand holding 

It is not enough for the manager to just be responsible for recruiting a person. They need to be responsible for their survival too. Once again we believe that this should not be just a numbers game. To be given a fair chance the manager needs to actively help each recruit survive. 

Where ticks all of these boxes? 

A lot of the companies we have seen in South Africa tick all these boxes. Best possible recruit survival outcomes start by being very selective when recruiting. While this means that fewer people are employed, together with the training and mentoring offered, more recruits survive proportionally.

Why regions may differ from each other?

Who is recruited is often affected by regional perceptions of insurance jobs. If the job is not regarded highly enough, you don’t have a lot of people, or the right type of people, putting their hands up to be recruited to start with, and companies may feel that it is a numbers game  without intensive selection processes. 

Also widespread perception is often that ongoing training is not worth the cost. This can be seen in the low occurrence of ongoing or soft training. 

In addition, managers may not be measured on their proportion of successful agents, with focus on the number recruited instead.

Suggestions to Improve Agent Survival

Start by trying out new strategies on just one team, and expand as you see the improvements coming through.

Introduce:

  • More selective recruitment - decide what is important e.g. sales ability, and recruit accordingly;
  • Broader and ongoing training with access to trainers and/or training material
    (this does not need to be expensive - there are a lot of existing resources and you can call on your superstar salespeople for this too);
  • Adjust Agency Managers’ KPAs - emphasize their responsibility for new recruits' success or failures.

As Einstein said: you are not going to get a different outcome if you keep on doing the same things.

To find out more and if we can help you please schedule a call with us!
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Notes:

Agency Experts - 20 Agency leaders and veterans from the following 10 countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Lebanon, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, South Africa, Bangladesh and the UK.

Agency Recruits - Part of an insurance company’s dedicated Agency sales team, that is employed by the company, can only sell that company’s products, usually only earn commission, and who mostly have to find their own customers. Brokers differ only in that they don’t work for an insurance company and therefore can sell products from more than one insurer. 

Hunting - Hunting salespeople need to find their own prospects to sell to.

Einstein - it is not clear if Einstein actually said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.

Written by Kevin Daly

Founder of Value-Ad