4 Tips for Picking a Specialty
When it comes to selling insurance, most top producers with longstanding careers will advise that you pick a specialty line to sell over time — car, home, life, etc. — instead of a career built in generalities. The thinking is that by focusing on one specific niche, you can become the go-to in the eyes of the public for that particular product.
Entrepreneurs have sayings for this type of thought process: “an inch wide and a mile deep,” “there are riches in the niches,” etc.
The mindset dominates because it works. But how do you get from where you are now to a profitable specialty that keeps putting food on the table year after year? Here are four tips that should help.
1. Start with your interests
Conventional wisdom would tell you to start with what you’re the best at selling, but we’ve found that that often lines up with your interests anyway, so why not start there? Besides even if you are good at selling something you hate, the chances that you’ll be able to sustain that positive momentum for an entire career aren’t very likely. Remember: from the time that you enter the workforce until the point of retirement, you have anywhere from 30 to 40 years to burn. Can you really go all-in on something that makes you miserable for that long? To summarize, if you like selling auto insurance, focus on selling auto. Home insurance? Focus on selling home? Life? You know the drill. You may not see the success you’re wanting to at first, but over time, your passion for that product will help you improve and grow a career better than anything else.
2. Look at your results
Don’t get disappointed if you’re not the top producer on auto or life policies from day one. Just know where you are so that you can build on it. Know what each customer costs you and how much revenue they’re producing each year. Furthermore, learn your retention rates (or how many of your signups are staying with you year after year). Last but not least, identify your prospect-to-customer conversion rates. With these metrics in place, you have a foundation for building on successes and making adjustments as needed.
3. Search for commonalities in your customers
If you’re somewhat ambivalent to the type of specialty you should be focusing on, look at the commonalities of your existing customers. It could be that you end up focusing on a specific type of customer instead of a single product. But you won’t know which customer type to go after until you have a good idea of how you’re doing with different demographics. While some agents will advise that you sell to the people who are most like you, the best approach can often be more nuanced than that, so make sure you’re collecting and studying insurance lead/customer data and analyzing your success rates with that particular type.
4. Focus on your plan
Once you have the first three tips in place, you should have a good idea about the type of plan that needs to be in place to find success. From here, it’s a matter of focusing your efforts. Don’t try to do too many things at once, and don’t get frustrated if you’re finding it difficult balancing everything on your plate. Remember the old FOCUS acronym (Follow One Course Until Success). Make headway with what you can. Plan like tasks together. Know how many meetings you need to take a week to produce the amount of business that you need to get over in your specialty. Have long-term goals. Break those into short-term goals. Divide each short-term goal into individual, concrete tasks. Work through each one.
Finding a specialty is worthy of your most serious consideration. When you find the right path, you will be well on your way to a rewarding lifetime career.