Congratulations – as a life insurance agent you now own your own business. Although you may be affiliated with an agency, you are responsible for your paycheck and job security. If you do your job well, being an agent can be a very rewarding and lucrative career, if you don’t, you may find yourself out of business.
If you approach your sales like a business owner, there should be no reason for you to fail. As a business owner your focus should be on those activities that will make a profit for you and you should have – and follow – a business plan to accomplish this.
The three areas your business plan should focus on is time spent:
- Finding prospects
- Converting prospects into customers
- Servicing customers
In this business you have to be self-motivated, push yourself but most importantly, work smart. When you first start, you need to commit to putting in the extra hours to get your business off the ground. Once you have some time under your belt, you will learn how many prospects you need to meet each week to establish your customer base in order to generate the profits you’ve identified you want to achieve under your business plan.
One way to work smart is to observe what successful agents are doing – and then do what they do. Find the agent you most want to be like and model them and you get will the results. They’ve been where you are now and most successful agents love to share with newer agents how they achieved their success.
Another way to work smart is to take advantage of training that is available to you through your agency, but also take advantage of industry training as well. Consider obtaining your Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation. Not only will you learn a lot about strategies to meet the needs of your clients, but you can point to it when your clients question your experience and years in the business.
When it comes to prospecting, don’t dread the activity. I had a successful agent once tell me that he doesn’t prospect – he finds new friends. As a matter of fact, he has developed close personal friendships with some of his clients and that is what he loves about this business. The first prospecting habit you should form is to be observant – develop an alert, probing and inquisitive attitude. It’s been said – you have two ears and one mouth, listen twice as much as you talk. Learning how to pay attention will become one of the single most important factors to being successful.
In order to meet your production goals, you need to have prospecting goals and make sure they are part of your business plan.
You don’t just start out with a pool of prospects – first you need some suspects to convert to prospects. Suspects are someone that you have observed who may have a need for your services. During your first meeting you should be able to determine whether you are dealing with a qualified prospect. Remember, not every suspect will become a prospect – you have the right to choose your friends
How much time should plan for prospecting? Well a place to start is with the general rule of 10, 8, 4, 2. Ten suspects should generate eight prospect meetings which usually results in four qualified prospects that should produce two paid cases per week. Generally speaking, you should plan on starting out with a minimum of 200 qualified suspects and you should try to add three suspects a day to that list during your first six months. After six months you should plan on adding two new suspects a day and once you have 250 clients you should try to add one per day. Once you have reached 500 clients, you will only need to add a couple new suspects a week.
Where can you find suspects?
One place to start is your natural market – think of the people you know such as family members, friends and social acquaintances, former business associates, school contacts, professionals and business people whose products and services you use, and people who your spouse or children know.
Then look to your checkbook – that’s right, look at your check register and make a list of everyone you’ve done business with in the past 12 to 18 months. You’ve given them business, now ask for theirs.
Lastly, you’re not alone, there are a lot of people rooting for your success. Look to them for support and encouragement and celebrate your successes with them.
Remember, no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan. The first thing you need to do is create a sound business plan – and then follow it.