I can only speak to how I started in this industry and how I’ve brought other people into the industry. Obviously, it’s a really tough industry to get your arms around quickly. It’s usually a process. I always say it will take at least three years to get fully comfortable in what you’re doing.

I started out with LUTCF, which is more of an entry level designation and it really taught me the skillsets that I need, and that is also how I’ve brought others into our agency. We can talk about product all day long, but to me one of hardest things to get comfortable with is the sales process. Those are things you don’t really get taught, say, at an insurance school in a home office.

Definitely the hands-on skills-building training is really what I look for — so a combination of LUTCF and really doing joint appointments. We do a lot of teaming in our office and do role playing before the meeting and also do it live in the client meeting. The best way I learned was to just do it myself.

Once I got that under my belt, did LUTCF and got through my first three years, then I started toward the more advanced designation programs. I got my CFP and my CLU, because I think you always have to be learning. I had a mentor who was amazing. I used to send him case scenarios via email and he would help talk me through it. Anytime you can surround yourself with other advisors who’ve been around a lot longer, you’re certainly going to be much better off. Having a really easy way to team people up and set up mentor programs will help new agents.

There’s a lot that happens on the mental side of starting out in this industry, and it’s probably in any sales career. Certainly if you get a couple wins under your built it builds confidence, but confidence is something I really struggled with early on. And that’s why having that team approach is really good because then you have someone to fall back on if you can’t answer a certain question. A couple wins or positive experiences will help build confidence and that’s why it takes that three years because it takes some time for you to believe that you can actually do it.

It’s probably going to vary from candidate to candidate. Some people will come in and be uber confident about everything they do. They may have some self-doubt in the back of their head. Others may just feel like they will never be able to learn it. You have to just meet the person where they are, and that’s why that one-on-one teaming or mentoring is really important so that you can build confidence together.

I would like to think we can throw a book in front of everyone and have them read and comprehend it and then to be top of the table producers immediately, but that’s not how it works. It’s going to take time.

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