Adopt a high performance recruiting mindset

By Jim Ruta | March 30 2016 07:00AM
I’m a life insurance sales manager with a big recruiting objective each year but a lot to do in the office too. How do I find the time to recruit more?

Recruiting is the management equivalent of prospecting for agents. It’s the reason that when you are a good recruiter you are modeling top performance for them. Your recruiting example sets a prospecting activity target for your associates. It’s the premier skill of managers who can write their own ticket… again, just like agents. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, the answer is always more and better recruiting.

But, the manager job keeps expanding. Managers are asked to do more and more but still keep up their recruiting numbers. Management success is the natural consequence of large numbers – not only of recruiting, but also retention. To get good, meaningful retention, you do need good recruiting numbers.

A head office supervisor once bragged about his 67% recruiting retention record while a manager. It was a mark that amazed us all… until we discovered that it was because two of the three agents he hired were still in the business. It wasn’t quite the success we thought.

One simple phrase will go a long way to helping you recruit better. The phrase is simply, “… and recruit while doing so”. It dramatically multiplies the time you spend recruiting and adds more value to the work you do every day. It’s multitasking without overwhelm. It’s being a top manager and recruiter at the same time. Here’s how it works.

The reason we have so little time to recruit is because we have so much else to do. Selection, training, joint field work (I hope!), supervision, education and personal selling are just a few of the “hats” many managers wear. Managers have always been busy but the best of them were adherents of the “recruit while doing so” philosophy.

You can “Select, and recruit while doing so”. In the selection process, look for possible candidates. Ask references about others who they know who they would trust in this position. Get a name.

Train, and recruit while doing so. Training sessions open up case studies and names coming up that might be prospective recruits. Simply ask during training sessions if your associates know anyone “who could do this” and you’ll build the team.

Joint field work, and recruit while doing so. New agents will often see people that are just like them – people with their background and experience. People who could also be agents. Ask.

Sell, and recruit while doing so. Doing your own business provides ideal personal access to product “believers” who may be candidates, today or in the future. Get a name for now or later.

“Recruit while doing so” is the essence of the high performance recruiting mindset. A recruiting mindset means you have recruiting “on the brain” whatever you are doing. Make it your priority, not just a possibility, when you have time. When you do, you will do better at all your management roles and attract more business than ever with your example.

And, if you are an advisor reading this, just replace recruiting with prospecting and you can do the same thing.


Some people balk at large life insurance face amounts. How can I convince prospects to buy sufficient life insurance to protect their families in their specific circumstances?

Some people confuse life insurance with annual income. They think about their pay cheque rather than their human life value. Sure, a quarter million dollars is a lot of money to most people but it is small change in exchange for your financial value to your family. Who would trade all their future earning power today for the amount of their group insurance benefit? It works out that way for some and that’s why they need you to help.

Ask some people how much life insurance their family needs in their absence and often it’s scarcely enough to bury them. Sure, they can die, but they just can’t stay dead for very long. They’ll have to get back at it very soon if they expect their legacy wishes for their family to come true. But, I jest.

How can you get a client to think reasonably about the life insurance protection they really need? You could show them the facts about income needs in the absence of a breadwinner but that usually becomes a pushing match. You push your agenda. They push back. It’s a standoff and that’s your problem. Fortunately, there is another way.

The late, great advisor Roger Zener said, “Whenever you are in trouble, ask a question”. We’re in trouble. So, the question is: “If your spouse were hit by a city bus, for how much would you sue the City?” Or, “If your spouse were hit and killed by an impaired driver, how much would you expect to collect from the other driver’s liability insurance?”

Make it about the spouse, not them, so they can feel the benefit. This puts the loss in proper perspective and the answer is usually substantial. Perhaps even monumental. They immediately see their loss and that there is money available to compensate. You’ve changed the perspective.

This is exactly what life insurance can do without the lawyers and the hassle when the worst happens. “Mrs. Prospect, you can be sure that you are appropriately compensated and your family is appropriately protected when you guarantee it yourself – regardless of how your spouse meets their demise. And, aren’t you in the same situation regardless of how someone dies? Don’t you and the kids need the money either way?” Yes. You. Do.

This simple question makes the prospect think about their personal lifestyle protection in a way that matters to them and you didn’t have to do anything awkward.

Once you’ve insured the spouse, you have another problem… what about their life insurance. Ask another question. “Wouldn’t the exact same thing apply to your spouse if YOU were run over by an impaired driver?” Of course it would. “What amount would you want your family to receive in that case from the other insurance company?”

Now you have them thinking properly and you will find yourself getting more reasonable amounts of life insurance and will be better protecting families when you do. It’s a winning perspective that pays off for everyone, especially the family involved.