There are many reasons why people are attracted to becoming insurance agents. The job often has very flexible hours, the ability to work remotely, autonomy and the chance to connect with a large cross-section of society. It’s a great job for people who love a challenge, thrive off their successes and also love to connect with other people.
One of the other big reasons why people move into selling insurance is that it can have large payoffs. Many skilled insurance agents are able to secure some pretty decent commissions, which, in turn, can be life-changing.
There are quite a number of incredible perks to the job, but it is by no means an easy one. Working in insurance sales also requires dealing with a lot of rejection, sometimes very stressful situations, and, if you’re not careful, can lead to burnout.
Those who manage to have success within the insurance sales industry have usually honed some very specific but essential skills. So what does it take to be a great insurance agent? What are the top skills that can make a difference? Read on to find out more.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Successful Insurance Agent?
There are an almost unlimited amount of skills that can help give an insurance agent the best possible results in their practice. Although the list of skills could go on forever, most experts in the insurance game would agree that four particular skills will help an agent to be at the top of their game.
Being Persistent and Honest
Honesty goes a long way. Many (if not most) customers already approach a sales situation with a bit of a distrustful eye. They’re always suspicious that the person they are dealing with might be trying to unnecessarily upsell them on things or that they aren’t being given all the information. This kind of guardedness can really affect the level of trust a potential customer has.
The best way to combat this is to make a point of being honest from the very start.
This can be as simple as making sure information has been delivered in a way that the customer understands or even by doing small things like explaining the reasons why going with a particular level of service will actually save them money in the long term.
Most people on the inside of the insurance industry know that deceitful insurance agents don’t usually build successful businesses; they don’t land or keep clients, and they almost never get great referrals.
The problem is that customers don’t know this, so they need to be shown they can trust a salesperson before they really let their guard down.
Persistence is also a very valuable skill because it takes time to land sales, and sometimes there’s a lot of rejection before experiencing success.
It’s integral that an agent is able to just get back on that horse and not become disheartened.
Showing Humility and a Willingness to Learn
It doesn’t matter what profession you work in; more often, the most skilled professionals are constantly learning.
The more knowledge you gain, the easier it becomes to not only understand prospective clients but also make the best suggestions based on their individual needs.
A great attitude to have is to never assume that you know everything.
Good communication skills are a key factor in the success of an insurance sales agent, but this goes beyond the conversations you have on the phone. The true impact of your ability to communicate starts with your digital footprint.
This means that everything you are attached to online demonstrates your communication standards and abilities to not only potential clients but also employers.
Take the time to check what results you find when you google yourself. When you type your name into a search engine, what comes up? This is how customers and recruiters see you.
Social media is a great way to show potential connections how well you know your industry and what it might be like to work for you. A person perusing the internet might not be looking to buy insurance at the time they come across your profile on LinkedIn or Facebook, but if you communicate effectively, they’ll think of you the next time they need to look at a policy.
Effective communication doesn’t mean that you need to be glued to a screen all day long, but it does mean setting up profiles and online services to make sure anyone contacting you knows how to get your attention and when. There are automated messaging systems and chatbots available across a multitude of platforms that can assist with this.
Be Flexible to Your Customers
Being flexible with customers doesn’t mean that you must be willing to move mountains or bend over backwards for them, but it does mean understanding that every individual customer has different needs and, therefore, it’s helpful to have a more adjustable approach to service them.
This kind of flexibility can also help customers to see you as an agent who is trying to find the best possible solutions for them and not just someone who is hungry for a sale.
Top 9 Tips To Becoming a Successful Insurance Agent
The above four core skills are necessary for anyone who wants a certain level of success as an insurance agent, but what are the best tips that can really make a difference to your commissions? Check them out below.
1. Consistently Provide High-Quality Customer Service
There’s probably never been a more competitive time for businesses in human history. Almost every industry on the planet has a high degree of competition, and because of this, customers are often looking for a way to set one business or service provider apart from the others.
In the modern world, people are often looking for insurance agents that have decent track records and, most importantly, ones they can trust. Not all customers know exactly what they want, but they’re normally pretty good at detecting if an insurance agent is trying to help them or solely seeking a fat commission.
The best tactic to ensure a high quality of customer service is to take the time to listen to them, use empathy and let them know that their needs are being put first. This kind of customer service doesn’t stop once the sale is made.
Many clients will often have after-sales questions, and if they feel that they have been taken care of, they will be more likely to use your services again and even recommend you to their friends.
2. Developing Strong People Skills
It’s important to have good people skills to be an effective insurance agent, but what does that mean specifically? Generally speaking, within the sales environment, good people skills refers to having a good level of emotional intelligence.
This enables an insurance agent to understand the situation and perspective of customers and allows them to adjust the way they speak and the words they use to help them comprehend financial situations easily.
3. Participate in Your Community
Working with a certain level of independence and autonomy can sometimes lead to a bit of a ‘lone wolf’ mentality, but don’t forget the power of community.
Participating in your local community not only shows those around you that you care about the place you work it also helps to raise your public profile as a business person. You can transform your perception from being ‘that insurance salesperson down the street’ to someone who is connected to the other people and businesses around them.
Big business has revolutionised the world we live in, but there are still circumstances where customers would prefer to go with someone local because they want to support the community they live in, but also because they feel they will be dealing with a person and not an entity.
Investing in developing relationships with local people and businesses should be seen as planting seeds that could eventually lead to consistent business.
4. Be Proactive
Being proactive is more than a buzzword for engagement in work. The best insurance agents are very proactive with their customers, and this goes beyond keeping them informed about things like policy changes and potential savings.
Proactive sales is about looking for potential issues and fixing them before they happen. Great insurance agents invest time into risk management and strategies to help address small issues for their clients before they even have the chance to turn into big issues.
This kind of practice shows clients that, as an agent, you are not only saving them money, but you are also an essential partner for them in the future.
Proactivity can also extend towards making sure that if an incident ever does happen for one of your clients, they have a dedicated claims agent who will ensure their claim is closed out as quickly as possible.
5. Build Your Network With Other Insurance Agents
There’s some truth to the old saying that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved.’ Although a large portion of an insurance agent’s time is spent alone developing their business and customer base, there is still a great deal of support and knowledge to be gained from other people working in similar fields.
Connecting with other insurance agents is a great way to stay up to date with new industry knowledge and practices while also developing a bank of colleagues who you can turn to for advice.
This kind of networking can also lead to a boost in customers and sales. Not every agent specialises in the insurance needs of every customer, so good networking can lead to referrals.
6. Sell Multiple Products
Having a variety of products available in your portfolio is going to make you more useful to customers than an agent who is very specialised. It doesn’t mean that you need to diversify into every single kind of insurance available; it’s about thinking of your customers and what they might need in the future.
A good idea is to start with a selection of products that complement each other.
If a customer is looking for a life insurance policy, it’s also a good idea to be able to provide things like accident insurance, funeral insurance and income protection insurance.
Variety doesn’t have to just be limited to insurance, either. Many successful agents are also able to offer things like financial planning, tax returns and budgeting. The main point is to diversify in a way that will offer more services in order to keep customers on the books for longer.
7. Use Marketing Tactics to Support Sales Lead Generation
Learning how to market yourself is essential for anyone existing in a global, digitally connected economy. It’s important to know who your competition is, what sets you apart from them and learn how to communicate with potential customers about this.
There are many different ways to use marketing tactics to help generate leads, and a lot of this is about understanding what kind of customer you want to attract and learning what sort of marketing tactics they best respond to.
8. Build a Consistent Positive Reputation
Customers are way more perceptive than salespeople sometimes realise. You might not be having a great day; perhaps the leads you thought were solid didn’t pan out that way.
Even though you might not be in the best of spirits, it’s important to not let that come across when dealing with customers because they will pick it up and quickly look for a way to get off the phone.
Some of the best insurance agents always appear to be excited and eager; they always seem like they’re having a good day and enjoying their job. Their enthusiasm is infectious and usually gets passed on to their clients, who, in turn, open up and become more eager listeners.
It’s not just important to be positive when dealing with the public; it’s also important to remain consistent in your presentation. This helps when your job is to handle rejection. Always remember that every time you hear ‘no’, you are one step closer to hearing a ‘yes.’
9. Always Listen to the Customer
The easiest way to think about this point is to take the needs of a customer and figure out how your services can meet them, not the other way around. This is what listening to the customer is all about.
When an insurance agent approaches their sales in this way, they are more likely to earn a customer’s trust, which is sometimes the hardest part of selling.
This can mean selling a product that you know will not earn you the same amount of commission, but you will develop a business relationship with a customer that knows you are here to help and not milk them for their money.
Why Do Insurance Agents Fail?
To succeed as an insurance agent, it’s important to know the best skills and top tips, but it’s also wise to learn what common situations and factors can lead to failure.
Setting Unattainable Goals
Goals are important for any business person. They help you to focus on what targets you would like to hit and give you a direction to move towards, but it’s incredibly important to make those goals realistic. It can be easy to compare yourself to more established agents and believe that you need to be kicking the same goals as them to count yourself as successful, but you need to understand that a lot of factors went into the success that these contemporaries are experiencing.
One of the most important things to consider when setting goals is to make sure they are achievable and realistic. Any goals you set should be measurable, relevant to what you can actually achieve, and the time frame you are hoping to achieve them should be, at the very least, humanly possible. If you set impossible goals, you are more likely to admit defeat and give up.
Focusing on Commissions Over Service
Going after only high commission clients does create some great short-term wins, but it’s not likely to become the ‘bread and butter’ of any business. Taking the time and energy to service clients based on their actual needs instead of chasing a bigger commission will usually help to create sustained, regular business.
Days with big wins are great, but if they only come every once and a while, they can’t be counted on to keep the lights on.
Lack of Knowledge of Products
There’s much more to selling insurance than just having a great personality and being good at selling things. A huge component in the success of an agent is their level of knowledge. Good insurance agents know their products inside out but are also able to explain them to people from all walks of life.
Generally speaking, if a customer asks a question about an insurance product and the agent doesn’t have an answer, they’re probably not going to become a customer. The more you know about the available products, the better you can provide them to your network of customers.
Offering a Limited Product Range
This point is pretty self-explanatory, but if a customer is after a specific kind of insurance and it’s not a product you offer, there’s no real way to secure any sale from them. They’re not going to suddenly buy life insurance from you when they want third-party automobile insurance.
As stated earlier, diversifying your product range is a great way to expand your potential customer pool; without it, you will probably exhaust your potential customer pool sooner than you expect.
Not Being Flexible to Customer Needs
One major area where insurance agents sometimes fail is that they take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. In theory, this could help at the beginning with setting up a sales framework, but eventually, it can be too robotic to actually yield results.
Remember that when you are selling insurance, you are selling security and peace of mind. These are two very human needs which means that they also come attached to people who have very individual concerns. As stated earlier, the ability to be versatile and flexible towards customer needs can ensure greater success.
Neglecting Network Building
The insurance game is rewarding but not easy, and there’s a lot to learn from the people who came before you. Those who never take the time to build a network of like-minded colleagues will often miss out on valuable pieces of information and knowledge that can make business easier and more fruitful.
How Can CrankWheel Give You the Edge?
Adding elements to your insurance business to get a competitive edge is essential in today’s market and economy. Potential customers are constantly digesting information and advertising from the moment they wake up till the moment they scroll through their Instagram feed in bed. It’s become increasingly important to stand out when pitching to customers, and CrankWheel has created solutions to help you stay ahead of the competition.
Traditionally insurance sales have taken place over the phone, but many experts know that being able to visually demonstrate things can really increase the ability to close a sale. CrankWheel has revolutionised screen sharing specifically to help salespeople and sales teams.
Unlike many other meeting and screen sharing services, CrankWheel doesn’t require all parties to download supporting software; sharing a presentation can be as easy as clicking on a link from an email or SMS anywhere in the world.
With CrankWheel, salespeople can add visual presentations, data and evidence to their sales pitch to give them a competitive edge never seen before.
There are many ways the screen-sharing capabilities of CrankWheel can help insurance agents at all levels. To find out how to use CrankWheel to convert more of your leads, check it out for free today.
In the connected world, it’s never been more exciting to develop your skills as an insurance agent. Every piece of information and experience counts towards whatever your career goals are, so hopefully, this list will give you some tips and hints that might turn your next call into a long-standing business relationship.