Just Starting Out....Need Advice

Jul 7, 2007

  1. Ambitious
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    Ambitious New Member

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    Hello everyone. I am soon to be an early retired police officer in Georgia. I was very interested in a career in insurance sales. I see the opportunities it can bring me. What I am having trouble with is what company to start with. I read the blogs and see positive and negatives on almost all companies.
    I have interviewd with Aflac, Liberty National, as well as applied for others. It seems that the "major" companies want experience, and the "problem" companies are willing to take and train anybody to see what sticks. I am willing to do what it takes to succeed.
    Does anyone have any advice on this? One interesting thing I found is alot of negative about Aflac which surprises me. They are huge it seems.
    A common underlying theme I see is that most negative blogs are from those that either have not really started working it yet or have not worked it long enough to make a difference. Just an observation.
    I guess it would help to say what I am looking for. I would like to sell person to person as well as B2B. I am looking for a company that offers great training, compensation plan and the ability to go far up the ladder so to speak. Any companies like that around? Is that asking too much?
    I appreciate any responses I get.
     
  2. bluemarlin08
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    bluemarlin08 Guru

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    I would determine who some of the local successfull agents are and ask them for an appointment. I would explain that you are willing to do anything to learn the business and if they would be interested in a mentor relationship. I would prefer to work with a guy that is independent. Interview several guys and go with the one that gives you the best feeling. What most successfull guys are willing to do is go out on appointments, so that will be your job is to get appointments. I would then want to be in on all meetings and watch the agent put together his presentation. I would expect to split commissions 50/50 but I would want to do as much work on the case you can, asking for help as needed. The main thing is you must be able to prospect and get appointments, without a steady flow of meetings the mentor will not stick with the deal. I have done this many times over the years, sometimes it works, but most of the time the new agent won't stick with the program of prospect, prospect, prospect.
     
  3. Frank Stastny
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    Frank Stastny Guru

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    Great advice. I would add to that the following.

    Selling insurance is the easy part. Actually it is almost like having a license to steal when you get the right prospect. Oops, probably should have not said "steal" to a former cop. LOL

    Product knowledge, for the most part, you can get without a lot of help. Learning which product is the best for a particular prospect will come with experience and someone to answer your questions. Handling objections is the tough part of selling. This also will come with experience and picking the brain of every agent you can talk to.

    Knowing how to successfully PROSPECT is the key to being successful in selling insurance. To be successful I would guess you will spend 3/4 of your time prospecting and 1/4 selling.

    Most agents quit because all they want to do is sell. (Work 1/4 of the time.) They want a source of "leads" that are with people sitting at the table with their pen in hand ready to sign an app.

    Read the posts about "leads". Everyone is looking for "good leads", generated by someone else. Your best leads will be ones you have generated. No exceptions!

    A direct mail reply card is not a lead! It is a name and phone number of someone who, for a couple of seconds, was curious. Most often not from a qualified buyer.

    If you also talk to insurance agencies, as opposed to insurance companies, be very very careful about signing anything with an insurance agency, especially if you are going to get paid by the agency as opposed to getting paid directly from the insurance company.

    Most of them will promise the moon, "extensive training", "leads", advances, etc. The reality of it is, the new agent usually ends up with only a small percent of commission that the insurance company pays the agency, "leads" that have been worked several times, a monthly bill for "office use" and training that consists of, "this is what an application looks like, now go get-um tiger".

    The only way to make money selling insurance is on straight commission.

    "...compensation plan and the ability to go far up the ladder so to speak. Any companies like that around? Is that asking too much?"

    In my opinion, yes it is. Please don't take this personal but agents who are looking for a salary selling insurance, for the most part, are only looking for a job. Most of them never learn to work as hard as necessary to be successful in this business.

    If you really want to learn to sell insurance then go balls to the wall and start out on straight commission. There is no stronger motivation to make a sale than if you know you won't have the money to eat dinner that night if you don't.

    Making money selling insurance is all about writing applications. The premium amount and the rate of commission is secondary to writing apps. If one concentrates on writing apps without regard to premium or commission he/she will make a lot of money selling insurance. It doesn't matter if it a $10 per month final expense plan or a $500 per month long term care policy. Just concentrate on writing apps.

    Being extremely well organized is also imperative to being successful. Have all your clients and prospect literally at your fingertips. Keep accurate information about every conversation you have with them. Just because a prospect isn't ready to buy today, that doesn't mean that they won't be ready a year from now.
     
  4. Guest
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    I've not heard it put this way but I think it is good advice. I wish I had heard this when I started almost 18 months ago. "Work hard and the money will follow." Problem with me is that I don't work hard!!!

    You really have to sacrifice some family time. That's been my problem as my wife has had a series of medical issues this year... she took a bad fall in January, had minor surgery in April, and the last few weeks had to have tests for possible ut or ov cancer... which fortunately was a false-positive (scared us to death!) My wife is disabled so I have to do a lot of the house chores. If you have demands on your time, it is going to cut into your production. I have no idea how a single parent could start out in this business!

    I'm told that Frank's YIO system is very good, although I think it is probably a bit pricey for a brand new agent. I suggest that you try the FreeCRM at www.freecrm.com when you start out. If Frank's program were web-based I'd subscribe to it. I run a Mac and while I can easily run YIO in virtual mode via Parallels, I'm really weaned off of desktop software these days. I use some Google tools, I run our www.jaya123.com system for another biz I own, I do my banking online, and I keep up my stock portfolio with Yahoo. My advice is that before you buy expensive computer tools, try out the web services and see if they meet your needs... especially the free ones. Later on when you get the money you can move 'up' to systems like YIO.

    When I was in New York City for two weeks in early June, it was terrific to be able to go to freecrm.com log in and have all my client info right there no matter which computer I used (hotel had a 'business center' with free use for guests.)

    One last thing. Enjoy the people. Honestly. You always hear about "sleazy insurance salesmen." I've met some of the best, most wonderful people in this business. Yes, there were a few arrogant ones (the young snot from Met comes to mind) but I'd rather break bread with people in the financial services world before anyone in the legal and medical or political world (having had experience in all three.) Enjoy the people. Learn from them. Most will be only too happy to help.

    Al
    www.insurancesolutions123.com
     
    Guest, Jul 7, 2007
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  5. Frank Stastny
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    Frank Stastny Guru

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    That is the only good advice I received when I first started.
     
  6. Frank Stastny
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    Frank Stastny Guru

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    Thanks for the kind words Al. (I know, you don't like people to say thank you. LOL)

    On many occasions I have talked to agents about making YIO web based. The overwhelming majority said that they do not want the confidential about their clients on the net. To the point that they said they would not use it if it were web based. (I know all the arguments about how "safe" they say it is. Damn, it is tough to please all of the people all of the time.)

    As far as the price goes, at $286 for the single user version, the commission from one sale will usually more than pay for the program. From that point on the agent is using the program for "free".

    The other problem with web based programs is that they are a lot more expensive, most have a monthly subscription fee, and if you stop paying and want to continue using your data they send it to you in CSV (comma separated value) format. The agent must find another program to put their data in before they can even read it.

    Plus, if the internet connection is down or a server is down, guess what, no data. There are good arguements on both sides. The majority of my clients want it on their computer.
     
  7. senior-advisor-indiana
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    senior-advisor-indiana Guru

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    I definetly LOVE the fact that it is not web based. Most senior market agents travel through the hills most of the day so we would have to wait to get home to look up anything or drive 30 minutes to get some reception.LOL. My coneection goes through my cell phone. I guess I should have put this in the offers section, not here.
     
  8. Guest
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    Guest Guest

    Yes, most web-services have a monthly fee (we charge $15/mo for www.jaya123.com). BUT... there are never any upgrade or maintenance or license fees. I've found that when you average out the TCO (total cost of ownership) of most web-services and their 'equivalent' desk top costs with yearly upgrades or maint. fees... its about a wash.



    Well, having done about a hundred data conversions from one database to another I've not seen too many that were slam dunk. And I must dispute one item. Most web-services (like ours) will let people get their data as an SQL 'dump' which can be imported into another database, assuming it is set up correctly (which is still a lot of work to do.) My bet is the YIO uses the relational database model where records are 'chained' to other records via keys. For example one client record may have many policy records and each policy record may have many rider records and each rider record can have many policy records... and it gets more complex from there. How does YIO output a complete database so that the agent can use it in another system? I doubt it can... however I'm sure it can easily output some simple data, such as a customer name/address file.

    Bottom line if you are going to change from XYZ to YIO or from YIO to XYX, you are basically going to "start fresh" and as the need arises input your data instead of trying to do a huge and expensive conversion. In the case of Jaya, people keep their 'old' system (usually Quickbooks) going and as new biz comes in they enter it in Jaya. As old biz is paid off, eventually QB is retired. It's not perfect but sometimes good enough is good enough.

    This is true but I find that in most metro areas the uptime of cable and DSL is better than that of most small business networks. And if the internet comes down at your house, you just take your laptop to a Starbucks down the street and work there until it comes back up! But if you blow a server in your office, you will be down for hours if not days until you can get a new one and have it reloaded with the backups.

    And as for the safety of the data on the net... I'll bet you lunch that I can break into 90% of the office networks of those on this board in 48 hours... mainly because most of you don't have the first clue on how to put up a firewall, close down ports, etc. A good, solid, bank-quality data center (like we use) is far more secure than most (I'd say all) insurance agency office networks. Even if you don't keep your machine on the net, how hard is it to break into your office and steal it?

    I agree. I'm sure the vast majority of your clients want it on their own computer. But sooner or later some competitor will 'clone' YIO as a web-service and people will try it (early adopters) and if they say good things about it, more and more will and you will see an erosion of your user base. It may not happen for another three or four years... but it will.

    Al
     
    Guest, Jul 7, 2007
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  9. Frank Stastny
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    Frank Stastny Guru

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    I'm not even sure where to start so I'm just going to use your post.

     
  10. Frank Stastny
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    Frank Stastny Guru

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    Al,

    I've wanted to ask you this for a long time. You obviously know a lot about computers, writing code etc. Why would someone who is so knowledgeable, in an industry that is so wide open, want to give that up and plunge into something that is so foreign and difficult?

    You sound well informed about computers and it must be very frustrating not to be able to contribute as an "expert" in the insurance related threads. I'm sure that you are only trying to help those of us who are not as computer literate as you better understand our computers and how to get the most out of them.

    However, do you think that you could do it in a less abrasive manner? Instead of telling us how smart you are and how dumb we are, why not just offer helpful suggestions. It doesn't do any good to tell someone what they are doing wrong unless you also offer suggestions on how to correct it. I hope you are not using the same approach when you go on an insurance appointment.

    I'm sure a lot of us could benefit from your computer knowledge but do you think you could present it in a more palatable manner?

    People don't look down on you because you don't know as much about insurance as you do computers. Just relax and have fun here. I don't think anyone has busted your ass because you are not as well informed about insurance as some of the others are who post here.

    How would you like it if I said, "Al I will bet you lunch that I can go into the home of any of your clients and roll the policy you sold them into one of mine because you don't have a clue what you are talking about and sold them a policy that is pure crap and not one that suits their needs"?

    That wasn't a very helpful statement was it?

    Who knows, maybe I really could.
     
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