Three Reasons Why Many New Insurance Agents Fail

agents failure training Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden

Despite what some people may think, the insurance industry is a highly noble profession. So why do insurance agents come and go? Why do so many new insurance agents fail and experienced agents plateau?

The insurance industry offers amazing career opportunities for those who seize it. This is especially true for insurance agents/producers. I spent 15 years as a property & casualty agent and have had many ups and downs. There were moments of great success and days where I simply wanted to throw in the towel.

The insurance industry needs some new young talent and strong leadership.Unfortunately, young people aren’t flocking to become insurance agents. For those new agents that do take on the challenge of becoming a new insurance agent, many fail. Why?

I think there are three main reasons why insurance agents fail.

1- Expect too much too soon.

Let’s face it, most of us live in the see it, want it, have it generation. We see something we like, want it, and then must have it right away. We look at successful people and think, “That must be nice, I sure wish I was that successful.”

Wake up call; successful people work their tails off. Typically 20-30 years of hard work looks like an overnight success.

This is thought process of many young agents. Been there, done that. We start off in the first year or two of our careers and expect to be driving the nice car, have the nice house, and play golf about 100 days a year (ok maybe the last one was just mine). There is nothing wrong with those things, but first you must pay a price. You must sacrifice to win. You must put in the time and effort.

The insurance business is tough and like every profession, it takes time, effort, and FAILURE to become a master. You must get kicked in teeth, make mistakes, have bad days, and maybe even question your sanity before you achieve a high level of success.

This doesn’t mean the first few years have to be awful, but young agents often expect too much too soon. Learn and master your craft. Read, practice, grow, and before you know it success will find you.

Understand that the insurance business should be looked at as a crock pot vs. a microwave. While the microwave heats up fast, it doesn’t always taste the best. The crock pot, however, takes longer, but provides quality and consistency.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have positive results quickly, but young agent’s much understand that a successful book a business comes from developing meaningful relationships, daily growth, and consistency……and those things take time. 

2- Lack of quality training/education

I often speak with young insurance agents who are frustrated with their job. That can’t understand why this business is so tough. After a few minutes, I realize that this young agent was given a phone, and computer, and maybe a lead sheet with no training or mentorship.

Of course they are going to fail. That’s like taking a person who has never golfed, walking them out to the golf course, giving them a club, and questioning why they can’t break 100.

Every successful professional has a mentor and/or coach. Agents are no different. Young agents need training and mentoring. They need quality education. There are some great programs out there to help agents get a start. There are insurance association groups, formal classwork programs, or training from insurance companies.

Most importantly, I think every young agent needs to find a mentor. Better yet, two or three mentors. Someone who has had success in the industry and is willing to help new agent find their way. Mentorship and support could come from your office, a business professional, or an outside mentor or coach dedicated to your success. No one has ever achieved anything worthwhile on their own.

You can also find people across the country through social media. Find successful people and learn from them. That’s the reason I’m part of a team at Agents of Growth to help agents, new and experienced, maximize their own potential and get better results.

I have been extremely fortunate to attend  The National Alliance Producer School, worked with agencies who supported my CIC designation, and many great mentors along the way. New insurance agents must also realize that they must put in the time.

Without quality education, training, and mentoring, young agents are much more likely to fail.

3- Focused on the wrong thing (money vs. people)

If you are in the insurance agent business just to make money leave. Let me repeat that. If you are in the insurance business simply to make money, you will not succeed. Maybe in the short-term, but over time prospects and customers will see right through you. The will know you don’t care about them, you only care about you.

This is a people business. This is a relationship business. This is a service business. 

If you do not understand those three principles, you will fail. Period. The ability to communicate and connect with others will make or break you.  This requires skill and effort. If you focus on the people, money will come. If you focus on money, people will go. Get it?

You can make a terrific income as an insurance agent. It can offer a wonderful opportunity to give you both freedom and flexibility. There no doubt about that. Great agents do and should make a wonderful living. They work hard and help many people and businesses.

However, successful agents do NOT earn this great income by focusing on money.  They focus on the people they are serving.Yes, they set financial goals, but they also understand to hit those goals are only achieved by focusing on helping people.

Bottom Line

I firmly believe that an insurance agent is a highly noble and critical profession. It is vital that the industry not only find new and young talent, but give the necessary tools to help new and young agents succeed.

For new agents, understanding these three areas of why many agents fail will be critically important to make sure talented agents will be there in the future to serve others with passion, knowledge, and integrity.

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