Insurance sales is one of the most competitive and challenging sales professions out there. But, it's also one of the most lucrative and rewarding from the standpoint of income and personal development.
With so many people now looking at going into the industry, how can one be successful? What is it that you have to be/do to really stand out and make a difference.
Here are 12 things we fell should help if you're a rookie or a seasoned professional still looking for an edge in increasing their business volume.
Establish Your Brand
Learn More About Money
Teach More About Money
Build Relationship & Trust
Create An Online Presence
Start A Blog
Build A Network
Develop A Niche
Spread The Word
Have A Structured Day/Week
Invest In Technology
Have An End Game
1) Establish Your Brand
It's no secret that brand is important, all major labels stand by it. However, as a sales professional we may not see ourselves as that BIG BRAND, when quite frankly we are. How we carry ourselves is a representation of who we are our values etc. and customers are attracted by our brand image.
Remember, people buy from people so I suggest you spend time understanding what you represent and what customers see in you. Sometimes the easiest way is to ask and friend, family member or customer.
2) Learn More About Money
What I've always found impressive with any sales professional is when they can have a conversation on almost any topic. It represents a depth of knowledge on their subject matter, and having the ability to speak on a broader subject as well.
In the space of insurance sales, I'll suggest you spend time reading blogs, articles, books, etc. on financial independence, financial intelligence, debt, life, financial statements, etc. This will help you expand your conversation with your customers based on what they do, what their goals are, how do they intend to achieve it, etc.
This in itself is a differentiator as you would not be just product based.
Damn, you guys know our stuff - Automotive Customer
3) Teach More About Money
One thing I learned early in automotive sales was that people love information, especially when it was free. If we look at the number of FOREX networking events happening now, it tells us people are looking for more income opportunities to support a long/short term goal.
A good strategy in establishing your brand and growing your business is to create a space where you can invite and educate people more about finances, debt, long and short term investments, etc. Town hall meeting in your community, facebook LIVE sessions, blogs, podcasts, public speaking events on money, finances, wealth, debt, etc. are just some examples.
This approach is a great brand builder and creates a differentiation between you and your competitors. Not to mention it lowers the guard of customers as they begin seeing you as the go to source of information which can bring business/referrals.
4) Build Trustworthy Relationships
Anyone new to insurance must first understand that sales is all about relationships and trust. Without this you will have an unsuccessful career. Points one and three prior to this are two points that should always be top of mind.
Your brand is your representation of you, and how you project the messages you share, will give the customer and idea as too if you are genuinely interested in them or not. I would suggest, advisors spend more time researching their prospects and really taking the time to see what's important to them.
Before making that call, use Facebook, LinkedIn, website, etc. to get an appreciation of what they want to achieve of who they are. From there they can craft a message that fits the prospect. If you cannot find that information, craft an email, just asking them openly what's important to them and how you can help.
For those of you with existing customers, staying close to them as well is great way to build customer lifetime value (CLV) and repeat business through referrals and the growth of their family.
5) Create An Online Presence
From my standpoint this is possibly one of the most under utilized resources by financial advisor. The use of the internet is two-fold because you get to showcase you brand, knowledge and expertise, plus, search and identify new prospects and create opportunities.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are massive databases of information and prospects. With some creativity and strategic planning, new and existing financial planners have the ability to tap into that market.
6) Start A Blog
A blog is an ideal place for a financial advisor to have his/her own space on the web. A good example is Eszlyfie Taylor. Eszlyfie's blog (The Taylor Method) has helped grow his career and established a name for himself as the go to guy and subject matter expert on sales, financial services and now public speaker.
Blogging gives potential clients the ability to review your services, offering and philosophies at their convenience without the feeling of being sold too. Offering helpful tools/resources like retirement calculators, checklists, etc. are good ways offer value and have prospects start engaging with your work. Once done correctly you get the opportunity to capture their email or contact information and create a mailing list/sales funnel that walks the client through the process.
The beauty of this is that your blog/website works for you while you sleep, which gives you an edge over your competitors.
7) Build A Strong Network
When starting out in insurance you're normally asked to look at your natural market (friends, family, colleagues, etc.) but let’s face it these leads are not always the best and they can only invest so much. So what to you do?
Start building a network early, meeting people at events, functions, etc is where it’s at. Outside of friends and family start working your immediate community. Businesses large and small, close to home, where attended school, your last place of work, etc.
You can also also build a network around a specific group or niche or customers. This strategy gives you the ability to build your own community and can be beneficial in the long and short term.
A strong network enhances your business hands down, but it’s important to note that it can only be done with your ability to nurture strong trustworthy relationships.
8) Develop A Niche
This tip is all about strategy and differentiation. Niche markets can turn out to be surprisingly beneficial once you take the time to study what's important to them. While most agents, go after the large business, there are smaller, lower end niche customers that can keep you busy and even get you to that MDRT level.
Take for example nail technicians, painters, barbers, etc. these guys make a living with their hands. If they are injured, then that's a loss of earnings for them and their families. Understanding this allows you to craft an approach that speaks to that and possibly book some business.
Another good example is young low income single mothers, approaching them from the standpoint of what insurance facilities can be of value to them and their kids in the short/long term via both living and death benefits can be appealing. Just knowing that their savings can help in some way can be attractive once positioned correctly.
Again, this is a strategy that requires, planning and research. Chat with your unit/agency manager or colleague and formulate a plan to approach niche markets.
9) Spread The Word
Sales is all about meeting people and while we may be very apprehensive in letting others know what you do, it's an important part of your business success.
Attending networking events is one way of doing this, but you can also collaborate with other agents and host your own networking or lunch & learn events where you invite people, prospects, etc, to attend.
Related Article: Two missing components in sales and entrepreneurship
The goal is to find or create an opportunity to add value to the greater community. Don't hide behind the business card/company name try creating opportunities to share your unique value proposition with leads, but remember, focus on their needs their future and how you can get them there.
"Sometimes I'm not sure, what to do today" - Sales Professional
10) Have A Structured Day/Week
This is possibly every sales professional's challenge at some point in his/her career. While every day is different, there will always be something to distract you, here are a few things you can do to maximize your day.
1) Plan the night before
2) Set daily goals
3) Start earlier
4) Block distractions (Social media, calls, emails, etc)
5) Be selfish (Get your tasks done first, deal with the other stuff after)
6) Use your CRM, outlook, reminders, etc.
7) Review the day
Remember, a big key to success is discipline, if you are having challenges, consult with your unit or agency manager.
Don't just have a smart phone, use it. - Lyndon Brathwaite
11) Invest In Technology
One of the biggest contributors to business success over the past decade has been the advancements in technology. As an agent, incorporating technology into your model/process would be an asset as it is adds value to both you and your customer.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is possibly one of the biggest tech advancement that agents's can invest in now to stay on on top of their game. CRM's have evolved to being more than just a database but now a tool keeps you productive and connected to your customer with add-ons like email marketing.
Even if you do not use a CRM, put your phone reminders, outlook, google reminders or calendars to use. The tech only works for you once you put it to use, so don't just have a smart phone, use it.
12) Have An End Game
This is important and really goes back to your "WHY". We all take jobs for specific reasons and based on the age bracket you enter the industry at, that WHY will differ for each person.
As you progress through the years, your needs, wants and goals would change. Always have this at the top of your mind as it will create that drive and focus needed to be successful.
Frequent discussions with your unit/agency managers or anyone that can hold you accountable to your goals would be an asset also mirror top performers on the things that they do to stay on top.
Insurance sales like any other sales profession requires discipline, determination, courage, skill, focus, etc. Success is not about the look, but about the value you bring. I believe these 12 tips can certainly help you get your value message out there and be a tremendous success.
Go Be GREAT!
Written by: Lyndon Brathwaite