Is it Possible to make living sooner than 2 years if..

Dec 11, 2006

  1. dsugar
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    dsugar Guest

    Hello, this is a frightening place to post a question. I am in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I test soon for Life & Health. I have learned quite a lot here and keep looking for info and perform searches to see if I can learn on historic posts. I have owned 2 businesses, am 42 yrs old and enjoy hard work that gives me fulfillment.

    I have decided that I desire to work for an Independent agency. What I would like to know:

    Is it possible to earn say 2k per month before 2 years has lapsed?

    The advice that I have been given thus far is that it does take this long to make ends meet &that I should acquire either a full or part time job to take care of myself while I build my business.

    I can and want to work as many hours as it takes to obtain my goals. I have a personal database of 2000 contacts. I am not afraid to walk in a neighborhood and door knock, or walk businesses door to door. Please assume that I am a very hard worker who will go above and beyond what would be considered typical. Working 50-70 hours per week does not offend me in any way. Rapport building comes very easy for me and many clients that I have worked with in the past I enjoy a friendly relationship with.

    I do not know the insurance business. I have more than a great deal to learn about this business. Is this why it takes 2 years to make a smaller income?

    I hope that I given enough information so that experience will give me some information I can learn from in the replys. I also hope that I have not given too much information.

    I thank you for your time in reply!
     
  2. James
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    James Guru

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    I think the fastest way to earn a good living is to find a mentor in your local community. If you can do that, it would basically be easy to create a good stream of income considering that the mentor has the ability to teach. Finding a local Agency may very well be the place to start, if you have the connections as you have suggested to market within and the drive to get out there and make apointments I betcha you'll have no problem finding a expierence agent to go along with you on apointments and show you the ropes on how to sell insurance For that they will likely want a Split of around 50/50 plus your override. Yet though that is IMHO the best way to get started.

    Outside of that you'll need dive into and study Insurance, depending upon what interest you the most. May it be Health, Life or whatever some seem more straight forward then others. Please don't be afraid to post, I think most here even though some butt heads at times have no real intentions to do anything but try to help! Outside of that take it for what it is worth, it is free suggestions.
     
  3. Sam
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    If your work ethic and rolodex is as you describe, you will make more than 2 grand a month in less than 6 months, no matter what product you sell. You could even do it if you stuttered and limped!
     
  4. Crabcake Johnny
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    Crabcake Johnny Guru

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    You've already owned two businesses so you already know that you're self-motivated. You're used to 50+ hours a week and you don't mind cold calling. You have the resume to be one of the better agents in this business. And $2,000 a month will be a joke.
     
  5. NHB_MMA
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    Diana,

    I am an agent in training and worked previously in the industry years ago for a somewhat sleazy (John will vouch) company that I got burned out on real quick. I do not have the experience and product expertise that James, Melmunch and John carry, but I know a fair amount about the industry and what it's like to start out of the gates.

    First off, if you're as good as you say and have that many contacts you are highly likely to make it. There will be challenges of one sort or another, but you're way ahead of the average new agent, in terms of business talent and available contacts.

    I'm sure you aware that most agents here are independent. I myself am captive. I realized I needed some ongoing training, particularly if I was going to carry different products and cross-sell. I have a friend of the family that has been a very successful independent agent for many years that has been a great encouragement to me that told me the chances of a person starting his career as an independent agent on his own and prospering is about 2%. I believe that is a reasonable guess. The importance of product knowledge cannot be overstated. You have to know what you're doing and feel you're helping the client or it will come out in your body language and mannerisms.

    You probably have two options. First, you can start off with a captive company like I did. The disadvantage is that if you leave before you're fully vested and before your non-compete expires, you'll have to start cold again. Second, you could work under an independent agent and learn the business that way. Most people go the first route, but the second is an option. Even under the second option, many will want you to sell for their agency and set it up so they keep the book of business, I suspect.

    If you want to start the career from an independent, the key is you have to find a good one. Most any of the guys that post regularly here are good ones, because they're passionate about what they do and truly embrace the learning just by being here regularly, so what I'm about to say doesn't apply to guys like the three that responded to this thread. However, there are a lot of independent insurance agents out there that just aren't that good. They don't make that much money, but it beats working in the coal mine and they've got where they are by loads of advertising. If you stop in and talk to them, you'll find them to be pretty apathetic and disinterested and wonder who would buy something from them. And many of them don't last in the business.

    One of the disadvantages of doing business with an independent (if we truly want to be honest) is that if they're out of business in a year you may not have anyone to service your policy or look out for your interests, unless the business has been sold to a competent individual. Or the independent might not be writing business with the company he originally sold you. In that case, his interest in working with you may be somewhat low, or he might try to push you to take out a new policy with a different company and get the FYC all over again. This does happen, because independent represent smaller companies than the major captive companies and this sometimes means those companies will get bought out by a company that will change commission structures or change policies to the detriment of prospective clients. Central Reserve did both to Continental General a few years ago. This isn't to trash independents and knock the work they do, but just to be honest about the differences in the business structure.

    The obvious advantage of working with an independent is price. They have the ability to shop around and find a good rate. I don't have the ability, in most instances (there is a brokerage for special cases and times when the parent company is not competitive enough to win the business). Most of the indies here write with companies smaller than mine, but there are many cases where the premium is significantly less and their company their able to offer is still really good, in terms of financial stability and ratings. For example, if I were wanting to buy 20 or 30 year term, I wouldn't even buy it from myself, because I know of a couple companies that are A+ (minimum I would ever consider) that are half the cost. I would basically save most of what I would have earned in FYC by buying from a different company and that's only in year one. I'll freely admit I wouldn't pay double just to move from A+ to A++ on term. Again, this is just being totally honest here and showing the major disadvantage of working with a captive company. This doesn't mean I won't sell term to people, as I'm really selling an ongoing relationship with me. In my opinion a person with little knowledge on financial products is better off paying a little more to have a person sit down with them every year and call them throughout the year, making various recommendations than saving a few bucks at insure.com.

    So, think about whether you want to emphasize the ability to shop for rates or emphasize the massive size and strength of a parent company and its large network of agents. There are pros and cons to each for the prospective agent, as well as the prospective client, and anyone that tells you otherwise is letting his bias shine through. I've heard guys in my office trash the idea of independent agents and I've heard guys here and on the old forum completely slam the captive companies and I wouldn't buy travel life insurance for my dog from either type of person. Where you get your training is largely up to you. What I would definitely not recommend is you going out and getting contracts through companies directly or through regional managers and trying to wing it on your own.

    Good luck. :D
     
  6. Sam
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    Those are some good points. However, I don't see how the possibility of being orphaned (Your agent leaves the biz) is any higher with an independent agent. Captive agents leave the business all the time, some might even say at a higher rate, because if you aren't selling as a captive, you get thrown out, whereas an indy could stay and live off of his or her spouse etc... In both cases, they may or may not get a new agent assigned to them right away.

    In any case, it boils down to how well you work without external pressure. The training and support you get with a captive company is important, but you can also get it indy. However, you will not get camaraderie, and you will not have a manager pushing you. There will be no embarrassing meetings with the other agents, when you have a bad week. For some people, this is just the push they need to really succeed.

    When you look at what % of people are successful in selling insurance, you need to compare yourself with the demographic that fits you, and not just the general public. You are not 21, and just out of college. You may not have the luxury of giving something a shot for 6 months and then cutting your losses. You also have considerable success under your belt, which always helps. Most importantly, you believe that you have the work ethic to work hard. I think that is a recipe for success.

    One tip I can give you, is to focus almost exclusively on marketing to new people, while you learn the business and products. You don't want to burn through your best prospects when you are not fully prepared. I am sure that they will still be around in a year, and you will be much better equipped to handle them. Frankly, you will make a lot more money off of them too.
     
  7. Crabcake Johnny
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  8. James
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    Being captive sucks if you ask me. Tried it with Sterling and while I like the company the local office really suck, yet though the people at the National HQ up by Seattle were wonderful and I wish things could of worked out differently. Yet they didn't, lost all my appointments when I left and the DM decided it was time to send out all those letters I signed to cancell my apt's with all other Carriers. All well, it all work out for the best, they always do and I'm starting to get the Appointments I really want back as I send in new business.

    Yet before I went with Sterling, I work a few cases thru Mass Mutual. When I needed assistance the Agents at the local MM Office were really good. In fact, I found out real quick how much I didn't know working with career Mass Mutual Agents! Those guys know there shit. So basically even if you are Independent you can work with some great companies such as Mass Mutual, John Hancock, Berkley (Guardian) and if you need assistance they will help you if you just go in the office and ask for help. Yes, likely they will want a split if they assist you with a certain case.
     
  9. Crabcake Johnny
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    Two reasons I like being independent:

    1) I get to focus entirely on my client. If ABC company changes rates or plans and becomes uncompetitive I simply stop selling them.

    2) I get to focus on my goals - not the goals of the three managers above me.
     
  10. NHB_MMA
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    That's true--captive agents do leave the business all the time. From what I've seen at my company, when a client is orphaned they tend to give them to an agent that has been there a year or so and sold enough policies to be confident they're going to be there. They're not going to keep giving them to one newbie after another and having the client say "What the hell is wrong with this company that they can't keep an agent?", thus losing the business. What you say about captive being thrown out versus an independent is true, as the large companies are not going to have someone sit around forever that produces nothing. The main advantage I was getting at is that a good captive company WILL assign you a new agent, whereas if your indy just outright folds you will have to be the one to find someone new to work with you.

    That was a concern of mine. Sometimes it's tough for me to get motivated without external pressure. Again, I'm just being honest. I freely admit I have my own weaknesses and whether or not I'll succeed in this business is still very much up in the air. I could further emphasize this point by telling you about my terrible organizational skills.

    People here that remember me from the old board know I was considering going indy and I almost did it. The family friend that has been a very successful indy for many years said he was not appointing anyone new. He would have helped direct me to companies to get an appointment with, but said he did not have the time to train me. Otherwise I would have gotten some appointments with him and probably some Assurant and GR appointments with John. I really questioned whether I could ever succeed at being independent alone. I thought about trying to find a couple friends to build an agency with, share expenses, and hold each other accountable through competition, but they happened to find other jobs when I tossed the idea around.

    I think that is good advice for her too. It is a little easier in my situation to go to family and friends because I gather the information and have it reviewed by other agents and managers with a considerable amount of expertise.
     
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