WINDSOR, Conn. and Washington, D.C., May 11, 2022 — New research from LIMRA and the Finseca Foundation reveals five secrets to retaining financial sales professionals.
High turnover rates among those new to sales positions in the financial services industry are an ongoing challenge. Separate LIMRA research shows that, in 2020, only 15% of financial professionals in agency systems that recruit mainly inexperienced individuals remained with their hiring companies after four years, and the majority of those left within their first two years.
When asked how to combat this issue, field and home office leaders identified five factors that have the greatest influence ― early sales activity (a fast start); a strong selection process prior to hiring; joint fieldwork; the quality of sales training; and mentoring.
“Finding ways to make financial professionals successful in their careers will help companies keep new recruits and ensure the industry has experienced professionals who can help Americans get the products they need to protect themselves and the ones they love,” says Bryan Hodgens, head of LIMRA Distribution and Retirement Income Research.
The top two factors — early sales activity and a strong selection process prior to hire — are closely related. A good selection process not only communicates the performance expectations of the job, but also provides the hiring manager with evidence that the candidate will be able to perform effectively. If the selection process does neither, financial professionals are much less likely to succeed.
New financial professionals need a multifaceted plan on how to build their books of business. Mentoring and joint work are time-tested ways of helping them get started quickly. The COVID-19 environment, however, made it difficult for joint fieldwork and mentoring. This worries some field leaders, especially as it pertains to new recruits entering the business. Some companies have provided incentives for top financial professionals who take on and mentor a junior sales representative. Others rely on formal teams to provide the structure and support new agents need.
Improving the quality of skills-based training can make up for some of the lack of mentoring and joint work. To be successful, however, sales skills training needs to be practical, situational and real-world based.
Most financial professionals want to apply what they have learned, but if what they learn doesn’t seem immediately applicable, they may disengage. Training is not just about transferring knowledge; it is about helping agents understand what companies are asking them to do and, just as importantly, why and how everyone (they, the company, and the customer) will benefit.