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Confessions of a Reformed Insurance Agent

Truth be told, there were times when I rushed through sales, because hearing just one more oral history seemed equivalent to nails on a chalkboard.

You can only absorb so much before you begin to forget some of yourself.

I have been a successful insurance agent for many years. Many.

Eventually there came a time in which I considered retiring or scaling down to almost nothing. I bought a fishing rod. I’m terrible at fishing. Then I had a “Jerry Maguire” moment. For those of you who’ve never seen the film; a busy sports agent begins to crack from the pressures of his profession and ultimately represents just one client, whom he learns to truly care for.

Don’t do this.

Instead do this.

As an agent you will have many clients, each with their own unique history and personal needs. If you’re motivated solely by the pursuit of new clients, that rush of adding to your growing book, then you are doing it wrong.


No. Chasing new clients is the hardest, most expensive, and time consuming aspect of our profession; and there is an easier way.



Interrogation Draw



The successful agents of tomorrow are motivated by completing the service. The elevator operators of yester-year, offering one policy and then on to the next one, will continue to run in place.

If you are running from one client to the next, then someone just like you is likely hot on your heels doing the same thing. I am guilty of this. When I first started out as an agent I had to rush around, scratching and clawing for clients, or else my family wouldn’t eat. When I finally got enough renewal business to breathe, I didn’t know any other way.

The world has changed. My grandson has a cell phone. He’s seven. Many new clients will not meet me in their homes. The more connected we are, the less personal many services have become. The treadmill of client pursuit leaves many of us spinning our wheels.

Then I learned a new way. I had to.

I met with a new client at a coffee shop because her cats “don’t like strangers.” She was nice enough and I was eager to get her Medicare business and resume business as usual. She proceeded to look me in the eye and ask, “What makes you better than anyone else?”

I was taken aback. This was going to be another client that wanted to kick tires and treat me like an indentured servant.

“My husband just passed away and I need someone… someone who will look out for me. Someone who can make sure that I don’t make any mistakes.”

And just like that everything changed.

She had just put her fate in my hands; just like that. I didn’t want this responsibility. I wanted a policy and a client who was low maintenance, and she was not that.

Over the next six years I gave her more time than I gave many of my friends. In that time I lost my mother. I watched as the markets changed, and I changed too.

Every time my client’s life changed, I helped her to meet her needs. I helped her to invest funds in annuities and made sure that she would have disbursements to stretch her savings. I helped her get a Dental, Vision, and Hearing plan and then calculated the best use to re-coup her premiums versus benefits.

She Jerry Maguire-ed me.

I don’t fish.

I see more business from referrals than I ever purchased from lead companies.

I did all of this by learning how to help my clients make great insurance decisions. I help them to maximize their quality of life with one-stop-shop service. With the popularity of big box stores it’s apparent that people prize the convenience of multiple services under one roof.

I interview all of my new clients so that I can discover the services that will best suit them. It’s important that every one of them understands that Medicare is only the beginning. Retirement is a new career and their new job is to maximize their quality of life. Whether setting aside funds for end-of-life or purchasing some combination of Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plan, and Hospital Indemnity; I arm my clients with the information to make the best decisions for them and their loved ones.

Whatever their needs, and they change all the time, they know to come to me for information.

Set the expectations. Medicare does NOT manage your retirement needs; it is simply one part of your retirement.

If you think about your clients like you would your own parents, then you will never hesitate to educate them on services that may benefit them.

The industry is changing and the new norm is more like chess than checkers. Complete the service and you will receive more referrals than you could ever chase down running after new clients.

My client retention is higher, I have more policies per client, and I get referrals all the time.

I am proof that an old dog can learn new tricks.