5 pearls of wisdom for rookie insurance agents

While the days of the milkman and the VCR repairman may have come and gone, the insurance professional will never go away. After all, everyone needs insurance, whether it's to drive, to cover medical expenses or to financially provide for loved ones after a loss.

So it's little wonder that the insurance industry is a robust one. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 500,000 insurance sales agents in the country, an industry that's expected to grow by 10 percent within the next 5 to 10 years.

But in order to thrive, you have to know what it takes to survive - meaning the tools of the trade that have helped new agents turn into well-seasoned ones. The following are some of the surefire tips that can help you as you begin your journey up the ladder, where the sky is the limit to your success:

Your words matter

"Avoid generalities and get specific."

Though insurance may be in the finance course of study in the typical undergraduate college or university, is might as well be in communication. After all, that's really what insurance selling is all about: Speaking with people - ideally in a one on one conversation - to convey a message about a product or service that's worthwhile. That's why your sales pitch is crucial, where how you say something is almost - if not more - important than what you say. As noted by LifeHealthPro, try not to use phrases that are cliched or lack specificity. For instance, instead of "Let me look into that," replace it with "I'll get to the bottom of this and inform you of my findings tomorrow" or sooner, if possible.

Seek out a mentor
Knowledge and wisdom are often used interchangeably, but there's a distinct difference between the two. "Knowledge" is an understanding of facts as they are; "wisdom" goes further, because it combines understanding with experience. That's what veteran insurance agents have. As a "green" insurance salesperson, be open to what others say and find that one person who teaches by example. They have years in the business and can provide you with insights that they may have wished they'd known as a newbie.

Dress to the nines
While there may be such a thing as overdressing - like wearing a tuxedo or evening gown to an informal event - you can never go wrong by classing up your attire. As the old saying goes, dress for success. Tailored, neat attire not only puts you in the proper frame of mind, but it also makes a positive impression on customers. And first impressions are a one-time opportunity.

Be passionate
People are naturally attracted to positivity, that intangible quality that often speaks to an individual's character. And when people can tell that you like what you do, it leaves a lasting impression that can be infectious. Be expressive in your manner and embody those traits that you've observed in people who were clearly passionate about their vocation.

Listen intently
We all like to be heard, but what we really love is to be listened to. As an agent, communicating your thoughts is important, but for a relationship to form between you and your prospective client, they have to know that they're the most important person in the room. Listen intently to their thoughts, paying attention even to those parenthetical comments that may key into a follow-up question. Maintain eye contact and do your best to ignore disruptions that may divert your focus.

Visit LifeHealthPro for other tips on how to make the most of your first foray into the world of insurance selling.