Don’t start your budding insurance career on the wrong foot. Position yourself for long-term success with these essential tips.
We all know someone who finds a new hobby every month, buys the necessary equipment, only to drop it for a different activity a month later. Unfortunately, it seems that many initially bright-eyed insurance agents treat the profession the same way.
There are many reasons that insurance agents throw in the towel prematurely. We’ve outlined the five most common missteps, so that aspiring agents can correct for them early — and flourish in their careers for the long haul.
1. Going It Alone
Too many insurance agencies simply sit new agents down at a computer and tell them to get to work. This learning-as-you-go approach may seem efficient, but usually leads to frustration or failure.
All young agents should undergo proper training before starting out. Ideally, this training will be offered by the agency — but if your agency doesn’t provide it, we recommend signing up for sales courses outside of work hours or online. The short-term investment will yield long-term benefits for your career.
An even better option is to work with an experienced mentor, who can teach you industry best practices and provide critical motivation when the going gets tough. If your workplace isn’t amenable to a mentor-mentee relationship, reach out to your professional network to connect with an experienced agent willing to help.
2. Setting the Wrong Goals (Part 1)
Often, people enter the insurance industry having heard stories of sky-high commissions, and expect their yearly income to be staggering from the outset. The truth is, most agents who are bringing in considerable income have been working in the industry for a number of years, investing their time and effort into the role.
Especially in the first year, new agents shouldn’t be discouraged if their sales commissions don’t meet these high expectations. Rather, set your sights on the future and know that the work you put in now will soon pay off.
3. Setting the Wrong Goals (Part 2)
As a matter of fact, new agents should try to hold off entirely from setting monetary goals. While focusing on monetary goals may earn you a few extra bucks in the short-term, your career is more likely to stagnate if you can’t win new clients’ trust. This may seem counterintuitive, but the best agents (and the ones that end up making the most money in the long run) are those who have put in time to build relationships and people skills.
4. You Aren’t Allocating Your Time Properly
Like most jobs, becoming a successful insurance agent is largely about time management. It’s estimated that an average of 2.1 hours are wasted everyday on workplace distractions, and these timesucking diversions can easily throw a new agent off track. Especially when you’re learning the ropes of the job, make sure that you cut out all workplace distractions: no social media, no online shopping, no continuous group chats.
Now that you have more time on your hands, make sure that you’re using it in the best way possible. Research shows that the top sales performers spend up to 33% more time with their clients every week, which equates to two to four additional hours in the average week. Those same top agents build personal networks within their companies that are roughly 40% larger than that of the average employee — meaning they interact on a daily basis with 10 to 20 more people.
5. You’re Living in the 20th Century
According to LIMRA, 90% of Americans 24 to 44 years old now use the internet at some point in the life insurance buying process. If you’re not investing real time and resources into a digital strategy from the beginning of your insurance career, you’re likely to fall behind your peers. Along with traditional sales techniques, we recommend that agents explore a variety of forward-thinking options, such as purchasing internet leads, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and social media campaigns.
Don’t be left in the dust before you career has time to grow — build out your digital strategy to ensure that you’re primed for 21st century success.