We’re all familiar with the story of the young guy who decided to go into insurance after working in the corporate world. He wanted to earn more money, so he worked hard and did well for a few years, but then his career began to slide and he was no longer as successful as before. In his case, he was doing very well but it was not quite as good as it could be. He wanted the best for himself, so he decided to start looking for a new job in that particular field. If you’re like me, you will probably be thinking “Okay, I want to work on my insurance agent skills” — but what do you really want from your life?
I know that if someone asked me “What do I want out of life?” I would probably answer with “What do I want from my career?” But that can be misleading. It implies that your career is something you can control and it’s true that you can control how much money you make through your career, but it doesn’t mean that life is some kind of factory where everything goes according to plan and you don’t have any input into the process. You are just a cog in some big machine where pretty much everything is controlled by someone else (including your success). There is no way around this fact: there’s only one way to make a living, and that’s by giving people what they want. But what does that really mean? What does “what people want” mean?
It all comes down to personal preferences and decisions made about how we live our lives — not what others tell us we should wear or buy ourselves. We all have different goals in life — people will always tell us how we should live our lives (but don’t mistake this for reality). So what are some of these goals? What kind of lifestyle would we like ourselves to maintain? A certain level of happiness or pleasure from our work? A stable retirement income from our jobs after age 50 or 60? An average income based on our age and contributions throughout our careers? A comfortable retirement/retirement income when we’re older than 65 years old (in fact maybe even older than 70 years old)? And if we take these things into account, then what kinds of choices will we make about how we spend our time (and ultimately how much time we spend with those who matter most)?
These questions cemented why did I choose to finally join the insurance industry and made the career choice to be an insurance agent in Singapore. Being remunerated based on how hard I work and not simply waiting for the year-end bonus; nor am I OTing every other night working towards getting the miserable $100 increment every year.
About my career today? I owe it all to my parents. They were my teachers. They were my mentors. They were the ones that taught me how to do what I am doing now. They didn’t just teach me to be a good person, they taught me to do the right thing. They taught me what was right and wrong, and everything in between. And that is why I am in this line of work today, why I am so involved in this field, because of them . . .
They are the reason I have always had this passion for the insurance industry, because of them I have reached this point where I am able to serve those people who need their insurance taken care of, even if it means going against (their) wishes. They always told us that we need to be honest when dealing with people and we must never lie or steal. When you find yourself working with people who cannot take care of themselves or their families, you must stick to your morals and be honest with them. We should treat everyone like family; not just close friends or loved ones but everyone in life and business as well – especially our clients!
From the beginner to the most experienced, there are four steps that every new agent must take.
Step 1: Choosing the right insurance agency.
Step 2: Learning and growing.
Step 3: Make friends with people in your industry.
Step 4: Get yourself a marketing plan.
In my experience, there is one major mistake that most insurance agents make which is not learning or growing from the first step to the forth step. If you haven’t become good friends with people in your industry before you go into it, then you’ll probably have a hard time finding agents who will be better than your friends. Agents who are too familiar with the insurance industry may be overly friendly, but they won’t provide you with information that will help you find out what exactly it takes to be successful in this business. You need to build a large network of contacts and get involved in different events (like seminars), and start attending as many of them as possible so that you can gain an insight into what’s going on in your field and how other agents are doing things. This isn’t easy by any means, but if you stick at it long enough, eventually you can become very familiar with other agents in your field which will give you an edge when making it as an insurance agent so don’t give up without trying!
A great starting point to formulating any business plan is understanding what you want your potential customers to do when they come in contact with your products or services. The reality is that even though you may think your products and services are ‘unique’, it is the businesses who sell them who know best, and in nearly all cases, it is their customers who buy their products and services, not themselves. As such:
- If you don’t know your customers well enough to understand what they want and need, then you will never be able to provide it.
- There are very few things that are actually unique to your business; most things can be done reasonably well by someone else (or better yet, by anyone else).
- There are lots of very tiny things that can make a big difference. Once you figure out what those tiny things are, then getting clients becomes much easier – if not immediate – and more valuable.
If I could go back in time and talk to myself about when I was first starting my career as an insurance agent in Singapore, I would have told myself that not everything was going to be easy. Sure, I was excited to start my career and I had a lot of motivation to move up, but I would have told myself that if I wanted to get to where I wanted to go, I had to work hard and not just expect it to be handed to me. I would have told myself that if things got really hard, I had to keep going because the only way to get anywhere in this world is to keep pushing and moving forward. I would have told myself that if I wanted something badly enough, I had to go out and get it because no one was going to hand it to me. I would have told myself that the only way to do great things is to put in the hard work and if I was willing to, the rewards will be amazing.