I had the opportunity recently to visit with a handful of agency owners from around the country. I had been asked to speak at their conference and then spend some one-on-one time with each.

During my presentation, I made a reference to a young producer and his $800,000 book of business that had plateaued for the last four years. My emphasis was on the plateauing of the book, not the size.

However, it was the size of the book that "Bill" brought up when we sat down. He was skeptical that many producers are capable of producing that size book. I explained to him that in a mid-size market (such as Bill's) this should be seen as a modest book, and with the resources being provided, a producer should be writing at least $100,000 of new business a year.

Bill went on to share that he has two producers working for him, each of whom only has about a $200,000 book of business. He then went on to defend the situation:

  • I'm not a manager and told them they were on their own when I hired them.
  • It's up to them how hard they work. If they only work three days a week, then that's what they work, and they reap the results.
  • They don't hurt me because I'm only paying them commission on what they produce.

My response sat him back in his seat a bit:

  • What is the opportunity cost to you for them not producing?
  • If you're going to hire any position, as the owner, you have the responsibility to lead them and push them to their potential.
  • If you don't expect them to continue to produce at a meaningful level, then what you have are very overpaid, and under qualified, service people (*please read footnote).
  • How much do you think you are being hurt by the resentment from the formal service team who is being paid much less for doing a much better job?

As owners/leaders, not pushing every single team member to their potential is just bad leadership. It's not fair to anyone, including the team members being left alone (maybe them most of all).

Look around your agency/brokerage. How many under performing, overpaid, wandering-without-direction team members do you have?

What are you going to do about it?

 

*Please do not take this as a disparaging comment on the service team. The fact is, in a healthy organization, the service team fills one of the most critical functions that exists. If these positions were allowed to meet their potential, a significantly higher compensation range would be in order. The point is that "producers" who quit producing and hide behind the veil of "servicing their book" (a role performed much more effectively by the service professionals) are being overpaid and over-excused.

 

Photo by BluEyedA73.