10 things every young insurance intermediary should learn

The world of insurance is a fascinating and complex one, and can be intimidating for those intermediaries who are just starting out. There is much to learn and know – from the products to the jargon, from how to find new clients to how to make a sale. Use your experience as a seasoned intermediary to mentor them and build their expertise and confidence with the help of our top 10 things every newcomer should know. 


1. Stay on top of current affairs 


It’s important for intermediaries to have a good knowledge of current affairs that could influence a client’s business or budget. Share relevant social media posts or news articles around the office, or even task a new intermediary with compiling a weekly bulletin of industry news to share with the rest of your business. This will force them to keep their finger on the pulse – which will make them seem more competent to clients. 


2. Get the word out 


Help new intermediaries to network and find their own clients. There are the failsafe methods of joining golf and other sports clubs, or getting involved in the community, but they could also look to their network of friends and family for referrals. Show new intermediaries how to create a LinkedIn profile, and teach them how to make cold calls, create e-mail marketing templates, etc. Share a system with them of keeping track of those contacted so they can learn to follow up on sales leads. You could share this link with them: Where and how to network in South Africa.  


3. Guide them in finding their unique selling proposition 


A new insurance intermediary might feel disheartened at times, feeling the pressure of competition. Enjoying a long and rewarding career is about more than just skills – they need to work at their self-belief too. Help them in finding their USP (unique selling proposition) – what makes them unique and why a client would buy insurance from them instead of someone else. Over time, they can use that to let clients know and appreciate their value. 


4. Don’t let age be an issue 


If an intermediary is young, you might have to endorse their credibility by introducing them to clients – for example, mentioning their formal qualifications or any other accolades. What someone lacks in experience, they can make up for in passion and dedication. Keep motivating them to work hard and to go the extra mile for their clients. 


5. Ask many questions to build a rapport 


The ability to converse with people from all walks of life is something that comes with experience. One way to get a conversation with a client started is to ask them several questions about their personal life or business, and to listen closely. Perhaps an employee went to the same university as a client’s daughter, or has an interest in a certain type of business. Practise this skill through question-asking and role-playing exercises. 


6. Mention the experience of the practice 


If a young intermediary feels self-conscious about their lack of experience, remind them to mention the experience of the founder and brokerage in sales meetings. Teach them to give clients the reassurance that processes or documentation will be overseen by more experienced intermediaries. Alternatively, if a young employee is unable to answer their questions, they can rely on the expertise of the brokerage. 


7. Learn from colleagues 


Encourage new intermediaries to learn as much as possible from others in the business, whether it’s spending a morning every week with each person in your business or attending industry workshops. Make time for senior staff members to mentor young employees, covering a variety of subjects from presentation skills to handling customer complaints. 


8. Show respect by dressing smartly 


Fashion might lean towards the informal these days, but when it comes to client service, dressing smartly will still leave a lasting impression. Encourage employees to acquire a few more formal outfits for client meetings. The old adage remains true: dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If your employees dress smartly, they will feel more professional and be taken more seriously. 


9. Speak professionally 


You want your employees to be themselves and feel comfortable, but make them aware of not using too much slang or being overfamiliar with clients. The gravitas of insurance should be reflected in the language they use. Role-playing a sales meeting with an employee will help you pick up on inappropriate terms and language. 


10. Never stop learning 


While you are offering your mentorship, it’s important that young intermediaries continue to grow their knowledge and skills. As you know, there are various industry training courses available. Be supportive by allowing them time to study for these courses and exams. 


Good luck with your mentoring – we are certain you will reap the rewards. Remember to direct new intermediaries to the Santam blog, which offers a wealth of insights and advice, from marketing and customer service to better risk management for your clients.