7 Reasons Why New Insurance Agents Fail
Insurance agents enjoy the value of a career where they don’t have to punch a time clock every day. They get to meet interesting people and help families protect themselves against the unpredictable circumstances of life.
The field is one that can be lucrative, but it can also claim many victims, who are not prepared for the challenges of building a successful career.
Insurance agents who fail to do their homework often find themselves looking for new types of employment 12 to 18 months after their first day. In order to help you avoid becoming one of these negative statistics, we have put together a list of reasons why most new insurance agents fail. Awareness will allow you to take the proper actions for finding success. Let’s get started!
1. Sky-High Expectations
There are things that an insurance sales career is, and there are things that it isn’t. For new insurance agents who see in it a job that allows them to work however they please, it can be disappointing.
That’s because they see only the independent aspects of working in the profession. They overlook that one key word: work. While it’s true that insurance agents do not have to punch a time clock, they also have to work much harder, take all the responsibilities for success and failure on themselves, and produce results. There is no getting by without selling.
This is just one small example.
Other sky-high expectations that a new insurance agent may have could consist of an inordinately high salary straight out of the gate. Lucrative client lists generally take time and care to develop. As a result, it’s not unusual to experience your leanest of years at the start of your career.
2. Poor Training
Another factor that can cause new insurance agents to fail is that of poor training or education. While a company or agency may have a robust training program in place, it is only as good as the effort that you put into it, and your willingness to learn through experience.
The truth is that there is no better teacher than just getting out there and doing the job or seeing it done alongside a skilled mentor agent in your field.
If you have ever worked retail, this illustration will hammer home the point. Remember when you had to learn how to take credit card transactions for the first time?
You were working with a piece of equipment that you had never seen before. Your parents had bought everything for you, and this was your opportunity to earn your first paycheck. You were intimidated by the idea of handling large transactions through this odd new platform, and you just knew they would fire you at the first sign of trouble.
Then, you got a chance to move beyond the training videos and to do a few transactions on your own. After the first few times scanning people’s cards, you realized that it was the quickest and easiest way to get people through your register line.
Selling insurance is the same way. It’s all theory until you actually get out there and meet with your first few prospects. And that’s where critical thinking skills factor in: are you examining your successes and failures? Are you seeing what went right and what went wrong and how you can improve? Take control of your professional education, and you will be far ahead of your peers.
3. Sales-First Focus
It is tricky to walk the line between being customer focused and doing enough to pay the bills. There is a danger for new agents to focus too closely on closing the deal when they have failed to cultivate a relationship with the prospect.
Relationship marketing is such a huge part of what we do that it’s hard to sell anything without it. So the next time that you meet with a prospect, pay less attention to how you say things and the closing the deal and more attention to forming a bond with the person on the other side of the table.
4. Failure to Exhibit Professionalism
There are two schools of theory when it comes to how you present yourself to a client. On one hand, some will advise you to try and match the level of professionalism of your prospect. On the other, some will say that you absolutely have to address more professionally than your prospect because they need to see of authority and expertise to feel good about buying from you.
There may be validity to both of these theories, but before you decide to go all in on one or the other, ask yourself what type of physical presentation of yourself makes you feel the most confident.
Confidence is professionalism. If a client sees and believes that you can help them, then what you are wearing will be less significant.
5. Refusal to Listen
Most of us hate how we sound on a recorded device. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. But even if that’s not why you avoid recording and playing back your sales presentations — even if it’s just because you’re always trying to move forward instead of looking back — you do yourself and your career a great disservice by not studying your performance.
How do you say things? Are there phrases that you repeat too often? Vocalized pauses like “um,” “uh,” and “well, you know”? If you refuse to listen to the sound of your own voice, then you’re probably not going to do too well listening to bigger things — like your customers’ needs, where your industry is heading, valuable advice from colleagues, etc.
Learn. To. Listen.
6. Marketing Homework Malfunction
New insurance agents who end up failing know enough to step outside the office and hand out a few business cards, but they are also not making time to slow down and develop a viable strategy for the 21st Century.
Their online marketing platform is particularly sparse, with many failing to understand the value in a website, blog, and social media presence, and the ones that do are too far behind to make the most of it.
For instance, did you know that more than half of Internet searches are now conducted via mobile phone, yet very few insurance agent websites — or any small business website for that matter — is mobile-friendly?
Now keep that in mind as we rattle off the following stats via Search Engine Watch:
• 91% of smartphone users turn to their phones for ideas when in the middle of a task
• 90% are not certain of the brand they want to buy from
• 65% look for the most relevant information to their query, regardless of the company that provides the answer
• 51% have discovered a new company or product when searching on their phone
• 33% have purchased from a different brand than the one they had in mind, because of the information provided
In other words, most people are turning to their phones to search everything, and you have a 33% chance of winning their business even if you’re completely unknown with a simple mobile-friendly, search-optimized web presence.
7. Intimidated by Lower Prices
Insurance agents who are intimidated to sell in the face of being undercut on a price are not long for the industry. That’s because you can never win 100% of the price battles you will face between yourself and another company.
You have to learn to communicate that price isn’t everything. Coverage is. Customer service is. Making sure that your clients appreciate the value of their insurance more than the premium total.
If you are a new insurance agent, or if you know of one who is struggling, advise them to read through this list and consider these top reasons why new insurance agents fail. It may not be too late to turn the tide.