You Catch More Flies With Honey
My appeals on Monday for experienced insurance agents to share their tips have so far been unanswered. It takes time for the word to get around. My hope is that in a few weeks other experienced agents will share their tips and strategies so rookie agents will have a better chance of survival in the insurance industry.
My goal is to update this blog 3 times a week. Until others start to share, you are stuck with my opinions. Take the good and ignore what you can’t use to be successful.
You may have been recruited with the promise of huge earnings. They are possible but it takes time. I have seen some new agents earn 6 figures in their first year but they were the exception and not the norm.
Our industry is complicated. It generally takes a few years before agents start earning at that level. Regardless of what you were told, ours is not a “get rich quick” industry. You are going to have to build your personal brand and that takes time.
You need to apply yourself to learn everything you can from as many different sources as you can. Not only will you need good persuasion skills when you are in front of a prospect, you will need knowledge of products in order to communicate effectively and answer prospect’s questions.
You will also need to learn the laws that govern our industry so that you can stay out of trouble with your department of insurance.
Not only will you need to learn new skills and information, you will need to build your credibility within the marketplace in which you plan to work.
If, during your first couple of years, you are earning enough to pay your bills, consider that time an apprenticeship. It is not fun and often frustrating when you see another agent driving an expensive foreign import and you are still driving a Ford Focus.
Remind yourself that your time will come. The magic number is 4. If you can hang on and survive in the insurance industry for 4 years you have a 96% probability of retiring after a lifelong career in the industry.
If the thought of being an insurance agent for the next 30 years scares you, remember, there are plenty of other positions in the insurance industry waiting for talented people to fill them. You just have to be in the right place when they are emptied.
Many of today’s corporate vice-presidents started out as “lowly” sales agents. The Peter Principle states that people are promoted to their own level of incompetence. In other words, you will rise in your company until you prove that you are unable to successfully complete the job you are assigned.
If your career goal is to retire as CEO of your company, you are going to have to be successful in many positions. The first position is often as a sales agent.
If you do not like sales, commit yourself to being the best insurance agent your town has ever seen. Draw attention to yourself in a positive way. You do not have to waive red flags or play political games to be promoted from sales agent to sales management/trainer. You just have to be better than your peers at sales.
Many more successful insurance agents have found they prefer the freedom and lifestyle that being and insurance agent can provide. They have no ambitions for further advancement in the company. They have learned that with success comes a certain level of autonomy. They know their companies need them more than they need their companies.
When you look at them with awe, try to remember, in most cases, they were not just given their fancy autos, homes and hobbies. They earned them. They experienced the same struggles & frustrations as you or worse. The only difference between them and the peers they started with is that they committed to do what was necessary to be successful when others gave up.
In 1987 I was in a class of 32 rookie agents to start training. By the end of the first year there were only 4 of us left. To my knowledge, I am the only one from that class of rookies still in the insurance industry. I hope the other 31 people found careers that fulfilled them but my point is that I determined to be successful.
Yes, after a year I was discouraged that I had not experienced the wealth I was promised. In my 13th month I was experiencing burn out so bad I was about to resign. Fortunately, because I had been successful as a rookie I was noticed by the people above me and got my first promotion to sales trainer about a week before I was going to resign. A couple of years later I was promoted again to be a branch manager.
That was about as high in the company that I wanted to go. I got high enough to see what political games had to be played and I was not willing to play them. I elected to follow a career path that would lead to my owning my own independent insurance agency.
Today, I thank heaven that I have no company bosses to answer to or quotas that have to be met. As an independent I am free to place business with whatever company I see fit. No one sets my schedule for me and I do not have to waste my time in meetings.
It took some time and discipline for me to reach my goal. You can reach your career goal as well. Just commit yourself to be successful at the level you are now and in time you too will obtain your career goals.