How to Recruit Top Producers Without Having to Recruit Them

So, I was having a telephone conversation, with an individual who I met on LinkedIn.  He is an author of a book and he holds himself out as an employee benefits innovation expert.   And he is on a mission to bring innovative marketing solutions to an Industry that greatly needs it.

During our conversation, he was bringing me up to speed on the results of a retreat he recently organized. This was where a group of agency owners assembled, for the purpose of exchanging ideas on how to better grow their agencies.  Click here if you would like to learn about the next retreat.

To summarize, the bulk of the discussions, he said-revolved around recruiting Producers.

When I asked, what has prompted the need to hire Producers?

He said something – in my opinion – that other agency owners needed to hear.  (agencies that are generating $1.5 to $5 million in revenue)

“Recruiting Producers remains the only viable method for an agency owner to grow his/her agency, without having to give up control of the agency… Giving up control is having to sell your agency to a National firm or having to partner with the “fat cats” on wall street, just to raise capital in order to grow revenue…. Being able to sign both sides of the check, is the independence that most agency owners want to control, in growing their agencies”

He then asked me a question, which didn’t require any thought on my part. (given my 26 years of recruiting in the employee benefits Industry)

Here’s the question:

Why is it so difficult to recruit Top Producers?

I am going to explain the reasons why and then I will share a proven method for recruiting Producers.

3 Reasons why Top Producers are Difficult to Recruit

  1. Small Puddle. There isn’t a large talent pool of Producers to begin with – so there is only a small puddle of good Producers to recruit from.  It’s the old 80/20 rule: 80% of Producers produce 20% of the total revenue and 20% produce 80% of that total.  The small puddle consist of the 20% of Producers you’d want to recruit to your agency.
  2. Client focused mind-set. Producers are not job hoppers.  They are more focused on doing the things that generate revenue, such as servicing clients, expanding client relationships and finding new clients. Moving their clients to a competing agency is a very complicated and stressful process – and the furthest on their minds.
  3. Non-compete agreements. Why do  they exist? Their Agency owners will not make it easy for another agency to steal the goose that lays the golden eggs!

Top Producers are difficult to recruit, because there are a few solid obstacles that stand in the way of successfully recruiting them.

The notion that you will generate more revenue simply by hiring more Producers, at best-is only a short term solution.

For long-term sustainable growth, the objective of recruiting Top Producers should be more that just generating revenue, the primary objective should be, to weaken a stronger agency.


It will be much easier to steal clients and talented service people from a weakened agency!

So, if your objective is to put other agencies out of business in order to grow, then there is a proven method for recruiting Top Producers directly from your competitors.

How Recruiting Works

At this level, recruiting is not about posting a job description on LinkedIn or “pitching a job’ on the telephone, with a cold call.   These tactics are ineffective today. Producers will not apply to your job posting; they will not take your recruiting calls; they will not return your voicemail and they will not reply to your email.


It is for the same reason you’d let a call go to voicemail, simply because you didn’t recognize the number of caller!

The focus of an effective recruitment strategy should not be on the results, such as – let’s interview as many Producers as possible and start making job offers.  Instead, it should be a process that focuses on the things that must be done each and every day in order to successfully recruit a Top Producer.

In this case, a personal relationship must be established with each Producer prior to any attempts of introducing him/her to the possibility of joining your agency.  This is critical, because just like your insurance clients – Producers also prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust.

These are the things that you need to do every day in order to build a trustful relationship.

  • Identifying the Producers who would be a great fit for your agency
  • Establishing a line of communication with them
  • Keeping in touch on a consistent basis, by providing meaningful content that are/should be of interest to Producers.
  • Providing them with call-to-actions offers

Top Producers don’t join agencies – they join leaders of agencies who they know, like and trust

How to Get Top Producers to Come to You

Now that you have identified the Producers of interest and you have been dedicated in building a relationship, how will you identify when a specific Producer is open to having a dialog about opportunities?

The short answer is; you don’t have to go to the Producer – the Producer will come to you!

The Producer will come to you because s/he knows, like and trust you.  And based on his/her own research, your agency appears to be the agency where the Top Producers will want to work.  As a result, s/he will express interest in learning additional details about your agency through call-to-actions.

In other words, when executed effectively, this recruitment process will get Top Producers to take a closer look at your agency.  But it is the perception of what your agency can do for the Top Producer, that will determine if that Producer will leave his present agency to join your agency.  Your agency needs to be perceived as the place where the Top Producers will want to work.

3 Things to Make You Agency More Attractive to Top Producers 

(Alert: these are radical ideas with a high level of negatives. I will focus strictly on the positives)

Invest in Zenefits like tools & technical support resources

  • Make your Producers better, stronger & faster in the marketplace.
  • Provide them with more tools/products to solve more client problems
  • Give them the confidence to peruse larger employers, as possible clients

Buy-out their non-compete and not require them to signed a new non-compete agreements. (producers can leave and take their clients with them…no strings attached)

  • They won’t leave. Why would anyone give up independence to sign a non-compete agreement with another agency?
  • They will feel like weaker Producers, should they leave.   Why would a superstar athlete leave a strong team to play for weaker team?
  • Make it easy for the weaker Producers to leave.  Big whip! They were not generating revenue, anyway.

Pay  a higher First Year & Renewal Commissions  (above the market rate)

  • A great motivator for top producers to increase their income. A happy Producer will generate more revenue.
  • A strong retention incentive. Why would anyone go through the hassle of taking their clients to another agency, and make less money?
  • Higher agency valuation. Which sounds better, a $1.5 million agency or a $5 million agency?

If an agency owner is willing to do the things described above, it will make his/her agency the place where the top Producers will want to be.  And when your agency is the agency of choice, there will be less focus on recruiting Producers-Producers will come to you.