Becoming a life insurance agent is a serious decision. You saw “The Incredibles.” You saw the scene where Bob Parr, Mr. Incredible himself, is trying to get back into a normal life after retiring from a career of super hero-dom. His wife, Helen, supports him in pursuing a career in insurance. “Go save the world, one policy at a time.” This was the fire he needed, and the fire that motivated him. You probably had the exact same motivation when you looked at what you were going to do after a life of being a super hero, and needed to find something that continued your mission after hanging up the cape and mask.

No?

Probably very similar situation, I imagine.

Whether you were a super hero or not in your past career, you’re looking at becoming a life insurance agent now. It’s not an option you went into lightly, and you want to know all the background before making that plunge. What do you need to look at?

Required Skill Sets

Considering the palette of skills that going into becoming a successful life insurance agent is a serious task. A good place to start is considering the careers that share similar skills. Being a life insurance agent means being able to hit the ground running with a contact base ready-made to work with in your new career. Do you have a job right now that has allowed you to build up a book of contacts that trust you? The path of a life insurance agent is well suited for teachers, real estate agents, and outside sales representatives of any service or product. You’ve paid your dues making connections and building relationships with people who have come to respect and value your judgment. Why not a career that allows you to continue that tradition in a whole new field that they are sure to need?

Character Traits

No less important than what you can do as a life insurance agent is who you are as a person. You may start off with a body of knowledge that gets you out the gate in your new career, but how successful you are is going to rely very heavily on what you have inside stoking your fires. Are you competitive? Do you thrive on the recognition of being the best of the best? Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you enjoy helping others find and maintain a sense of security? If the answer to these questions is a heartfelt “Yes!”, then you’re on a good track.

Benefits of an Insurance Career

Of course you’re looking for a career that’s going to bring you fulfillment, so those are qualities you’re going to want to look into as well. The bonuses of a career in life insurance include:

  • Flexible Work Schedule

    You are entering a career path where you are the source of your own success, but you also can tailor your hours to fit what that definition of success is. This is a great perk if you’re a family person, or are thinking about starting one. If you’re tired of the 9 to 5 grind, being a life insurance agent could be the answer to your prayers.
  • Recession-Proof

    Life insurance is consistently a stable field. People will always be needing the service that you can provide. With the constant stream of clients, your opportunities for success are virtually limitless.
  • High Pay Ceiling

    According to Investopedia, a hard-working insurance agent can easily earn 100k their first year of sales. There is nothing like making good money for work you excel at, and the options for vacation spots or home improvement projects you dream of become realities.

Challenges for New Agents

All the good stuff aside, if this was a job for anyone then everyone would probably do it. Becoming an insurance agent is not without its hurdles, and you’ll definitely want to be aware of them.

  • Underwriting

    Many companies, especially ones that work with high dollar policies, require physical exams and other health screenings before they’re going to qualify a policy. This could lead to you having to deal with some resistance. This is where you come in from a place of understanding, putting the situation into an environment of long-term benefit in exchange for short-term inconvenience.
  • Marketplace Changes

    With all the benefits that the digital age has brought, it is not without its pitfalls. When you consider the immense signal-to-noise ratio that the average person is exposed to daily with advertising, it can be hard to reach the people who need your services. Discovering niche markets and staying abreast of new benefits that providers are offering can go a long way towards offering tailor-made, attractive opportunities for your clients. This also has the added bonus of making you stand out from the crowd.
  • Generating New Insurance Leads

    Lead generation makes both your bread and your butter. On top of competition coming in from non-traditional channels, you will also find that potential clients are naturally reluctant to admit they need life insurance, or are outright afraid to plan for understandably daunting life situations. Being understanding of these issues and knowing how to overcome this obstacle can be the most challenging task you have before you. Fortunately, there are tried and true solutions to it as well.
  • Third Party Leads

    If you’re looking for a way to get a healthy lead base started and get a good ROI in the process, definitely look into third party leads. Here at QuoteWizard Marketing, you can get high-intent insurance leads, as well as access to resources to optimize your cost per lead. You can hit the ground running and start building your business immediately.
  • Social Media

    According to a 2015 Shareholic report, social media has blown passed organic search and become the number one means of referral traffic. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, these are the places where your soon-to-be clients work and play. It costs you next to nothing to meet them there. Not only does social media make it easy to find your clients, but it also makes it easy to engage with them and build strong connections before the first call or email is even approached. If you’re not using social media as an intrinsic part of your toolkit, you’re selling yourself severely short.
  • Customer Referrals

    One of the time-tested ways of getting new clients is from the ones you already have. If you make your clients happy, they can and will tell their friends and associates. This is an incredibly valuable way of acquiring well-qualified leads, and the seal of approval you gain from your current clients goes a long way towards building trust.

The Big Step

So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to become a life insurance agent. Now what? You need to start building a foundation that’s going to be rewarding and profitable. You’re going to need to assess your resources, all of them, and bring them together.

  • Learn from Other Agents

    Your fellow agents are going to be an immeasurable wealth of information as you start out. You are on a career path that relies heavily on teamwork and that makes leaders. You will be there someday too, and the best way to get there is to listen to those who have been where you are right now. Listen to what works for them and see how you can make that work for you. Listen to the mistakes they’ve made so you can learn from that experience without the consequences they’ve already been through. You’ll probably wind up being in their place and having the same talk with someone who is where you are now, so pay attention.
  • Sell Value, Not Price

    If you go into the discussion with a potential client focusing on offering them the best price, you’re already going three steps back. If money was the only concern your client had, they can search that out on their own on the internet. While the price associated with the policy you provide them will be a factor, what you offer them in terms of benefit and advantages is going to be what makes them trust you and makes them come back to you year after year. People will forget how much money they spent long before they forget how you treated them.
  • Make Empathy a Habit

    This might sound like a no-brainer, but given the amount of work and dedication that goes into being a successful life insurance agent, it’s crucial to remember that it’s about the policy seeker, not you. From the first handshake you should be building common ground with your client. Find out what interests you share, there is no better icebreaker than to find out a mutual hobby and to put the personal touch on a business conversation. Ask if they have children and find out about them, this will keep at the front of their minds the reasons for getting a life insurance policy in the first place. Overall, remember to work off of what they’re telling you and not what you’re saying to them. They’ll respect you for it.

The changes in the life insurance industry are constant, and will require you to keep up-to-date on new products and regulations as they arise. Knowledge is both power and a paycheck here. You should also spend some time reading industry-oriented sites like Lifehealthpro and Investopedia, which have a wealth of information for you to take advantage of. You should aspire to being known as the go-to person for all questions involving life insurance, because it’s guaranteed that your competition worth their salt is going to have the same ambition.

This is by no means an exhaustive overview of what goes into becoming a successful life insurance agent, but if you have the drive, integrity, and motivation, And you thrive on competition and helping others, You can create a career for yourself with amazing benefits and a rich future.

Now, go save the world, one policy at a time.