Slideshow 10 ways young agents can break into the insurance profession

Published
  • June 17 2014, 3:48pm EDT
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Overview

Most benefit brokers and insurance agents have been in the business for decades, making it difficult for young people to make an impression in an industry ripe with incredibly experienced professionals. “Being a young insurance agent can seem downright overwhelming at times,” says Brent Kelly, a P&C agent and founder of Empowering Insurance Sales, which helps coach sales professionals. Kelly, who broke into the business at age 22, provides the following tips for young people to succeed in the benefits and insurance sales professions.
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1. Acknowledge you are young

If you look young, it’s not like you can hide it, Kelly says. “The best thing to do is acknowledge the fact that you are young in the industry and see if that is a deal breaker,” he adds. If the prospect has no intention of buying from a new agent, at least you’ll know and can move on quickly to someone who can see past your age and is interested in understanding your value and perspective.
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2. Youth is a strength

“When you are new, you most likely have a smaller book of business, you’re hungry, and most importantly you can and should do anything to make the prospects and clients believe they are your most important client,” Kelly says. “Guess what, they are!” He adds that there’s a good chance their previous agent was overwhelmed with a lot of clients. So call back right away, over deliver, be proactive with their needs and follow-up immediately — you’ll quickly show your value.
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3. Find niches

Insurance is complicated and “prospects want to know you are credible,” Kelly says. “Finding a niche where you can make your presence known is a great way to build credibility quickly.” Developing a niche and saying you’re an expert can also be a quick reply to a prospect who might say “you’re too young.”
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4. Leverage your enthusiasm

Take the enthusiasm of your youth and “let your prospects know how excited you are. If you are excited, they will be excited too,” Kelly says.
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5. Get educated

Attend continuing education classes and log in to webinars offered from industry companies and experts, Kelly advises. “The more you fill your mind, the quicker you will feel confident addressing confusing insurance questions you will face,” he adds.
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6. Attend networking events

While many are turned off by these sorts of events, Kelly says the problem is because people assume they’re supposed to sell while they’re there. “Networking events are not about immediate sales, but introductions, rapport and connections. Use connections you create from networking events to create important opportunities to be a resource for others,” he says.
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7. Make time for personal development

Kelly says one of his regrets in his early days is not making more time to improve personally. “The reality is that personal development is vital to both short and long-term success,” he says. “Become a better listener, speaker, thinker or anything you desire to be. Read books, listen to podcasts and attend seminars.” He adds that your new skills and confidence will be evident to prospects and customers.
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8. Use your resources

Remember, as you’re just starting out, that there are built-in resources in the field to help you. “You have industry representatives, underwriters, owners, managers, other agents,” Kelly says. “Lean on these resources … Insurance is definitely a team sport. Use your team for support.”
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9. Find common interests

Even though you may be younger than your prospects, clients or fellow agents, it doesn’t mean you don’t have things in common. “Sports, pets or the college you attended may just be a few of the things that may be common interests,” Kelly says. “People do business with people they like. Knowledge is power, but likeability makes sales.”
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10. Use social media

If you’re under 30, computers are no-doubt a strong suit for you. “Using the power of social media and digital marketing can set you apart from those agents (often older) who have not embraced the online world,” Kelly says. “Use social media to help connect, build a brand and share value that can help others.”
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