A profession in insurance sales can be quite the venture, even for someone with previous sales experience. Although the most fruitful agents in the country make more than $1 million annually, many of those who sign on to sell insurance wash out within a year.

A profession in insurance sales can be quite the venture, even for someone with previous sales experience.  Although the most fruitful agents in the country make more than $1 million annually, many of those who sign on to sell insurance wash out within a year.

Though life insurance sales have a standing for being a relaxed environment to enter, that’s not always the case.  “A lot of companies try to convince job candidates that their company is great and everyone is going to make $100,000,” says Jensen, managing partner with one of the leading Life Insurance Companies in North America. “We ask: Is this a suitable career for the candidate? We do an extensive job of interviewing to help the candidates know if this is the right career choice for them.” 

Best Expected to Thrive 

Who transitions well into insurance sales? Real estate agents, mortgage loan officers, teachers, copier sales reps and auto sales specialists, Jensen says. “The ones who have the ability to position themselves and network, the good ones who are finding they need arecession-proof career and those with deep-rooted relationships within their communities have the best chances for success,” he adds. 

Sonia Montana, a New York Life agent, flawlessly fits that description. She left her profession as a Realtor in 2005. “I had a big database of clients that trusted me and liked me,” she says. “I knew I could offer them a different product.” 

The hours in the insurance business could be better than those in real estate, mortgage lending and car sales, all of which often need salespeople to toil evenings and weekends. “As Realtors get more involved with their families, they want the flexibility we offer,” Jensen says. 

Diverse Credentials, Shared Characters 

Prosperous agency sales reps come from outside the sales arena as well, says Dan Strubberg, director of agency recruiting and development for State Farm Insurance. “They’re people who strive for recognition, who are competitive, who like the risk of a business venture where they are thriving on the connection of success and hard work and wanting to help people solve the risks of everyday life,” he says. 

Other experts who frequently make the change to insurance sales well comprise of nurses and bank branch managers. Some educators take the job with plans to work as agents for a year to 18 months and then go on to become full-time career-development educators, explains Jensen. Bank managers who need a related managerial position in insurance may initiate their insurance career as agents and then move up to the managing path. At Jensen’s company, a partner or manager who was an agent can make between $35,000 and $80,000 a year to start (with the beginning income equaling the previous 12 months of commission). 

Not Every Sale is Alike 

When individuals make a change into sales, they undertake that because they traded in one field and can easily sell in a different area making the transition simpler. But that’s not essentially always accurate of the insurance industry. The change can be particularly hard for those coming from an inbound sales position -- for instance, selling home developments to customer leads produced by telemarketers. Those who are used to generating their own customer leads via personal networking and marketing will discover the jump to insurance easier and more surer path in their career. 

To flourish, a new agent must produce a minimum amount of sales during the first year, which varies for different organizations. In conclusion, those who get to the top in insurance sales come from various backgrounds but tend to have the same common traits. They’re self-disciplined, entrepreneurial, can handle rejections, and they are active at building their network.