succeed in insurance sales

Insurance sales can be a lucrative career. However, there’s a stark difference between bottom-tier earners and top-tier earners in the industry. To succeed in insurance sales, you need more than a license and a sense of ambition. You also need the right strategies.

The Characteristics of a Successful Insurance Agent

The Pareto principle states that 80% of results come from 20% of causes. Applied to insurance sales, this means that the top 20% of sales professionals are responsible for 80% of all sales. If you’re in the top 20%, you’re doing quite well for yourself. If you’re in the lower 80%, you may be struggling.

So what do successful insurance agents have that less successful insurance agents lack?

  • They’re motivated to do the hard work. Don’t confuse motivation with desire. You may want to have a lot of clients and write an impressive amount of premium, but unless you’re actually willing to do the work that’s required, you’re just dreaming.
  • They perform consistently. You may have bursts of energy that drive you to work hard for a short period of time, but what happens after that? If you spend most of your time procrastinating, those occasional bursts of productivity won’t be enough to carry your career. You have to work hard consistently.
  • They work smarter, not harder. Success requires an analytical approach. You can’t just wing it; you need to analyze what works and what doesn’t and stick to proven methods.

How to Rise to the Top in Insurance Sales

If you’re working hard but you’re still not getting ahead, your issue is likely that you need to work smarter, not harder. To be a successful insurance agent, start using successful strategies. When combined with consistent effort, the following four strategies can help you rise to the top.

1. Diversify Your Insurance Portfolio

YouGov conducted a survey and found that vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor in the U.S., with 59% of people saying they like vanilla and 11% of people saying it’s their favorite. If you were planning to open an ice cream shop, you would definitely want to offer vanilla ice cream. However, this doesn’t mean you would ONLY offer vanilla. You’d also want to offer the other top favorites, like chocolate, strawberry and cookies and cream, so you can appeal to people who don’t like vanilla or like other flavors more. You might also offer some less common flavors to help you stand out from your competition.

The same concepts apply to insurance. If you’re opening an agency, you want to sell the most common type of policy – but you shouldn’t just sell one type of policy. For example, if you’re selling life insurance, you can also sell disability, long-term care and critical illness insurance – and that’s just the beginning. You can diversify even more by offering different types of these policies, such as individual disability insurance, group disability insurance, and business disability insurance products. Otherwise, you’re limiting your pool of potential clients.

2. Develop a Specialty

Diversifying your portfolio doesn’t mean you need to become a jack-of-all-trades. You want to have a wide range of products so you can meet the needs of different people, but you also want to differentiate yourself from your competition. A good way to do this is to develop a specialty – or several specialties, but you can start with one.

For example, if you’re selling disability insurance, you’ll probably find that a lot of your best clients are doctors. You may also find that most doctors already have coverage, making it harder to find new clients. Pursuing the graduate medical education market – doctors who have graduated from medical school and are now spending several years as resident doctors to complete their training – could be a good way to differentiate yourself and reduce your competition.

Other niches could be high-net-worth individuals, business owners, dentists, or any other market you think you can serve well. Learn the ins and outs of the business and establish yourself as the agent people go to when they need expert, specialty assistance.

3. Serve Your Current Clients

Sometimes agents focus so much on chasing new leads that they end up neglecting their current clients. This is a huge mistake.

For one thing, it’s easier to retain a client than it is to gain a new client, but client retention still takes some effort. If you’re not putting in that effort, you risk losing your clients, and that means you’ll have to work even harder to find new clients to replace them. That’s no way to grow your business.

Furthermore, current clients are a great source of referral business – but only if you continue to take good care of them and stay top of mind. When you check in on your clients and provide useful tips for them, you can also mention that you appreciate referrals.

Also, your current clients ARE prospects. For example, if you’ve sold life insurance to a client, you can pitch disability insurance. If you’ve individual disability insurance to a business owner, you can pitch business overhead expense insurance. People’s needs can’t usually be met by a single insurance policy, so you can better serve your existing clients by determining what else they need and helping them secure it.

You also need to stay on top of existing policies. For example, if you’ve sold a disability insurance policy with a future purchase option, you need to follow up to see if your client’s salary has gone up. Without this reminder, there’s a good chance your clients will forget that they can raise their benefits, and when that happens, they miss out on the additional coverage they need, and you miss out on the commission.

4. Find Partners Who Support You

You might wonder how successful agents manage to do everything. Here’s a secret – they don’t. No one can do everything, so delegation is a key element of success. This is true even if you don’t have a large staff to handle tasks for you. You still need to find a partner who can take care of some of the work so you can focus on other tasks.

An insurance wholesaler can be a valuable partner. Not all insurance wholesalers are the same, but when you work with one that provides top value, you can obtain the following:

  • Education. There’s always more to learn, whether it’s a new product or a new sales technique. Your insurance wholesaler can provide tips and training materials to help you stay at the top of your game.
  • Sales Tools. Creating all of the social media posts, client handouts and sales scripts you need to drive your sales funnel can be a full job on its own, and you need these materials to be extremely high quality, so you make a good impression. Your insurance wholesaler can provide ready-to-go sales materials, so you don’t have to spend time or money finding your own materials.
  • Sales Support. Insurance agents of all levels can benefit from sales support. If you’re just starting out with a line like disability insurance, you may need help throughout the process. Even if you’re more experienced, you may want help securing insurance quotes so you don’t get bogged down as your sales volume increases. Your insurance wholesaler can provide the level of support you need.

Want to see how an insurance wholesaler can help you succeed in insurance sales? The disability insurance sector only places around 10% of quote policies in force, but DIS agents place 25% of quote policies in force. Learn more.


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