ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

VALIDATING PRODUCERS - NEW AND EXPERIENCED

By looking at our website (www.agencyconsulting.com) most of our readers know that we designed a Producer Validation Program (PVP) as the back-end of our Producer Acquisition and Management Program. We are pleased to report that both the Producer Acquisition and Management Program and the Producer Validation Program have matured and are excellent ways for agencies to hire both new and experienced producers and to manage them to both validate their desired or expected compensation levels AND to motivate them to continue to grow the agency’s book of business every year. Call us if you want to discuss either program 800-779- 2430.

While we continue to assist agencies get new producers to bolster agency growth, we have found that many agencies wish to apply our Producer Validation Program to their existing producers as well to help manage their growth. Agencies have found that as producers either get too large to handle their customers efficiently or too comfortable with their compensation levels, they are no longer motivated to grow the agency books of business for which they are responsible.

If you have producers who have a large book of clients (client count) whose average commissions are relatively small, those clients are consuming the producer’s time because maintaining the relationships with small accounts can be as time-consuming as maintaining relationships with large accounts. In reality most producers have large numbers of small accounts. It is a natural transition for producers to write small accounts as they build their books of business and mature into larger accounts as they become more competent and more comfortable dealing with the decision makers in larger accounts and with more complex and technical insurance topics. However the producers loathe handing off the smaller accounts to other agency staff members like Account Managers who service their clients from inside the agency and Account Executives who are responsible for relationship management of an entire book of business, but are not responsible for New Business generation because they don’t want to lose ANY client relationship and financial remuneration deriving from them.

When considering the Producer Validation Program for existing producers it is important to note that this program addresses the number of prospect sales calls, proposals and sales needed in every week, month and year for a producer to earn their desired compensation. It does not validate each producer’s sales goal and retention goal. That remains the job of the Sales Manager or agency owner who determines whether the combined sales goals and retention of all of the producers and the non-assigned clients is sufficient to move the agency forward in client count and revenue. The PVP sets the number of sales calls required of the specific producer to achieve his New Business goals based on his/her historical performance.

The larger the existing book of business, the less time a producer devotes to new business generation. So don’t forget to add a factor of Sales Calls that you expect the producer to make to existing clients during the year. Statistically, assuming that an active producer can visit 10 - 15 people each week, if he is committed to 7 calls/ week to maintain the excellent relationship between the agency and his current client base, then he only has 8 potential calls available to prospects to build new relationships. If every relationship takes several calls in each year to continue building a relationship toward the eventuality of the prospect becoming a client, you may limit the producer in this example to working with no more than 80 to 100 prospects per year (assuming five calls in a year per prospect).

If the growth goal for the producer requires multiple calls to 200 prospects, you can see the dilemma that will arise from the lack of time needed to fulfil both retention and new business goals by a producer.

By all means use the PVP for your existing producers. However, we recommend that you use our consulting service to identify the workload and the workload capacity of each producer in your agency. Accomplishing this will define whether a producer’s PVP sets the producer up for success or failure based on personal contact rates with existing clients.

Managing producers is a multi-faceted role for a Sales Manager or for an agency owner. We must allow producers goals that are not so strenuous that failure is a likely event. If you have producers who have struggled to meet their sales goals and you see them working as hard as you expect, it’s time to look at what they do a) internally (hopefully as little as possible), b) for existing clients, and c) for prospects.