Dare to Fly!

3 Elements Every Agent Needs To Be Successful

Many life insurance agents are facing an economic crisis.  The deck seems to be stacked against them.  The consumer doesn’t want to sit down face to face anymore, everything is going online; life insurance doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore; sales are at an all-time low; the average life agent is now over the age of 60 and little new blood is coming in.  Whew!

Funny thing about this economic crisis, it’s forced a lot of us to do something we wouldn’t normally do and may be pretty rusty at. It’s forced us to reflect. And, reflection, particularly for those of us in the insurance industry, is a good thing. In my 42 years in this business, I’ve noticed that Life agents don’t tend to reflect much. They simply go from sale to sale. But, not anymore. The economic downturn has opened the door to reflection. It’s given us the opportunity to ask some tough questions: What am I made of? How am I handling my career? Do I even have a career or is this just a job? If you’re not asking yourself these questions, then you may be in more trouble than you realize.

In my opinion, this crisis will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us, if – and this is a BIG “if– we change our behavior. And our thinking. Agents are leaving our industry in droves because, for them, it was just a job. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be more – much more – if we shed the clothes of a salesperson and assume the garb of an insurance professional. You know what I’m talking about. Mild-mannered Clark Kent becoming mighty Superman. Clearly, when given a choice, we’d all choose to be professionals. We’d all choose to earn the income of professionals and get the respect that they get. Of course, the million-dollar question is…how? How do we make the shift from salesperson to professional agent? It is not easy to change.  The acceptance of this basic tenet is absolutely necessary.  Stay away from anyone that promotes our job in insurance as easy.

It comes down to three simple things. And when I say simple, I mean that. The three basic elements of success – the elements that will transform you from salesperson to professional – are simple. It’s making the change in your behavior and thinking that’s the hard part. But, first things first. Let’s look at these three elements of success.

  1. You Have To Like What You Do. Life is tough enough without waking up dreading the day in front of you. In the insurance business, our daily life involves human contact – and lots of it. Whether it’s by phone, Internet, through the mail or in person, our success depends on getting the word out. Talking, communicating, connecting. There’s no getting around this. Superman can’t be Superman if he can’t fly and he can’t fly well if he doesn’t like heights! If you don’t like this aspect of the business, then you’re clipping your own wings. Seek another line of work, because you’ll never be successful in this one. If you do enjoy it, then continue reading.
  1. You Have To Commit Yourself To Education And Training. When I started in the insurance business, training wasn’t even an issue, it was a mandate. We had training every Monday and Friday morning for two hours at a time. We had a thick workbook that had to be completed and reviewed by a manager (a large manager in my case) for these morning training sessions. Additionally, my manager spent one day every week accompanying me on sales calls. On Fridays, sales results were posted on a blackboard for everyone to see. Needless to say, the weak left quickly and only the strong survived. For me, the result was $52,000 in commission (in 1976) and more than 500 paid applications in my second year in business. This was at a 45% as earned commission basis. Compare that to the huge annualized commission contracts given today when most agents are writing less than one application a week! That’s not all that’s changed today. Insurance companies have long since given up on training. It’s now up to the individual. There’s no large manager breathing down your neck and no mandatory meetings to attend for most agents. Today a professional agent has to make a personal commitment to training and he or she has to manage that commitment by giving it the time and attention it deserves. There is LOMA, and a variety of educational courses. There are groups that sponsor workshops and seminars. There are plenty of resources – you just have to take advantage of them. I read that Stephen Curry spends time every day with his shot coach. In fact, he meets with his shot coach before he meets with his business people. And, well, if Curry needs a trainer…

I could write a book about how important training is in the professional life of an insurance agent. In my own firm we sponsor Pegasus University, which is a course for GA’s on how to recruit, train and motivate, and work with agents in the field. For agents, we sponsor Pegasus Academy, which shows an agent how to better plan his day, his week and his month for productivity. There’s no getting around training.

  1. You Have To Make A Sale Every Day. The feast or famine syndrome common in our industry is what causes the most stress and the greatest degree of failure. Many agents focus all of their efforts on that big score and the fat commission check that goes with it. They fail to realize that it’s frequent small sales that lead to prosperity. Small sales build stability. They put you in the position to meet and associate with clients who have the money to bring about that big sale. A true professional sells something every day. It doesn’t matter about the premium or the payoff. I guarantee you, sell something every day and you will become wealthy. It’s as simple as that. Once you get into the habit of selling something every day, the amount of each sale will climb. It just does. It’s not magic. It’s persistence. Salespeople sell. Professional salespeople sell every day. That’s how you get to more than 500 sold applications in a year. You never, ever stop selling.

Like what you do. Commit yourself to training and education. Make a sale every day. Without these three elements, you’ll never be successful, you’ll just be an empty suit, wasting hours in a job, instead of actively building a rewarding and meaningful career. Superman isn’t Superman because he has a cape. He’s Superman because he has a special ability – he can FLY. And so can we. We can build our special ability through training and education. Through persistent effort. Through changing our behavior and attitude. It starts with reflection – and ends with success. DARE TO FLY!

JD Moya

JD Moya

Founder - Pegasus Group of Companies

JD Moya has been in the insurance industry for over 42 years. Starting out selling door-to-door he quickly out paced all agents in his region selling over 500 policies his first year. With the great success he experienced he quickly realised the impact he could have with other agents and increasing their sales as well. Pegasus was founded in 1977 and has been a leader in the Hispanic market ever since.