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To Thine Own Self Be True: Producer Tips from An Actor's Playbook

Honing your craft is imperative in the insurance business—and the acting business. Here are seven tips from the actor's toolbox to up your producing game.
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Honing your craft helps close deals and build confidence. It’s a positive feedback loop that feeds growth, which is imperative in the insurance business.

If a producer has a 90% retention rate on their book of business, they’ll lose roughly 10% of their revenue through attrition every year. Below is a look at some numbers of a very successful producer’s $1-million book of business to see how retention impacts revenue and profitability.

Even with a 95% retention rate, your book of business will drop by 25% in just five years. In order to grow your book, you need to learn how to maintain it, which can be extremely challenging if your retention starts to slide.

As the chart points out, if you retain 75% of your book annually and you’re not pounding the pavement to replace the business going out the door, you’re going to be out of business after just five years.

Actors Playbook

Example from The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research.

How can a producer seek growth? You can start by taking a page from the actor’s playbook.

Actors stay sharp by hitting the street and auditioning as many times as possible. Auditions can be one of the most painful experiences you can imagine, but the upside is a deeper personal understanding of what makes you tick and, of course, reaching success by landing gigs.

Think making cold calls is tough? Try showing up to an audition to put yourself completely on the line, attempting to avail yourself emotionally, be vulnerable and beat back that fight-or-flight response screaming to take an express train to anywhere but that audition room. Then there's the actual acting. Letting moments flow authentically while also presenting your craft, keeping a busy director’s attention and standing out from the crowd is a challenge few can accomplish.

For many actors, an audition is the only place they will practice in front of an audience for extended periods of time until they get a job. For a producer, sit-down meetings with prospects are their way to stay sharp while building a book of business. In both crafts, practice and improvement lead to the confidence that is required to close the deal.

Here are seven tips from the actor’s audition toolbox to keep you producing on top of your game:

1) Prepare. Know your character’s history. Know their background story. Do your research.

2) Plan the arc of the scene. Plan the whole scene from beginning to end but be prepared to improvise. Welcome moments to stray from the plan if the scene isn't working.

3) Exercise emotional intelligence. Show a healthy range of emotions and allow yourself to be flexible yet poised. And be prepared to be tested. A good director will test an actor in an audition to see if they can take direction. Rigidity is a threat to the show’s success.

4) Use silence. Use the space between the lines. Don’t be too eager to fill conversation gaps. Let your scene partner and the director have a moment to absorb your scene and, if working with a scene partner, let them respond in their own time. However, don’t let the scene lose momentum.

5) Listen. Listen to the other actors in your scene and play off their emotions, not the lines. Authentic communication is far more memorable than cold, dull script reading.

6) Take Risks. Making calculated emotional risks is where you can totally kill a scene or...kill a scene. Take a shot at leaving a solid and memorable impression, especially if there's nothing to lose.

7) Connect. Find a personal connection to the character you're playing. Dig deep. Be open to vulnerability. There is a certain strength in emotional honesty.

A key to both an actor’s and producer’s success is accepting the rejection that is simply a part of the game and, most importantly, an opportunity to grow as a person. Take that risk, fall, get up, dust yourself off and repeat.

Mark Rosalbo, CIC, CPIA, is a senior advisor at NFP Property & Casualty, Inc.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Sales & Marketing