New Commercial P&C agent - could use some help

Aug 8, 2019

  1. raxx
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    raxx New Member

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    Hey all,

    Been licensed for 4 months and lurking here for about 3. I've read just about every thread in the P&C section about commercial lines and new agent goals and commission splits. For the past 3 months I've been eating breathing and sleeping insurance (commercial lines mostly), and well. I could use some help.

    About 6 months ago a long time client (i worked as a freelance I.T. person/tech consultant) approached me the 2nd time in about 3 years. Convinced me to get licensed. sold me the dream, and said he would support me while I got on my feet. He knows he's training a commercial P&C agent from scratch, and I know I'm going to be in over my head for quite a while. IA by the way, not captive.

    Split is like this
    50% new business (after exceeding 2k in commission split)
    50% renewals (after exceeding 2k in commission split)
    2-3 person service staff to service my book (none of which I'm paying for)
    2k a month in stipend until profitable or I get fired or quit

    It's my understanding that is one hell of a good deal and it's basically unheard of for a lot of reasons. 1. Training a commercial P&C agent from zero insurance knowledge is crazy, it's a much more complicated side of the business especially in a newbies eyes. 2. I'm getting service staff for free. 3 I'm getting a stipend as a cushion while I figure things out. So that's a blessing and I'm very grateful.

    Here's my numbers

    5.5k in gross premium on commercial accounts the whole time I've been here for 3 months.

    Terrible, right?

    So let's get to the part where I could use help and additional mentoring. My upline(boss) is running a family business. He's definitely an A-type person. Really aggressive and even though he's spending a bunch of money and time training me I feel I'm not getting proper mentoring, at least timewise. I often contact my boss before and after work to try and talk about strategy or where I'm failing or where I'm need help and he just doesn't/can't/won't make the time. Seriously I call this guy on the weekends while I'm working from home to try and figure out what the *** to do and get some guidance and he just doesn't have the time. I mean I'm trying to make him and I money I don't see why he wouldn't take 15-20 minutes to walk me through something. He does listen sometimes thankfully to what I have to say but he spends a lot of time talking over me. I don't have a huge issue with it and i'm not complaining because he has 35 years experience and runs a successful business and I should be listening(and do) but I really could use more mentoring, there's just a ton I don't understand. From the micro to the macro level I'm basically clueless.

    Here's how I spend time day

    Arrive 8:30AM, from the second I get to work until 10-10:30 I cold call contractors or follow up on previous days leads. Mostly cold call contractors because in my state their insurance renewal dates are public. I get 1-4 quotes during the time on average.

    10:30-12:00 I X date manufacturers, retailers, what have you. I call down a huge list of businesses that are industrial or industrial adjacent. There are so many I basically will never run out. I get about 2 X dates an hour sometimes less sometimes more but that's an average

    From 12:15 I eat my lunch at my desk and quote the contractors and enter data into our data management system to help future Raxx in remember what the hell we talked about when I x dated, quoted, or followed up.

    12:15 to 1-130 finish up the rest of my quotes. Follw up. If I'm out of stuff to do I X date

    1:30-4:30 I X date

    Then obviously when I get home I'm calling people that wanted call backs after work, writing e-mails etc.

    So here lies the problem. I'm getting a really decent amount of "appointments" or as I call them quoting opportunities. Contractors in my state have been beat up. 75% of these guys are already with our best carriers for what they're doing. The other 25% I mess up, I miss a detail and place them incorrectly then have to go back. The underwriters chew my a** up because I told them too much. They're hard to place and I don't have the carriers to write them. I mean it's a real minefield. I know there's a percentage of that 25% I should be selling. And I know there's a percentage of that 75% I should be talking into switching through service. But I'm not. And I'm trying to figure out the issue.

    The other opportunities that happen through cold call X dating I'm doing a lot better with in terms of building a relationship but I'm just not closing them. I either don't know the markets well enough, don't have the markets, or am not inspiring a lot of confidence because of my inexperience.

    I'm kind of lost, and I'm a little confused and looking for direction. I am willing to put in the work, I would cold call all day (and do sometimes) if it meant even getting 1 sale a week. At my current atrocious numbers Im starting to get discouraged. Can anyone with experience in commercial lines please advise me?
     
    raxx, Aug 8, 2019
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  2. insurlegend
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    insurlegend Expert

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  3. fed up
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    fed up Guru

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    Narrow your focus to 1 line of commercial that you understand. Be it contractors, or handymen, or dishwashers....Understand what is needed by this small sector and ace the ability to quote with confidence. After you start to regularly write these businesses, branch out to something similar but more involved and ace that knowledge. Quoting a business that you are not confident in the knowledge of will only frustrate you more and more, and your contacts will stop taking your calls. Remember that 1 address could have a dozen lines of business which need to be addressed. Your E&O will thank you for learning the ropes
     
    fed up, Aug 8, 2019
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  4. RichardCO
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    RichardCO New Member

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    Good Advice from "fed up", narrow your focus. Your time use is great and will produce results. Your boss knows that and he's just allowing some time for it to work. This is a frustrating business, you're doing the right stuff, relax, be patience, continue on.
     
  5. producer1
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    producer1 Expert

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    Raxx - p & c market is so commoditized (if that's a word), businesses get pitched all day long from agents like yourself so it's a tough field to play in unless you have a value proposition or as they say "an offer they can't refuse" the door will then be opened for you to enter. There's no loyalty in this market. It all comes down to price. You may be able to make a sale today, but then comes another agent right after you who can sell it for a few bucks less, the business owner would have no hesitation to jump ship. But if you were the one to bring a business owner more profits in the form of tax savings and expense reduction to start a relationship, would they be more inclined to engage with you? Imagine this, if you cold call a Manufacturing company and say "Hi Mr CEO, I'm with xxx P&C company, and I have a value proposition for you.. if i could spend my money to make your business more profitable would you have 15-30 minutes we can sit down and see if I can make that a reality?"
     
  6. fed up
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    fed up Guru

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    First, the P&C market is very different from the Commercial market. P&C customers will leave over a $10 increase in premium, Commercial customers are purchasing a pro-rated policy and will at least wait until the end of the policy term. Commercial insurance customers are NOT very likely to purchase lead generation software from a lead vendor, they want to make sure you know their industry and don't leave gaps in their coverage. That is why you narrow the focus until you ace the industry, then expand your market. Elephant hunters go for long periods without getting in on the kill but pass by much smaller game all of the time.
     
    fed up, Aug 8, 2019
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  7. raxx
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    raxx New Member

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    I cold call manufacturers all day. That sounds pretty salesy. How would the rest of that pitch go?

    Also note I don't have a whole lot of an issue prospecting. It's more closing that I have an issue with. Still interested to hear the rest of that pitch though


    I hit em up. I've read a lot of his posts and have enjoyed his content

    I've been instructed to call everything. I'm handing larger accounts off to boss/senior agent. On the smaller stuff I am free to mess it up, or so i've been told. Can wait a day or two if I have questions. I'm primarily going for contractors and manufacturers though. I've noticed there's a huge difficult increase based on the size of accounts too. Small accounts with a major admitted carrier are all pretty standard compared to medium-large accounts with surplus - i'd be lost. Thank you for the advice though, i will try to get better at one or two things in particular.

    Thank you, that's kind of the advice I wanted and didn't want to hear. But it seems to be true. Patience seems to be a very important virtue in this business and i've always been quite short.


    I approached my boss with similar concerns today and he kind of lined me up. He told me this business is a tough grind and he fully expects having to wait 1-2 even 3 years for this to be more profitable than my stipend. Of course I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that it takes less time. But he basically told me to be patient
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
    raxx, Aug 8, 2019
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  8. producer1
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    producer1 Expert

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    Raxx -- with your cold calling to those manufacturers, how many of them have said yes let's meet? And do you use a sale script or you just make your own? Love to hear it.

    Think about this, what do business owners universally care about? Profitability. What we do for business owners is about putting money back in their pockets to start a relationship.. isn't that a good thing? But you're saying that it sounds like a sales pitch.. how?
     
  9. raxx
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    raxx New Member

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    I have no stomach to start a dog fight with you. You didn't answer my question, i asked where that pitch goes.

    About 4 a month from across my state say they want to meet and visit my office. I use a script and then make it my own. I quote about 10 times more than that from the phone in my office not paying for gas or lunches or logistics. Business owners are businessmen, or women I guess. They care about money. From what I understand they care a lot about trust and loyalty - "i've been with my agent for 20 years, you're going to have a hard time getting me away from that: - "So if I gave you better coverage and price you wouldn't be open to that" - "no". I want to be the man on the other side of that. I can't compete with that and I won't be able to for a long time.

    I'm saying it sounds like a sales pitch because what does that even mean, you're telling me everything and showing me nothing. And i'll break it down because I've been a business owner and on the other side of that pitch


    "Hi Mr CEO, I'm with xxx P&C company" - this is a sales call


    "and I have a value proposition for you.. " - Waiting to hear it, value is value

    " if i could spend my money" - please do


    " to make your business more profitable" - waiting


    " would you have 15-30 minutes we can sit down and see if I can make that a reality" - probably not because you've told me nothing

    You have to actually offer something of value and once again you're telling me everything and showing me nothing. Are you offering me a seminar on business? Or a new data management system? Are you offering me an angel investor you have access to. And my mind spins and spins and spins. You're not actually offering me anything. You book that appointment and the business owner shows up and he's going to hate you because his agent is his best friend, or he is smart (most business owners are) and already knows he has the best markets, or you dashed his hopes on the rocks the second you mentioned "insurance".

    This is a classic bait and switch, i've sold vacuums door to door and I know exactly how this goes. Either they're the type of prospect that would take you up on your actual offer or they're not. You're doing yourself and your prospect a disservice by not qualifying yourself and wasting 1-2 hours telling them what you're actually selling. And don't get me wrong - "the longer you listen the sweeter the pitch" and you will get some people that way. But it seems like you're wasting time.

    I'm new to commercial insurance sales, i'm not new to sales.
     
    raxx, Aug 8, 2019
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  10. producer1
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    producer1 Expert

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    We are a business consulting firm. I say we spend our money to make businesses more profitable because we have a proprietary software that can identify potential tax savings opportunities and cost recovery for the business. The expected question we’ll hear is “how does that work?” We then ask for their 15 minute get together so that we can take them through the app. And if the software identifies the savings, the business owner will then have the decision to say yay or nay to go after those savings. I have yet to experience a business owner saying no to money back in their pocket. By the way, we work 100% on contingency. Meaning, we go to work and find no savings, no fees to the client. But if we can find the savings, we will then share a percentage of the savings with the client. All in all, I’m trying to convey a unique approach for professionals like yourself in the insurance business to engage business owners more effectively. My previous message may have sounded like I’m criticizing your sales skill which I’m not. We have several agency owners that understand what we do and have leveraged our approach and services and thereby increase their business production significantly. I do have a short video that will convey a little more in detail what I’m describing here, so if you want to see it let me know. I’d rather talk more about this offline with you , but we can continue on this forum if you wish. Don’t want to bore other folks who may be connected to this thread.

    Bottom line, new tax laws have eliminated many deductions that affected small business owners significantly, but the good news is that we can bring to the table the remaining specialized tax incentives and cost recovery programs for their CPAS to still minimize their clients’ tax liabilities.
     
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