Whether you’re hiring new producers for your agency or looking to up your sales game with your existing team, providing comprehensive and regular sales training will support your efforts. Even the most seasoned producers and client service reps will find valuable sales techniques to use in their approach in gaining new customers and retaining clients.
Quick View: Benefits of Sales Training
There are many benefits to offering an effective sales training program, including:
- Helps new producers/agents gain technical skills, product and service knowledge, and legal and regulatory acumen
- Helps attract good candidates as they see your agency is committed to supporting their success
- Increases sales (a study by research company Brandan Hall Group shows that sales increase by 61% after training)
- Reduces turnover (Brandan Hall Group research cites a 29% turnover reduction as a result of training)
Make no mistake: Sales training does involve significant financial resources on the part of an agency. The time for offsite training is expensive – airfares, meals, and hotels in addition to the cost of the training program, not to mention the time away from the office. But there are online courses and webinars available that help reduce this cost.
Getting Started: Align Your Sales Training with Your Goals
Before you select or implement a sales training program, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how the program will help support your strategic objectives. For example, consider what you want to accomplish in training new hires versus your seasoned salespeople. It’s also important to consider sales training as an ongoing management program or a continuous improvement process instead of a one-off event for new hires.
Understanding Your Customers
In addition to knowing your business strategies, consider what’s going on with your customers. The insurance consumer today is a lot more savvy and demanding. InsurTech is increasingly catering to the purchasing habits of consumers and eliminating the friction and multiple touchpoints involved in insurance transactions. To address these trends, be sure your sales training conveys your agency’s value to consumers; i.e., your experience, expertise, insurance specialization, etc. that can’t be found on just any old website with a click of a button. This is particularly salient in today’s hard-market environment where commercial clients are facing higher premiums, stricter underwriting guidelines, and, in some cases, limitations in the availability of coverage, depending on the business line and industry. Your value as an agency in helping to navigate this landscape through your market relationships and knowledge is immeasurable.
Time to Train
There is a premium on a salesperson’s time so the design and execution of the sales training program should help move the sales team forward toward their goals quickly. Ensure that the sales training you select is relevant and actionable. It’s not only about transferring knowledge, but also about helping producers know what you’re asking them to do, why you’re asking them to do it, and how everyone throughout the organization will benefit.
Depending on your strategic objectives, as stated earlier, the training you provide should be tailored to meet those objectives. New hires, for example, would be trained on essential sales skills and the sales process such as finding prospects, making cold calls, using social media to network, giving a sales presentation and effective communication, writing an insurance proposal, closing the deal, and onboarding clients through role-playing exercises and demonstrations. They will also benefit from relationship-building training on upselling, cross-selling, and retention strategies. In addition, new hires should be trained on all your products, the insurance market in general, your competitors, etc.
On the other hand, your veterans may receive refresher sales training techniques to better hone their skills, and additional training to meet certain new agency targets. You may want to obtain new business in a specific coverage line like Cyber Liability or expand your footprint in a particular niche market such as the Food and Accommodation industry or the Real Estate sector. This will involve specialized training in the new product or industry, including providing information on trends that will help prompt clients and prospects to purchase coverage from your salespeople.
Assessing the Training Program
Evaluate the sales training program you have selected to see how it’s working. Have your salespeople provide you with feedback, as well.
Available Insurance Sales Training Vendors/Programs
There are several insurance-specific training programs available to facilitate the entire process for agencies. Some programs are available online, while some may be implemented on-location. These programs include:
- Richardson: Offers customized programs for sales managers and teams through workshops, its digital platform, and webinars.
- Sitkins Group, Inc: Provides new and veteran agencies and their producers with its ProducerFit, CroFit, and Elite50 programs, available online or at several locations, depending on the program.
- Cornerstone On-Demand: For those using Salesforce, helps train your sales and service teams online.
- Agency Performance Partners (APP): Offers a number of consulting services including onsite sales training to agencies.
- Rain Group: Helps insurers and insurance agents improve their sales results through training and consulting.
- Red Barn Consulting: Provides insurance agencies with sales coaching and social selling training.
If you are already using an insurance sales training program, be sure it’s working for you and your staff. If you aren’t employing a formal training program, it’s time to consider taking the leap and getting your sales team better equipped to thrive in this competitive landscape.