How to Get Hired as an Insurance Agent: 12 Insider Secrets

Written by John F. Carroll on . Posted in Agency Management, Sales

insurance-agency-job-interviewSo you want to get hired as an insurance agent?

I can help.

I’ve been working with insurance agents for years. Thousands of agents from every corner of the globe and I understand how they think.

Understanding what motivates a hiring insurance agent along with his or her fears makes it easy to make the right impression and get the job.

Forget about the crap you read over on Careerbuilder. This is what you need to know.

Follow my 12 insider secrets and you’re going to own the interview, impress the hiring agent, and get the job.

Just promise me you’re going to work hard once you’re hired. Okay?

1) Be really really hungry

Selling insurance is a really tough business. It involves a lot of rejection, a lot of hard work, and then even more rejection.

Only the hungriest competitors will survive and hiring agents know that.

Whether it’s true or not, every agent I know attributes their success to hard-work and an insatiable desire to keep selling and they want to see that in their employees.

Agents don’t want to hire you if you’re comfortable making the minimum salary. They want someone who isn’t afraid to pick up the phone at 4:57 on a Friday to make a sales call.

Be hungry.

2) Show that you know a lot of people

However you do it, make sure whoever you’re interviewing with knows that you have hundreds of connections.

Lots of people you could talk to and sell insurance to. Casually mention something about how you see people you know everywhere you go. The groups you’re a part of and the vast network at your disposal.

You can’t pump gas in this town without seeing three people you know.

3) Ask the right questions…

  • GOOD: What’s the most I could make in this job?
  • BAD: How much is the base, without commission?
  • GOOD: Will I get to start selling on the first day?
  • BAD: How long is the training process?
  • GOOD: Please explain the top end of the bonus structure.
  • BAD: What’s the minimum bonus?
  • GOOD: Who is the target customer?
  • VERY BAD: How cheap are your rates compared to other companies?

4) Be eager to learn but not too smart

Insurance agents don’t want to hire someone that’s going to question everything they’re asked to do.

They also don’t want to hire someone who needs help figuring simple things out or making mistakes that cost money.

Show that you’re a sponge when it comes to new information and acknowledge that you have a TON to learn.

5) Use the right lingo: 7 definitions to memorize

The insurance world uses lots of jargon that regular people don’t. Here’s a few of the most important words to learn during the hiring process:

  • Insurance Lines - The different types of insurance. (auto, home, life, etc)
  • Lead - A person you’re in the process of actively trying to sell insurance to
  • P&C - Stands for property and/or casualty insurance. (car, home, boat, motorcycle. not life or health insurance)
  • Premium - The cost of an insurance policy. What the customer pays
  • Retention - The percent of customers who renew their policies with the agency
  • Cross-Selling - Selling a current customer an additional type of insurance
  • Up-selling - Selling someone more insurance than they currently had.

Get fluent with those terms and you’ll sound like an expert!

6) Ask career-minded questions 

Insurance agents want to hire someone who will work hard and sell insurance for 20+ years with no problems.

It’s not easy to find people like that, but they are gold to insurance agents.

Come off as a reliable person who wants a long-term career, not a short-term job to pay the bills.

7) Show That You Have Sold

Some people just can’t sell.

And the insurance agent who’s considering hiring you is concerned that you might be one of those people so you have to demonstrate that you have sold successfully already.

The good thing is, it doesn’t have to be in the insurance business.

Think of a couple times in your life when you really needed to talk someone into something and you pulled it off with creativity and grace.

Have a few examples ready to go for the interview.

8) Understand how Facebook works, but don’t act like it’s too important

Especially if you’re young, having a little social media savvy can be an asset to the agency.

With that being said, you need to understand the three things about Facebook that really scare insurance agents:

  1. They’re afraid you’re going to be on Facebook all day instead of working
  2. They’re afraid you’ll think selling insurance can be done exclusively on Facebook. (It can’t)
  3. They’re afraid of looking dumb if they hire someone way more tech-savvy than they are.

Make sure the hiring agent knows none of those concerns are appropriate for you.

9) If they ask you to sell them anything, do this instead:

A lot of people who are hiring for a sales position like to play the game of, “Sell me this pen.”

They hand you a pen, or something random and you’re supposed to sell it to them.

The “correct” answer is supposed to be that you explain all the features of the pen (it fits in your pocket, has a cap, etc) and explain why each is a benefit for the shopper. Then you’re supposed to ask for the sale and keep asking for the sale even after they say “no”.

That’s the “correct” answer. But if you want to stand out do this instead…

Just ask lots of questions about the object you’re trying to sell as a way of identifying what’s important to them about it. For example, ask the interviewer:

  • “Do you have a pen right now?”
  • “Do you prefer red pens, blue pens, or black pens? Why?
  • “Whats the worst experience you ever had with a pen?”

Then at the end when you have can’t think of any more questions finish with this one, “You want one case or two?”

(If you want a comedy break, here’s a hilarious example of “making the sale” just by asking questions (some foul language BTW))

10) Dress in a Suit or Equivalent

As nice as you can dress without wearing a tuxedo.

Dressing up shows respect for interviewer and the position.

People like to hire others who show respect and you can not over-do it.

11) Communicate By Phone and Often

Insurance agents want to see that you’re not the type who hides behind emails and text messages.

They want to hire someone bold enough to pick up the phone and talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The way you pursue the job now demonstrates how you’ll pursue leads when you’re hired and insurance agents want salespeople that will never quit, never relent, and never stop dialing the phone.

12) My Mom’s Kick-A** Technique

And finally, here’s a piece of advice my Mom gave me a long time ago that has worked every time I’ve used it.

It’s the best tip on this list. Are you ready?

At the end of the interview as you’re standing up to leave, look the interviewer square in the eyes and say with absolute conviction: “If you hire me for this job, you’re not going to regret it.”

Hold your gaze into their eyes just a moment after you’re finished speaking, then make a friendly smile and turn away.

If the interview was a disaster I’d probably hold off, but if that agent is on the fence this move will yank them over to your side, guaranteed.

Thank you Mom.

Three Things To Do Next:

  1. Follow these tips, kick-a** on your interview, and get hired.
  2. Come back here and tell me about it in the comments below.
  3. Remember me when you’re a rich and famous insurance superstar.

Hope this helps,
John

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John F. Carroll

John F. Carroll is the founder and CEO of InsuranceSplash. For years, John has consulted insurance agencies with internet marketing and sales strategy and he is dedicated to making insurance marketing easy and effective for all insurance agents. If you're an agent, connect with John on LinkedIn, he wants to connect with you!

Comments (5)

  • Adam

    |

    Hi John, I cant’ say I’m excited that you wrote this one since I don’t want candidates at my agency to be able to fake what I’m looking for, but I have to commend you on a great of what us agents are looking for. Wish I read this way back many many years ago. Adam

    Reply

    • John F. Carroll

      |

      Sorry if it makes your job harder, but at least anyone who reads this article and follows the tips will demonstrate they’re serious about the position, right? Thanks for the kind words Adam

      Reply

  • Dianne

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    thanks for all your tips…. im inspired to learn more about my career as a financial advisor…

    Reply

    • John F. Carroll

      |

      Very glad to hear that Dianne. There’s plenty of resources out on the web but I’m a bit partial to this blog… take a peek around and I’m sure you’ll find more helpful stuff to be better at your job! Thanks!

      Reply

  • Mohtaram

    |

    Thanks , I learned a lot from you , great ideas and tips. Shall I translate it in Persian with your name ,.

    Reply

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