Most agencies hire based on the number of policies they have in force (auto, home, etc.) and add staff as each line of business reaches a predetermined level. I have always done the opposite. If you’re just keeping up with the work in front of you, you’re not creating a platform for additional growth.
I believe that every person on an agency’s staff should be a source of profit for the business. If an agency employee isn’t a profit center, he or she should be replaced with someone who is. I’m a real advocate for new agencies to hire right away. You want people working for you that are going to expand your business and your revenue. Many agents will decide to wait until the money comes in, but the money won’t come in without the staff to support growth.
I would suggest hiring an employee as soon as you start your agency. The position should be someone whose primary responsibility is to set appointments. As the agency owner, if your day is full of appointments and you can maintain steady new business revenue, your business is going to be profitable.
So, how do you find your first employee? It’s always better to have choices so you don’t hire the first person that walks in the door. Compiling a recruiting book of names of prospects as you meet them is a good idea. This way, when you are ready to hire, you go through your book of employee prospects and choose the best candidate for a particular position.
Everyone you meet in your daily life is a potential prospect to hire. You can go into a dry cleaner and if the person behind the counter demonstrates excellent customer service, you know that is someone you would consider to be on your team. If you’re at the bank in a long line, and see an employee on their break open their window to help reduce wait times, that’s another example of someone that will go the extra mile and would be beneficial to your business.
I have a script I use when I meet one of these prospects in the real world. I have been using the same script for 20 years and I have never changed it because it works:
“[Insert name], if you’re ever looking for a place you can make more money and have more fun, give me a call. We’re not hiring today but we will in the very near future. I like your attitude and I think you’d fit right in with my team.”
I then hand them my business card and walk away. If there is no initiative on their part, don’t worry. The right fit for your business will call you back within 24 hours.