I wanted to make money, but I did not want to go back to college for another useless degree. I ended up working various sales jobs in the insurance industry and found a fairly lucrative niche. Here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way:
Take charge of your schooling
I had a boss who prevented me from obtaining the proper insurance license needed to sell and make commissions. He did this for two reasons: 1) He could pay me less 2) It made me less “marketable” for employment at other agencies. Finally fed up, I left for another agency which gladly paid for my licensing classes and test fees.
Commercial is the way to go
Who has more opportunity for a higher commission check: a salesman for economy sedans or luxury cars? When it comes to insurance, it makes more financial sense to cater to businesses. Various businesses are legally required to carry certain insurance products like workmen’s compensation. It’s an easy sell to get someone to buy something they need. Plus, this is the market where employers are more generous with pay.
Never tell them how hungry you really are
Sharing personal stories can backfire on you. I once worked at an agency with a clothing shopaholic who made it a point, everyday, to let all of us know how broke she was. Whenever management needed someone to work overtime, they targeted her, much to her dismay. Remember this: the less your co-workers know about your private life, the better.
Everyone is a salesperson
Think about this: At some point in your career, you’re going to have to sell something; a product to a customer, an idea to your boss, the worthiness of a project to your co-workers. To attain your sales goals (and your plump commission check), you have to convince people that they need what you’ve got.
Shallow but true
People judge you by your appearance. You don’t have to be svelte. You don’t have to wear high-end fashion or have perfect hair. But you should be presentable. Clients repeatedly referred to one co-worker as “the frumpy one.” She would come to work in clothes that resembled pajamas more than career wear. It’s hard for clients to hear what you’re saying when they’re distracted by the way you look.