Some consultants say you should never hire a consultant unless he or she has been very successful doing what he or she is consulting about. But that would be the second most important attribute of a consultant to hire. More important would be to find someone who has been in the client's seat. That's because understanding the insurance buyer is far more important than understanding your agency and its sales process. The agent who won his business: 1. reassured him that he understood his industry, 2. asked about his business -- not his current agent, 3. broadened his definition of risk management to include risks not covered by insurance, 4. discussed politics, their industry and issues in the economy, and 5. your agency should have a formal plan to develop business acumen. To develop an appropriate plan, the producer asked probing, creative questions and established a peer-to-peer relationship with the company owner.