1. 3485 POINTS
    J Scott BurkePRO
    President, Newbury Inc., Evansville, Indiana
    Many people get into the insurance business thinking of it as a job. It's not a job. It's a business.

    If you go into business without a solid business plan and money to invest in your business you will fail.

    You have to learn the products and benefits you are selling. You have to be a professional person and a great communicator. But most of all...you need people who want to talk to you. And that takes a lot of work or a lot of marketing money.

    There are also a lot of sharks out there that want to grab new agents and chew them up. They sign agents up for the worst deal imaginable where they could never win. The biggest red flag are the "free lead" scammers. They will sign agents up with horrible commission levels to get to the FREE leads.

    The free leads are worthless junk. You may as well be working the phone book. But if an agent does all the work and makes a sale....he makes a tiny fraction and the guy who signed him up makes all the real money. It's a racket, not a career builder. Just look on Craig's List or any other free advertising place to find these scammers.

    If you enter the insurance business, make certain that you choose a reputable company with a good manager that you feel good about. If they make it sound too easy to make big money quickly...watch out! If they advertise on Craig's List or offer free leads....hold on to your wallet!
    Answered on April 6, 2013
  2. 11783 POINTS
    Larry GilmorePRO
    Agent Owner, Gilmore Insurance Services, Marysville, Washington State
    So many insurance agents fail because this is a very hard business to be in. While from afar it looks easy, everybody looks wealthy and successful and people are just pounding upon the door demanding insurance.

    The reality is most people unwisely would forego carrying any insurance at all on themselves as it involves looking ahead and dealing with death. The purchase becomes "another day, another time" purchase. While it seems everybody needs coverage, very few pursue it, so it falls upon the insurance agent to make the case to the individual as to why they need coverage. The hard part about insurance is you can't taste it, drive it or feel it, at the end of the day, it is simply a promise to pay. It is a very hard thing to sell in reality.

    Agents fail because it is a difficult business and too many treat it like a sprint, rather than a marathon. A great amount of energy is expended quickly, along with resources with results that take a while. Most payments to agents take about 90 days after the application is taken. It's a business that requires patience and a budget, the reason most agents fail is they lack either.
    Answered on April 6, 2013
  3. 20 POINTS
    Christine Stephens
    Agent, Aflac,
    I think there are several reasons for the high failure rate for insurance agents. Many come to the profession treating it like a sales job when in reality it is about building relationships with people and that takes time. It s not a job, but your own business and like any other business it takes a lot of hard work and determination. It is truly an investment of a persons time and money and I think many new agents don't realize this.
    Answered on May 7, 2013
  4. 0 POINTS
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I have a bit of a different opinion about this.  I believe most agents fail because they aren't trained correctly.  I've been doing this since 1991 and explored many company's training programs.  In that time, I haven't seen them change.  Do you think the market has?  Insurance companies spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars training their agents on products, business plans, and sales skills.

       I've consulted with new agents from some of the biggest companies in the country that were on the verge of failure.  They did exactly what they were trained to do and they were failing miserably.  These are some bright, knowledgeable sales professionals.  You know what their companies told them to do?  Buy leads and call them, buy more leads and call them.  If that doesn't work, you're not calling enough.  Can you believe it?  When you find something that's not working enough, do it more.

       I believe that the reason agents fail is that they aren't good prospectors.  They've never been trained in how to prospect or market themselves or their business.  Try this, go to 10 agents, any age, any experience, and ask them what their biggest challenge is.  I've asked a lot more than that and I can tell you what the overwhelming answer is:  "I don't have enough prospects to sell to".  It's the same with everyone.  If you find someone who says they have enough or too many, they're service providers, not agents.

       I watch really smart, professional salespeople struggle at the same time I look at a guy who looks awful, sounds worse, and doesn't know anything about insurance succeed almost effortlessly.  You know the difference?  That last guy knows how to talk to people.  Watch him, he's always talking to people and he actually listens to them and cares.  Bottom line, the best prospectors are the most successful agents.

       As an industry, we have to begin training prospectors, not salespeople.  We have to show new agents how to connect with more people and market themselves.  We should spend more time training people on how to find new prospects than we do on how to sell to the prospects they don't have.  I believe there's a shift coming from price driven, transactional selling back to a relationship based insurance practice.  If we treat our products and services as a commodity, so will the consumer.  So, let's take the first step and change the way we train new agents.  Let's first find agents motivated by the profession, not the money(not that the money's bad).  Then, let's train them on finding good prospects.

       As I see it, that's the future of our profession and the companies and agencies that start doing this will be on the front of that wave while the rest try to figure out why their 50 year old training program isn't working.
    Answered on November 15, 2013
  5. 1554 POINTS
    Marcy Tooker
    Life & Health Insurance Agent, The Tooker Agency, Riverhead NY
    I concur with everything my colleagues have said above, but there is an additional factor. The failure rate is high because the hiring practices of most of the large companies are innately flawed. The large company agencies go a bad job of screening applicants to cull out the ones who are not likely to succeed. Their theory is that more bodies selling means more business, knowing full well that most of those people will not succeed.

    This flawed hiring practice compounds the training problems described above by dmrozek. The trainers are forced to train only the very basics. If a better job were done in the hiring process, there would be fewer new hires but they would be those with true potential. Because there would be fewer new hires, the trainers would have the time to provide more in depth training.
    Answered on April 20, 2015
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