Even the world’s top insurance salespeople make mistakes. What differentiates the best from the rest, though, is that rather than beat themselves up and wring their hands in despair over their mistakes, the best make an effort to learn from those mistakes and go on to become better salespeople. Here are some common mistakes that insurance salespeople make—especially when they are new to the industry:

1. Acting on leads too slowly. The scenario: A fairly new insurance salesperson has taken the advice of some more experienced peers and made an investment in some qualified insurance leads from a reputable company that comes highly recommended. The leads are even exclusive for a certain period of time, so really all the salesperson has to do is follow up on them and do what he really got into the business to do: sell insurance. However, knowing that the competition will not be sold the same leads right away, he ties up some other loose ends first, intending to call the leads soon.

A few days go by. The leads, perhaps under some pressure to find a good policy and find one quickly have begun making serious inquiries themselves. By the time the salesperson remembers to call his qualified leads, the leads have already been sold on proposals they got from other agents, ones they contacted themselves because they had a job to do quickly.

Rather than reflect for days on the stupidity of the move, an insurance salesperson can learn from the mistake and make time each day to ensure he contacts any new leads he gets—whether they are qualified insurance leads he has purchased or referrals from a satisfied client—as soon as they cross his desk. It may still take weeks to close a deal, but at least now the insurance salesperson has his “foot in the door” from day one.

2. Being too aggressive with an undecided lead. Every salesperson knows that she does need to be persuasive and exert a certain amount of pressure to close any deal. However, it is very easy to become a little too aggressive with a lead, especially when the product being sold is insurance. Instead of pressuring a lead, a great insurance salesperson will take the time to develop a real understanding of the potential client and business and most of all encourage the asking of questions. And if the prospect does seem to be dragging his feet, a simple phone call or email checking in and asking if he has any other concerns can be all the persuasion the prospect needs to go with such a helpful and concerned salesperson and the products she is offering.

3. Assuming everything is OK. Another big mistake that insurance salespeople make is assuming that a client who was delighted with his coverage when he purchased it will still be feeling the same way when it comes time for him to renew. Many an insurance salesperson has been surprised to learn that a client is making a change and not signing up for his product again because he has been having problems all along. “Why didn’t he call and say so?” thinks the salesperson. “I could have helped with that.”

The reason he didn’t call is probably because he is too busy, and the salesperson’s lack of follow-through seemed to indicate that he didn’t care very much anyway. He may have concluded that the best plan would be to cut his losses and switch to a new plan as soon as possible. The lesson to be learned from this mistake is that regular follow-up is absolutely essential, even if it is only a quick monthly call or email. A few minutes is all it takes, but those few minutes could be the difference between building up a loyal clientele and becoming known as a fly-by-night salesperson who does not provide good service.

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John Pojeta is the director of business development for PT Marketing, which provides high-quality business-to-business appointment setting for insurance professionals and financial advisors. For more information visit www.ptmarketing.com