Marketing Reps Can Make (or Break) a Bond ProducerPosted by Bruce Bollinger
When a surety marketing representative asks for a visit, be assured there’s a value-add, incentive, or appointment decision that will result.
At Old Republic Surety, we are constantly reviewing our lists of producing agents and asking who should get rewarded and who needs some help. We then contact those individuals and build – or build up – our relationship.
Having that face-to-face meeting is crucial. It allows us in marketing to engage one on one and find out what challenges and opportunities exist in that individual’s business. We listen, ask questions, provide suggestions, and follow up back at the office to get producers the help they need to rise to that next threshold.
For example, say we have a producer whose volume has dropped from last year. We evaluate what happened: did they decline in overall business; did they shift some accounts to another surety company; is there another issue (technology, personal, local market) that we need to know about? Most of all, we want to determine how we can help get production back on track. After all, we want ORS-appointed producers to succeed.
Marketing Brings the Incentives
In many cases, a marketing visit is to say thank you for a job well done and to talk about enhancing the producer’s ability to earn more commission. We might have a certain product they are not selling but could. In that case, we introduce the product and have a discussion about how bringing that to their accounts could raise their numbers. We also talk about cross-selling within the agency. Maybe the P&C side of their office needs to start asking clients where they get their bonds and telling them those bonds could be placed right there where they get their property and casualty coverage. We teach them how to make that crossover referral so the surety producer broadens access to clients who already exist.
We also make sure all our producers are efficiently using our technology and know our products and people, so the entire submission process is smooth. We have the ability to offer continuing education that meets licensure CE requirements, and we welcome the opportunity to help P&C producers transition to surety. Marketing meetings can be an opportunity for a seasoned bond producer to introduce an up-and-comer to us so we can encourage and incentivize them to hit (and exceed) their goals.
Some Incentives ORS Marketing Offer
- Contingency payment for increased production
- Rewards, such as President’s and Pacesetter’s acknowledgment for top 10 ORS producers
- Drawings for prizes from a pool of producers that sold a particular bond type we were promoting
- Increased commission percentage for certain volume or promotion
- Great meeting locations, e.g. The Masters or the Albuquerque Balloon Festival
Don’t Ignore the Marketing Rep
In a world that has moved to remote work and videoconferences, it’s often hard to get a producer to accept an in-person meeting. I would say that’s a mistake when it comes to the marketing rep. We go through a lot of data to decide which producers could benefit from a visit. In many cases, we’re dealing with a success story who wants to further increase volume and, thereby, their own income. In other cases, we are reaching out to producers who are underperforming.
For the latter group, ORS is interested in providing appropriate assistance, so we reach out for an in-person meeting to get a handle on what problems exist and how we can help. Sometimes a little education on products, our system, or incentives is all that’s needed to help a bond producer boost business. Sometimes we find out it’s a challenge on our end, so the marketing rep goes back to ORS with that information in hand to see what can be done to solve the problem. Such a meeting could result in improvements that totally reverse the producer’s trend, sometimes even sharply upward.
Unfortunately, there are some ORS-appointed producers who are not selling at all or are selling at such low levels as to make it too costly to keep them on board. Marketing is tasked with determining if these producers simply need more training and education or if they are not interested in retaining their appointment with us.
For Those Wanting a Visit
If you have read this and are thinking it would be nice to meet – whether to get help in boosting already strong production, to introduce a rising star, or to work out problems so you too can become a top producer – contact your ORS marketing rep. We are highly targeted in our visits, so please get on our radar and work with us to figure out a compatible time to get to know each other and identify how ORS can bring value to your business.
Bruce Bollinger is a senior surety marketing representative at Old Republic Surety.