Do you have the right people skill to succeed as an insurance agent?
People think that it is easy to be an insurance agent. All they see is that agents meet a few clients a day at a fancy coffee place or over teh tarik at a local mamak stall; close some deals, and ka-ching! Money in the bank. But we all know this isn’t true. Like any profession, it has its own challenges and requires its own set of skills. One of the skills that any good agent must possess is people skill. We will be defining this skill in detail so we can all develop it, sharpen it, and work towards becoming an awesome agent!
What does it mean?
People skill is really a broad term, in layman’s term, it means all the attributes associated at being a great and likeable person, who gets along, and works well with others. But what does that really mean and how does one go about becoming this person? Here is a list of attributes that can help you.
So what are the people skills needed to be a great insurance agent?
People Skill 1 : Great listening skill
To do this, you need to stop that chattering in your head and put 100% of your focus on the person speaking. Do not interrupt and do not feel the need to rush into giving a reply or a solution. Instead, take your time to think through what has been said and what are the real concerns that he may have implied, i.e not said out loud. After the client has explained their financial situation, it is good practice to summarize and repeat back what has been said to emphasize that all has been understood.
People Skill 2 : Ability to relate to others and showing empathy
It this line of work, you will meet all sorts of people from all walks of life. To succeed, it is important to be able to relate to your customers, which means understanding their position and situation. This isn’t easy to pull off if you are new in the business as to be able to do this, you would need to have the experience that comes from having have dealt with many individuals. But having great listening skill helps, be calm in your response and showing empathy where it is appreciated. This means a genuine desire to help your customer in finding the best solution for them.
People Skill 3 : Sincerity
Have genuine interest in your customers, in their concerns and their needs. And on top of that, who are they? Are they married? How many children do they have? What do they do when they aren’t working? Don’t just find this information out so that you are able to help them fill out the policy form. Find out because you are genuinely interested in them. Talk about their interest. You can’t pretend these things, as people can spot a fake a mile away. So to be sincere, is to not see them as customers, but as friends, who are seeking your help and expertise. Make your customers feel that they are important!
People Skill 4 : Honesty/ Integrity
Be honest with your customers. Put their interest ahead of your need to close a sale. If you know that a product they are interested in or inquiring about isn’t suitable for them, be honest and let them know. Even if this means losing a sale. The customer will know that he has found an agent, he can depend on and trust. This is the stuff that will build trust and your reputation! And you can be sure that he would be recommending you to his friends.
People Skill 5 : Have Patience and Tolerance
Be patient with your customers. Some customers may have a lot of questions and this can sometimes test your patience. Remind yourself that it is your duty to them to explain everything until they are perfectly clear. You do not want to do a haphazard job here as this could lead to the customer feeling cheated later on when a situation arises. However, you do not want to be a pushover either. Know what your duties are and don’t be bullied by the customers into doing things that you shouldn’t be doing. Be patient yet assertive.
People Skill 6 : Good communication skills
Present yourself well by communicating well! You may be the sharpest dressed person in town but if you can’t communicate effectively, you won’t gain the confidence of others. Choose your words wisely. Speak clearly and confidently. But be careful as to not come across as being too confident or arrogant! Nobody likes that.
People Skill 7 : Maintain relationships with your customers
After you have sold your customer a policy, maintain relationship with them. Stay in touch, don’t disappear off the face of the earth. Many customers have had this bad experience where they feel agents are there only to sell them insurance, and once that is achieved, they are nowhere to be found. Call your customers from time to time to find out how they are doing or if they have any concerns. You may take this opportunity to introduce new products. If the customer trusts you, they will even appreciate you doing so.
People Skill 8 : Be open minded enough to accept constructive feedback
Some people may be more direct than others. Don’t take criticism personally and don’t see them as an attack on you. Always look at the positive side of things and see criticism as a way for you to improve yourself. Being able to do this shows maturity.
People Skill 9 : Understand body-language
The knowledge of body-language is important especially when dealing with individuals. You need to “read” if your customer is feeling agitated, impatient or “closed” so that you are able handle the situation well. Sometimes you will need to relax the atmosphere a little, tell a little joke, make small talk, or talk about last night’s football match.
People Skill 10 : Smile
Finally, smile a lot. A chemical called endorphin is released in our brain the moment we smile, or laugh. This is the chemical that makes us feel happy and this will elevate your mood. A smile can draw people to you and make you appear more approachable.
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