Lynda is smart, ambitious, resourceful, and determined. As the only daughter in a family of sons, she was a Tomboy 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 in the firm where she worked. True to the statistics that 90% of agents leave within 2 years, Lynda became another casualty. What happened?

Her Style

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 remained.

Traditional Selling

The firm 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, asking for appointments, and making presentations. Most of her male counterparts seemed to excel in employing this strategy.

Relational Selling

Lynda preferred to cultivate relationships. In her mind, making friends was a vital first step in gaining trust before talking insurance. It took time to build trusting connections. The result was fewer appointments and more lengthy conversations. She was criticized for her lack of production.

The Clash

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 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.

The Outcome

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.

About Dr. Nancy Zare

A retired professor and psychologist, Dr. Nancy Zare originated the AlikeAbility™ System to teach sales professionals how to read buying styles and close more sales. She offers a complimentary AlikeAbility™ Assessment that includes the strengths and challenges of your buying/selling style. She is available for consultation and training.