20 Habits of Successful Insurance Agents

November 15, 2016

Becoming and staying a successful Insurance Agent takes hard work.  It requires a daily focus on your targets and continuous improvement over days, weeks and years.  The following are 20 habits of successful Insurance Agents, these habits are not a one time activity.  You must make them part of your daily work and personal life.  

As you look to incorporate these habits into your daily activities, take one at a time and make it a daily activity before focusing on the next.  By incorporating these into your life, in time, you too will be a successful insurance agent.

1. Learn to delegate.  You can not do everything on your own.  Learn to trust your husband, wife, assistant, agents, vendors and others.  Growing a successful insurance agency requires a good deal of hard work and if you try to do it all alone, it will be much more difficult and take longer.

2. Trust others.  This habit goes along with learning to delegate.  You must trust that people you work with, can and will do a good job.  You need to trust that the people around you will do what they promise.  Without trust, you will be constantly second guessing people and checking up on them.

3. Trust yourself.  Be confident and trust your own decision making abilities.  Trust that you have hired the right people and vendors/partners to work with.  Trust that you can achieve your targets and can grow your agency.

4. Don’t be in a rush.  Success doesn’t happen overnight.  You will need to stick with it, even if you run into obstacles or feel like you are failing.  Success can take time and you should avoid jumping from one strategy to another without giving it enough time.  Some insurance agents will buy auto insurance leads and auto insurance calls for a few weeks and then stop, without giving it time to figure out how to make them work.  Achieving success with anything can take time.

5. Don’t be afraid to fail.  Some of the most successful people fail at a task, activity or endeavor, but then don’t give up and throw in the towel.  Learning what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what does.  If you are afraid to fail, you will miss out on opportunities.

6. Establish goals and targets.  When you have goals and targets you give yourself something to strive towards everyday.  Your goals and targets should be both short and long term and should include ones that have both business and personal elements.  Your goals should also be both measurable and achievable.

7. Ask for help.  Never be afraid to ask for help and advice when you are uncertain about something.  If you are not sure how best to work auto insurance calls and leads, you should ask for help from your vendor, a former co-worker, another successful agent, or even social media.

8. Help others.  Just as you should ask for help when you need it, you should be willing to help others when they ask you for assistance.  When you help others, you are developing deeper relationships and others will be more than willing to help you in the future.

9. Establish partnerships.  Similar to not being afraid to ask for help and helping others, you should partner with others to grow your insurance agency and book of business.  You should view all your relationships as partnerships.  Some insurance agents view their home or auto insurance lead vendor as an adversary when in reality they should be viewed as a partner and treated as such.

10. Avoid saying “I’m too busy” or “I have too much on my plate.”  When you say you are too busy to someone, you are really saying, that isn’t a priority to me or you are not important to me.  If you don’t want to do something, just say so or explain why you don’t want to do it.  People will respect your honesty.

11. Negotiate.  Very little in life is black or white.  There are many shades of gray.  When you are working with your clients, vendors, employees or others, be willing to negotiate to reach agreement.  While it might be earlier to walk away than to negotiate, you will get more done when you are willing to negotiate for things you want or need.
12. Show appreciation.  When you thank people for doing business with you, finishing a project or even just being available for advice, you are expressing your appreciation.  When people feel appreciated, they will want to help you again in the future.

13. Commit to lifelong learning.  It is important to recognize that you do not know everything.  Once you recognize this, you should then commit yourself to learning new things and lifelong learning.  The world is constantly changing and you should want to keep up with the changes.  An insurance agent once told me, “I’m going to retire in a few years, I don’t need to learn how to use real-time auto insurance leads.”  He wasn’t exhibiting the habit of a successful insurance agent.

14. Eat right and exercise daily.  Eating right and exercising everyday will help increase your energy level, reduce your stress and improve your overall health.  It is easy to say that you don’t have the time or are just too busy.  What you are really saying is it isn’t a priority for you, when it should be.  

15. Build and maintain a good reputation.  When you are known as someone who can be trusted and counted on, people will want to do business with you.  When you are known as smart and outgoing, people will want to be around you.  It is important to have a good reputation with the people you work with, your vendors and your clients.

16. Manage stress.  Owning and managing an insurance agency can be extremely stressful.  Insurance agents have to balance the needs of the carriers they work with, with the needs of the insured.  These needs don’t always align in every situation.   While it is impossible to be stress free, it is important to recognize your stress and find ways to manage it so that it doesn’t have a negative impact on your life.

17. Smile and have fun.  People like to be around other happy people.  When you smile while selling a home insurance or auto insurance policy, people will smile back.  Smiling and having fun at work and at home will reduce your stress and will help you to be more successful.

18. Take an interest in others.  When you take an interest in others, they will be more willing to want to take an interest in you.  In many cases, when you receive an auto insurance lead or auto insurance call, that will be the very first time you will be talking to that person.  When you show a real interest in that person and their life, they will be more interested in doing business with you.  The same holds true with vendors, employees and others.

19. Meet commitments.  Meeting your commitments is one way you can start to build a good reputation.  Meeting the commitments you make to your employees, vendors, employees and others will help you to become a successful insurance agent.

20. Work with a sense of urgency.  While you don’t need to be in a rush to achieve success, you do need to work with a sense of urgency.  Successful insurance agents are active managers and active sales people who are not be complacent or relaxed about achieving their goals and objectives.

Sales and Marketing Tips for Independent Insurance Agents

October 20, 2016

Most independent insurance agents represent multiple insurance carriers, the carriers they represent may cover virtually every market niche or segment.  This gives independent insurance agents, especially P&C agents who focus on writing home and auto insurance business, the ability to write (and be competitive) with a broad spectrum of consumers.  While this gives them one competitive advantage, the fact that they are going against many well known and established brands, they must work extra hard to overcome this disadvantage to build their agency and book of business.

The following are 10 sales and marketing tips for successfully growing your independent insurance agency and book of business.  As an independent insurance agent you should try to utilize/implement as many of these tips as possible.

1. Develop a business plan or budget.  Independent insurance agents should have a plan or budget for the number of sales they want to achieve each day, week and month.  This budget should be broken down by insurance type.  With this budget, independent agents can then come up with a specific plan on how to achieve these sales.  The plan will need to be detailed in terms of the number of insurance leads to buy, staffing, commission, etc.  Plans should include as much detail as possible.

2. Allocate marketing budget and stick to it.  Often insurance agents will cut their marketing and lead budget if they are seeing lower than expected revenues or higher expenses.  This is a mistake.  Without home and auto insurance leads, it would be impossible to achieve your budget or plan for new auto or home policies.  It becomes a vicious circle of not hitting target and further cutting leads and/or marketing if you do this.

3. Split your time between both service and sales activities.  Many independent insurance agents will spent a majority of their time on what they like to do, rather than making a conscious effort to split their time appropriately between maintaining clients and growing new business.  

4. Use pay for performance marketing.  Independent insurance agents should limit the amount of marketing they spend on activities which do not generate specific activity that will result in sales.  Spending your marketing on branding activities will yield a very low return on your investment.  Buying home and auto insurance leads and calls will yield a very high ROI.

5. Establish processes; use a CRM.  Agents that use a CRM have a higher close ratio and ROI.   Using a CRM to manage your client and prospect interactions will make sure that opportunities do not slip through the cracks and become wasted.  A CRM allows you to automate the process of quoting, nurturing and following-up with your prospects.  There are many good cloud based CRMs that won’t require a significant monthly expenditure.

6. Build a strong reputation.  As an independent agent, you are competing against agencies with long established brands.  These brands spend millions every year to build and maintain their brand.  To counter this, independent agents need to do everything possible to build and maintain a strong online and offline reputation.  More and more people will search a company online before they do business with them for the first time.  A strong reputation among your clients will also lead to more referrals and new policies.

7. Hire the right staff and provide regular training.  Hiring strong sales people who are proven closers is a strategy that will help you grow your book of business.  Some independent agency owners will hire friends and family with little or no experience.  This is a mistake.  It is important to hire the right staff and provide ongoing training to continuously improve their skills.

8. Periodically ‘re-shop’ client’s business.  Once you win a prospect's business, you need to periodically re-shop their coverage to see if you can either provide a higher level of coverage for the same price or the same level of coverage for a lower price.  When you are an independent agent, without strong brand loyalty, your clients may periodically look elsewhere to obtain insurance.  If you show your clients you are providing them with an extra benefit or higher level of service, they will be more likely to stay with you and refer other insurance buyers.

9. Buy home and auto insurance leads and calls without filters.  When you buy insurance calls and leads without filters, you have a greater opportunity to get enough leads or calls to meet your targeted sales goal.  Filters limit the number of opportunities you have to quote and write policies.  You should buy leads and calls for all the states you are licensed to write policies in.  The larger the geography you buy leads from, the great opportunity you will have to write business.

10. Build a diverse book of business.  Some independent insurance agents target a very specific type of business, geographic location and will sometimes place it all with one carrier.  This is a mistake.  It is essential to build a varied portfolio of business so you will be well positioned if one or more carriers change their underwriting standards, prices or a host of things that can impact your ability to generate renewal commissions and write new business.

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