Saturday, March 05, 2016

Why life insurance agents have such a high (newbie) wash-out rate -- a random conversation

Friday afternoon I was at a hobby shop in Alexandria, and the owner, while writing up a sales receipt by hand, did some small talk and indicate he had started out his work career as an entry life insurance agent, decades back.  He said that 97% of agents wash out in three years.  He said, to be a good agent, you have to be a good customer first. But it can be a good "first job" for a recent college graduate.

Here’s a link on why so many young agents fail.

Here’s another paradoxical explanation of a 92% failure rate.

I wrote some time back that new agents, based on an interview I had in 2005, are expected to generate new leads very quickly.  The technique has been to troll website surfing and searches.  This would surely be objectionable to many consumers in the age of “do not track”.  It would really have been very objectionable for someone with my background to do it.

Compared to previous generations, a lot of consumers today simply do not want to be contacted by sales people, whom they view as “parasites” and not smart enough to become high tech engineers.  In my parents’ era, social connections seemed to be more stable and respected for what they were.  This new attitude sounds like bad karma, to say the least. With financial transactions (and real estate, and other major life activities) one does need professionals sometimes to know the right things to do.  (I think the case is even clearer in real estate.)  Consumer aversion to listening to sales professionals may help create a climate that makes debacles like 2008 just a little more likely over time.  At the same time, many people in retain finance and real estate “followed the mob”, help setting up the previous crisis.
I was under "moral pressure" around 2005 to go "sell" like other people and stop blog-casting myself, since I had returned "home" to look after mother and could have been viewed as a mooch. But it doesn't look like becoming a life insurance agent could have worked out.  Is this sour grapes. or sweet lemons?   It's probably even harder now.

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