Beginning a new career, whether it’s your first time out, or your second or even third endeavor in life, is an exciting, electrifying time. Beginning a new career as an insurance agent is no different, however it can also be a bit overwhelming, too, as you adjust to the demands of the industry and the uniqueness that being an insurance agent brings with it. With that in mind, here are 3 tips for budding agents, to help you through those difficult early years.
#1: Your Beginner’s “Period” Lasts a Long Time
The “learner’s permit” for an insurance agent lasts between 90 days and 2 years. You’ll spend the first 90 days forming the effective habits that will carry you through your entire career. As an insurance agent, the most beneficial habits you’ll need to establish are those of both an employee and an employer. As a self-employed insurance agent or broker, you’ll be both your own boss and your own employee. Setting a good daily plan of action – balancing both administrative and subordinate duties equally well – will go a long way to establishing good, effective, beneficial habits to last your entire career. In fact, your first 90 days, that’s all you’re going to worry about – establishing effective habits.
Your first year as an insurance agent is spent learning to sell. That’s it. Learning to use the qualities you possess, and developing skills and qualities that you’ll need, will consume your time. Expect a lot of “No”s in those first weeks and months. Expect to work much more than you get paid for, too. In the long run, those unpaid efforts will pay for themselves in the long-term clients you acquire in those early goings. Your second year, you’ll find yourself refining those skills ad qualities, and turning those habits into an efficient system of operating your business.
#2: Your First 100 Clients Will Set Your Career
It may take all of those first two years, but when you acquire your 100th client, you’ll have a career that’s pretty well set for success. Not that you want to stop at 100 by any means, just that 100 is a magical number In the insurance industry. Here’s why:
Each of those 100 clients are going to have on-going needs for your products and services. There are milestones in every life, and 100 lives full of milestones are a lot of opportunities for future business. Consider 100 lives filled with
- Simple Family plans for the newly married couple
- Mortgage insurance policies for their first home
- Additional plans for each new baby that comes along
- Additional coverage for increasing lifestyle – additional vehicles, recreational vehicles and homes, travel insurance, pet insurance, etc.
- Additional policies for mom and dad to cover their “additions”
- College planning
- Retirement planning
Can you see how 100 families can keep you busy for a very long time? Now, double that, or triple it, and you can see how a core group of clients and their families can really CREATE your business. Typically, those first 100 finally give you enough breathing room to relax a bit and concentrate on specializing – honing your skills and learning just which areas of your industry you excel so you can capitalize on that.
#3 – Insurance is NOT an 8 to 5 Job
First of all, you are in a BUSINESS, not a job. You are both boss and employee. You’ve got to handle both administrative and subordinate duties. You’ll have to learn how to manage time, money, and yourself. You can’t go into business with an employee mindset. It’s ALL on you. That can be both good and bad, both an opportunity to shine and a rude awakening as you discover your weaknesses. Learn from your mistakes, build on your strengths and you’ll soon figure out your own way of operating your business.
Secondly, you’ll have to go out and meet with potential clients. That means you’ll have to meet with them on THEIR time, not necessarily yours. Expect to put in evening and weekend hours. A LOT of evening and weekend hours. Divide your day into administrative duties in the morning or afternoon, and then go out for your client calls after 6pm. As you progress through your first few years, your need for evening calls will greatly lessen, but never entirely go away, unless you stop meeting with potential clients. As time goes on and your business builds, more and more of what you do will be in your office, during the day. But in those crucial first years, expect to have very little free time between the hours of 6pm and 11pm. It’s just the nature of the business. Think of it as your rite of passage, the dues you hae to pay, to have a thriving insurance business.
You’re Insurance Business and You
Now that you’ve seen a bit of what it takes, early on, to become an insurance agent, perhaps you’ll be one of the stalwart young agents who actually make something of themselves in what can be a very lucrative and rewarding field. Few have what it takes, but armed with a bit of the reality, perhaps you’ll be the one who does.