Critical Mistakes to Avoid in the Life Insurance Business

As there isn’t much information available to newcomers in the life insurance business, I’ve decided to put together a short list of potential pitfalls and mistakes that aspiring professionals should learn to avoid. This sector offers plenty of opportunities, and there’s always possibility for more growth—those who will put the following advice to use in their daily practise will have no obstacles in their path to success.

Trying to make the quick dollar – Be upfront with your client at all times. Anyone who enters this business should do it with a long-term commitment in mind, and strive to be knowledgeable, precise and thorough. You’re dealing with other people’s finances, and they need to be able to trust you. If you see any potential problems that might result from opting for a policy which isn’t in your client’s best interest, tell them and explain it, even if you lose the immediate financial benefit that would have resulted by getting the contract signed.

Not keeping accurate notes from your client meetings – Be organized, take detailed notes, and file them properly. Learn to rely on documented facts, not only your memory. This will save you a lot of trouble in the end, and you’ll avoid embarrassing moments that might come up in the future.

Not following up with existing clients – Do not drop the ball with your existing clients. Following up thoroughly (sending post-meeting notes, scheduling annual review meetings, and holding client appreciation events) will result in you being remembered as an exceptional and conscientious financial planner. Referrals will come very easily, and you’ll find yourself being more successful than just focusing on seeking new business.

Not spending enough time studying – This is a mistake which is sadly made by many novice agents, and perpetuates the negative opinion that sometimes hangs over the industry. You need to completely and thoroughly understand the material you’re presenting to your prospect/client, and you have to constantly keep up with the latest advances, new products, and related background information. If you’re working as an independent broker, you have to pay extra attention to this advice, as it affects you more than captive agents.

Not setting up alliances with other professionals – Strive for being a specialist, and keep on learning while creating relationships/alliances with experts in other fields (lawyers, real estate agents, etc.). They can help you in many ways that you wouldn’t think of at first. On top of that, you’ll be able to make highly useful recommendations for your clients who will be very thankful for your advice, and your business alliances may provide you with future clients.

Not being punctual – In everything that relates to finances, being precise, organized and punctual is the very basic requirement to master. If you have trouble mastering this, surround yourself with people who possess these qualities and be hard on yourself until you internalize all the beliefs and routines associated with it. Developing good work habits takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s a very rewarding experience, and will project a high level of professionalism to all around you.

Not living up to your promises – As a basic rule of thumb, learn to under-promise to your clients, and then over-perform and exceed expectations. Many novice financial planners have unrealistic assumptions regarding their work time, overestimate their knowledge—and have trouble delivering results. Not making this mistake at the start will help you gain positive momentum, and protect your professional reputation.

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