You Are Not A Secret Agent!

You Are Not A Secret Agent!

By leading insurance agents sales teams for almost two decades, I am always puzzled by insurance agents that struggle to set appointments. They all seem to know what to do. They are just too afraid to do it. Maybe too afraid of what people might think (oh if you only knew what they think, so what). You must ask yourself, are you a secret agent? Does everyone you come into contact with know what you do or do you keep it a secret? It never fails to amaze me, when one of my insurance team members comes to me to tell me about how this person they know just bought life insurance from another insurance agent. When the agent asks the prospect why didn’t you tell me you were in the market for life insurance? The response is always I didn’t know you sold life insurance. Hence your a secret agent and not the 007 kind.

DON’T BE A SECRET AGENT! Be proud and passionate about what you do. You are there to help people, protect lives, educate children, protect financial well being and protect property. EVERYONE you know and that knows you and trusts you should know that. They also need to be reminded from time to time. I don’t mean cram your profession down their throat daily or weekly. I mean subtly touch base through different mediums.

Let’s explore how to touch your prospects in a subtle way. Social media is a great reminder if you don’t overdo it. Meaning every Facebook post can’t be about your insurance product or service. You will start to lose FB friends if you are not careful. But you can stagger some stories in between your personal posts about how you were able to help a client with “X” insurance product. Remember to stay in general terms, no one wants the HIPAA police after them. The same is true with LinkedIn and Twitter. Just a quick story about how you helped someone with your insurance product or service. People relate to stories. Stories translate into great marketing. Sending out an occasional email or an E Newsletter is also very effective in staying in touch with people you know.  Lastly, sending out an occasional postcard or thank you card can go a long way. Just to say thank you for being my client or for being my friend.  You want to stay on their mind when the time is right to make their next insurance purchase from you. You cannot afford for someone you know to tell you, I didn’t know you sold insurance. Don’t be a secret agent unless you can be James Bond!

It will work. I am a marketing genius.” Paris Hilton

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.

27 Responses to You Are Not A Secret Agent!

  • I sent the article to my DMTM (District Manager Training Manager) so that he can pass it on to the new agents that are coming up.

  • Will thank you so much for passing on my blog link. I am humbled by your kind words and gratiful to help out. Much continued success!

  • Thanks Tim – As always a great Blog Post! I.m continuously amazed at how many Broker/Agents almost seem embarrassed to be in the Insurance/Benefits Industry!

    Most need to work on their elevator presentation to focus on the fact that they reduce personal and business “Risk” – and then be more specific. In terms of being invisible,

    I’m equally amazed at how many Broker/Agents do ot provide their contact information with their profiles, ie. phone number, email address, location!

  • Phil, excellent points. I tell my agents to be careful, they might accidently sell something. 🙂

  • That’s true. I realized that there are a lot of people that I know know I have a license and still don’t what I do. They just know I have a license.

  • Thank you Tee, I hope you found it useful.

  • Great article Tim,
    It’s so true. If you are not passionate about what you do then how do you expect anyone to do business with you.

    Tell people what you do briefly and you will be surprised at what you will get.


  • Vinnie, thank you for sharing those facts as well. No passion=no sales.

  • Tim I like your attitude Tim. What you have written makes so much sense.

  • Ken, thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it.

  • Being proactive is more important than being reactive. Communication and follow up with a client is essential.

  • Tim, great topic!

    You cannot imagine how close to my heart that this topic goes.

    Many years ago, maybe before you were born (kidding, I’m not THAT old), my partner and i were waiting for an elevator in downtown Seattle to attend a meeting at a Life insurance company. We missed one elevator because there were so many people wanting to go up. I mentioned to my partner that all we had to do to clear the next elevator was say, “We’re in the insurance business” and watch it clear out.

    That bothered me greatly, because I have always been very proud of what we do, and passionate about it. It led me to become heavily involved in the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) to which I’d belonged since 1978, but became personally involved in 1984. I’ve never looked back.

    Not only are we Insurance Agents, nevermind the “specific discipline”, we are Educators, as important in our Field of Education as any other Educator. And when we don’t do a good job of educating the Insurance Consuming Public, then they won’t purchase the coverage they need. Not all will like or agree with me, but it is our job to not only always be professional, but to require that of others in our industry as well. We occasionally all run into “Bad Agents” Bad Agents make us all look bad, so we began documenting the “crime” a bad agent had committed, and worked to get them removed from our business, directly with the Insurance Department.

    It wasn’t as hard to become a “Reporter of crimes” as I’d originally thought. I had to go up against the Insurance Commissioner in WA State in 1988-89, due to some very bad regulations he’d passed as regards LTCi. Dick Marquardt, the Commissioner, would track me down no matter where I was in the Legislature,, and ask me why I was so intent on stopping him, and I explained how his actions would harm the Public. His one line to me, “If you would police your own bad apples, then we wouldn’t have to do it for you.”

    Three things came out of that:

    * We began working on an Ethics committee in NAHU.

    * We won our case against the OIC, and represented our colleagues and the Public well.

    * I earned the deep respect and friendship of Dick, who always sent me personal Christmas cards, much to the consternation of my partner, who only got the Xeroxed ones, 😉 . He also began sending me referrals, ha! How cool is that?

    The bottom line is that we should all be very proud of what we do, we help the Public to survive adverse events that might otherwise leave them financially broke.

    The steps you and Franci discuss is an integral part of what makes us professionals who can hold our heads high and proudly announce what it is that we do.

    Thanks, Tim.

  • Spence and Franci thank you so much for sharing on this important topic. No truer words are spoken by you both. I can’t understand working at any business if there is one ounce of shame or hesitation. We are successful because of our pride, dedication to the client and our passion for helping. With gratitude, Tim

  • Good post, Spence. I have been around for a while and learned professionalism is essential. The insurance industry is pretty close knit and word travels fast. Those of us that are proud of our industry strive to keep it professional and honest. Unfortunately, there are bad eggs in any profession and the insurance industry seems to have their share. However, what comes around goes around and they eventually get caught. I have never understood why the bad guys bother to get licensed, etc., only to abuse it – such a waste.

  • I enjoyed reading the article Tim.

  • Diamonds for the best…bozo buttons for the rest!

  • Great article, you’re welcome ! It all starts with believing in and understanding the benefits of your product, and if you have a hard time doing that, you need a new product !

  • Can you imagine what our country would be like if politicians were upheld to the same ethical standards as agents in our business?

    Should we send some “bozo” buttons to DC?

  • could you imagine if they taught insurance, underwriting, and risk mitigation in High School ?…. The bozos in DC NEVER would have been able to pull the ACA / Obama Care shenanigans

  • Brian and Sandra you are spot on! The only thing these DC politicians are good at is getting elected, certainly not leading.

  • I’d like to share this article with some of our agents. Something so obvious yet we so easily take for granted that people won’t know what we do unless we tell them.

  • Jana, I would be honored for you to share my article. I hope it helps out. Please let me know the feedback.

  • Tim, they are leading us…..right into a big, deep, black hole!

  • What Tim just posted can be used in all sales areas,In Direct sales we have a lot Secret Agents afraid to tell people what they do

  • Wow! So true; excellent advice, Tim. Thanks for sharing it with us. What I take from your article is this: No one can buy something from you if they don’t know what you do. Yet, few, if any, really WANT to be “sold” something (convinced against their will). Stories sell. I think people buy from you most often because they like you; because they trust you. I need to focus more on building a relationship FIRST and foremost, not “selling” someone something, and simply letting them know what I do.

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