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How I Almost Didn’t Make it in the Insurance Business

Most of you don’t know me personally or my story, and the few of you that do only know the highlights.

Well, I almost didn’t make it in the insurance business.

Back in 1985 when I graduated from college, I took a position with the Equitable at their most succesful agency Karr-Barth Associates in Philadelphia.

This company was impressive and still is. There were several people earning over $1,000,000 per year and lots of people earning six figures.

The interview process was extensive and the product training was comprehensive and continual.

When I started, the first several weeks were 9 to 5 training with professional trainers as well as their top producers and district managers. By the end of the first few weeks, I had a solid understanding of the product portfolio and was ready to go.

And then I learned the sales system. It is the classic life insurance model – you get a big sheet with several columns. In the first column, you list everyone you know – family, friends, parents friends, etc. In the second column you list the people who, after you called them, were willing to meet with you. In the next column, you listed everyone who provided you with all the information you needed to prepare a proposal (we had this tool called fact finder…). Next to that column were all the people you made a proposal to and finally all the people who bought a policy.

Then you had to get referrals from those people and you started the process all over again.

Here was the problem. Unlike many of the people I was training with, I was 22 and my Dad worked for the Navy as a Civil Servant. So my friends were not buying insurance policies and my parents friends were not well off and looking to buy whole life insurance.

The job was straight commissions with an additional bonus on each sale to help new agents. I made enough sales using this process to last a few months, but after that I had no pipeline.

Pretty soon I literally ran out of money and went to my manager looking for help.

Imagine how that felt, barely even being able to put gas in my car to get to my appointments. I was really low and ready to leave the business.

My manager, who was only 5 years my senior, did not give me a handout or even some B leads. While he listened, he basically told me to start making calls and to get creative. He gave me a few articles about how to drum up some leads on my own.

I read the articles, came up with a plan, put my head down and just did it.

I can’t say it turned into millions, but it ended up being a process that provided me with a steady stream of people to talk to about life insurance and I was able to get over the hump. By my fourth year in the business I was working off of referrals for the most part and moving on to start my second business. (Being a commission only sales person is a business, not a job – but that’s for a different post)

Today, new agents have an easy way of getting a steady stream of inexpensive leads and tons of tools that enable you to sell online vs driving all over the place to sit down at a kitchen table.

Regardless, the moral of this story is even with every advantage, you still need a plan and a reliable source of leads and Benepath is here to help you get a great start to your business.

About The Author: Benepath Blogger

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