Life insurance agents have a very challenging occupation. To be a life insurance agent, you must be able to combine the gentle and responsive nature of a friend with the cold and almost ruthless salesmanship of a hardened professional. The best life insurance agents are able to make this tough job look effortless, but making a good living in this field is more like a walk on a tightrope than like a walk in the park.
Selling people life insurance seems innately difficult, because it is no easy task to talk somebody into spending the remainder of his or her life paying money for something that won’t benefit anybody until after he or she is dead. Some policies are more flexible, allowing for some liquidity so the beneficiaries can access a portion of the money during the customer’s lifetime, but other kinds of policies often make the complete sum of accumulated money untouchable until the customer is deceased. This makes many people reticent to invest in a life insurance policy when they could easily put that money into a potentially more lucrative and certainly more flexible portfolio of stock or mutual fund investments. A good life insurance agent must be able to express to these kinds of potential customers why life insurance is a better choice than the other fiscal options available, and being able to do so requires not only very firm conviction under pressure but a talent for articulation and persuasion as well.
Most salesmen and saleswomen are able to walk away as soon as the customer has signed on the dotted line, but being a life insurance agent requires a substantial degree of involvement with the customer all the way until the point in time when the money is paid out to the beneficiaries. Once a customer has purchased a life insurance policy, the agent’s job is far from over, which has quite a bit to do with how agents attract potential clients. Today, life insurance agents get a large percentage of their business through word of mouth referrals. This makes it absolutely imperative for an agent to keep up relationships with all of his or her clients.
To keep up a strong relationship with his or her customers so that they will send over their friends and neighbors to take out policies as well, a life insurance agent must be in contact with his or her clients on a regular basis just to check in. If a problem does arise, the agent must be responsive and quick to act in order to keep the customer’s confidence, because confidence translates into referrals. Given that being a life insurance agent requires a strong bond between agent and client, it is little wonder then that many life insurance salespeople are starting to branch out into other areas of financial planning as well. By being able to offer a customer a variety of services, the agents are maximizing their own efficiency and earning potential while also increasing their customers’ satisfaction.