Humans aren’t wired to keep resolutions. Changes are most successful when they’re in line with what we’re already good at. Here are some ideas to leverage your knowledge to improve your 2019.
5 New Year’s Resolutions for Agents
By Michael Wayne
The arrival of Thanksgiving seems to signal a frantic fast forward toward December 31. The new year brings with it the opportunity to hit a few reset buttons. With that in mind, it’s time to come up with some resolutions for 2019.
At the beginning of 2017, Business Insider reported that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Only 8% are kept overall. Perhaps we should be calling them “intentions” as opposed to “resolutions.” The reality is, keeping resolutions isn’t something we are wired to do as human beings. Changing to a behavior that is completely counter to our personalities is extremely difficult. Changes are more successful when they are in line with what we are already good at doing. That being the case, the following resolutions are offered in the hope that you will keep a few and be part of the 8% crowd.
Add letters after your name
We all have a tendency to stay with what we are comfortable with and what we know is working. That’s the case even if what’s working could be improved—better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. That said, when is the last time you earned a certification?
Whether it’s online or offline, with some time and determination you have the opportunity to make yourself more marketable. Of course, there is no guarantee that a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Chartered Life Underwriter, Associate in Claims, or any other designation will translate into a bigger payday—but it’s more likely than not that it will.
Separating yourself from the competition is always a good thing. Learning about a new line of insurance is a signal to clients and prospects that you aren’t just standing still in an industry where you are being looked to for expertise and guidance.
Get smarter with social media
Given the number of social media networks, it can be an overwhelming proposition to jump into the water. Even now you may be on one or more social media platforms without a plan. If you are using a specific social media site improperly, you could just be wasting time or maybe even turning off clients or prospects to you as a viable insurance solution.
Twitter does not equal Facebook. Facebook does not equal LinkedIn. LinkedIn does not equal Twitter. In the simplest terms, Facebook should be treated like a back yard barbecue, Twitter like a cocktail party, and LinkedIn like your business card. Make sure the content you are posting is appropriate for the platform. LinkedIn is not the place to post quirky updates about your children, your pets, or anything else that you likely wouldn’t share in a face-to-face meeting with a client or prospect.
Look in the mirror
No one has a 100% conversion rate. When you haven’t closed a deal, you’ve likely taken away some lesson from that setback. How much work did you put into making sure to avoid similar pitfalls moving forward? To be fair, nothing you do is likely to turn every meeting or chance encounter into a conversion. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Sit in front of a mirror and practice your pitch. Find someone to role play with you and hit you with the same questions that you think cost you potential conversions. Run through a variety of pitches and tactics. Trying to think of a response on the fly in the middle of a meeting is not a solid game plan.
Look beyond the squeaky wheel
Many of us have two main kinds of clients—those we know are going to call us for every little thing and those who never call or contact us. Typically, when the latter reaches out to you, it’s only to let you know that they’ve found another agent to take care of their insurance needs.
As the saying goes: “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” If you are interacting only with the clients who perpetually bug you, eventually your book of business is going to be nothing but clients who perpetually bug you. Set up a schedule to make sure you are regularly checking in with all of your clients. Find something to talk with them about, including what you are doing for them between renewals.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome with this resolution isn’t finding the time but ensuring that you aren’t wasting your time. Among print, digital, and audio books, there is an endless amount of content out there from which you can choose. Do research before you make your selections. Take the time to look at reviews of books you may be interested in and go from there.
You aren’t likely to love or even like everything you read. The key is to take what you can use and leave the rest. Your time is precious. Learn while you are driving, while you are at the gym, or whenever else you can.
You don’t need to totally remake yourself in 2019. That task is likely impossible for just about everyone. Changing something small, or adding some positivity to your daily life, however, is an opportunity to make you a better agent—maybe even a better person. Happy New Year, everyone!