When you first started out in the insurance business, you probably were eager to sell, sell, sell. After all, that’s how you made money. However, after a few years, you may have hit a plateau. If you were like me, you found yourself giving out a lot of free information, to existing customers, to friends and family and to other insurance agents just starting out who wanted to grow their insurance businesses. While I was flattered to be considered an authority, it seemed like I was missing an opportunity to capitalize on that reputation. That’s when I decided to make the switch from insurance agent to insurance consultant.
Insurance Salesperson vs Insurance Consultant
The difference between an insurance salesperson and an insurance consultant is subtle, but important. A salesperson’s goal is to match the right insurance product with a client and close the sale. A consultant also helps the client examine different insurance products and makes recommendations on what types of coverage will be best for him or her based on the consultant’s experience in the industry. While they may sell policies, this isn’t their entire focus. Consultants also assist clients in planning, organizing, preparing and researching their insurance policies. They may also work with insurance agencies that are struggling and help them find new ways to be profitable.
Traditional insurance salespeople are paid by insurance companies based on the value of the policies they sell. Insurance consultants are also paid commissions on products they sell, but they are also paid for their time and services.
Steps To Becoming An Insurance Consultant
Everyone’s path to becoming an insurance consultant is somewhat different. However, almost everyone follows the steps outlined below.
1. Make sure you have the necessary education.
A college degree is not needed to be either an insurance salesperson or a consultant. However, nearly half of all insurance salespeople and consultants have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, most states have initial and continuing education requirements in order to be licensed in their state. Make sure you know these requirements and get the training you need.
2. Get the experience you need.
To be successful and gain the necessary credibility to be a good insurance consultant, you’ll need to have at least a few years of field experience in the insurance industry. After all, you’re not going to be considered an industry expert with wisdom to share if you’re just starting out. Use your time in the field wisely by getting experience with multiple lines and multiple companies. Aim to be a top salesperson for your company, not just for the money, but for the recognition and credibility that comes with such an achievement. Hard work matters. I spent close to a decade in the field before making the transition to insurance consultant.
3. Market your services.
The great news is that you don’t have to stop being an insurance agent to branch out into insurance consulting. When you think you’re ready to branch out, make sure that you have the support of the agency where you work, if you’re not already running your own agency. The next step is to make potential clients aware of your new services. It’s been my experience that grassroots, word-of-mouth marketing generally works best in consulting. Who better to recommend your services than the people who already know you and work with you? Contact your client list and let them know that you’re expanded your services. Be upfront with them and ask them to recommend you to their friends who might be looking for help with their insurance business or their insurance portfolio. Don’t ignore digital marketing. Your social media friends can also be helpful in getting leads for your new services.
4. Deliver on your promises.
Unlike insurance sales, being an insurance consultant is essentially selling your advice. Make sure that you put in the time and thought to offer value to your consultancy clients. Spend that extra time and attention to ensure that they feel they have gotten a good value for their money they spent on your fee.