7 reasons insurance agents fail

7 reasons insurance agents fail


1. You think this is a job, not a career.


Is insurance a job for you or is it a career?

The real difference lies in your attitude and beliefs about what you really want. If you want a career, you will have long-term goals and a plan to achieve them. If you want a job, you will be in it to earn money. If it’s a career, you are using it as a tool to give your family a dream home, travel the world, build a classic car collection, or whatever your “why” is. If it’s a job, you are just exchanging your human capital for financial capital and will accept what your employer will pay you. There is nothing wrong with having a job, jobs provide, safety, security, benefits, and a regular schedule.

But nobody gets up in the morning excited and passionate about going to work to earn enough to pay their bills. There’s just no spark, no fire, and no motivation behind a job. If there is, it’s rare. Without this drive, you will have a hard time getting through the rejection and inevitable difficulties that come with building a business.

I want to share with you an idea that changed my life. In his book “Good to Great” author Jim Collins compares successful businesses – and make no mistake you are building a business – to turning a giant fly-wheel. A giant fly-wheel will take a very long time to get it moving but once it is moving it will keep moving. If a person was asked which push of the fly-wheel got it moving they couldn’t answer because it wasn’t just one push it was the combination of many pushes over a long time.


2. You have an income requirement that is initially unattainable.


Just to be clear, I do NOT mean setting low goals so you won’t be disappointed. I think you should set BHAG goals (Big Hairy Audacious Goals,) but at the same time, understand the realities of the paths that take you to your goals.

It’s common for an insurance agent’s first years to be the leanest of his/her career. But some people get in the business and only get told about successful 10 year agent who drives the nice car and belongs to the country club, so they set sky-high expectations. This isn’t entirely their fault – managers and recruiters emphasize the glamorous parts of insurance, like independence and income, to attract candidates.

New agents see veteran agent Michael making $300,000 per year and assume that they can at least make $100,000 or more in their first year. What they don’t see are the long years of hard work and prospecting that went into Michael’s lucrative book of business. When they find out that it is a struggle to have the life that Michael has built, they leave.


3. You’re intimated by price.


If you are too intimidated to sell in the face of being undercut on price, you won’t last long. I promise you that you will never win all of the price battles you’ll face against other companies. Endless price cutting only serves to devalue the agents, the agencies, and the industry as a whole. It’s just a race to the bottom.

You must learn that price isn’t everything – the relationship is. Make sure that your clients appreciate the VALUE of their insurance, not the PRICE. The value you give your clients should always be more than the premium total. Be so good that people want to work with you, this means returning phone calls quickly, a mastery of what you are selling, and advice that matters.


4. You don’t have a solid support system.


While it may be sad, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. Some people won’t make it in insurance (or any business, really) because they don’t have a good support system at home.

The most common one I’ve seen is a lack of spousal support. In a commission-based role, you will have marketing and promotional expenses and there is often a delay in receiving the financial rewards for your hard work. When finances are tight, money fights can occur, and they impact everything else.

Sometimes the lack of spousal support masks other underlying issues. Take a good look to see if you have different values, expectations, or goals. You might assume that something is perfectly fine while your spouse expects something completely different. In any case, communication is critical, and you should seek ways to support each other in achieving all your goals.


5. You aren’t a self-starter or need nurturing.


There’s not much hand-holding in the insurance business. I know managers and recruiters promise endless support and world-class training, but it often never happens. This also causes a gap between the new agent’s expectations and reality.

If you need constant nurturing and hand-holding, the insurance business might not be for you. Successful insurance agents love their independence, while people who need to be nurtured want constant attention, and they need to be told they’re doing a great job.
If you need constant encouragement and hand holding, it could be a sign that you’re not confident enough. Successful insurance agents tend to have tons of confidence that overcomes fears like call reluctance and drives them to close deals.


6. You’re not driven enough.


Without a strong internal drive, your chances of success will be marginal at best.

Everything you get out of life will be the result of what you put into it. The most important thing you can work on is yourself. This means investing the resources that will help you grow the most. The people who view insurance as just another job will never take the time to read the books and learn the skills they need.


7. You never learned sales and marketing.


This is a HUGE reason why insurance agents fail. Anybody can step outside the office and hand out some business cards, but only the truly successful cultivate a viable marketing plan and sales system.

You’ll need at least a three-legged marketing plan that provides a consistent pipeline of referrals and prospects. If you never learn marketing and sales, you will get stuck in a perpetual cycle of pushing, tugging, convincing, and persuading. You’ll end up hating yourself, your job, or both. A good sales and marketing system serves as your foundation – from there, you start building a successful business.