7 Reasons You'll Fail as an Insurance Agent
NOTE: If you’re a new financial advisor, make sure you check out Your First Year As A Financial Advisor, where I reveal several things every new financial advisor ought to know.
The financial services industry offers amazing career opportunities for those who take advantage. This is especially true for insurance agents and producers. Sadly, the insurance industry seems to be starving for new talent.
Young people, relatively speaking, aren’t flocking to become insurance agents. For those that do take on the challenge, around 90% or so (depending on which report you read) fail. “Fail” is a harsh word… maybe I should say “seek other opportunities”. In any case, they either can’t take it or can’t make it. Here are some reasons why you’ll “seek other opportunities”:
1. You view it as a job, not a career.
Is insurance a job for you, or is a career?
The real difference lies in your attitude. If you want a career, you will have long-term goals and a plan to achieve them. If you want a job, you will be in it to earn a little money. If it’s a career, you are using it as a tool to give your family a dream home, travel the world, build a classic car collection, or whatever your “why” is. If it’s a job, you are just using it to “pay those lousy bills”.
Nobody gets up in the morning excited and passionate about “paying those lousy bills”. There’s just no spark, no fire, and no motivation behind a job. If there is, it’s rare. Without this drive, you will have a hard time getting through the rejection and inevitable difficulties that come with building a business.
I want to share with you an idea that has truly changed my life. It’s the idea that building a business is like moving a stopped train. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to put the train into motion, but once it starts moving it accelerates with relative ease. Ask yourself: are you willing, truly willing, to put the time and energy in to get the train moving?
2. You have an income requirement that is initially unattainable.
Just to be clear, I do NOT mean setting low goals so you won’t be disappointed. I think you should set big goals, but at the same time, understand the realities of the paths that take you to your goals.
It’s common for an insurance agent’s first years to be the leanest of his/her career. But some people get in the business and only get told about top producers, so they set sky-high expectations. This isn’t entirely their fault – managers and recruiters emphasize the glamorous parts of insurance, like independence and income, to attract candidates.
New agents see veteran agent Bill making $300,000 per year and assume that they can at least make $100,000 or more in their first year. What they don’t see are the long years of hard work and prospecting that went into Bill’s lucrative client list. When they struggle to get their high income expectations, they leave.
3. You’re intimated by being undercut.
If you are too intimidated to sell in the face of being undercut on price, you won’t last long. I promise you that you will never win all of the price battles you’ll face against other companies. Endless price cutting only serves to devalue the agents, the agencies, and the industry as a whole. It is nothing but a race to the bottom.
You must learn that price isn’t everything – the relationship is. Make sure that your clients appreciate the VALUE of their insurance, not the PRICE. The value you give your clients should always be more than the premium total.
4. You don’t have a solid support system.
While it may be sad, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. Some people won’t make it in insurance (or any business, really) because they don’t have a good support system at home.
The most common one I’ve seen is a lack of spousal support. In a commission-based role, there is often a delay in receiving the financial rewards for your hard work. When finances are tight, money fights can occur and they impact everything else.
Sometimes the lack of spousal support masks other underlying issues. Take a good look to see if you have different values, expectations, or goals. You might assume that something is perfectly fine while your spouse expects something completely different. In any case, communication is critical, and you should seek ways to support each other in achieving all of your goals.
5. You need to be nurtured.
There’s not much hand-holding in the insurance business. I know managers and recruiters promise endless support and world-class training, but it often never happens. This also causes a gap between the new agent’s expectations and reality.
If you need constant nurturing and hand-holding, the insurance business might not be for you. Successful insurance agents love their independence, while people who need to be nurtured want constant attention, and they need to be told they’re doing a great job.
If you need constant encouragement and cultivation, it could be a sign that you’re not confident enough. Successful insurance agents tend to have tons of confidence that overcomes fears like call reluctance and drives them to close deals.
6. You’re not driven enough.
Without a strong internal drive, your chances of success will be marginal at best.
Everything you get out of life will be the result of what you put into it. The most important thing you can work on is yourself. This means investing the resources that will help you grow the most. The people who view insurance as just another job will never take the time to read the books and learn the skills they need.
7. You never learned sales and marketing.
This is a HUGE reason why insurance agents fail. Anybody can step outside the office and hand out some business cards, but only the truly successful cultivate a viable marketing plan and sales system.
For example, did you know that more than half of all Internet searches are done through a mobile device? Yet, very few insurance websites are mobile friendly. How about the fact that 65% of people look for the most relevant information, regardless of the company that provides the answer? Still, most financial services providers aren’t invested enough in digital marketing.
I don’t want to give you the impression that you should only focus on digital marketing, because those are just some examples. However, if you never learn marketing and sales, you will get stuck in a perpetual cycle of pushing, tugging, convincing, and persuading. You’ll end up hating yourself, your job, or both. A good sales and marketing system serves as your foundation – from there, you start building a successful business.
P.S. If you're a financial advisor who wants to get more clients from LinkedIn, make sure you check out How to Get Clients With LinkedIn: How Financial Advisors Can Set Appointments and Convert Prospects With LinkedIn