There is one key ingredient that must be present before you can take the necessary steps to double your income in 18 months or less. That key ingredient is this: you must adopt a sales mindset.

As I talk with insurance agents engaged in the sale of group medical and other products, there is a strong reluctance to think of themselves as "salespeople."

For numerous reasons, the act of selling has taken on a negative connotation - but that perception is flat-out inaccurate.


The truth about sales

Selling is not about manipulating the client or prospect to buy something that he neither needs nor wants. Selling is also not about grinding the prospect down until he agrees to buy.

My definition of selling is as follows: Selling is about recognizing that people do not know what they do not know. The really great salesperson asks awesome questions that help the prospect verbalize exactly what he needs or wants.

Then, the salesperson positions his products and services in a way that helps the prospect meet that need or get what he wants. If the professional salesperson does not believe that his products can meet the prospect's needs and wants he simply moves on.

The reality is that your clients and prospects do not know that they should talk with you about how to harness the power of the benefits they offer. They don't know how to use benefits to improve employee morale or to reverse employee pressure for increased wages. They have no idea that a voluntary short-term disability income plan, for example, can potentially be used as a "health insurance COBRA waiver of premium."


Your role in the process

As an insurance professional, it is your job to help clients and prospects identify the goals that can only be achieved with the many insurance products that are at your disposal. As a general agent for several voluntary benefits, I often hear agents tell me that they will call me if a client asks about voluntary benefits or if a client asks about critical illness insurance.

If you are waiting for the client to ask about additional lines of coverage you are simply an "order-taker" and not much else. If you think that your job is simply to shop the market and explain the differences in plans you will ultimately be replaced by an online quote engine.

More importantly, as a salesperson, your income is entirely dependent upon your own efforts. Regardless of what happens to commissions on medical coverage, the insurance salesperson recognizes that there are numerous ways to increase per-group revenue.

No matter how few medical carriers there may be in your marketplace, there are still ways to open new doors with significantly less competition than if you focus your sales pitch on medical - like everyone else. If you want to double or even triple your income, you can. And you can do so without working any harder than you ever have.

As someone that is extremely proud of being a salesperson I have always told my wife, "There is no financial problem that I cannot sell my way out of!" And that is the sheer beauty of being a salesperson. My future is entirely in my hands.

Schlesinger is an independent consultant focused on helping benefit professionals double their income. Reach him at (336) 777-3938 or through

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