Agent Retention Tips From VP of Field Operations: Domenico Bertini

A former Agent for American Income Life Insurance Company, Domenico Bertini is now the VP of Field Operations for AIL. He offers the following words of advice for all managers looking to retain their agency force:
American Income Life VP of Field Operations - Domenico Bertini

American Income Life VP of Field Operations - Domenico Bertini

Be More Effective in Giving Feedback to Your Agents.

An important part of running our agencies on a daily basis is giving feedback and keeping accountability alive. One of the jobs of the American Income Life manager is to be a teacher, and in some cases a disciplinarian. This means that, in order to do your job properly, and in order to help your agents reach their maximum potential, you must give them regular feedback on what they are doing right and where they can improve.

Give Constructive Criticism.

Most managers are very tense about keeping their agents accountable or what I would call providing “constructive criticism.” However you can make it a low stress occasion by focusing on the performance and on results rather than on the personality of any one agent. This requires that you manage and criticize what you see, rather than what you feel, or your personal interpretation of the results.

Thinking About the Future

One of the best ways to deal with poor performance is to focus on the future over the past. Instead of becoming angry over what has already happened, or not happened, you should explain clearly what kind of results you want from now on. Get an agreement from the agent that the performance will improve soon after your meeting with him or her, and agree to meet on a regular basis to review progress.

Build Self-Esteem

Always end an accountability session with a vote of confidence in the AIL agent/s. Do everything possible to preserve their self-esteem and self-image. By ending the conversation with a positive statement, they are more likely to go back to work feeling better about himself or herself.

Aim For Improved Performance

The only purpose of an accountability session is to improve performance. If you lose sight of that and instead you attack or negatively criticize, the performance will not improve. In fact, if you negatively criticize a person too often, the agents will stop doing that job altogether. Their performance will deteriorate and they will become less and less willing to contribute to the goals of your agency.

Action Exercises

  • First, always criticize or correct an agent in private. When someone is not performing, arrange to see them alone, explain your concerns and ask for their explanation – before you say anything.
  • Second, no matter what, always focus on the future over the past. Focus on what can be done now rather than what has already happened. Focus on what the agent should do next time rather than the mistake that has already been made.
No one ever said management was easy, but the ability to lead and manage a team in order to get results is a true skill. Start practicing!!
Do you have any questions about agent retention for Domenico? Leave a comment and ask.

About Mark Ting

Mark Ting is a Staff Writer at Torchmark Corporation, writing about American Income Life and National Income Life Insurance Companies. Google+

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