While thousands of insurance agents start their career and go on to enjoy professional success, many agents drop out of the business, unable to meet the demands of both the industry and their competition.
Why do so many insurance agents fail? InsureMe examines the reasons behind agent failure—and how to avoid them.
Failure to Thrive
In order to connect with new prospects and maintain relations with existing clients, insurance agents need to be upbeat, enthusiastic, extremely hard working and able to communicate effectively. All of these attributes are key factors in successfully interacting with consumers, assessing their needs and earning sales.
For some, these traits need to be learned. Many agents have reported success by creating goals to focus on enhancing communication skills, be it through striking up more conversations at the bank or grocery store or calling current clients to check in on them. Others remain focused and upbeat by answering the phone with a smile on their faces and maintaining direct eye contact while speaking to prospects and clients.
Remember that consumers gain or lose confidence in your abilities as an insurance professional based on the attributes you present. Work on your communication and customer service skills to connect with more consumers and expand your client base.
Failure to Stay Current
Many agents are expanding their services to include other lines of insurance and financial products—effectively elbowing agents selling single lines of insurance out of the competition.
Truthfully, the commitment of continuing education should be the cornerstone of your career—how else will you be able to adapt to changes in the industry and consumer needs?
Starting relatively small, such as obtaining an additional license to cross-sell into property and causality insurance (or vice versa into life and health) is a good way to begin. You should also consider obtaining a Series 6 or Series 7 license—needed to sell some annuities and financial products—to stay competitive with agents offering a full range of financial services.
Call your state's department of insurance to learn more about the licensure requirements in your area.
Failure to Incorporate New Technology
The World Wide Web has changed the way many insurance professionals find prospects and market their businesses. Agents who don't use the Internet to their advantage are not likely to succeed.
Websites and blogs are among the most prevalent tools for marketing online. Generally inexpensive and simple to set up, launching a Web site for your company is one of the best ways to connect with online insurance shoppers. Your Web site can host consumer-friendly information about insurance, as well as any personal or professional information you feel would be of benefit to a consumer.
Successful agents are also finding success with online referral services like InsureMe, which gives them the freedom to select the kind of leads they'd like to receive and connect with people who are serious about finding insurance.
Agents who fail to incorporate new technology into their business practices will eventually be rendered obsolete as more and more consumers turn to the Internet to meet their insurance needs.
Failure to Network
You've probably heard it before: Each sale can open the door to 10 more. What does this mean for you? In spite of expanding your products and evolving technologically, you need to remain dedicated to sales and marketing.
Experienced agents agree that insurance professionals need to have their hands in all areas of sales and marketing—from flyers, newspaper advertising, and direct mail to pressing clients for referrals.
A goal for most agents is to sell a policy to one family—and continue to sell insurance to the rest of the neighborhood. Seem impossible? It's not. Start small by talking to your client's neighbors. Introduce yourself without trying to sell them. If they're away, you can still leave a flyer, business card, or magnet (including your business information) in their door or mailbox—giving them something to reference when it's time to renew a policy could prove very profitable!
Remember, if your clients are satisfied with the level of service you provide, they'll have no problem referring friends, family and neighbors!
Improve Your Business Today!
Here at InsureMe, we're committed to the success of our agents. It's our hope that identifying the hazards facing insurance professionals will help you to avoid them in the future!
If you'd like more information about the challenges facing agents and how to combat them, continue reading Four Pitfalls to Avoid as an Insurance Agent and Finding Success as an Insurance Professional.