Likewise, they act as a field representatives for the companies to which they are under contract. They may be under direct contract or work through a general agent who holds a contract. Others are insurance brokers who act as independent operators and purchase insurance at their client’s request from one of several companies. Some brokers carry, in addition, types of insurance like on automobiles, households, and medicalg related transactions in order to provide a more complete service package for their clients. All life insurance agents and brokers engage in a number of social study activities designed to improve the volume and quality of their sales.
In his insurance employment, the life insurance agent must use initiative in identifying and soliciting prospects. Few agents can survive in the life insurance field through normal business and social contacts. One company, for example, asks that each week each agent makes between twenty and thirty personal contacts with prospective customers, through which eight to twelve interviews may be obtained, resulting in from zero to three sales. Naturally, many days or weeks may pass without any sale. Then suddenly, several sales in a row may quickly develop. To identify prospects in his insurance job, some agents obtain leads by following newspaper reports to learn of newcomers to the community, birth of children, or business promotions. Other agents specialize in occupational groups, selling to doctors, farmers, or small businesses. Many agents use general telephone or mail businesses. Many agents use general telephone or mail solicitation to help identify prospects. All agents hope that satisfied customers may suggest future sales. Successful contact with prospective clients may be a difficult process. Many potential customers may already have been solicited by a number of life insurance agents or may assume that they are not interested in buying insurance at this time. Agents, therefore, are often hard-pressed to obtain their initial goal - a personal interview to sit down and talk about insurance with the potential customer.
As part of the insurance sales jobs, agents usually travel to the customer’s home or place of business for the sales interview. During this meeting, the agents seek to explain their services. Following sound sales techniques, this explanation must be adapted to the needs that the client outlines or faces. A new father, for example, may wish to ensure his child’s college education. An older person may be most interested in provisions dealing with retirement income. With experience, agents learn how best to answer questions or objections raised by potential customers. The agents must be able to describe the coverage offered by their company in clear, non-technical language. With the approval of the prospective client, the agent develops an insurance plan. In some cases, this will involve only a single standard life insurance policy. In other instances, the agent will review the client’s complete financial status and develop a comprehensive plan for death benefits, payment of the balance due on a home mortgage if the insured dies, creation of a fund for college education for children, and retirement income.
To best satisfy the customer’s insurance needs, and in keeping with the customer’s ability to pay, the agent draws upon a variety of insurance alternatives. The agent may, for instance, recommend term insurance - the cheapest form of insurance as it may only be used as a death benefit, or ordinary life which may be maintained by premium payments throughout the life of the insured, but which might be converted to aid in retirement living. In some cases, the agent may suggest a limited payment plan, such as twenty-payment life, which provides a completely paid for policy upon the completion of a given number of annual premiums. Inclusive of the insurance agent jobs, many agents develop comprehensive plans for life insurance to protect a business enterprise - such as the loss that will result from the death of a key partner. The skill of the agent and the variety of plans offered by the company are combined to develop the best possible insurance proposal for customers. Closing the transaction is the climax and probably the most thrilling part of the insurance negotiation.
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