Are you ready to move from an independent insurance broker to a full-blown agency? Recruiting life insurance agents for your team is the cornerstone of expansion.
But insurance agent recruitment is far from straightforward. Anyone in the realm of sales can talk the talk, but whether they can walk the walk is another matter.
Within the hypercompetitive business environment of life insurance, attracting the top talent means the difference between success and failure.
Let’s examine some of the life insurance agent recruitment strategies that can elevate your growing agency.
Why You Should Consider Recruiting Life Insurance Agents
Insurance agent recruiting presents its challenges because a top producer is not necessarily a great agency builder. Likewise, an agency builder may not be the best producer.
However, while selling certain types of life insurance can be a passive or semi-passive income stream, many agents need to sell daily to keep the income flowing actively.
So, why recruit life insurance agents?
This is the key to building your business. One person always has a glass ceiling regarding how many prospects they can speak to and how many deals they can close. Every great hire increases your selling capacity exponentially.
When You Should Start Recruiting Insurance Agents
As for when you should begin looking into life insurance agency recruitment, the answer is when you become a top producer. Rapid scaling to accommodate speedy growth is one thing, but until you master the art of selling life insurance, you cannot expect to find those diamonds in the rough.
New agents need the right support systems, coaching, and training to succeed. In other words, you need to be in the top 10-20% of producers to do this successfully.
Life Insurance Recruitment: Where to Look
How exactly are you going to find the right insurance agents to recruit?
There are no international hubs where all the top prospects gather. If there were, life insurance recruitment would be a matter of simplicity. It’s all about the numbers and the agent that can slot into your existing team.
For example, many agents look for those who are married with children who already have successful careers. The theory goes that these men and women have something to lose, so they are likely to be more determined to succeed.
Some options for recruiting life insurance agents could include:
- Reaching out across social media.
- Looking up university alumni.
- Asking current agents for referrals.
- Hiring a freelancer.
Everyone has their avenues for recruitment. Figuring out how to recruit insurance agent wizards is largely a matter of experimentation.
Qualities to Look For When Recruiting Life Insurance Agents
First and foremost, agents must have sales and/or business experience. These prospects must always be favored within insurance agency recruitment because selling is what this business is all about.
Agents with a history of successful selling will always find the transition much easier than a fresh-faced rookie with little to no sales experience.
Your prospect doesn’t need to be an elite prospect, but they should be within the top 20% of sellers at least.
Business ownership is also a highly prized asset in an agent. Growing agencies are not looking for another number; they are looking for people committed to business growth. Some top insurance agent recruiters are even looking for people willing to put some skin in the game.
Depending on your business model, this may or may not be a factor in your recruitment process.
Finally, some technical expertise is an ideal bonus. When using modern, state-of-the-art insurance selling platforms like iLife, being forward-thinking makes it easier for new agents to transition into your existing business structure.
How to Recruit Insurance Agents
The difficult part of growth and expansion is insurance agent recruitment. While hiring the first batch of candidates that comes through might be tempting, take a step back and be more discerning.
Hiring the wrong person could cause serious problems for your agency and hamper its growth. Here are some insurance agent recruitment strategies for finding your next top star.
1. Turn to Social Media for Prospects
Any top salesperson will have an active LinkedIn presence. The first step in securing any sales role in any niche is to be able to sell yourself. A professional, solid social media profile is selling the potential agent themselves.
Examine their profile and assess the image they’re trying to project. Put yourself in your client’s shoes because this is the type of thing that will determine whether a lead turns into a paying customer.
Don’t expect a reply from everybody, particularly if they already have a successful sales career, but a cold message could yield replies from those you didn’t expect.
2. Check Out Local Universities
Not every hire needs to be a high-powered agent with a long history of selling. If your life insurance business is ready to give a newbie a chance to be nurtured, reach out to local universities.
Your nearest university can prove to be an excellent hunting ground because it looks good for educational institutions if they can place their graduating students into jobs immediately.
Contact your local career resources centers and ask them to list the position at your agency. See who applies and assess them. Remember, you’re evaluating a newbie against a completely different set of characteristics than someone who has already spent years in the business.
Naturally, the success of this strategy largely depends on where your agency is physically located.
3. Meticulously Plan Your Interview
An interview is not just a casual get-together. It’s a part of your agency’s overall strategy for success. Avoid getting into the habit of organizing interviews purely to put a face to a resume.
Be honest about what it’s like to work in this field. Highlight the difficulties and the challenges they’re likely to face as much as you emphasize the potential rewards on offer.
Go further than simply talking to the candidate. Give them tasks to complete to gain a better idea of how they are likely to perform in the field.
Here are some ideas for tasks to set during interviews:
- Give them one of your most popular life insurance policies and ask them to pitch it to you.
- Get them to complete basic tasks, such as filling in a spreadsheet or filling in a fictional client’s form.
- Set some puzzles to get a better idea of how they confront problems.
- Provide them with a client profile and ask them to choose the most appropriate life insurance policy for them.
- Ask them to memorize client details and pitch them back to you.
These tasks can help you understand whether they can put their words into action with a real prospect.
4. Trust Your Gut Feeling
Your gut feeling is telling you something. As an experienced, successful life insurance broker, you already have the ability to detect negative traits and dishonesty.
Tune your antennae into your gut as you interview prospects. It’s also worth getting a reaction from your candidates by asking them tough questions and providing them with challenging problems to solve.
You’re not necessarily searching for the answers and solutions you want to hear; you’re trying to get a better understanding of their character and their actions.
If your gut is telling you that something seems wrong about a candidate, listen to your gut.
5. Consider Hiring a Specialist Recruitment Agency
Your life insurance agency recruitment blueprint could include calling in the help of a specialist recruitment agency. While you’ll always be responsible for making the final decision, a recruiting firm helps with providing a shortlist for you to work from.
So, how do you increase your chances of finding the right candidate via a recruitment agent?
- Provide clear guidance on who the right candidate for you is.
- Offer specifics about the potential pay/benefits of joining your agency.
- Describe realistic career prospects.
The more information you provide about the role, your existing team, and what you expect from a new addition, the better quality of candidate you’ll get in return.
For agents who have never sought a recruitment agency’s services before, reach out to other figures within your industry for recommendations.
6. Hire a Freelance Agent
Freelance agents offer the best of both worlds. While they might not be fully committed to you for the long haul, they also provide you with a sample without needing to fully onboard them as a full member of your life insurance agency.
The life insurance agency is similar to every other type of sales job in that there’s a much higher than average turnover rate. It’s the self-starters that can derive motivation without a manager looking over their shoulders that tend to survive.
Freelancers, by their nature, are self-motivated individuals because, otherwise, they wouldn’t have an income. Turning to freelancers can also help you reduce a high turnover rate and establish a level of stability.
There are plenty of places to find freelancers, including platforms like UpWork or via job boards.
7. Make Attitude a Top Priority
A track record of sales success is a huge part of recruiting life insurance agents, but too many agencies use this trait as the sole reason to hire or not to hire someone.
Unfortunately, production alone doesn’t determine whether a candidate will be a good fit for your team. Even the best seller in the world can destroy a team’s morale if they have a toxic attitude.
Never hire someone with a bad attitude. Attitudes are nearly impossible to change without a considerable amount of work, and rarely is it worth the time or the effort in an industry as competitive as life insurance.
When interviewing a candidate, note their attitude. Ask the following questions:
- Do they seem bored by the sound of their role?
- Are they displaying any enthusiasm for the job, or are they focused more on the money?
- Can they handle difficult questions with grace?
A candidate’s attitude tells you a lot about how they’re likely to work within your agency.
Within an interview setting, a candidate is there to show the best version of themselves. If they fail to do that, they’re unlikely to get better when they start working.
People with bad attitudes usually crack under pressure, display little loyalty, and walk out when the going gets tough. These are not the people you can rely on.
In short, the enthusiastic candidate should always outweigh the bad attitude with a better sales record.
8. Challenge Their Views During the Interview
It may seem counterproductive to be combative within an interview, but the process of recruiting life insurance agents is different.
Begin this process by asking them for a personal opinion on the business. Regardless of their reply, respectfully disagree with their opinion. This is a form of rejection, and life insurance sales is a business defined by rejection.
How did they react to the situation? Did they go on the defensive? Did they crumble and mumble their agreement? Did they have a respectful debate on the issue?
Note your reaction to their reaction. If you felt angry or offended by how they responded, this is exactly how a prospect would feel if they challenged the candidate. In other words, this candidate is going to lose you that potential client.
Great sellers handle a challenge with charm and grace. These are the superstars you want to add to your team.
9. Look for Additional Skills
Most recruitment guides focus on the aspects of a sales agent you would expect, such as their interpersonal skills, sales success, and wit.
On the other hand, every new agent can alter your team and bring a fresh new perspective to life insurance sales strategies.
Search for candidates with additional life skills, such as:
- Knowledge of additional languages
- Travel experience
- Evidence of overcoming significant challenges
Those with additional skills are more likely to bring a stroke of creativity to your agency. In particular, natural teachers are a major asset to any agency as they can nurture future talent and prove to be a pillar of support for your organization.
Get to know more than the life insurance agent. Get to know the person behind the title.
10. Do Away with the One-on-One Interview
No insurance agent is infallible, and the same goes for you. A candidate you may dismiss may have something in them that your top producer sees. Panel interviews are an excellent alternative to the traditional one-on-one interview.
One of the most highly effective insurance agent recruitment strategies is the panel interview. The most senior members of your agency can play a role in assessing a new candidate and helping to determine whether they are the right fit.
It also boosts morale within your team because you’re showing that you value the members of your team and their views.
Plus, if a candidate does get hired via a panel interview, the team already has a good grasp of who this person is, and so they’re better positioned to help develop that recruit’s skills.
11. Always Keep Recruiting
Even after you’ve chosen your next hire, insurance agency recruitment should never stop. High turnover rates are an unfortunate side effect of this industry.
Restarting insurance agent recruiting every few months is costly and time-consuming. It’s a major disruptor for even the largest agencies. Maintain a constant flow of leads into your business.
While you may choose not to interview them in person at this stage, remaining in contact and keeping a database of qualified candidates can shorten the time it takes to fill an open position.
Constant recruiting also makes it more likely that you’ll find your next top seller.
Begin by adding a careers page on the website of your agency. With the iLife platform, this can be done with no coding experience. Keep it regularly updated and include the following:
- Maintain a Blog – Provide regular updates full of information on the life insurance business and what’s possible. Case studies and success stories can help keep things fresh. It’s also an excellent SEO promotional tactic.
- Invite Queries – Always keep your channels open for queries. Even if you’re not currently hiring, engage with interested parties and build relationships with promising candidates for the future.
- Run Internships – Go one step further and offer temporary internships for those with less experience. Nurture a candidate early, and they could become an asset for the future.
Your tactics for breeding the next generation of life insurance agents depend on your time, resources, and business model. Tailor your recruitment funnel accordingly.
Recruitment is the lifeblood of an agency that grows and expands long into the future. Move from independent insurance broker to successful agency with the support of the iLife platform. If you enjoyed this article, you may find our resource “The Guide To Using Technology To Win Over New Life Insurance Recruits” useful.
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