CHALLENGES IN SELLING INSURANCE & HOW TO OVERCOME THEM

Selling Insurance in most African countries like Kenya, Nigeria & Ghana is not easy. Insurance companies in Africa struggle to even stay afloat. They are bombarded with challenges from every direction regardless of advancement of knowledge and cutting edge information technology.

Many of the insurance companies register low revenue collection, large lapse rates and proportionately high claim rates. However, we will look at these at a later section. We shall start by focusing on the challenges the insurance agents faces while on the course of their duty.

I shall use examples to break down the perspectives and show you how you should face the challenges if or when you come across a similar scenario.

Research shows that the lack of enough Leads is the biggest problem reported by insurance agents followed by lack of adequate training. These challenges have not only been cited by FAs in Africa but world over as the biggest impediments to financial and professional success in the industry.

While the research is probably accurate, the good news is that these should actually be problems of the past. The current world is full of tools, resources and knowledge which if used and relevant solutions implemented adequately, a Financial Advisor, also known as insurance agents,  should be able to navigate them without much struggle.

There are a few secrets to selling life insurance and other insurance products but the first is learning how to overcome challenges of selling insurance.

Let us first list the whole list of challenges reported by insurance agents in Kenya:

CHALLENGES OF SELLING INSURANCE THAT AN INSURANCE AGENT HAS CONTROL OVER

  1. Small quantity of leads
  2. Update your LinkedIn profile
  3. Make your Job a full time job
  4. Use referral marketing
  5. Cold Calling and Col Emailing
  6. Using external resources
  7. Proper Networking
  8. Poor quality of leads
  9. Lack of adequate training
  10. Lack of adequate tools and technology
  11. Lack of adequate funds for the sales cycles/Lack of retainer
  12. Lack of adequate knowledge about insurance among the public
  13. Lack of adequate advertising by insurance firms
  14. Cut-throat competition from other insurance companies
  15. Poor morals among the prospects
  16. Bureaucratic processes in insurance support services
  17. Bad attitude towards the Insurance Sales career among the public
  18. High cost of living/Poor prospects/Bad economy

While the problems are many and the solutions not in your arsenal yet, it is good to understand that every job has a similar list of challenges bedeviling it. Other careers like the often enviable medicine, has a larger list of challenges accompanying it.

However, it is also good to appreciate the perks with which good money comes with. The insurance sales industry has stashes of gold for you if you can be able to find solutions to the above challenges at a personal level, group level or corporate level. Insurance sales career has one stunningly common problem in developing nations; the large gap between the rich and the poor agents.

britam insurance group website screenshot for individual pension

The “rich” agents in the industry make more than their respective CEOs and they are not taxed at the rate at which the CEOs are taxed. Keep in mind the taxation on agent’s commissions is only 10%. Backed by the law of the land, this rate stands stall regardless of the amount an insurance agent earns. Compare this with the 35% tax rate struck on every salary earned by every salary based employee in the public and private sector.

So it is not uncommon to find agents who bag an average of 2 to 5 million monthly after taxation. It is interesting that while an agent earning 2 million shillings a month gets taxed 200,000 remaining with 1.8 million, a CEO earning the same amount of 2 million will be taxed around 700,000 remaining with 1.3 million.

Talking of the outlier agents, is prudent to note that it does not happen overnight. Neither experience alone can give you such a commission unless one uses the experience in understanding how to overcome the above challenges. If you can be able to find your way around a few challenges listed above, you can be sure to make a fortune for yourself and your generation.

CHALLENGE 001 OF SELLING INSURANCE– SMALL QUANTITY OF LEADS

Insurance agents are like business owners. They have to find new customers every day. New prospective customers are what we refer to as Leads. Any serious agent knows that without new and regular leads, there is no business or career left. In the face of this reality, every agent should then have a good source of regular leads to ensure survival, career progression and financial growth.

The big question however remains; how do I get enough leads in this crazy crowded and loathed market of insurance? How do I get people willing and able to buy insurance when the majority of people on my phone book are broke former classmates, horny members of the opposite sex and judgmental relatives from hell? If you are starting out in the insurance sales career especially, you might need to research on how to start selling insurance before plunging.

Well I understand that position, especially if you are a new agent trying to figure out the industry. The good news is that there is a whole world of opportunity in making you “known by the people who need or may need insurance products”

Below are some of the tested and proven methods and steps leading to a regular stream of leads:

UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE

Social media users are never more seriously taken like they are on LinkedIn. Instinctively, backed by similar aspirations, Linked in users respect each other and support each other.

They take each other seriously. On LinkedIn you can set yourself apart from the crowd by ensuring your profile is up to date and professional. Make new connections and birth new relationships. Congratulate others who bag new jobs and stay interested in the career lives of your connections.

Ultimately do not forget or fear to ask for business from your connections. Find out more about their lives and know their pain points and needs. If you find, and you will, the problems they have that you can solve as a
insurance agent, they you are in business. Ask for mobile contacts to call them or meet them personally as a way of building trust which is a prerequisite for making financial sales.

Therefore, essentially, by requesting to connect with new well targeted people on LinkedIn, you are increasing your lead base that will eventually become your source of regular bread and butter.

MAKE YOUR JOB A FULL TIME JOB

Some insurance agents know this secret pretty well. That the
insurance agent’s job is a full time job with uneven and unpredictable overtime hours. It is not a part time joy-rider’s job. If it were, we would sincerely tell you so. If there is one step you can take that can make you start seeing success within a short period of time, it is deciding to understand and accept this concept.

Taking their job as full time job will give you the much needed urgency to wake up early every morning, dress for success and show up. These are the activities that define a successful agent. You need to: WAKE UP, DRESS FOR SUCCESS AND SHOW UP.

Unfortunately though, most agents abuse the independence and out-of-office nature of the job to wake up when they only feel like, when its too cold or when they have a very urgent early morning meeting. And their habit, sooner or later, becomes their Achilles heel and leaves their sales career kicking their last before eventually succumbing to mediocrity and subsequent death.

So in other words, understanding that this is a full time job will ensure that you try to find something to do every next morning, afternoon and evening. It is not like there is a shortage of things that you can do as a Fa. NO. You got to cold call if at all you have nothing better to do.

You got to go through your list of contacts and business cards and find out the person you have never contacted since you received their contact information. Make as many calls, as you pay visits and as many follow ups as possible and no single day will you lack something to do even for an hour.

If you do this, you will experience a “multiplier effect” meaning for every effort you put in your work, there would be more referrals, more cross-selling opportunities, more friends, a larger network and eventually a large back account plus a spring in your step.

USE REFERRAL MARKETING

I do not mind repeating for the hundredth time that the cheapest and best leads to get are referred leads. As we pointed out earlier, they come armed with your praises and praises of your company.

Some even ask no further question they just ask the page to sign on and how much to pay. It therefore pays handsomely to ask every person who shows goodwill for your work to give you a few referrals as a matter of fact manner while ensuring not to come across as pushy.

If you ask for referrals not only from your clients but from your objections, relatives, friends and everyone in your network, then it could help you in maintain an unending stream of leads which is our goal here.

COLD CALLING AND EMAIL MARKETING

This as we saw is one area that sires butterflies in the stomachs of many people worldwide. It is however a very good way of prospecting especially if you are armed with some confidence in your voice, some training and hope. You may make some calls without getting good leads but the more the number you call the higher the chances of getting leads.

a black man in a suit calling a client

The good old Law of Large Numbers will not suddenly stop working when you pick up the phone calling. It will still hold strong for you. If among 100 people called there are only 3 people who qualifies as good leads, then it means if you call 1000 people you have 30 qualified leads. The important question is; do you have the courage, ambition and motivation to call 1000 people and get 30 life changing, poverty chasing clients? Only you can answer that.

PROPER NETWORKING

Some thinkers say that your network is your net worth. While it might not hold true to every person, the saying is largely applicable to most careers and especially in sales. Being a lone ranger who avoids social gatherings and even ignores friends and loved ones will really prove futile in the face of a salesman.

You need to o out there, show up and collect those damn numbers and business cards. That is the only way to ensure you are getting the essential leads you desperately need at all times in this career. If you are an introvert, make use of that strength by creating lasting strong bonds with the people you meet.

Instead of avoiding social gatherings, decide to attend but limit the number of people you engage in one conversation at a time. I well know introverts do well in social gatherings than even extroverts for that sole reason of making better deeper connections with few people than extroverts who make shallow connections with many people.

The extrovert is well placed for networking you only need to ensure idle and meaningless conversations are set to a minimum as you engage the people you meet in meaningful ones and getting their contacts and appointments.

By so doing, both the introvert and the extrovert are well placed to expand their networks and in a meaningful manner.

USE EXTERNAL RESOURCES

The Good Lord once said that my people perish due to lack of knowledge. I also believe in those words. Many financial agents do not know that there are firms right now as we speak, that specialize in identifying people on the internet that are looking for or interested in insurance products and having them fill sign up forms.

These details are then given to the agents who subscribe on their website at a comparatively low cost in relation to the profit that eventually comes with the commissions earned from the policies. Get to understand which services are out there that you can use to fast-track your commissions especially when the market looks relatively dry.

CHALLENGE 002 OF SELLING INSURANCE – POOR QUALITY LEADS

The saying goes, garbage-in-garbage-out and it hold true in most aspects of life and most importantly in marketing. If you target a large number of poor quality prospects, what you will have after so much effort is a heap of poor quality leads. You should therefore reexamine the kind of people you are targeting as an agent.

Here are 3 profiles of people who an insurance agent may target during the process of selling insurance products.

PROFILE PERSON 1

Working a full time job

Driving

Lives in a nice neighborhood

Literate

Has a family

range rover car. successful people are more likely to buy insurance.

PROFILE PERSON 2

A youth below 25 years

Freelancing online

Does not drive

Lives in a single room in a crowded neighborhood

Literate

Does not have a family

PROFILE PERSON 3

A middle aged woman

Owns a beauty shop

Does not drive

Lives in a one bedroom in a middle lower class neighborhood

Semi-literate

Is a single mother

These 3 profiles are very realistic types of people an agent may target using one method or the other.

It is good to note the following though:

  1. 1 has a good job and a family. He is literate and can afford luxuries such as a car. This person cannot have a problem buying insurance, all factors kept constant. He is an ideal target person for any financial agent in the promotion of various insurance products and services. Selling insurance to such people can prove very profitable.
  2. 2 is definitely a recent graduate with no proper job yet. He is still making ends meet with some online jobs which are unreliable. He cannot afford to buy or sustain an insurance policy or most of the other financial products. This person should be avoided like the plague. Selling insurance to such people is a waste of time and energy.
  3. 3 is a single mother and although not formally employed, she is fairly established by owning a beauty shop. She affords to live in a one bedroom house and off course being a single mother; she could have every reason to protect the future of a child. This person, although not the best profile, is somehow very common in our society and targeting her is not a bad idea. Selling insurance to such people is considered good enough.

The bottom line is that as an agent you must decide the kind of people you target. Targeting person 2 will always frustrate you however more approachable he is compare to say person 1. High quality leads come from high quality targets. Using the online targets also gives high quality leads since the prospects are tapped after they are noted already looking for insurance products online.

CHALLENGE 003 OF SELLING INSURANCE – LACK OF ADEQUATE TRAINING

Training is the stuff from which experts are made. Every employee has a right to proper training by the employer. However, since is only a “professional right” and not a “legal right”, most companies do not strive to make the best out of this underrated area.

Even in the forces, the term “special police” or “special forces” applies not to the most experienced or most learned, but to the “most trained” among them. This encapsulates the importance of training in making one truly formidable force in ones careers.

Sales training has played a big role in making some insurance companies overtake and/or lead others especially in the sale of those products directly championed by agents. As a matter of fact, selling insurance needs top training.

A case in point is Britam which despite a slow and poor start, has now fully embraced the function of sales training with a whole dedicated department co-coordinating and conducting training across the sales force. This has made Britam the industry leader in Life Assurance where they command a whopping 30% of the life assurance market in Kenya.

Leadership training services - Corporate Staffing Services
Leadership training services – Corporate Staffing Services

However, even the Britam insurance agents can do better if they embraced training in a more proactive way and exploring other training opportunities. There are companies out there that provide private training to sales agents at affordable prices.

Some of them are actually so good that even training departments of financial institutions hire them to complement their training functions. It would be a good idea if you can also try one of those just to stay ahead of the game, which is worth every effort and penny.

Another way is using the internet for self enhancement to get skills necessary or beneficial for selling insurance. The internet is awash with every tiny piece of information you might be seeking. Be it ideas on how to improve your wardrobe, your language, your personality, product knowledge, presentation skills etc, the internet never disappoints.

I therefore wonder when you cannot find a self enhancement query in the search history of an insurance agent. In their world of internet, social media and other websites of unpalatable content are king. Please do not be that kind of loser agent. There are training services on Nearservice you can find to help you in matters of insurance training. You can find experienced trainers who can mentor you and train you for success.

CHALLENGES OF SELLING INSURANCE THAT AN INSURANCE AGENTS HAVE CONTROL OVER

CHALLENGE 004 OF SELLING INSURANCE – LACK OF ADEQUATE TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY

There are those essentials that can be described a toolbox for financial advisors. They include a smartphone which must be in good condition, an official email address, a note book, a diary, a pen and business cards.

These are the tools of the trade just like every profession has its unique tools. It is however not uncommon to find some agents lacking one or more of the above tools at any given time much to their detriment.

Below are steps you should take to ensure you are not grounded by this problem in your endeavor to sell insurance products.

  • Invest in the tools consciously and deliberately. Do not be controlled by your life, control it. Even if financial challenges are real, it is unrealistic to lack a pen in your toolbox and blame it on lack of money as at that moment. It is very likely that you may have used much more money on other relatively un-useful stuff and forgot to buy a diary when the year starts. Every FA should try to invest in the items above and it will not be a problem in later days of the career.
  • The importance of a good working smartphone cannot be overemphasized in the process of selling insurance. Besides giving you a more decent perception, a smartphone is important in keeping in touch with your community on Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram at all times. You can also use it to send documents such as quotations to clients, use calculator apps to calculate premiums or sum assured and even updates your social media accounts. The good news is that smartphones these days go for as little as 2000 shillings. There should not be any excuse therefore of not having a good working smartphone. Learn how to sell insurance over the phone and you are good to go.
  • The business cards are a major problem for especially newly recruited agents. Business cards are like your adverts inside your prospects’ wallets and handbags. IT is what they will use to recall your name and find your mobile number to call you when they decide to do business with you. You should therefore try and find a way of having your business cards at all times. Apparently and understandably, most insurance companies will not print business cards for brand new FAs. They only do so after confirmation of the roles but still some companies neither do that on time nor consistently. It is good to know when you are good enough to proceed to print out business cards for yourself instead of waiting for the company to do it for you. This is called self-determination. I am saying this through experience so do not fear to tell your manager to advise you on how you can get to make business cards at your own cost. Thank me later.
  • Technological tools are not adequately advanced in our current insurance system. The insurance company’s kind of lag behind in terms of technological innovations and therefore you might be forced to look elsewhere in the technology industry. Find out the insurance solutions provided by Kenyan startups to take advantage of them every minute in selling more & more insurance products & services.

CHALLENGE 005 OF SELLING INSURANCE – LACK OF FUNDS FOR THE SALES CYCLE

It is good to understand that you as an insurance agent will not be making money from the first day, week or month in your career. You may take some time before your commissions reach a point of significance.

It takes effort and time before you can get meaningful commissions from selling insurance to support your functions. You must however be ready to endure hard times the first few days, weeks or months before your breakthrough comes.

This trying moment, is what will make or break you ultimately as far as your career in financial sales is concerned. You are poised to make it big if you make it through this phase, even with the hardships and the steep learning curve. After this period you become more prepared and skilled in handling other challenges that may come.

Therefore, as a matter of fact, do not fear to ask for financial assistance from whoever can help you to see you through these hard times. Let them understand that as much as you could be categorized as working, your payment depends on commission and it may take some time before you can start earning some money to support you.

Even if it means borrowing to survive through the hard phase, you may have to do it. The only other way out is going out of your comfort zone completely and deciding to engage your top gear so that by the end of the first month, you already have some good businesses sold to give you some tangible commissions.

Thanks to changes in most insurance companies, you might be considered for some financial support from your employer. This however comes with conditions that you have to meet before you access the financial support.

It is of importance to note that the so-called financial support is not free money. It is like a loan which you have to pay back once your commissions have strengthened up. You also receive the support only and only if you have made a certain number of sales.

The money is also tied to your unit manager and the type of insurance policies you sell. It is good to ask your manager to break down for you the requirements for qualification of the financial support packages available at your company and the repayment plans.

heritage life assurance ad

CHALLENGE 006 OF SELLING INSURANCE – LACK OF ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT INSURANCE AMONG THE PUBLIC

For decades the government has been turning a blind eye on the insurance sector. Little has ever been done in Kenya to sensitize the public about the benefits of embracing insurance products. The insurance companies, bugged with little funds undertake this function through low-cost advertising that they can afford and therefore records little success in changing the mind of most Kenyans who still believe insurance is for the rich and non-believers. Selling insurance therefore becomes an uphill task for insurance agents and companies.

There is not much you can do about this problem as an agent but you can make sure the people within your network understand the benefits of insurance in a bid to get business from them either directly or through referrals.

It is therefore prudent to be armed with as much information about insurance products, processes and success stories to relay to those that will have to learn insurance through you. It is also advisable to learn public speaking skills and seek platforms where you can educate gatherings of people about insurance.

Agents who seek public audience in conferences, seminars and other meetings are at least 4 times more successful than those who don’t. Remember, taking the initiative to educate a gathering of any type about any topic makes you look like an expert in the area and an influencer. You can seek such audiences by yourself or engage the services of insurance support startups that provide such services at little fee.

CHALLENGE 007 OF SELLING INSURANCE – LACK OF ADEQUATE ADVERTIZING BY INSURANCE COMPANIES

Nothing is as demoralizing like trying to convince an insurance prospect who has never heard about the company you work for. Your efforts to position your company as a reputable insurer falls on a hard dry place in the ears of the prospect. Selling insurance in such circumstances is rock hard.

Insurance services - CIC INSURANCE
Insurance services – CIC INSURANCE

The silent moments that follow are not only embarrassing but also frustrating since it is difficult to convince such a prospect to consider signing up with your unknown employer. It is always advisable to have your company’s branded items with you to show to your prospects since some people know companies logos and branding colors but may not take keen interest on the names.

One way to deal with this challenge is by telling your prospect to pay your offices a familiarization visit and encouraging them to find more about your employer through the internet.

If there are items like brochures, news items and branded pens that you can give your prospect to ignite the bond between him and the company, use them without any hesitation. Beat the drum of your employer however little known it might be. That is part of your job description.

However, depending on how you present yourself, anybody can believe that whatever company you work for is a reputable one. Remember perception is more powerful than reality whenever human minds are involved.

On the other hand, if you work for a large company that invests heavily on advertisement, then you should use that advantage to gain more confidence, approach more people and make more money. This is because you will not be facing the task of having to explain to your prospects who your employer is because they could already of heard of it.

CHALLENGE 008 OF SELLING INSURANCE – CUT-THROAT COMPETITION FROM OTHER INSURANCE COMPANIES

We currently have 42 insurance companies and hundreds of insurance agencies operating in Kenya as at 2018. This is a large number of actors in a market that is barely out of infancy. An agent working for any of these therefore faces the unavoidable challenge of completion from other agents. Like every other business, completion is inevitable but that does not stop business from taking place I each of the offices.

Some inexperienced agents may think that this is a very big problem at individual level but it is not. We all know that less than 3% of Kenyans have insurance policies of any kind. This leaves a whole 97% of the population for you to prospect. It is however common to find certain offices or micro markets so frequented by sales agents from different companies that the micro markets seems to be saturated. It is at this point that competition becomes a problem.

The solution to this problem lies in the innovativeness of an agent. If a certain office seems to be proportionately frequented by agents, look further. There are so many other offices whose occupants have not seen an agent for years. Grand your tools and head to such niches. Markets like the barracks have seen so much hunting by agents that rules have been developed to regulate their activities.

I doubt if police stations, for instance have seen the same scenario. So instead of going to a barracks and camping outside waiting for clearance alongside 30 other agents from various companies, why don’t you walk to a police station and talk to never prospected police officers and sell insurance to them? There are several other examples that I don’t have to point out here. As I said before, let your innovation guide you to fertile markets for your products.

CHALLENGE 009 OF SELLING INSURANCE – POOR MORALS AMONG THE PROSPECTS

This is not a problem to bother most male and older female agents. However it can be a big problem to the young damsels who are barely out of college and with no work experience and setting out to sell insurance. Not because they deserve to face a problem that is uniquely targeted at them though. 

I can say it is a problem of our culture where older men always try to take advantage of younger females by pursuing sexual interests regardless of context. Married and unmarried men alike, pose a challenge to young beautiful girls in this industry by being over welcoming at first, then fishing out their predatory cards later in the sales cycle.

Knowing too well that agents earn through commission, some men may pretend to be ready to sign up for an attractive policy and even write a check for the first premium only to demand that the lady agent go pick it from a private location like an hotel room.

The tricks used by these uncultured men may vary but the goal is usually the same; to hit it up with the lady agent. They seek sexual favors in return for business. The ladies who fall into this trap end up frustrated. Sometimes the deal can be too good to be turned down for some equally unscrupulous agents.

jubilee marine insurance policy
jubilee marine insurance policy

However they get frustrated when they realize the client has stopped making any payment after the forbidden fruit has been eaten. The one month commission earned from such a policy is therefore “clawed back” by the insurer leaving a large dent in the commissions of the agent when the policy lapses.

I have always told agents and I repeat here that there is no policy large enough to be worth a life. Some of those men or women are sick and could end up infecting you if you give in to their demands. You could end up contracting a disease that can linger in your body for a lifetime. So why would you jeopardize your life because of a policy that may not even pay consistent commissions?

For those who say money is everything and can do anything for money, they are free to do so because they are grownups.  However, they should as well understand that giving in to sex for commissions is only but white collar prostitution.

You cannot be any different from a red district sex-worker if you trade commissions for your body except that your pay will be processed through the bank and a payslip generated for you.

Men should not think they are safe. There are women out there who are sexually starved who will easily take advantage of you as well. If you are cheap you could end up badly and that is what we preach against.

There is one thing though that strikes me and makes me back up a bit on what I said. Someone realized long ago that you are most likely to get a life partner where you spend most of your time.

And for an agent, that means a potential life partner could be one of the clients. It therefore seems unrealistic to say no to every prospect that shows some love interest. It gets even more complicated if you the agent falls in love with or develops a crash on one of your prospects or client. In such a situation, ensure to play very safe.

Ensure that premiums are paid and all forms are signed before you engage in any talk concerning love or relationships. After everything is done and settled, now give your client time to decide if really he or she is interested in you or was just trying to take advantage of you. After several months of playing it slow, you can start off with some harmless dates that can eventually culminate into a meaningful and lasting relationship.

Be sure to use protection every time you decide to bed a client. If you later break up or get heart-broken, it would not be fine to start hating the sales career by blaming it for any woes that may have faced you like unwanted pregnancies or diseases.

To avoid temptations, always try to handle all business related matters in safe and open places like coffee houses and offices. Appointments held at the home of clients should be avoided like the plague. This also holds for appointments arranged in hotel rooms and cars.

When you are not sure if you trust a prospect that you are supposed to meet, try to ask a friend to accompany you or simply trust your instincts and suggest that the prospect meets you on a later day when you feel safer. On the same note, try as much as possible to turn down favors that go beyond professional. For instance, it is not professional that a prospect can escort you to your doorstep.

It is not professional as well, to accept handouts from any prospect. Even during presentations held at hotels or coffee houses, it is good to be prepared with your own money and suggest to either pay for the whole bill or split the bill with your guest. Avoid endless dates which end up paid by your prospect because he or she will end up feeling indebted and start seeking for ways to make you pay up. That is where it becomes a problem.

CHALLENGE 010 OF SELLING INSURANCE BUREAUCRATIC PROCESSES IN INSURANCE SUPPORT SERVICES

This is not a problem in most of the small insurance companies with modern Management Information Systems. However in bigger companies and those that have slow or outdated MIS software, it is a very real problem. In a research done,

  • Proposal forms getting misplaced in the office
  • Proposals taking too long before the
  • policies are issued
  • The system may be too slow or giving out erroneous output
  • Customer care issues taking too long to be handled
  • Being sent back to client to gather more information before policy issuance

When you come across these problems, stay on the right side of the authorities that be at your company and humbly seek for help. Going over the wall because of system hitches and process inefficiencies or throwing tantrums because of underwriters decisions will not help solve a problem.

You can sell insurance on Nearservice
You can sell insurance on Nearservice

In the office, the underwriter or branch manager is someone you should not engage in quarrels with. They are very important and you should strive to maintain good relationships with them at all time.

If by bad chance you happen to exchange words even when clearly the underwriter or manager is on the wrong, try to apologize later on and ensure there is no bad blood between you and them. If underwriters are on your case for being unruly or rude to them you cannot win over them. They may decide to frustrate you later on actively or passively.

It however does not mean you should be a walkover. No. It is good to follow up on your customers cases and seek answers politely. If you feel some one in the back office is not handling your client well, instead of confronting them, take the wiser route and talk to your manager who can then follow up on your behalf.

When it comes to internal problems, prevention is better than cure. For instance misplaced documents are a result of poor labeling and recording. Always record all your proposal forms in relevant books and label them appropriately adhering to internal rules.

Every company has policies and procedures to be followed by agents, always follow them to the latter and I can assure you, your life at the agency will be smooth. I have seen before agents getting frustrated in the offices to a point of even crying due to challenges like the ones we have talked about. I don’t think even after crying an agent still possesses the motivation to go out and look for clients. Such frustrations sap your energy and are better avoided to conserve your energy for value adding activities like finding new clients.

CHALLENGE 011 OF SELLING INSURANCE – BAD ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE INSURANCE SALES CAREER AMONG THE PUBLIC

As we said before, there is little knowledge out there about the benefits of insurance. To add salt to the injury, some prior agents have spoilt the name of an insurance agent in the public domain by defrauding some people or misleading clients into buying insurance products they do not need for their selfish motives of more commission.

It is therefore likely that you may meet some hostile person out there who may dismiss you and even put a blanket accusation across the insurance industry that “we are thieves”.

When you meet such a person, so be defensive. Do not try to argue with such a person. That person could be actually in so much pain by being defrauded by an insurance agent or his or her accomplice has. You should therefore empathize with them and use one of the pillars of persuasion; agreement.

Try to see if there is a problem they have with previous insurance products they may have purchased that you can solve. If not you can proceed to tell them that you understand there are some agents out there who are not very professional in their dealings. However if he or she seems inconvincible, just let go. Do not try to change the attitude of a person who has already been wronged by one of us overnight. You will not succeed. Learn how to sell life insurance successfully even when the conditions are demoralizing.

CHALLENGE 012 OF SELLING INSURANCE – HIGH COST OF LIVING/POOR PROSPECTS/BAD ECONOMY

The economy we live is an African one. We have more people who try to make a living than those who are able to comfortably take care of their basic needs. It is therefore not a very friendly market to sell anything except salt.

nearservice logo
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Now insurance being a luxury and not a basic need, it is only logical that only a small percentage of the population, say 20% that is able to be your client sustainably. I am saying “sustainably” because someone may afford to be your client for one month and lapse out by the 3rd month. (More of this on the next problem)

The Kenyan economy is however not very bad compared to most African countries. We have a large and growing middle class that forms the block that you should target most. When things are thick though, as they often will, people will be complaining about the shortage of money circulation in the economy as a reason or excuse of not buying insurance products.

During such times, hold on to your faith, keep working hard and let your prospects know the importance of sacrificing for good causes in their lives even when times are not at best. Keep your head high, Keep going and you will succeed.

Most Importantly keep using digital channels as much as possible to reach millions of people. List your service on Nearservice and your problems are half solved.

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