Today’s post is a collaboration between My Open Advisors a nationwide agency based out of San Francisco and Leadsurance.
Life insurance agents manage important long-lasting relationships between insurance agencies and clients.
They are client-facing, representing the agencies they work for. So, recruiting and hiring the best talent that will represent your brand and firm in a good light is critical to your growth and success.
Insurance agencies and brokers constantly look for talented agents who meet their hiring requirements because recruiting insurance agents really is a constant process. Just like with sales, it is important to build a pipeline with recruiting.
If you own an insurance agency, or you’re an insurance broker looking to grow your business and hire a top-quality team to sell insurance for you, then you’ll benefit from today’s tips for recruiting life insurance agents to your agency.
Ten Tips for Recruiting Life Insurance Agents
When it comes to tips for recruiting life insurance agents it seems there can never be enough.
It will be a constant effort to keep your recruiting pipeline full of qualified candidates as you scale and grow your insurance agency.
Whether you are just getting started and recruiting your first agent or have been recruiting insurance agents for years, today’s tips will bring you some fresh ideas for your recruiting strategy.
A Sales Background Is Important:
Ultimately, insurance policies have to be sold, and a person with experience in sales and marketing can usually transfer the skills they have in these fields to any product. This is a sector where salespersons face rejection almost daily, and someone with solid sales experience would not just bring in new clients but would know all about retaining existing customers.
Find Them Where They Gather:
Sales and marketing people tend to be active on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. You can tour local universities, give presentations and organize seminars, offer internships, etc. that would provide information about a lucrative career as an insurance agent. Another great strategy is to get recommendations from agents that already work for you about likely candidates. To boost your image as a company that’s in tune with young people, include younger and fresh agents on your panel when you conduct employment interviews. This can help in countering the image of a traditional insurance agency with an older culture if you need to attract younger talent.
Go With Your Gut:
Being an experienced insurance professional yourself, your instincts are probably fine-tuned to detect dishonesty, bad attitude, pessimism, boredom, low EQ, etc. Make sure you challenge them and ask tough questions to bring out their inherent people and problem-solving skills. Pay attention to body language and genuine interest in the field, and you could net a true star performer for your company.
Specialist Recruiting Agencies:
If you’re strapped for time, go with a professional recruiting agency that can shortlist candidates. Provide clear specs about the ideal candidates, information about salary and perks, career prospects, etc. This gives you better access to a larger pool of candidates and saves you the time and effort spent in combing through resumes.
Get Your Recruitment Ads Right:
If you’re advertising in print/visual media and radio, ensure that you provide accurate and important details about the job, your firm, and what you’re looking for. It’s a smart idea to look for local candidates who live close to your office. These candidates would be more familiar with nearby locations, more willing to work late, be involved in local networking events, and community do’s. They’d also be less stressed about commuting to work. Check their social media accounts unobtrusively to know more about them.
Plan your Interview:
Always have a clear plan for your interview session. It’s not only about putting a face to the resume – instead, making it about really getting to know them, their SWOT areas, and giving them a fair idea of what it’s like to work in this field. Be creative – you can remark that you’re unsure about their suitability for the job and see how they handle the implied rejection. You can also give puzzles, challenges, ask them to give you a sales pitch, etc., and watch how they perform. You can also give them short tasks to complete, such as filling in a spreadsheet using basic data, filling out forms and getting client details right, etc.
Look For Extra Skills:
Candidates with life experience, multiple language skills, those who have traveled, etc. can bring new perspectives to selling. They would also be more creative about their strategy. Look for candidates who are motivated to learn and teach, so that you have a strong second line of support in your team.
Use your Website:
Create a careers page on your agency’s website and keep it updated regularly. You can also hire content writers to create and maintain a blog that provides information on this sector. Invite queries, run internships and seminars, provide part-time summer jobs and try-outs that you can advertise on your website to attract fresh talent. Look for people with other skills such as computer skills, research experience, has a knowledge of basic office tasks and is systematic about documentation and keeping records.
Put up a sign on your reception desk that says, “We’re Hiring,” and you’ll be surprised at the response you could get. Often, the simplest strategies work best. Advertise in local papers, directories, and websites to get the message across.
Candidates to Stay Away From:
It’s important to know what you don’t want – you don’t need agency hoppers and people who seem to look for fresh opportunities for trivial reasons. Don’t hire people with zero experience unless they have strong qualities that may otherwise seem suitable. It’s also important not to hire someone who has just moved into your state because they may take a longer time to make contacts and get work. However, if it’s someone who has substantial experience in selling insurance products, they could be an asset wherever they come from.
Hiring the Right Insurance Agents
Running your own insurance agency is challenging enough, especially without the right client service and sales team. So it is important to hire the right people when recruiting life insurance agents.
Insurance policies can be quite complex and full of technicalities that clients would find difficult to understand. Customers may have several questions that need to be clarified before they are convinced about purchasing a policy.
Agents need to be well-versed in all aspects of your company’s products and be able to break down complex aspects into simpler terms.
Selling insurance can be difficult even in the best of times, and most clients get turned off when they encounter pushy salespersons. This can, in turn, reflect badly on your company and its genuinely good products. The right agent is able to close a deal with a combination of patience, tact, and good strategy.
The right agents can anticipate and predict client requirements through their experience and expertise. They can also handle objections and suggest the appropriate policies to suit the customer’s needs, preferences, and budget.
Traits of a Good Insurance Agent
You will definitely want to seek a certain set of traits while recruiting life insurance agents.
Below are some traits of a good life insurance agent, or really any type of insurance agent selling policies.
Optimism and Positive Attitude: Insurance agents face a very high rate of rejection, and it can take several attempts and meetings to sell a policy to a client. It’s important to know this and ensure that your optimism and positivity levels stay high. Otherwise, your dejection and pessimism can spill over into your work and personality, throwing you into a vicious cycle.
Ethical: Insurance agents need to have very strong fundamentals regarding honesty and ethics. Apart from clients, agents should maintain strict principles with other agents and colleagues too. Word of mouth gets around fast, and before long, your reputation could suffer.
Dedication and Hard Work: This is an effort-intensive job because agents have to visit clients in different locations. For this, they need to have high energy levels, enthusiasm, and a proactive approach to work. Agents have to chalk out their own schedules, but they also need to meet targets. This takes planning and dedication.
Personality: This is a people-oriented job and requires candidates to have certain personality traits such as people skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence, perseverance, and learning aptitude to ensure that they keep abreast of new developments, products and regulations. An eye for detail helps to explain different aspects of policies to clients.
Becoming a Life Insurance Agent
A career as an agent is flexible and can enable a person to work according to their own convenience, location, time, and pace. Based on the amount of work you’re willing to put in, it can be highly lucrative, along with the feeling of being your own boss.
On the flip side, it can be stressful, with targets and deadlines to meet, no guarantees of a steady/fixed income, there’s a very high turnover rate in the industry, and competition is fierce. You also need to keep up with industry regulations and new products.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average income that insurance agents earned in 2019 was $50,940.
Most US states require candidates to have a high-school diploma or its equivalent before they can take up an insurance course and pass a state-mandated insurance examination. When the candidate passes this exam successfully, they can earn a license to practice as an insurance agent.
For more information, you can check out our guide on how to become an insurance agent.
Having a bachelor’s degree in a related field can be a big advantage, though it’s not a hard requirement. Once an agent gains experience in the insurance field, additional degrees in psychology, law, accounting, etc. can be helpful.
Furthermore, agents can rise in their careers by acquiring professional designations such as Chartered Underwriter, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Registered Investment Advisor etc. by dint of experience and expertise in the field.
Most insurance brokers and agency owners have come up through the ranks and have enormous experience and skills.
It is great to network with these experienced professionals and get advice from them on how they have found success in recruiting life insurance agents.
In fact, today’s post was a collaboration between Leadsurance and My Open Advisors a nationwide firm of insurance and financial advisors.
One way to get help from experienced professionals in the insurance sector is to pay for consulting from a firm such as My Open Advisor who can give you the right assistance and advice.
Are you recruiting life insurance agents? Let us know in the comments below how your process is going and any questions you may have.