Competative Internships

Jun 12, 2008

  1. MichaelJM
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    I have a thought that I feel needs some feedback from you guys. On friday the principals of my firm sat down and we discussed a way to generate larger revenues without hiring a mass of agents to our firm. I came up with a preliminary outline for a competitive internship, and I need to see if you guys feel it is a viable solution.
    Everyone knows that the more agents you have actively marketing the more sales your firm generates. Supposing the law of large numbers is the most effective way of broaching this my solution was simple.
    1. How do you hire agents without making the expense unworthy of the outcome.
    The thought I came up with was college internships. College students need professional internships to gain valuable experience in the job market before graduating. Contacting the colleges and setting up meetings with potential interns is simple. What my thoughts were was that we would have 10-15 interns work out of our various offices contacting provided leads from Welcome to Salesgenie.com - Unlimited Access to Sales Leads and Mailing Lists! for small business ranging from 1-5 employees. They would market individual health life and di to prospective clients, and have a weekly quota to achieve. At the end of six months 1 agent would be selected from the group to remain on as a full time member of our agency, and the rest would receive perpetual pay for the remainder of the year. We would provide the office housing, phones, computers, and appointments with health carriers as well as life and supplemental. They would get their own licenses, and be responsible for simply setting up meetings. We would train them extensively in mass on how to perform their jobs effectively, and then allow them to work independently on their client meetings. Most college internships provide no source of revenue for college students, and by doing a 70/30 split (firm keeps 70) we will allow them to build a residual income for the year, or for the duration of their career assuming they place first in the internship. (Much like pursuit of happiness) I am aware that the payout for stocks is much higher than the payout for insurance sales, however, this will allow them to gain valuable experience and at the same time allow us to gain 1 productive agent every 6 months without incurring expense or headache of hire fire.
    2. We planned on doing the internship 2 tiered. What I mean is that we will have a p&c division as well as health, but the primary focus of each would be small individual sales as opposed to commercial.
    Looking at the numbers if we did 10-15 new apps a week on the health end that process through and are approved by underwriting, and we did 10-15 personal line apps a week processed and approved by uw...we will generate 180,000 in revenues over the next 6 months in shear volume.
    The individual sales market is not one we usually play in due to the difficulties in uw, retention, and low commissions (in dollar amount). However, it would be a great way to generate revenue assuming that we specifically are not the ones focusing on it, and it will also provide invaluable training to our new prospective agents.

    So that being said, what do you all think?
     
  2. Mr. Bill
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    First, you have to check with the colleges themselvess. My experience (and yes, I've hired from colleges) is that internships are completely unpaid and are performing real, specific, measurable goals, like research as an example, to get college credits. Paid internships are a bit different - you will likely have to follow wage & hour laws for your state. What it sounds like is you want to set up a commission-based structure. Colleges generally frown on this. If you're providing a base plus bonus, that is, as you know, different from commission. Colleges also tend to frown on "disguised sales jobs".

    What you're also talking about is completely, totally different from the wirehouse model (The Pursuit of Happyness). The colleges will want a complete job decsription, and if it gets back to them that all you're having them do is make cold calls, they will probably pull the internship.

    Not trying to be a downer, here, I'm just saying that as good as it may sound from your end, you need to reverse the perspective and be ready for the college's objections. If it works well, then let us hear about it! Good luck!!!
     
    Mr. Bill, Jun 12, 2008
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  3. MichaelJM
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    Thanks for the input Bill, but I have it on good authority that Aflac takes interns from the colleges around here. Lets face it aflac is like a salesmen auger that chews and shoots through sales personnel. I guess I will have to structure this correctly to comply with the local colleges which means I will most likely have to contact them prior to setting everything up. You made a lot of valid points, but what do you think about the idea? Do you think it's possible to accomplish assuming we can get the applicants for internship?
     
  4. Mr. Bill
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    Do you do those personality assessments first? I mean really, if you get cream of the crop people, then why not hire more than one at the end? I'm thinking of the Kolbe test, which has been mentioned before. My experience with interviewing college aged and newer graduates is that many of them do not have a fire in the belly and yet expect someone like me to give them $10,000 monthly paychecks so they can go out and buy fast cars. Oh, and I forgot to mention, without working.

    Interesting about Aflac, though. What a way to screw a newbie to the industry and give young people a bad experience of the insurance industry!

    Oh but as far as implementing, I don't know why you need to identify it as a "competitive internship" per se. Simply set the goals and if they achieve them, they will continue on. That would seem to work out for both them and you, don't you think?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
    Mr. Bill, Jun 12, 2008
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  5. joshril
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    What about just recruiting at college job fairs? You could do a call-center type approach where agents start out as licensed tele-marketers with the ability to promote to full-time agents based on performance.
     
    joshril, Jun 12, 2008
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  6. MichaelJM
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    MichaelJM Expert

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    Bill, you have a point about hiring more than one if multiple people show talent. However, the point of the competitiveness is to push the envelope and see just who has what it really takes to work for our agency. Everyone we have has built a massive market in a short time with no signs of slowing down. We dont want good or on par...we want the best.
    Joshril, that is sort of the direction we will go to promote the internship, or at least that's the plan :P

    You guys have both given some great input. Bill thanks for the words of advice always nice to talk to a third perspective :)