When we all start out in the Insurance Industry, we are excited, eyes open wide, eager to pick the brains of every person we come in contact with. We are armed with just enough information about every type of protective policy and investment to be dangerous.
Our first real meeting with our Sales Manager is a brainstorming session to figure out who to network, who to call, basically how to get you in front of as many people as possible, so that you may put all your new found knowledge to the test and hopefully stumble across someone who knows less than you and you make a sale.
You are typically encouraged to buy a mortgage list and mass mail, to join the Chamber of Commerce and attend their networking luncheons and after-hour events, to talk to members of your Church, or even join one if you are not currently a member, and solicit every person in your family and all of their friends.
What the more experienced and successful Insurance Agents and Financial Planners know; is that in order to be successful, you need to narrow your focus. Knowing a little bit about everything can actually do more harm to your success and your client, then knowing a lot about one or two specific products or services. Why? Because of the many nuances of the products and services out today are more detailed and comprehensive than a quick glance will educate us on.
Some people stumble into their niche, meaning they never even knew that type of service was offered and for some reason found a knack for discussing its features and benefits. Some people base their niche on their age and experience. For example, it may be very difficult for a 20 year-old, fresh out of college to go into estate planning or retirement planning with the expectation that these older and wealthier people will trust their money and security to someone with so little life experience.
Why does having a niche make you successful? It gives you a focus. You spend your time searching for and discussing the benefits of your primary service all day long. You know the details of it, and you are able to successfully show a potential client how it would work and benefit them versus calling this person for mortgage insurance and that person for college planning, and this business owner over here for a group health insurance plan.
Another reason of how having a niche can help you become more successful is that your peers will perceive you as an expert. By plat forming yourself as the Disability Specialist in your office, other will come to you with split commission offers to help them secure the disability policy sale. For many, 50% of something is a LOT better than 100% of nothing. And good Sales Managers will support this type of work camaraderie.
Even the general public is more attracted to people they perceive to be experts in the services they desire, versus someone who stumbles through and attempts to answer all their questions with vague answers and “I’ll get back to you on that one”. They will come to you and refer their friends and family because of your expertise. Helping you generate referral business, more experience and a strong client base you can ultimately cross-sell additional products and services to.
Finding your specific niche and what you ultimately want to spend a large percentage of your time focused on may take many trials and errors. Be open-minded, discuss the various services and products with other “specialists” in your office, perhaps one will take you under their wing and teach you the trade. Be realistic, it will be difficult for you to engage in the emotional sale of college planning or insurance for a child if you do not have any children of your own to reference. And finally, be thorough, don’t just base your decision to pursue or not pursue a niche based on what someone else tells you or the lack of resources within your office. Investigate a product or service, its features and how you would potentially sell it to the public.