1. Professionalism is at the top of the list. You have one time to make a first impression. If you blow it, that's on you. Dressing the part, speaking intelligently and avoiding slang or industry jargon will lend itself well to gleaning more clients. The first step to having your clients entrust you with their future insurance needs is to act accordingly. Would you buy insurance from yourself? Trust is huge when it comes to purchasing insurance and financial products.
2. Knowledge is next. If you don't know what you're selling, how do you expect your clients to purchase from you? Study your insurance products and understand what benefits they provide for your clients. If you don't know the answer, simply tell your client you'll research the answer and will get back to them. On the flip side, you don't want to come across as a "know-it-all" and overwhelm your clients with non-essential information. Moderation is key.
3. Technology is on deck for number three. If you aren't technologically savvy and struggle with basic web navigation and software, then it's time to bone up on those skills. Successful insurance agents today submit their business electronically and monitor their business online. They also run quotes and illustrations for clients online at any time of day or night. Everything you need to be successful in insurance is online.
4. Marketing is number four on the list. Carriers will provide you with consumer-facing materials, but at the end of the day, it's up to you to market yourself and your agency. You are your own brand, and you must convey your professionalism (see tip #1) via your email address and online presence. That means ditching the Yahoo email account and purchasing a domain (they're incredibly economical) and doing business with a verified business email address. And while we're talking about online presence, having a website or at the very least a landing page or micro site, is prudent. Many agents get a way with just having a facebook business page and their LinkedIn profiles, but if you can afford a small website to direct your clients to, you're on your way to a successful career.
5. Listening is imperative. You can spiel about the importance of insurance all you want, but if you don't listen to your clients and their needs, you're shooting yourself in the foot. Listening is half of selling. You need to create solutions for your clients and since they can't pick up a Medicare Supplement or Life Insurance policy in their hands and have a tangible product to identify with, it's up to you to listen and then relay the benefits of the solution you create for them,
6. Attention to details. Paying attention to yourself is imperative, whether it be in meetings, how you speak to your clients, how you respond to emails or voicemails. Paying attention to how you conduct your business will go a long way in helping you correct your mistakes and becoming more versed in this industry.
7. Digging deep. That's right. Selling insurance is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication, commitment and hard work. Yes, you're your own boss, but with that comes accountability. It's up to you to monitor your business, market yourself, bring on new clients, set goals for future growth, make time for continuing education and taking care of your existing clients.
8. Connected is up next. Being involved in your community, networking and having a social presence is paramount. You don't have to be the town mayor, but you do need to be social. Reach out to your clients, follow up with them, let them know about new products and find out how they're doing. Life is not static. It's up to you keep up with the pace and be socially aware.
9. Receiving advice is important. If you have a mentor or someone you value who works in the insurance industry and can impart knowledge and tips, then listen and take advantage of their wisdom. We all know we learn best by actually "doing", but when you can learn from someone who is successful in this business, why wouldn't you?
10. Patience. Lastly, we must address the elephant in the room. Success doesn't happen overnight. If it did, we'd all be jumping on the next bus to Money Town. Remember that hard work and dedication DO pay off and every year you should see incremental growth. If you're not, then you need to unearth why you're not growing and what's contributing to your lack of success. Each day is a new day to call prospective clients, learn about a new product and grow your business by thinking forward. If you take the time to invest in yourself, you will undoubtedly be a successful insurance agent.
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.