I’ve entered my fourth decade as a licensed insurance representative and I find myself coaching and/or mentoring agents with varying levels of experience as well as doing corporate and community educational workshops for pre- and post-retirees.
Recently, one of my friends and colleagues told me that after almost 30 years building a successful insurance practice with a major insurance carrier, he had hit the wall and needed advice on how to energize his prospecting activities.
I thought to myself: Here’s an established professional, active for almost 30 years and enjoying a six-figure renewal income, looking for an answer to how he could energize his prospecting. Basically, he was facing the same question that someone just entering the insurance business would face today.
What you can do
When I started out, I was lucky to have a patient and knowledgeable sales manager who was part of an agency affiliated with one of our nation’s largest insurance companies. From courthouse records of new mortgages to newspapers with announcements of new births, weddings and promotions, along with project 100/200/300s, referred leads and centers of influence, I was trained to identify potential prospects.
Today, the number of quality sales managers appears to have diminished considerably, and too many newly appointed agents are left alone with only limited prospecting techniques, such as buying leads or advertised lead lists, or even using auto dialers or telemarketers where they are legal.
Here’s the advice I shared with my colleague:
Before engaging in any prospecting activity, identify the specific market you want to work in. Just like the medical profession, the financial-services industry today is so large that you can’t be all things to all people. Targeting a market segment will help you focus on an area that is important to you and the services you would like to provide.
Make sure the specific market segment and the product or products you identify are what you are passionate about. Passion is the fuel that keeps the energy visible in the form of a positive attitude. Without it, I believe you cannot and will not succeed.
Design a written business plan on how you will implement your marketing plan. Be specific with details that include all the aspects of your prospecting activity and then review the business plan with someone who is qualified to determine that the objectives are both realistic and attainable.
Whether you are new to the business or are an experienced veteran, try to partner, or at a minimum, create a strategic marketing alliance with someone who is successful and experienced in the targeted market segment you are interested in. The successful person has already established the prospecting techniques that can serve as a model for you.
In the past 30 years, our products and services have experienced many changes. However, one thing that has not changed is that if we want to build and sustain a profitable business, it is necessary for us to locate and identify a qualified prospect every day.
Phillip R. Timmerman, CLU, a NAIFA-Charlotte member, is president of DMJ Financial Services, Matthews, N.C. He specializes in corporate and community service educational seminars for long-term-care solutions. He is certified to teach the required prelicensing course for Medicare supplement/long-term care and is the founder/president of the Matthews Insurance School. You can reach him at 704-619-0173.