These days, it takes more than product knowledge to be a great insurance agent.
Why do some insurance agents succeed spectacularly while others fail? The reason has nothing to do with intelligence — every agent enters the field with an encyclopedia of product knowledge. And they know, in theory, how to prospect and sell.
But in today’s ever-evolving business world, simply offering an attractive lineup of products for sale isn’t enough to achieve success. Insurance agents must build their practice and personal development on these seven habits that lead to prosperity.
1. Successful agents never give up
Every agent fails at one point in their career, whether it’s a marketing plan that yields paltry results or a sale collapsing at the last minute. Successful agents treat those setbacks as learning opportunities. They analyze what may have led to the misstep and vow to do better the next time. Instead of fearing failure, successful agents remain committed to trying new strategies and tactics to advance their business. They never give up. Set your goals, and stay focused on meeting them.
2. Successful agents keep in touch with their clients
With so many insurance processes now being done online, agents can communicate with clients and prospects through so many digital platforms — Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Twitter. They know which form each client prefers. How agents reach clients and prospects is less important than the fact they are reaching out to them. Successful agents return text messages and phone calls as soon as possible. They’re available to clients when they need services, and they follow up with them after they’ve offered their help. They keep the lines of communication open and strive for a great customer experience.
3. Successful agents tune out distractions
Insurance agents juggle many tasks during the workday. They meet with prospects and clients, initiate or monitor marketing plans, and conduct sales meetings. Add smartphones and computers constantly buzzing with emails and calls to the mix and it’s easy to see why agents get distracted during the workday. Rather than getting sidetracked, successful agents prioritize their daily schedules and accomplish those projects that need to be done that day. They turn off their smartphones and focus only on that task until it’s complete. Then, they set aside an hour during their workday to return calls or respond to emails. Or they take time to strategize business plans or assess their progress in a distraction-free zone.
4. Successful agents sell value, not price
Successful agents sell their wares based on the value that their services and products offer to an individual client and prospect. Paul Agranat, National Sales Director at First American Insurance Underwriters Inc., terms this approach strategic selling in ThinkAdvisor.com. “Strategic selling is all about…asking probing questions and listening thoughtfully to understand the customer’s needs, desires, goals, objectives and concerns,” he writes. “Then, based on these insights, offer appropriate solutions that focus on the benefits of the product’s features.” Notice how price isn’t the deciding factor in those conversations. Successful agents sell products and services as solutions to client challenges, not as a commodity sold only on price.
5. Successful agents continually improve
Successful agents are never satisfied with the status quo. They look to continually improve their skills, even when it means venturing out of their comfort zone or breaking free of traditional methods of doing business. They seek new ways of doing business through technology, and they constantly update their business and marketing plans by staying up-to-date with industry trends. If something doesn’t work, they revamp it. Taking risks and staying hungry is the name of the game.
6. Successful agents tend to their pipelines
No agents achieve success without the support of a fruitful sales pipeline — and that success depends upon continual measurement. Successful insurance agents regularly audit their lead generation metrics to see what works and what doesn’t. They don’t just calculate monthly sales numbers (though that is important) but also the results for every sales and marketing touchpoint.
7. Successful agents know their target clientele
Successful agents understand their target audience: Who are they and what products would benefit them the most? They research all aspects of their “ideal” client — age, education level, family status, employment, and the like. For business clients, they know the industry they operate in and the hurdles they encounter. They then craft lead generation efforts around those factors, and position themselves as the expert who can answer their concerns and help them overcome their business or life challenges.
Successful insurance agents don’t rely on luck. They achieve business success by taking risks, constantly improving, concentrating on important tasks, and never giving up.