Some industries have stereotypes – doctors stereotypically have bad handwriting, engineers are stereotypically nerdy, and investment bankers are stereotyped to have a “work hard, play hard” mentality. For insurance brokers and salespeople, things aren’t so black and white. There are so many different types of insurance, and different ways to be an insurance professional, that there isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” industry stereotype. However, agents and brokers agreed that certain characteristics are important for the average successful agent. Below, find a list of the top 9 personality traits our forum’s insurance professionals thought were crucial to the job.
1. Psychological Resilience
An individual’s ability to cope with stress and adversity is crucial to being a successful agent. It you’re easily deterred by rejection, you may not have the patience to work your way up to being great at what you do.
According to Steve W. Martin, 85 percent of top salespeople had “high levels of conscientiousness, whereby they could be described as having a strong sense of duty and being responsible and reliable.” Top salespeople can be counted on by their clients, and have the ability to grow relationships based on this foundation of trust.
Agents and brokers agreed that it is essential to believe in the products they are selling. Top performers will be naturally invested in what they do, and their enthusiasm can be infectious. It’s difficult to fake true enthusiasm, but when it’s there, it can be a powerful sales tool.
Martin notes that “during sales cycles, top sales performers seek to understand the politics of customer decision-making.” Successful agents will place themselves in the client’s position, and identify key factors and variables in his or her decision-making process.
One agent told us, “I think that an agent who is characterized by openness and sincerity, and is unreservedly straightforward, will generally be successful.” Without a candid approach, there can be confusion between the agent and the customer. Further, the possibility of establishing a long-term business relationship recedes without honesty and sincerity.
6. Interpersonal Perceptiveness
To put it another way, as one forum member did, “A good agent knows when to shut up.” Talking too much or going off on tangents is a surefire way to lose a potential client. Having interpersonal awareness means knowing when to speak, when to listen, and how to help a client understand his or her options.
The life of an agent or broker can often be an unstructured one. For independent salespeople, there is no one holding their feet to the fire when it comes to waking up in the morning, meeting quotas, prospecting potential clients, and driving the business forward. Therefore, discipline is key. Top performers tend to set their own benchmarks, and are driven by the pursuit of achieving these benchmarks. They also often measure their performance with respect to their achievements.
8. Money Motivation
People are motivated by different factors; while some people are motivated by the process of creation, others are driven purely by numbers and benchmarks. Forum members concluded that agents and brokers who are motivated by money have the tendency to do better – the thrill of making a sale helps drive them on a daily basis and pushes them to continue on their course. At the end of the day, sales is about making the sale.
9. Clear Communication
Insurance is abstract. Agents and brokers who can easily explain complicated coverage in an understandable, concrete, manner tend to drive sales.