By David Duford
If you are a newly-licensed agent and ready to embark on your insurance career …
It’s vital to start your career off the right way to avoid the pitfalls that eliminate many insurance agents from the industry.
Here is my list of Top 10 tips to combat the high rate of new agent drop-out rates. Following these recommendations may make the difference between failure and success.
- Do your due diligence.
With enough effort, you’ll witness multitudes of insurance sales opportunities, either from people you know or through online job boards. Although all of them extol the virtues of their business, no one opportunity is single-handedly the best for every new agent.
As a new agent, don’t take the first job offer you receive. Research multiple opportunities. Make sure to Google-search each opportunity online for reviews as well as read reviews on popular job boards for added perspective.
Unfortunately, many agents exit this business because of a misalignment between themselves and their agencies.
- Find a mentor.
I liken selling insurance to the age when apprentices studied under experienced masters to develop their particular skill.
Insurance is no different. That’s why it’s important for a new agent to find a mentor to guide his development as an agent.
A good mentor will cut down on the learning curve necessary to achieving mastery, while simultaneously increasing the new agent’s odds of success.
- Focus on one product over many.
Selling insurance becomes exponentially more difficult when you spread your focus across different types of products and markets.
Every successful agent I’ve seen who wins production awards and attends top-producer convention trips focuses nearly all their effort on one product.
So, find one product you really like and put all your effort into it for the best chances of achieving success.
- "Seeing the people" is your primary directive.
There are only three things necessary to success selling insurance: “See the people, see the people, and see the people.”
From sunrise to sunset, nothing else matters more than talking to prospects about insurance. Never, ever lose sight of this.
Without people to see, you are out of business. So keep your pipeline full, and always be prospecting.
- Beware MLM-culture agencies.
In your due diligence, you’ll come across large agencies that promote recruiting and agency building over learning how to sell insurance.
Carefully consider whether or not these types of opportunities are right for you, as many follow multilevel marketing philosophies of mass recruiting and downline building, at the behest of sales skills development.
The good news is there are insurance organizations more concerned with your development into a top-producing agent than on how many of your friends and family you recruit. Make sure you do your due diligence to discover if the opportunity is right for you.
- Think like a business owner.
It’s best to think of your insurance career in terms of business ownership versus having a job.
Unlike having a job with a predictable income, this means the buck stops with you. You are responsible for everything, including your failure or success.
Like a business owner, you need to not only commit a sizable amount of time to your career each week, but also need to set goals as well as put a plan in action to achieve those goals.
- Skill development is critical.
Insurance sales is a performance-based activity, much like sports.
And professional athletes all spend much of their free time “sharpening their saws,” developing their sports skills and athleticism to their fullest extent.
It is the same with selling insurance. You must intentionally spend time mastering your sales presentation and product knowledge.
- Avoid becoming a perfectionist.
Perfectionists always fail out of insurance sales.
Even with all the training in the world, expect to fumble through your first 50 to 100 sales presentations.
Simply put, you cannot become great until you do it. Expect unease and doubt when you start.
The good news is that each sales call will reveal ways to improve.
- Get used to hearing "no" more than "yes."
What’s strange about working in insurance sales is that the number of times you’ll hear “no” usually exceeds the number of times you hear “yes.” This is true even among top producers.
Don’t let the “nos” discourage you. Know that the best agents hear no, too.
Also, a prospect is rejecting your product, and not rejecting you. They are saying “no” to your offer, not to you as a person. So don’t take no personally.
- It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Success takes longer than imagined for most new insurance agents.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re not making a lot of money immediately. Most top producers started where you are, and over many years, worked themselves up to become peak performers.
David Duford owns DavidDuford.com, a virtual insurance agency helping new and experienced agents nationally become top producers in final expense, Medicare and annuity sales. David may be contacted at [email protected].
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