What Makes a Good Life Insurance Agent?: 4 Traits You Need to Possess to Succeed in This Industry

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Nov 12, 2018

Nov 12, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

You've read about the high earning potential, the career flexibility, and the relationship-based nature of the life insurance industry. Now, you're interested in becoming a life insurance agent.

You've always had a competitive spirit, and you'd like to think that your general business background will serve you well in the life insurance industry.

You also have a degree in accounting or a similar field, so you feel confident about your educational background, as well.

But what else do you need to work on in order to learn how to be a successful insurance agent?

Read on to learn about some of the most important skills that successful life insurance salespeople all have in common.

1. Superior Communication Skills

The ability to communicate is one of the most important things a potential life insurance agent needs to possess.

Remember that communication isn't just about explaining the different types of life insurance to your clients. It's also about knowing the right questions to ask so that you can help to guide them towards the right policy for their needs.

Plus, you'll also need to earn their trust, in order to get them to open up about sensitive, and even sometimes emotional, financial and personal issues that could influence a policy.

It's all about active listening and making your communication service oriented.

Above all, it's about building a strong and lasting relationship with your clients. It's up to you to put them at ease, make them feel heard, and understand how to persuade them to follow your advice without being pushy.

2. The Ability to Network

Nearly 85% of small business owners say that they rely on word of mouth and referrals from current clients to help them to grow their business.

As a life insurance agent, you'll face some serious competition -- especially within your local market. If you don't hone your networking skills now, you're giving your competition the chance to get ahead of you.

You need to get comfortable with the idea of asking for referrals, marketing yourself, and work on becoming a presence in your community.

This means attending conferences, shadowing another life insurance agent, and fostering business connections everywhere you go.

Remember that networking in today's world takes place both online and in person. The best insurance agents have a strong digital presence. They include client reviews, informative blog posts, and even have a strong following on social media.

3. Strong Organizational Skills

You can't learn how to sell life insurance successfully without first making sure that you've mastered organizational skills.

When you're meeting with clients, it's your job to make the process of applying for life insurance policies as simple as possible. This means that you'll be the one who's responsible for handling some of the more confusing paperwork.

You'll need to know which kinds of personal details to collect. You need to create your own file storage system and keep track of upcoming deadlines. You'll also need to understand the specifics of an individual policy.

Remember to follow up with leads and clients, and create an appointment scheduling system that works for you. You may even need to learn how to use software and other programs that can help you with organization.

Poor organizational skills can have serious professional consequences, and can make it nearly impossible to win a client's trust.

If you struggle with staying organized, consider hiring an administrative assistant or working with a larger life insurance firm that has the resources to help you stay on target.

4. Consider the Technical Side

So far, we've discussed the ways in which you can use soft skills to learn how to be a successful insurance agent.

However, that doesn't mean that technical skill sets aren't as important.

Having strong mathematical skills will serve you well in your role as an insurance agent. Even if you're not performing the duties of an actuary yourself, understanding how the mathematical process works will help you to make the right suggestions.

You'll also need to familiarize yourself with a wide variety of life insurance products. In some cases, you'll be restricted in the types of policies that you can sell.

Look at the different kinds of life insurance agent certifications and decide which will give you the level of flexibility you prefer.

Remember that you're also expected to familiarize yourself with the regulatory standards of the life insurance industry. A failure to comply with these regulations could result in a loss of your license. You could also receive a lifetime ban from the insurance industry.

So, from the "promises" and guarantees that you can make about a policy to knowing what you're allowed to sell with your current license, make sure you've done your homework.

There are lots of continuing education courses available that will help you to develop stronger sales skills, as well. Consider enrolling in them to learn how to close any deal.

Are You Ready to Become a Life Insurance Agent?

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand both the hard and soft skills you'll need in order to become a successful life insurance agent.

However, in reading this post, perhaps you've discovered that becoming a life insurance agent isn't the best career path for you.

Don't worry.

Instead, find a better fit by coming back to our blog posts.

There, you can read about different kinds of insurance sales jobs, positions that require lots of face time with clients, or even find something in an entirely different industry than you thought you'd love.

Soon, you'll find the perfect position for you.