How Insurance Agents Can Build Mental Toughness
Insurance agents practice a trade that wholly depends on performance. They have to be able to bring in new business, or they don’t eat.
Since the odds are against you from the very beginning — you’re going to hear “no” more than you ever hear “yes” — there is a great need for mental toughness. But that’s something you can’t really go to school for.
People can tell you how to toughen up and how to travel the road to success, but until you actually do the work, you’re not going to get there. And there isn’t a diploma, certificate, or degree that will change this fact.
Therefore, it’s important to focus on building your mental toughness, which you can do by following these tips.
Challenge your thinking
Your core beliefs can often hold you back. You come to believe a way of living your life or conducting yourself professionally is the only way. When that doesn’t yield results, you look to rest blame elsewhere instead of questioning and challenging your own view of the world. It’s easier to believe the reason for your failures lies elsewhere and not within. At least it seems that way until there’s no money coming in, and you’re having to take a second job to make ends meet. Agents who are able to self-evaluate and ask the question, “What is it about my approach that isn’t working?,” are able to better experiment and make breakthroughs.
Choose your mental battles
Each day there are going to be things you can control and things you cannot. It’s important to realize the amount of mental energy that you’re devoting to each one, and that you’re not wasting too much of this “thought capital” on areas you’re unable to change. You have to, in essence, choose the battles you want to fight. Where can your approach, your effort, make a difference? What areas are you beholden to other factors? Answer these questions, and you’ll know you should do next.
Replace negativity with productivity
Frustration is part of life. Not everything can go your way, and sometimes the losses pile up. That isn’t just true of being an insurance agent; it’s true of most any profession (and life as well). The first thing you need to do when losses start piling up is recognize negative thought patterns. Where are you playing the game of “poor poor pitiful me”? Where are you exasperated with what’s happening to you? Once you can spot these thought patterns, it’s much easier to replace them with “What can I do to alter course?” If you can’t do anything, don’t waste your mental energy worrying about it (see No. 2); but if you can do something, then get busy!
Discomfort is another thing you will experience at some point in your career as an insurance agent. A competitor will beat you on price. You will spend a lot of time nurturing an insurance lead only to have him ditch you at the 11th Hour. Clients will leave. New business will slow down. Anyone who has ever done this job has experienced at least one of these discomforts; yet you still see agents, who have been doing the job for decades. That’s because they’ve managed to confront their discomfort head-on. They’ve gotten comfortable with discomfort in other words, and this comfort has led them to use their creativity and energy to pivot and find new pathways to success. In contrast, agents who have never confronted discomfort do well until they lose that first or second or third piece of business. As losses add up, they have a tougher time adjusting their business practices.
Reflect and adjust
Reflection is perhaps the most important thing you can do to solidify your career and build mental toughness. By frequently reexamining what you’re doing — what’s working and what isn’t — you can try new things and make adjustments to your existing patterns in order to yield better results. Without reflection, the data that you have about your marketing, your sales approach, and your customers, are useless.
Mental toughness is what defines a success in any career — insurance sales is no exception. If you feel like you’re going through a funk, or if you want to get a handle on things before you get there, start employing the tips mentioned above. While you may not be able to prevent losses and failures from happening, you can be proactive. Doing so will help you build the endurance it takes to succeed over the long haul.