6 Insurance Agent Lessons From Dale Carnegie


Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People may not be directly related to the insurance agent, but there are so many lessons from this classic piece of business literature that applies. While your business isn’t to necessarily make friends, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to do your job when adopting Carnegie’s emotional approach to human interaction. We’ve sifted through the pages of this great book to come up with six individual lessons that could apply directly to insurance agents. Each subheading below is a quote from the actual book. We’ll tell you how the quote applies to what you do in the text. Let’s get started.


The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.

The insurance industry is built on the things that clients treasure the most. That’s why when you go in to sit down with an insurance lead, you need to be about more than simply regurgitating things that he could have read online. You need to connect emotionally with the client by leading him and allowing him to discuss the things that matter most to him — likely his family, his cars, his collectibles, his home, and a variety of other things he wants to protect.


If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.

Some days are harder than others, and that’s true no matter what job you’re in, but it is especially true for the insurance agent, who is having to compete with an army of others equally eager to land the same piece of business. While you may be discouraged by prior failures or simply indifferent due to a recent run of success, the power these two forms of malaise have over you is entirely up to you. Approach each prospect as an individual and try not to think about anything else when you’re with them. Get in the business of being enthusiastic to help each customer and sales (plus referrals) will surely follow.


You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Don’t think about the task ahead of you as advertising or marketing. Think about it as finding insurance prospects and becoming interested in them. When you adopt that approach, it will lead you to take actions that will push business forward.


Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.

The way some talk about the future of the insurance agent can be discouraging, but since 2010, the studies have all been somewhat consistent in the reveal that customers want you to be an integral part of the buying experience. They also depend on you for service and peace of mind after the sale. Therefore, take a lesson from Mr. Carnegie. Don’t worry about what some of the more pessimistic in our industry are saying. Instead worry about what you’re doing to get customers now, and how you plan to adapt your business efforts to excel in the future.


There is only one way … to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.

How is it possible for an insurance agent to do this? By helping the insurance customer think in terms of benefits instead of features. A list of features is too heady and boring and too much like everything else. If you can tap in to what matters to your client and get them to feel the benefits of what a policy can do for them, their things, and their family, then you’ll be well on your way to earning the sale. So learn the products you’re selling, but throw out the features and begin answering the question of how the product will add benefits to the prospect’s life.


There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.

Yes, our words and appearance are important when interacting with a prospect, but far more important are the other two aspects of this quote: what we do and “how we say it.” First off, you need to be able to show the client results. Therefore, show them what you will do for them as their agent instead of what they are buying. This gets the client to place value on service instead of price, which is conducive to longevity. Next, how you say whatever you’re going to say is important because it projects confidence. Clients will probably not retain half of what you tell them in your first meeting, but they will remember how you interacted and the feeling they got from that. So don’t just memorize your product. Think of presentation.


In Summary

Dale Carnegie and his teachings have stood the test of time for a reason, and they are as applicable to the modern insurance agent as they were to business professionals decades ago. Reread the above quotes and think of more ways they can help you do your job effectively. Good luck!

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