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How to Sell Insurance

By: Kaplan Financial Education
July 31, 2020
Selling insurance - conceptual image

How to sell insurance is top of mind for anyone who is considering this rewarding career. Insurance sales requires hard work, determination, networking, marketing, followup, and a genuine interest in people’s lives, plans, and future. It means working on commission (in most cases) and having at least one insurance license. This article describes the steps to follow for selling insurance.

1. Decide what type of insurance to sell and earn your license.

Insurance sales is a broad category, and one insurance license doesn’t cover all the different types. So, you should choose what kind of insurance you’d like to sell. The common options are life, health, property, and casualty insurance. Two other types that are fairly common are surplus line insurance, which covers unusual situations with risks not addressed by standard insurance, and variable products insurance, which have an investment element.

To earn an insurance license for everything except variable products insurance (you need a FINRA Series 6 license for that), you need to be at least 18 years old. You will have to pass an exam administered by the state where you want to sell insurance. Many states require you to complete prelicensing education before taking the exam. You must also pass a background check that can include fingerprinting.

2. Choose how you want to sell insurance.

There are two ways you can sell insurance after you earn your license. You can be a “captive” or an independent agent. Captive agents work for a specific insurance carrier and can only sell its insurance products to prospects and clients. Typically, their office expenses are paid for, and they receive benefits and continuing education training.

Independent agents work for themselves and sell the products of different insurers. They use their own resources to start and market their business, but they typically earn larger commissions than captive agents. By offering products from different carriers, they can tailor solutions specifically for their prospects and clients.

Thinking about a career in insurance? Download this free Launching Your Insurance Career eBook.

3. Generate leads.

After earning your license and choosing how you want to sell insurance, you’re ready to start selling. You know you need to help clients understand differences in insurance policies so they can choose the plan that’s right for them, but first you need to get those clients. So, how do you do that? You will have to generate leads.

If you’re working as a captive agent, your employer may provide you with leads, usually by selling them to you. If you’re working independently, you will need to generate leads in other ways. Many independent agents purchase lists and some even engage insurance marketing organizations or field marketing organizations to help them with marketing and lead generation.

Even with help from another party, it’s always a good policy to make sure you also get leads the old-fashioned way—by networking and using referrals. Encourage family and friends to refer you. Participate in insurance and other community events to get the word out that you’re an insurance agent. Remember to create a website and profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat and keep up with them regularly, engaging as much as you can.

4. Make your pitch.

Selling insurance to your leads is all about the pitch. You need to present yourself well, speak in the language your prospects understand (no slang or jargon), and demonstrate empathy with their situations. When you put yourself in their shoes, you can better explain how your insurance products will benefit them.

Potential clients are looking for a solution and benefits, not a list of features. Therefore, you should examine and understand how the features you offer solve problems so you can make appropriate solution recommendations. This is called solution selling, and it is more effective than just listing features like a 24x7 helpline or a one-click accounting report.

Many leads might think they don’t need insurance or are reluctant to commit to the best policy, fearing the cost. Or, they might be required by a bank or law to purchase insurance and want the lowest-price option. In those cases, you should ask questions that will get them to focus on what could happen without the proper amount or type of insurance:

  • What’s the most valuable thing in your house?
  • What happens if it is stolen?
  • What kind of serious weather events—such as floods, hurricanes, blizzards, or storms—have happened near your house?
  • If you passed away, how long would your family be able to live on your savings?
  • How much do you think a funeral costs?
  • What would happen to your job if you were permanently injured?
  • If you’re injured or hospitalized for a long period of time, how would you and your family be supported?

After you get answers to those questions, you can explain how the insurance solutions you provide can help them safeguard for those situations.

Step 5. Follow these tips.

Here are some additional tips that can help you get new clients and keep them:

  • Create sales goals to keep you on track throughout the year.
  • Find something in common with prospects and clients to put them (and yourself) at ease.
  • Find opportunities to learn from experienced coworkers or, if you’re independent, from other independent agents.
  • Keep up with the markets and insurance trends so you can introduce new solutions to prospects and existing clients.
  • Listen to your prospects and clients more than you talk to them.
  • Never miss an opportunity to network.
  • Partner with other professionals, like lawyers and accountants, who can answer client questions that you can’t. Then, offer to answer insurance questions that they can’t as a way to get referrals.

Think Selling Insurance Is Right for You?

If you’re excited about helping people plan for the future with the right insurance products, your first step is earning your license. Exam preparation packages can help increase your chances of passing, so you can start your exciting new career.

Free eBook: Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence

As an aspiring insurance professional, wouldn’t it be great if you could sit down with a room full of successful insurance veterans and ask them for their advice? The Kaplan Financial Education team interviewed over 100 insurance professionals to develop this exclusive eBook for those who are considering the insurance industry.