Potential Industry Greenhorn in Need of Advice

Jan 17, 2016

  1. Mcgrmd
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    Mcgrmd New Member

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    Good morning/evening/afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the forum!
    Apologies in advance for the length of the post, as I'm on a semi-formal research assignment and I want to be as through as possible with my questions and range of pertinent topics, if you can answer one, or a few, and take possible take a little time to do a PM interview I would love to get your perspective and any information I may have overlooked in this initial post, if your still reading this long-winded tripe, I appreciate your patience!

    I'm in the interviewing process for a program in which state farm allows their subcontractors to have more agency in local employing for general insurance agents, and I was approached recently with this unprecedented opportunity through a professional reference that gave them my name and number, and a day after I got the call I had a really great initial meeting with my potential boss/mentor and I couldn't be more sold on joining the industry workforce

    A little background on myself, 24, currently self-employed, operating out of Jacksonville Florida, as a landscape/outdoor specialist subcontractor with prior experience in car sales. I actively advertise, consult, draft plans, and do consultations/estimates on landscaping jobs, as well as work with general contractors on a fixed hourly rate. Due to a less then stellar attention span in my youth, Im just now finishing up My A.A. (Minus the student loans, perks of learning a trade first!), so to say Im "untested" is an understatement, so I was tasked to do a bit of independent research by consulting with veterans of the craft before my next interview, so I have more then a handful of questions for all of you seasoned agents to better help and prepare me for the potential career change.



    On the negotiation process

    When working with a potential clients, what details about their current situation, insurance history, and lifestyle choices do you find frequently reoccur in cases of a successful sale? Are there similar reoccurring themes that indicate a deal issuing south?

    From the initial interaction to signing the contract, what is the average span of time that predicates a sale? What sort of time table to you try to meet and what are the steps you take insure continued report and interest?

    What are some of the techniques do you employ to bundle axillary insurance types the customer may not have initially inquired about, but you feel could benefit from/afford? How do you test the receptiveness without coming across boorish or overly aggressive (coming from car sales I worry i might have some poor lot tendencies XD)

    What are some of your note taking techniques for new clientele? What information is most useful to have on file when hammering out the details of the presented policy?

    When you first started in the industry, could you recall a point where you noticeably refined your method and it reflected itself in the books? Was its change of habit? Or application of something you thought might be extraneous or unimportant to the process (I know my bull headed 24 year old brain, I will have to be mindful of not taking shortcuts)

    Networking strategies

    How does your company usually handle phone leads? What points to you try to consistently make during the initial conversation in one of these cold call situations?

    If you where to try to make a professional connection during casual conversation off the clock; lets say your at the grocery store/college/gym/ golf course/ local tavern and you see a potential sale in the works, what kind of questions do you use to probe without coming across opportunistic and what would you say to schedule a formal interview with your peer/casual acquaintance/ random bar patron?

    What are some of your preferred venues for company sponsored networking? ex; sporting events/local markets/high-traffic outlet malls/ convention centers etc...

    Do you prefer to consult with your clients in a formal setting or at their home or office? Perhaps over lunch or cocktails (am I over romanticizing this?I feel like I might be:1cute:)

    Misc.
    If you're like me and have previous customer service/consultation/marketing/ sales experience, What was it and how do you feel the insurance industry is substantially similar to your previous positions? How does it differ? What where the easy adjustments and what did you find was most challenging or alien to you when you first got into it?


    Does anyone use The Institutes website for their certification material? If not, what website would you recommend for studying up?

    Is their anything in particular you feel I should be concerned with that I haven't brought up? Any subjects or skills of importance I should inquire further about in other posts?


    Thanks again for taking time out of your day to read this, if you feel comfortable including any of the following details about yourself in your response/ Pm for the sake of source validity it would be greatly appreciated; Name (Full or otherwise),
    company, city and state in which you work, and how many years you've been in the industry.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    -Matthew
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
    Mcgrmd, Jan 17, 2016
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  2. Winter_123
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    Winter_123 Guru

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    Everything you posted is garbage. The fact that you obviously did not proofread your post to see the *many* errors- that even a drunken chimpanzee would have spotted- is disrespectful to the people that you expect to read it. Next time you expect others to help you with your homework for Snake Farm, at least put a little effort in to it. Most likely people will still not be interested in it but it would be a step in the right direction. Also, reduce the length of the post by dividing the overall length by Mae West's bra size to increase the chance that at least two people here will read it.

    That would be dividing it by 39 - since you are wondering.



    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  3. Mcgrmd
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    Mcgrmd New Member

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    Oh you are just a treat.

    I bet you thought that snake farm bit was pretty clever, didn't you?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
    Mcgrmd, Jan 17, 2016
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  4. agentinsouth
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    agentinsouth Guru

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    I honestly stopped reading ... You need to go work for someone who will mentor you. This is not an industry to go in cold.


    I b
     
  5. DHK
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    DHK "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

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    Don't bite the hand you need to feed you.

    Asking more than 3 questions in a discussion forum greatly decreases the amount of posts as well as the quality of responses you'll get.

    The only other way to get all your questions answered... is to ask your State Farm recruiter all the questions. That might actually be a good thing because in the insurance industry, it's better for the interviewee to ask more questions than they are asked.
     
    DHK, Jan 17, 2016
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  6. indienoise
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    indienoise Guru

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    I'm afraid I can't help you much with your questions as no other work I'd done truly prepared me for this industry, even though nearly all my years of prior work revolved around insurance one way or the other. I simply put myself in a position of shooting fish in a barrel.

    Here's some questions you should be pondering before you get too involved with state farm and invest your own money:

    What's their market saturation in your area? (here in SC they have approximately 25% market share in personal lines home and auto). How much more market share can they reasonably expect to gain? How much of that can you produce?

    How many SF agencies are in your city? How far will you be from the nearest agent? How many more agents will they be willing to shoehorn between you and the next closest one? (I'm sure there are better examples, but the one I'm most aware of is Sevierville, TN. Look up SF agents there on Google maps. How do you think the more established agent feels about that arrangement?)

    Will they limit your agency to a maximum premium size? What happens to your book of business when you get there?

    After 30 years of loyalty to SF, how will you be rewarded? What equity will you have in the business? Can you pass it on to your children? And if the answers to those questions aren't what your hoped, what financial support can you expect from state farm during the first 5 years of your agency, and just how comitted are they to helping you succeed?

    If you're currently a business owner, those questions should really hit home for you. How about letting the recruiter squirm a little in his efforts to wrench you from your own business so you can lease one from the company he serves?

    Maybe this perspective will clarify this opportunity a little for you.
     
  7. Heather
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    Heather Guru

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    Go work for an agency, save your money because you are not ready. I am thinking if you asked Snake Farm all these questions they would gauge that you are not ready and not select you. There is nothing wrong with working for another agent for a few years.
     
    Heather, Jan 19, 2016
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  8. Brian F 11
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    Brian F 11 Expert

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    Danger! Type A Personalities operate in this space. No guidance counselors here.

    I mean no disrespect. I am only being honest when I say that you are not ready.

    My suggestion would be for you to first go and work for an agency. They will hold your hand and show you how and what to do, provide leads and get you started off in the right direction. Once you have enough experience and clients, then you can think of going out on your own.

    It's not so much the fact that you are asking many questions, rather, the way you are asking them and the overall tone of your post alludes to the fact that you are still in 'sheep mode'. Sheep get eaten in this business. There are long lines of people who know the business in and out, wake up everyday with the sole intention of screwing you over. And they will do it with a smile! They will take what little money you have and at the end of the day you will be working for someone else anyway.

    Find a pack of wolves to run with until you grow your teeth and appetite enough to drive you towards going independent. It will cost you time and money, usually in the form of renewals and % of commissions, but they will keep the other wolves from biting a chunk out of your ass.

    You will need do some research on your own. Don't come back and ask a question like "who is a good MGA around here"? That question has been answered many times. Usually that generates a lot of responses from......see the above two paragraphs.

    Start by running a search on this forum, new agents section, and also on the internet. Any question you have after that, then ask it here. You will need to learn who to ignore and who to listen to.

    Final suggestion, be humble and professional when seeking advice of independent insurance producers (there is a word in that last sentence you should key on). Sheep are fed, wolves go hunt. Who do you think eats better? There are very experienced and successful people here (myself not included, not too far removed from being in your position) that will offer help and guidance when the time comes. You need to be deserving of it, need to earn it, that's what your missing here.

    If this sounds too rough for you quit now.

    Sent from my iPhone using InsForums
     
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