How Hard Can It Be to Start a New Insurance Agency?

Insurance Agency

Q: Thank you for all of the resources on sales and marketing that you offer. I am planning on becoming an independent insurance agent for a large insurance company. Will your resources here, including Venture Academy help me get leads and will that be my biggest obstacle in selling supplemental insurance?

A: Our sales and marketing resources and video training do not include “leads”, but cover how to think about your sales pipeline and how to manage it in order to build your business.

Selling insurance and building a book of business is a long, slow process. In my opinion, people will only buy insurance from agents/brokers that they know, like, and trust, so the speed of ramping up your new book of business is in direct proportion to how many people that know, like, and trust you and have an immediate need for an insurance product that helps them meet a high-priority goal.

While you may have some success with web-based and search-based lead generation, in my thinking, there is really no such thing as a real “lead”, but only “lists” of potential contacts. And selling insurance is a numbers game:

  • for every “x” number of contacts you make, you get an appointment/call
  • for every “x” number of appointments/calls you have, you get a second appointment/call
  • for every “x” number of second appointments you have, you start to form a real relationship
  • for every “x” of real relationships you establish, you uncover an insurance need
  • for every “x” number of insurance needs you uncover, you actually sign up a new insurance client

At the end of the day, you need to make thousands of contacts, meet hundreds of prospects, establish tens of relationships, and uncover several needs in order to sell one insurance product. It may sound rather daunting, but I think it is a very realistic approach.

Very few brand new independent insurance agents/brokers will stick with it long enough to survive the long, lean years to build a meaningful book of business.

It is usually easier to join an existing firm and work for them while building a book of business. You then share commissions back to the firm in exchange for feeding you during your ramp up and teaching you the business.

Eventually you can “buy” your book of business from the broker that helped you get started and you then own your own book of business and commission stream.

For further assistance, you may want to contact one of our Crown Business Advisors such as Ernest Session that are experts at the insurance business.

Recommended Resources

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  • Venture Academy (includes nearly 200 videos of entrepreneurship training)

About Wade Myers

Wade has founded or co-founded, invested in, and been a director of over 25 companies and has completed 55 financing and M&A transactions. His previous work experience includes the Boston Consulting Group and Mobil Corporation. Wade also served as an Airborne Ranger in the US Army where he was a decorated veteran of the Gulf War. He is a Baker Scholar graduate of Harvard’s MBA program and is married with five children.

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