Selling Insurance Tom Boy Style
Lynda is smart, ambitious, resourceful, and determined. As the only daughter in a family of sons, she was a Tom boy growing up and thought she could adjust herself to the world of men. Yet she could not overcome the male-dominated culture of selling insurance. True to the statistics that 90% of agents leave within 2 years, Lynda was another casualty. What happened?
Well into her 40’s, Lynda came to insurance after enjoying success in other ventures. She had been a serial entrepreneur and was used to hard work and long hours. She was attracted to her new career because it offered residual income. The firm she chose was prestigious and she went through a rigorous interviewing process before being selected. Her trait of wanting the best trumped her inner intuition that cautioned against what she observed. The company was dominated by men and few women were chosen or remained.
The company provided excellent training both in the products and their procedures. Lynda quickly grasped the expectation that she should network at country clubs and make lots of cold calls. The company preached the numbers game –keep continuously prospecting and you’ll eventually find the ready sale. Most of her male counterparts seemed to excel employing this method.
Lynda’s style preferred to cultivate relationships. In her mind, making friends is a vital first step in gaining trust before closing the sale. It takes time to build trusting connections. She was criticized for her lack of production.
Yet it wasn’t this factor that prompted her to leave. Instead Lynda felt betrayed by the company’s practices. Repeatedly she heard the message that as a new agent she should get help from the senior partners. Happily she availed herself of this opportunity. Yet, each time when the sale closed, her commissions were drastically reduced, with the other agent getting the lion’s share. She thought to herself, “What kind of help was this?” Her conclusion: the price paid far exceeded the value gained.
Lynda left the firm. In reflecting on the experience, she feels pleased that she got her own financial future in order. However, she still tastes the bitterness of feeling used and abused. It boiled down to a difference in personality style that led to her exit. Without drive being tempered by amiability, it became ruthless and self-serving.