May 2, 2017

We know how it can be…

Being an independent insurance agent can feel lonely. You’re trudging through the business alone, figuring out the ropes by yourself, and you’re responsible for creating your own paychecks.

You don’t have to go through it alone, though.

It’s National Small Business week, and to celebrate, we gathered 10 experts across the insurance industry.

They’ve spilled their best pieces of advice for you in the hopes that a little nudging and tough love will make your business more successful.

You can check out the official page for National Small Business Week here → www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw.

Michael Sams


“So many times, myself and other agents take the easy way out and just sell the Med Supp. We don’t go through an entire needs assessment. Get in the habit of asking additional questions and always use a Client Needs Assessment. You’re better serving the client, and you increase your sales significantly. Both of you win.”

—Michael Sams, Sales Associate for Sams/Hockaday & Associates, Inc.

Anthony Martin


“You must have a way to consistently get new business. Regardless of the source of the leads, an independent agent must clearly define exactly how they will acquire new customers each and every month. This is by far the most important element.”

—Anthony Martin, CEO of Choice Mutual

Nick Braun


“You must embrace technology in order to succeed as an independent agent these days!

Every agent should understand online marketing and should use tools internally to better service prospects and clients. Agents that don't embrace the changes in technology and user-behavior won't make it through the decade.”

—Nick Braun, founder of PetInsuranceQuotes.com

Mike Raines


“Align yourself with a great marketing organization (or brokerage general agency as we call it). They should be someone you can depend on to help you with your overall planning needs. They should be able to offer the following:

  • Multiple insurance companies
  • Help on advanced planning sells such as buy-sell planning or estate planning
  • Experience with special risk life underwriting for those with health conditions.”

—Mike Raines, owner of Special Risk Term

Charles Specht


“Insurance agents often struggle at getting new clients because they are too busy drowning their prospects in the miscellaneous features of either their agency or their products.

The key is to focus on the benefits to your customer.

When the customer (the insurance buyer) understands how the agent and the insurance policy will benefit them or make them feel, you will have gained a new client.

Your features will then add confidence in the insured’s choice of making you their agent.”

—Charles Specht, CEO of Permission Group Inc.

James Pollard


“Being an insurance agent is tough enough, and being an independent agent is even tougher. Because insurance is such a competitive field, so many agents are competing on price, which brings the entire industry down. Therefore, agents need a competitive edge.

That edge is customer service.

You will always have price shoppers, but you will also always have people buying value, and the value is in the ability to treat people with respect and serve their needs above and beyond a basic financial product.

World-class insurance agents know that while their quote isn't always the lowest, their superior service and ability to make customers feel valued will tip the scale in their favor.”

—James Pollard, Marketing and Sales Consultant for TheAdvisorCoach.com

Joseph R R Templin


“Independence does not mean anarchy. You need to establish procedures and stick to regular hours and activity/production targets or else the new freedom will destroy you.

Discipline is what will create your wealth and freedom.”

—Joseph R R Templin, author of Financial Mistakes of Young Americans

Drew Stevens


“I have worked with many insurance agents, and what I come to find is that there is a hesitancy to be a proactive marketer. In independent research with over 2700 agents, we found that 78% awaited the phone to ring rather than engaging daily with marketing efforts.

Marketing Gravity enlists 25 principles such as

  • public relations,
  • advertising,
  • teaching,
  • pro bono work,
  • writing articles,
  • conducting interviews,
  • having a blog, etc.

Operating these in an interactive and integrated manner allows the agent to develop a brand, build a community, and gain access to more interested parties.”

—Drew Stevens, CEO of Stevens Consulting Group

Jason Plucinak


“Don’t ever, ever, ever let a client lapse or surrender their life insurance policy without getting a free appraisal in the life settlement marketplace first.

Underperforming and underfunded Universal Life policies that are close to lapsing can be your biggest opportunities. Consider a life settlement and turn garbage into gold.”

—Jason Plucinak, Sr. Vice President of Business Development at GWG Life

Micah Pratt


“Focus on building relationships with new customers, and the money will come.

Too often, I see independent agents push the sale so hard that they don't accomplish gaining the customer’s trust and loyalty, and this means no business.

When they do what's best for a customer, the sale naturally happens.”

—Micah Pratt, Online Marketing Manager for Obrella


When you boil all of this down, there are three main principles that are left:

  1. Always have your client’s best interest in mind
  2. Have a plan/goal
  3. Be willing to change and adapt

If you can take these pieces of advice and mold them into the way you do business, you are on the yellow brick road to success.

And it can definitely be hard. “Start marketing,” they said. “It’ll lead to big sales,” they said.

And then nothing happens.

And that’s why we develop content made specifically for you.

Your marketing efforts aren’t working? Find out why here.

Your clients say that long-term care policy you tried to sell them is way too expensive? Find out what to do next here.

You’re having trouble closing the sale these days? Find out the 7 words you can say to get the deal done here.

And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know, and we’ll develop that content just for you.

Now that we’re all amped up and motivated, don’t let the conversation end!

Throw your best advice into the comments section below.

Good selling!

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