Posted by Kara Franklin ● April 20, 2022
4 Tips to Become a Successful Insurance Agent
How to Become a Successful Insurance Agent
There is no doubt about it: being an insurance agent is difficult. Agents must maintain expert product knowledge in a field that changes rapidly. Plus, the insurance industry is highly competitive. No matter whether you are newly licensed or a veteran agent, these qualities and tips can help you become a more successful insurance agent.
- Your clients are the most important part of your business
- Go further than social media prospecting
- Build your value and expand your reach
- Be a continuous learner and search for growth opportunities
1. Provide outstanding customer service
First and foremost, the relationships with your clients make you a successful agent. It’s not the lines of insurance you sell or the advertisements you use: a good insurance agent meets the needs and values of their customers. Excellent customer service cultivates relationships beyond one client—it creates a network.
Clients are looking for products that bring value to their lives. Insurance provides ease of mind because it protects a client’s family, homes, cars, and what is most precious to them. When you are providing the utmost service to your clients, you are building trusting relationships and long-term clients.
Get to know your clients
Your relationship with your client should feel personal, not transactional. Knowing the names of your client’s close family members, their favorite hobbies, or other things you can relate to shows the client you care about them as a person. Have conversations about common interests. You’ll be surprised how important these conversations are to understanding your clients’ needs.
Ask and listen
A client cannot have their needs met if you do not know them. Ask questions and actively listen to their answers, going further than the standard questions provided on the applications. If you want more clarification, let the client know. You can also prepare open-ended questions in advance as conversation starters. These questions can help you learn more about the client and make better recommendations. For example:
- When you buy an insurance policy, what do you want it to accomplish?
- What is your philosophy regarding insurance?
- What was your last experience buying insurance like?
These questions can help you understand your client’s perspective, as well as any obstacles you may face selling them a policy. Also ask questions to build rapport about their family, pets, hobbies, and so on. Their answers may very well impact your sales strategy.
If a client chooses to confide in you about personal matters, have empathy and understanding. Empathy is one of the most important parts to building connections with others. Ask yourself: If you had the same financial position, family situation, and goals, what products would you want as an insured? With this practice, your recommendations will always be in the client’s best interest.
Sell on clients’ needs
There are several factors to consider when presenting a client with products. Three common factors are the clients’ needs, the protection provided, and the price. Meeting all of the client’s needs and providing the most protection takes precedence over price and should be presented as such.
Think about purchasing a security system for your home. Chances are, you will not purchase the lowest grade security system from a company whose name you do not recognize. You’re likely to find a mid- to higher-range system that you can afford, with features you desire to keep your home and your family safe. This is how insurance should be presented to your client.
Be honest and transparent
If an agent fails to be honest and transparent with their client, they are also failing to provide the service the client deserves. There is a direct relationship between transparency and customer satisfaction. If a client feels pressured to buy a product they do not understand, or are confused why it benefits them, they’re not likely to trust you.
To many people, insurance seems obscure and mystified. Your clients simply may not understand the complexities of insurance because they have never had anyone explain it to them. Simplify, make it relatable, and welcome their questions. Your clients may be grateful to have a clear understanding of insurance and the benefits it provides.
2. Always be prospecting
Each person you encounter may be a potential client, or may be the connection to one. Always being aware of your prospects, or creating them, is a key component to an insurance agent’s success. Knowing when a prospect could turn into a client is a skill that must also be developed through persistence.
Social media marketing is a big topic in the insurance industry. While it is a recommended and useful tool that can contribute to your business, the majority of business will come through referrals. Clients will refer their family and friends to you if they feel you provided them valuable service. This begins your network of personal recommendations, which goes further than the capabilities of social media and marketing.
Do not forget about other agents, adjusters, consultants, or advisors, either. If you are not able to meet the client’s needs with the designations and licenses you have, refer them to someone who can. This often becomes a reciprocal relationship and will be another facet to your network.
Building your customer base can be demanding. Becoming involved in the community helps to break the stigma that an insurance agent “is only a salesperson.” You can volunteer, take fitness or skills classes, become a member of local clubs, or participate in local events while keeping prospects in your peripheral.
Participating in these activities will give you a break from the office and give you a great opportunity to meet people who may not run in your regular circle. Even if those you meet are not interested in purchasing insurance, they may know someone who is.
3. Build your value
Becoming a multi-tiered resource for clients is important for expanding your business. After establishing rapport with your clients, it is important to build your value to them. Improving yourself as a professional may be slow work, but it can foster exponential results. Ask yourself and your clients: What can you do to improve the quality of your services? What are other services you can deliver to your clients?
Clients will have questions, and will feel more comfortable with someone who presents themselves as an expert. Being knowledgeable about many products is the best way to know which products will be suitable to the clients you service. Continuing education is required to maintain your license, but it is an excellent tool for exploring relevant insurance topics and trends. Discover other resources as well, like seminars and journals, and use them to your advantage.
Insurance involves several fields, such as finances, investments, and taxes. It can be an advantage to earn designations in these areas. Tax and financial designations, such as Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Counselor, can bring a different level of business for your clients that also want help with taxes, investments, or budgeting. Designations show that you put extra effort into becoming as knowledgeable as possible, and that you remain up to date with the most current industry information.
Adding more licenses to your arsenal will expand your business as well. For example, it is practical for life insurance agents to obtain a securities license, which gives the ability to sell securities products, such as variable life insurance and variable annuity contracts. Clients interested in investing will benefit from having one of these policies that combine insurance and securities.
4. Develop yourself
Successful professionals promote having a student mentality. Always search for opportunities to learn and develop yourself further than your product knowledge. There are resources, like books and blogs, that provide guides to becoming a better professional.
You may have heard the phrase, “Surround yourself with successful people.” Reach out to these individuals as mentors. They will have in-depth knowledge and experience you can learn and apply in your own daily habits.
Having technical skills and product knowledge is important in the insurance business, but interpersonal and professional skills are more crucial than people may realize. An insurance agent cannot be successful without communication skills, persistence, critical problem solving, or emotional intelligence. These may appear like “you either have it or you don’t” skills, but that is not true. There are classes, seminars, and material available that explain how to develop these soft skills.
Building your business network takes time and persistence. Being successful is no small task, even as an insurance agent. But, with uncapped earning potential, being successful as an insurance agent will undoubtedly bring you reward for your hard work. If you implement these 4 practices into your daily habits, you will soon see your success grow.