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Four Traits of Peak-Performance Producers

September 16, 2014

"Businessman With Chart" by AmbroA participant in a Beyond Insurance workshop recently asked, “What are the best practice characteristics of a successful producer?  Do I have the skillset to become a peak-performance producer?”

In 1961, the insurance industry hired Herbert M. Greenberg, Ph.D., to learn “what makes a good salesperson.”  Dr. Greenberg discovered that effective producers have three key traits, which remain valid today:  empathy, ego drive, and ego strength.

More recently – 40 years after Greenberg’s groundbreaking studies, Dr. Christopher Croner, co-founder of SalesDrive, conducted research on personality characteristics common to high-performing salespeople.  Some of the characteristics parallel Greenberg’s discoveries – Croner learned that high-performing salespeople usually display “need for achievement, competitiveness, and optimism.”

How do these apply to your decision to serve as an agent or as a producer during your journey to reach full potential?

  1. Empathy and listening – To be a successful producer, you need to incorporate excellent listening skills and empathy. When you listen, you are gathering information.  Empathy then determines how you process and understand the information you’ve gathered.  Do you frequently sense your client’s reactions and adjust to them?  Whether you agree with them or not, can you perceive others’ feelings objectively?
  2. Ego drive and need for achievement – Top producers need victories—and rarely feel satisfied until they achieve them. For peak performance producers, success is scored by winning new clients and cross selling existing ones.  They are equally strong servant-leaders.  They often volunteer.  The challenge of growing their book – achievement – is what makes them tick.
  3. Ego strength, resiliency, and optimism – Top producers do not have time to feel shattered or unable to move forward when they lose an account or fail to make a sale. Peak performance producers know how to stay in touch with a prospect so that they can come back and try again.  They feel motivated by the “no” and try even harder the next time around.  They know that they are there to help people.  If the prospect is not interested or chooses the incumbent, it’s their loss.  They have a thick skin and handle rejection well.
  4. Competitiveness –Top producers learn that survival depends on their ability to compete and win when foraging for new accounts. A producer with explorative behavior is curious about clients and has an insatiable need to build a consultative, diagnostic relationship with them – rather than serving as a transactional commodity-based salesperson who rapidly moves from customer to customer.  He or she prefers to help clients solve problems and mitigate risks by developing a strong rapport based on mutual trust.

Although top producers are usually born with these four traits, you can work to master them one at a time.  Take a class, such as the Purple Cow Leadership Workshop or Changing the Game…to Create Home Field Advantage, that will capture these and other best-practice producer skills, maximize your potential, and improve your performance.

In raising the bar on the four traits outlined above, you will start the journey toward becoming a peak-performance producer!

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