7 Traits That All Agents and Insurance Professionals Need
Whether you’re just starting out as an independent insurance agent or you’re a seasoned veteran, there’s always room to improve and grow in your career. But what traits should you focus on?
We tend to fall into habits, both professionally and personally. Developing good habits that will help you further your career is always a good plan, especially if you are new or have fallen into a rut. Check out these 7 traits that will help all insurance professionals grow their professional and personal goals.
1. Asking the Right Questions is a Great Professional Trait
Remember that most customers don’t know much about insurance beyond basic state-required minimum auto insurance. This means that they won’t always understand what information is relevant to their situation.
For instance, a customer getting their first life insurance policy may not realize that high-risk sports can affect their premiums. That’s why it’s so important to stay curious and ask customers the right questions about their situation so that you can offer them the best insurance products.
It’s up to you, the agent, to be curious and ask about all the important factors. Don’t assume that the customer will always know what to share.
2. Honesty is Required in an Insurance Agent
We’ve all heard it, but it bears repeating: honesty is the best policy. Insurance professionals who lie or who are unethical won’t last long in the business — insurance brokers have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients.
Keep in mind that even small “white” lies can erode your customers’ trust. If they find out that you’re lying about your family situation or even your golf score, they’re more likely to question other things you tell them.
Be upfront with your customers about what they can and can’t expect from their insurance coverage, and don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know the answer. Customers don’t expect insurance professionals to know everything, but they do appreciate agents who act professionally and are willing to do the research and quickly get back with an answer.
Besides, not only will dishonesty ruin your customer base, but it can also ruin your insurance career. Agents who knowingly mislead their customers can lose their license and put the entire insurance company at risk for major lawsuits.
3. Developing Listening Skills Benefits You Personally and Professionally
Have you ever met someone who won’t stop talking? It’s awkward and unpleasant to be stuck in a conversation with someone like that, especially when they can’t read the room or don’t get their facts right.
A potential client once met with a new independent insurance agent who was excited about getting their first customer. The agent sat the customer down and was excited to talk all about the different kinds of insurance products that would benefit the customer.
It took 10 minutes of non-stop insurance pitching until the customer was able to get a word in and mention that they were simply looking for a basic auto insurance policy.
4. Good Communication Can be Learned with Practice
After you’ve fully listened to your clients and have understood what they need in an insurance policy, you need to effectively communicate the best options for them. This means following up on questions, responding to emails, and calling when you say you will. It also means tailoring your language to be an effective communicator.
There’s no one way to communicate effectively. For instance, if you’re working with a client who isn’t interested in the details, then keep your communications high-level and focus on the details that will significantly affect their decisions. Not only will you make your clients happy, but you’ll be building a good relationship to keep their business.
5. Good Networking Skills Provide a Variety of Benefits
As any seasoned insurance agent will tell you, networking will make or break your career. Never pass up an opportunity to expand your professional network because you never know who you’ll meet!
Keep in mind that “networking” doesn’t mean “actively hunting for business.” In fact, you should come into a networking event expecting that you won’t make any new business and instead focus on meeting new colleagues, catching up on the latest developments in the industry, and learning about what today’s customers want from their insurance agents. Of course, if someone is looking for the right agent, then feel free to arrange a follow-up meeting!
Make the most of networking by joining local and regional groups that cater to insurance agents or general professionals. These groups often have regular networking events, making it easier to make time for networking each month or quarter.
6. Make Lifelong Learning a Goal
The insurance industry is dynamic. Whether it’s new auto insurance requirements, new ways to calculate life insurance premiums, or new laws about landlord insurance coverage, change is constant.
In fact, a commitment to learning is what can get you more business. Insurance regulations are complex, and the best insurance agents research little-known regulations and exemptions that can significantly affect premiums and coverage. That’s one reason why some agents seem to be so great at finding the best policies for their clients.
Grit is arguably the most valuable trait that every insurance professional should possess. Agents with this personality trait know that the world of insurance is a marathon — not a sprint — and that short-term obstacles and distractions should never get in the way of the long-term goal.
- Courage: the ability to do and say things that push you out of your comfort zone. Gritty people know when to overcome their fears and take calculated risks.
- Long-term planning: the ability to set and achieve goals far into the future. Great insurance professionals constantly measure their progress toward their goals and constantly adjust their short-term tactics to succeed.
- Non-perfectionism: Agents with grit aim to do a great job but never a perfect job. Perfectionism leads people to aim for unattainable standards and lose motivation when these standards aren’t reached. Instead, focus on your long-term goals and the needs of your clients. Successful professionals know when they’ve done a good job and can move on to the next successful opportunity.
In other words, grit combines perseverance and intense focus. This is especially important for newer agents, who will always need to work extra hard to establish themselves in the business. It won’t always be easy, but it’ll always be worth it.
You Can Become a Successful Independent Insurance Agent
Insurance agents don’t start out with all of these traits. Instead, they build them over their careers to become thriving insurance professionals. At Bluefire Insurance, we help people realize their potential to succeed – and we are happy to discuss offering our coverage to your customers. To learn more, get in touch with us or give us a call at (866) 424 9511.
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