You’ve passed your licensure examination, and you’re ready to start making money. You know how to become an independent insurance agent, and the odds are good that you did your homework, and you know what type of money you can potentially earn in insurance sales. If you work within an agency, you’ve already seen how well others in your office are doing, and you can hardly wait to get your slice of the pie as well.

The truth is that there is a higher rate of turnover in insurance sales than in almost any other job category. A  mass exodus with nearly 90% of new agents quit within their first three years. 30% of new agents leave in their first 90 days. These agents did not set out to fail, but they did all make similar mistakes.

How do you avoid becoming one of these casualties? Why insurance agents fail and leave their careers behind is no mystery. Today, we’ll tackle this topic and give you some surefire things not to do as an independent insurance agent that will set you up for success.

A career in insurance can be lucrative, but only if you know how to avoid common pitfalls. Here are the top mistakes to look out for; they the most common reasons why insurance agents fail.

Avoid these mistakes, they’re why insurance agents fail:

If you can avoid these pitfall errors, you’ll understand why insurance agents fail and know what not to do. Realistic goals are important, but you can’t have those without a realistic look at the industry. As they say, ‘know what you’re getting into.’

Mistake #1

Unrealistic expectations. Most new agents team up with a seasoned pro who has a ton of experience and uses proven insurance marketing methods to gain traction year in and year out. You see this person with a client list a mile long, and they are collecting tons of money each year in residual sales. What you don’t see is that his or her yearly sales aren’t that great.

Most agents have great difficulty in the first year regardless of employment elsewhere. It takes time to learn and hone your craft. It also takes years to compound your income with residuals that will pay you each consecutive year, provided you take care of those clients.

An agent who is only mediocre but works in insurance sales for 15 or more years, will have his sales compounded each year. Therefore, selling new policies is a tiny amount of income compared to the residual income on renewals over many years.

It’s the time in the game that matters. It’s a slow climb to build sales and become successful. If you expect to be wealthy in year two, you’re going to be very let down. You’ll become a disenchanted ex-insurance agent. Don’t let that happen by understanding how to build your income and having realistic expectations.

Mistake #2

You have no confidence in your products and their price point. If you go through life each day concerned that other companies can undercut your prices, then you don’t believe in the products you are selling, and that shows. You need to be completely confident in your ability to talk to people and convince them why your products are the ones they need, regardless of price.

Land Rover is not concerned about its cost in comparison to Ford. They aren’t competing with Ford because they have found their audience that looks for more luxurious SUVs, which have impeccable handling. They’ve found that people will gladly pay $20K more for their SUV over the Ford.

They have confidence in their product and appeal to the right audience. You’ve got to learn who your best clients will be and go into each presentation with the assumption that you’ll be walking away with the sale. Have confidence in your products and learn how to have confidence in yourself, even if you are faking it at first.

Mistake #3

Not having support systems in place is a big mistake. It is effortless for people to plant seeds of doubt in your mind if you allow them to. Friends might be well-meaning while unwittingly sowing the seeds of doubt that will be your undoing if you let it. Instead, surround yourself with people who uplift you and challenge you to be better and work hard.

The right people, including your partner/spouse, will always have your back and support you to be a better version of yourself. This support is not just in life but in your career as well. You’ll need to spend a lot of hours building your business and client lists. You need to be free to follow-up on leads each day, if only for a few minutes. Will your spouse and family be understanding?

Friends that complain about the time you spend on your career (think of this as your career and not a job) are not serious about their success. Don’t allow them to bring you down by listening to their complaints. It’s best to keep close friends that are supportive of you and your goals. 

Mistake #4

Not getting professional mentorship is a big mistake. Make friends with the busiest agent in the office and pick his brain. Don’t be threatened by a successful agent. Instead, use their experience and learn from them. Ask for their help and advice. Don’t expect them to hold your hand. Remember, you need to have the self-confidence to do things on your own.

These seasoned agents can be your support system, your teachers, your motivators, and your success. The day you stop trying to learn from agents who are top producers of new policies and have mountains of residuals with happy clients is the day you will begin to fail. Observe them and emulate them.

Mistake #5

Not learning anything about marketing is a huge mistake, especially digital marketing. Most agents quit because they can’t get enough sales to support themselves and their families. The only way to change that is to learn how to get more leads, better leads, and follow up on them.

People go on fact-finding missions online. They don’t care who answers their question, as long as they get answers. If you are the person who gets to them first, develops a relationship with them, and answers their questions, you’ll be the one that earns their business.

62% of all internet searches originate from cell phones. People are used to pulling out their phones and looking for answers. Position yourself to be there with the answers. There are many tools available to capture your leads. Consider using Podium’s simplistic lead generation platform. Podium not only turns organic traffic into clients, but it enhances SEO, texts customers all from one platform, and can get you started for free.  Learning how to utilize these lead generation tools will transform you from a failure to success. 

A career in insurance can be lucrative, but only if you know how to avoid common pitfalls. Here are the top mistakes to look out for; they the most common reasons why insurance agents fail.

Sticking with it by changing how you see yourself.

The best agents are confident. The greatest agents are fantastic at talking with people and answering questions. Some of these agents are marketing geniuses, and some of them simply know a lot of people because they’ve learned how to become involved in their communities. The one thing they all have in common is tenacity.

Jeffrey Child
Jeffrey Child Director of Financial Services Named Accounts

Jeffrey Child is an insurance and tax professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects financial service businesses with their members and prospects.

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