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Practice Management > Building Your Business

42 reasons to love being an insurance agent

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Attendees of the 2014 Advisor Network Summit in Las Vegas were presented with a deluge of sales tips, sound bites and statistics. From inspirational quotes to regulatory predictions to nuts-and-bolts discussions about the products themselves, there was something for everyone. On the following pages, you’ll find a sampling of what was shared during the three info-packed days. We’re sure you’ll find ideas that you can immediately incorporate into your daily practice — and plenty of reasons to celebrate the work you do every day, too.


You have the ability to control your own practice and schedule.

On quality of life: “I didn’t want to be working 90 hours a week for 52 weeks. It’s not about the money for me. I enjoy the quality of life. No matter how rich you are, you can’t buy time. – Philip Rousseaux

On specialization: “If one of my partners is out I can walk into that meeting, take a look at the scenario and be able to have an intelligent conversation with that client — no problem. It’s a very niche practice, what we’re doing. I used to know a little bit about a lot of things; now I know a tremendous amount about a narrow very area.” – Jay LaMalfa


You have the opportunity to engage and help prospects every single day.

On today’s buyer: “The rules of engagement have changed between buyer and seller. Today’s buyer has much more information and is more educated.” – Patrick Leary

On empowering your clients: “This is about showing people they can take control of their lives.” – Van Mueller

On timing: “You’ve spent a lot of money to find and meet prospects though the year, but you’ve gotten no business from them because the timing wasn’t right.” – Steve DeJohn


You sell products that are truly needed. 

On product pride: “We sell amazing products and the only people who don’t know it are you guys!” – Van Mueller

On retirement planning: “I try to get the client to identify and understand all the potential risks they could have in retirement — the health care issue, LTC issue, investment risk, interest rate, inflation, tax risk, etc. — and how it applies in their plans so we can build the plan to address those obstacles.” – Bill Danner

On what selling really means: “The role of the sales professional is no longer just about providing information, but about helping consumers weed through information, to help identify needs and provide solutions.” – Patrick Leary

On risk management: “I would encourage all advisors to really concentrate on how much are you willing to lose? Often in our industry, we talk about returns on the securities side. But how often are you able to connect what your client should be doing and what they’re going to do? Our job is to guard the client against themselves, and it’s the emotions that cause the problems.” – Jason Jenkins

On addressing fear: “Tell your prospects, ‘What if every time something bad happens, I could put you in the position to do something about it?’” – Van Mueller

On turning lemons into lemonade: “Most things we view as negatives in the sale process can be turned into positives if we openly communicate with clients.” – Jim Brogran

On guiding the sale: “There are two ways people make buying decisions: External decisions: When people sell them or convince them. Consumers are afraid to be sold. They don’t like feeling pressured. Internal decisions: When people convince themselves. People love to come to their own conclusions.” – Brandon Stuerke



Practice leads to peak performance.

On the importance of choice: “It’s important that you understand the word ‘choice,’ because we all have choices about how we think and interpret a situation.” – Dr. Jack Singer

On failure: “90 percent of agents fail. I don’t think they have the right plan. When I started, I was the same way. I failed, but I never quit. I failed until I got it right.” – James Veal

On self-doubt: “An Olympic athlete is competing against seven other athletes, where the difference between first and last place is 1/110th of a second. If that athlete says to himself, ‘what if I slip?’ or ‘what if I jump before the gun goes off?’ or ‘what if the guy next to me has his best day?’ he immediately sabotages his performance.” – Dr. Jack Singer

On handling rejection: “You need to be rejected every day in order to be successful. If you’re not rejected every day, you’re not doing enough business.” – James Veal

On the performance equation: “Your performance at any time always equals your talent plus your experience minus your distractions.” – Dr. Jack Singer


There’s more power than ever in the proper branding.

On strategic messaging: “Advisors have so much knowledge to offer, but if you can’t get your message out to people who need to hear it, it does them no good and it does you no good.” – Brandon Stuerke

On integrity: “My goal with prospects is that they have mentally already hired me before we’ve met because of the way I present myself in the community. You can’t market truth, but you can display it.” – Jim Brogran

On community buzz: “People are going to talk about you either way. What are they going to say?” – Mark Pruitt

On honesty: Brand yourself by getting info out. Don’t hold back. People resent half-truths. If you hear a presentation and people are holding back to get you to come by their booth, don’t you resent it? I resent the mess out of it. Don’t do it to your prospects and customers.” – Jim Brogan


Integrity pays off.

On building trust: “If you’re proactive in disclosure, it creates trust. If I’m truly an advisor and not a salesman, I’m going to tell them everything they need to know about the product and the fact that I’m being compensated. – Jim Brogran

On meeting people where they’re at: “Stop telling people you know everything — and start showing them you’re interested in their opinions.” – Van Mueller

On competition: “Money’s a tool, not an object. Don’t let another advisor’s success become your goal.” – Jim Brogran

On the importance of planning: “The biggest transition in my career was when it became more about the plan and not the profit. I view it as coordinating all the major concerns in your retirement path. Creating that comfort level and having a relationship with other professionals, coordinating allows them to feel better.” – Greg Hammer



You’re in a position of leadership.

On leading well: “‘Coach’ is a very powerful seat. When you have a whistle around your neck, your responsibility is to give answers. They also want trust. In football, if players don’t trust the head coach, you’ve got issues.” – Herm Edwards

On building a team: “Your job is to not allow your players to fail. You’re either coaching it or allowing it to happen.” – Herm Edwards


There are many niche markets that are underserved. 

On the African-American market: “African American people will work with anyone if they like them. They just want somebody who cares. It has nothing to do with race.” – James Veal

  • 90 percent of African Americans with at least $50,000 in the U.S. never have any relationship with a financial advisor.
  • 93 percent think advisors are too expensive and that they can’t afford them. They’ve never been educated. That means guaranteed poverty.
  • 69 percent believe they don’t need a financial advisor ever. That’s one of the saddest things I’ve heard in my life. But it’s fun once you change their mindset. After we speak with them, we change their lives. – James Veal


Income protection is a powerful promise.

On variable annuities: “We use variable annuities because we feel they give people that inflation edge. That’s one of the key positive elements. We have the ability to be more aggressive in areas we probably wouldn’t or shouldn’t do without those benefits.” – Jay LaMalfa

On suitability: “I think the biggest change we’ve had in this industry is suitability. That’s really affected your businesses in a big way. It has affected not only the products that are in your toolbox, but the solutions that you can provide to your clients, as well.” – Sheryl Moore

On protection: “The biggest challenge is educating the client, explaining to consumers that annuities are the only investment in the world that can protect them in retirement. We’ve come a long way, but still we’re trying still the get the word ‘annuity’ to not be associated with negative connotations.” – Philip Rousseaux


You are able to meet a variety of client needs.

On meeting clients’ needs: “If you’re dually licensed, you have everything available to the client. You are able to present both sides; you’ve educated a client and then you can make a recommendation that’s in their best interest. More choices help them make the right decision.” – Greg Hammer



The female market is both profitable and loyal.

On the female market: “Women are not a niche market. So, what is the niche? Here are a few examples:

  • Women business owners
  • Corporate executive women in a specific industry
  • Women in transition — divorcees, widows, sudden inheritors” – Rebecca True


  • The female economy is now one of the largest on Earth and is expanding every day.
  • Women business owners are contributing to the fastest growing segment of the economy.
  • 92 percent of women become the primary decision maker at some point in their lives.
  • By age 65, the majority of women are single.
  • 70 percent of inheritance will go to women and this will continue to be true for the next 40 years.
  • Women comprise 35 percent of all management positions and 23 percent of senior management positions.
  • Women are very philanthropic. – Rebecca True

What is common among women?

  • Longer life expectancies
  • Competing interests for time
  • Love and prioritize families above everything
  • Like to be well-informed about available choices before committing to a solution
  • Want an advisor to relate well and really listen to their concerns
  • Tend to take less risk with investments
  • More focused on the reason for a solution, not necessarily performance
  • Masters at networking with one another and they refer more often
  • They are more loyal to professional advisors — and more profitable – Rebecca True

“I don’t market my business using social media — I use it to learn what my clients are doing and what their families are doing. To create conversation points. I also share things about my life, what my kids are up to, the articles I read. People get to know me even when I’m not right in front of them.” – Rebecca True

Next steps

  • Define what type of women you and your practice are interested in and capable of serving.
  • Determine how that type of woman wants to be educated about the financial matters that matter most to them.
  • Identify where you can find groups of them and be there!
  • Provide specific solutions for each life stage that addressed their needs so they tell their friends. – Rebecca True


Succession planning is a massive opportunity that will only continue to grow.

On building the right plan: Succession planning takes 3 to 5 years because the first attempts usually don’t work. If you specialize in this, you’re going to have a line out the door.” – RJ Kelly



There is support for regulatory issues, if you know where to look.

On finding the right support: “You’ve got great resources out there; use them. Your marketing organizations and carriers are very attuned to what is compliant, so use the resources that are there for you. Don’t go it alone.” – Kim O’Brien

On collaboration: “One of the things we do here in Nevada that I would love to see other states do is we have an advisory committee made up of industry reps, brokers, advisors as well as some consumers, and we sit down quarterly and talk about issues.” – Scott Kipper



Online marketing opens up a wealth of opportunity.

On free information: There are six psychological reasons that offering free information on your website is a successful marketing technique:

  1. Reciprocity: If you give something away first, people are more inclined to want to take action back in your direction. Give the prospects free knowledge, and they’ll be more likely to want to meet you.
  2. Community: You’re reaching a large audience. And when they’re filtering into your office, they see they’re not the only ones who need guidance. There is safety in community.
  3. Stories and social proof: By sharing stories and personal anecdotes, you are putting things in context and increasing the likelihood that you will strike a chord with prospects and that they will relate to you.
  4. Confidence and momentum: Prospects want confidence in you, confidence in the plan, and – most of all – confidence in themselves.  They want to see the path and the progress they are making.
  5. Simplicity: In the insurance and financial world, we tend to overcomplicate. Consumers are looking for simple answers, and an online course can build value without confusion.
  6. Relationship, interaction and engagement: Your course displays who you are and where your values lie. Numerous prospects get to know you first, without fear of being sold.” — Brandon Stuerke



You get to exercise empathy every day.

On messaging: “If there’s one word I can use to clearly demonstrate why I’ve been able to explode my practice, this is it: I’m very good at putting myself in the shoes of the client and knowing how to message it so they can realize the solutions to their problems.” – Jim Brogan

On being detail-oriented: “Think through every detail from your prospect or client’s perspective. Think, ‘How would I want this to be done if I was the client?’” – Jim Brogan


Selling insurance is a true service business. 

On serving well: “If we give them knowledge without service, it doesn’t mean a lot.” – Mark Pruitt

On offering well-rounded advice: “We are a resource company for clients. Many of the services I provide have nothing to do with insurance or investments, but everything to do with providing value.” – Mark Pruitt

On standing out from the crowd: “Make yourself different. Make it clear you’re on their agenda from the first day. The first words I say are, ‘How may I serve you today?’” – Jim Brogan


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