7 habits of effective insurance agents

By Justin R. Brown

Bankrate Insurance


Whether you're new to the job or a veteran salesperson at an insurance agency, one thing's for sure: You never can have enough tools in the toolbox.

Sales is a tough business. First and foremost, it requires you to know your industry and company backward and forward. But you must also know how to convince a prospect of the benefits of doing business with you rather than a competing company or agent.

Here are seven things the most effective insurance agents do on a regular basis. Try them and soon you, too, will be exceeding your sales goals:

1. Keep your day organized

The most effective agents plan their days meticulously. It’s a good idea to set aside time each day for returning phone calls, prospecting, making outreach calls and meeting with prospective and current clients.

2. Join and participate in trade organizations

Membership has its advantages — including networking and having access to relevant information that will keep you up-to-date on industry trends. Here are some insurance-related organizations you may want to check out:
  • American Insurance Association
  • National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
  • Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America
  • National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
3. Find a mentor

Is there someone who is where you want to be and represents the values you want to emulate? If so, tell him or her about your goals and ask for advice. A successful agent won’t see this as a threat, but as motivation to do better themselves. In the act of teaching someone else, the mentor may begin to see a new role for contributing to the firm. Not to mention, he or she is likely to "catch" some of the protege's enthusiasm, and be re-energized to perform even better themselves.

See also: Do you know where you are going? The value of a mentor
4. Habitually follow up with prospects on a regular basis

The best agents are those who follow up with their prospects on a regular basis. Just because you couldn’t close the deal the first time around doesn’t mean you don’t still have a shot at the business. A good time to do a round of follow-up calls is right after word comes down from the corporate office about a special discount being offered for a limited time. You don’t have to wait until this happens, though. Schedule follow-up calls at least quarterly.

5. Convince clients of the value of multiple lines

Cross-selling, the practice of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer, can be a highly effective tool for a small business. The insurance industry lends itself well to this practice, as just about everyone needs multiple policies — homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, automotive insurance, life insurance, etc.

6. Provide above and beyond service

When you get a call from a client about a claim, get back to him or her immediately and go over it with the policyholder before it's reported to the insurance company. Don't let the policyholder report it on his or her own. This is one of those above and beyond moves that takes you from a good agent to an amazing agent.

7. Always write personal thank you notes

This is something that not many people do anymore. So if you do, your client is sure to take notice.