In today’s business environment, it seems that more financial sales professionals are going independent or moving to new organizations today than in decades. And research suggests that the top producer population usually works beyond typical retirement age.
There are two obvious reasons behind this phenomenon: First, changing leadership at large financial institutions leads to policy changes; second, those new policies can lead to restructured compensation plans for sales personnel.
I caught up with two experts on the subject of career transition and asked, “What absolute musts belong on an independent producer’s short list of considerations when contemplating a move to a new sales organization?”
The experts: Gil Cohen of Cypress Financial Group, an office of MetLife located in South Florida, is one of the life insurance giant’s top-producing offices in North America. Sales coach and author of the patented Mims Morning Meeting Productivity Book in Houston, Frank Mims V, offered up his insights as well. Both agreed on the five most common concerns for a producer to check off his or her short list when looking to make a career move.
1. A solid reputation and ambitious hiring strategy
“Obviously, a viable and reputable organization goes a long way. I built our agency from 19 reps to over 200 over the last five years, adding some seasoned MDRT producers and others new to our business,” says Gil Cohen at Cypress Financial Group. “That MetLife is the largest global insurer distinguishes me to a degree … but it’s not enough.”
If you’re seeking a new agency or broker-dealer, “pursue a good agency interested in referrals or centers of influence recruiting,” Mr. Cohen recommends.
At the end of the day, no high-caliber producer is moving anywhere for less compensation. It might not be purely cash they’re seeking, however. A smart businessperson, financial services or other, considers a host of compensatory measures. Beyond commissions and renewals, considerations include:
1) Leadership/management track potential
2) Training and agency development programming opportunity
3) Comprehensive insurance benefits
Says Cohen, “We customize [compensation plans] to accommodate different producers with varying preferences. For example, a rookie agent will likely need a salary for a given time period until s/he gets rolling and starts seeing new business activity.”
Frank Mims V adds, “CP (compensation packages) must foster a worthwhile outlook to drive producers toward high achievement for the good of the company and themselves. Simply put: The wrong CP attracts the wrong brand of salesperson, and vice versa.”
3. Infrastructure and support