We’ve all been there: It’s the first day of school, you can’t find your way to class, and, worse, you’re late. Everyone knows what it feels like to be lost. Most of us have experienced this feeling even in the workplace.
Whether you find yourself shifting your feet uncomfortably during the first few minutes of new coworker introductions or struggling to set up your own agency, we have compiled a list of helpful tips for new insurance agents. Even if you’ve been in the insurance industry for a very long time, it’s always good to brush up on these best practices.
Do you have your own list of expert tips? Leave them in the comments section below.
Some tips from one of our readers:
1. If you’re an advisor, get the ChFC designation.
“I would immediately enroll in The American College and earn a ChFC designation.” – Robert J. Fowler, CFP, ChFC
2. Have a phone script.
“I would develop a short concise brisk phone script between 15–25 seconds to introduce yourself. Also, invest in a microcassette tape recorder and listen to your talks!” – Robert J. Fowler, CFP, ChFC
3. Persevere in the face of adversity.
“To the new people, follow the wise words of Sir Winston Churchill: ‘Never, Never, Never, Never give up.’” Persevere and lean how to bounce back from rejections.” – Robert J. Fowler, CFP, ChFC
4. Build your client roster.
You are a salesperson and you need clients. How do you find them? Start getting the word out to your family and friends, invest in marketing, make cold calls, send out emails, find connections through LinkedIn and other social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. The important thing is that you get the word out about the value that you bring to the table, and the client base you are looking to serve.
Develop a system to keep track of those contacted. Set goals; the more specific, the better.
5. Referrals are a lifeline.
When was the last time you bought a car, headphones, a smartphone, a tablet or something that cost you more than $100? How did you select the product that you ultimately bought, and what helped you make the purchasing decision?
If you did your research online, you probably read the product description, went to a few reviewing or testing sites (say, Consumer Reports), read the users’ reviews and asked friends and family via social media about their experiences. That might’ve taken a few hours or days, but it’s how we usually shop in this day and age — unless you’re an Apple fan; in which case you’re probably already camping out in front of the store for the next iPhone.
The bottom line is that if someone doesn’t refer a product or service to you, the purchase process becomes much longer and less intuitive.
That’s the power of referrals. Depending on who the information comes from, it can make or break a sale.
6. Figure out what makes you you, and personalize everything.
What makes you different? Why would someone come to you to buy something that they could potentially buy from someone else? How can you differentiate yourself?
These are questions that you should be able to answer right alongside your value proposition. Let your client know why you’re different as early as possible. Also, figure out how your client prefers to communicate with you: is it face-to-face, via phone, via text, social media or email? Adjust to their preferred method and go the extra mile.
Remember how excited you were (possibly still are) whenever you got a postcard in the mail? Send your clients a birthday postcard or take advantage of the holidays to keep top of mind.
7. Just … listen.
There are millions of sayings about how listening is an art and how you learn from other people. And there’s a very wise reason for this: Every time you truly pay attention to other people, you’re not only learning from them, you are showing them that they are important.
If you’re used to talking and like hearing your own voice, start small. Practice with your own friends and family and listen. It’s the only way you’re really going to get to know your client, bond with them and figure out what they need.
See also: The 5 best ways to earn client trust
8. You MUST have a website. You MUST be on social media.
If you’re in business by yourself, there are many tools you can use to build your website (WordPress, for example). You will need to pay for hosting and your domain name yearly. WordPress has a free way to build your website, but if you pay a little bit more, you could get some really cool templates to make it different.
If you want more ideas on how to build your website, read 5 tips for an ideal website.
Social media is a little bit easier, since it literally just requires that you fill out information for your page, for example, on Facebook. The tricky part comes when you have to manage and interact with your followers. For more on that, go here.
See also: How advisors are being found in 2015
9. Get the “age elephant” out of the room … fast.
Being young is great because you have lots of energy, lots of ideas, and what seems like all the time in the world and all the ambition to take it over. However, sometimes age can become a hurdle. Some people think that because you’re just starting out and you look like a 15-year-old, you’re no expert. And, of course, experience does breed expertise.
That said, being a rookie doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t sell well. That’s where building trust with your client comes in, especially being honest from the get-go.
Is your age making your client uncomfortable? Ask if that’s a deal breaker for them. But first, make sure that your “youth complex” is not all in your head.
See also: Are all buyers liars?
10. Socialize and network.
Tip No. 5 shared why referrals are your lifeline. Well, you can’t really expand your circle of clients if you don’t ever venture out of the office. So, put on your best clothes, smile and attitude, and find ways to network within your client circle. (Also, find new circles.)
To do this, you can join your local golf or tennis club, or even a gym class, and start getting the word out about your services and value — don’t be pushy, just let it happen naturally. You can also attend trade shows, conferences and meetings to get to know other insurance agents in your field, join an association of your preference, get involved in your community and volunteer.
There are websites like Meetup.com and even groups on LinkedIn that meet frequently near your area. Explore, meet new people and don’t ever get discouraged. Make Buzz Lightyear’s motto your own: “To infinity, and beyond!”
Want more ideas? Check out our extensive coverage on where and how to find more leads in the following articles (one last tip: we’re constantly publishing ideas on how to find and keep clients!)