How the Best Insurance Agents Cope With Rejections

Fran Majidi November 14, 2022
insurance agent handles rejection

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 409,950 life insurance agents in the United States in 2020, including one life insurance agent for every 1,234 people. Only 10% of these agents last the first year. And only 5% stay on for five years or more. Why? Despite the potential for a great income, being an insurance agent is not an easy job, and you have to deal with a lot of rejection in order to sell policies.

All insurance agents deal with rejection on a daily basis, even the best ones. What separates a great insurance agent from a good one is how they handle rejection, often turning poison into medicine. It’s not that your lead vendor is giving you bad leads, though it may be the case if you’re not with a reputable lead source. Usually, the insurance agents with the highest success rates are not giving up after the initial rejection. See how the best insurance agents cope with rejection and turn no’s into yes’s!

Only 10% of new agents last the first year of business.

Top 10 Common Insurance Sales Rejections

You’ll note that the 10 most common reasons most shoppers say no or rush off the phone with insurance agents are vastly different. For each of the following scenarios, create a script and stick to it. Do not memorize or read your script but remember the main points you need to hit home to turn the shopper’s rejection into a maybe and then a yes!

  1. “It’s too expensive.” Educate the client that some agents pull tricks and reduce coverages and limits to avoid quoting a high rate. Most clients don’t remember their limits or which coverages they need. The more you make the client feel like you’re on the inside but on their side, the better the chance that they will see that you’re honest but persistent to win their business. This always starts with educating the shopper.
  2. “My current policy is cheaper.” That may be the case and with an inferior company it is often true. The best insurance agents will gear the conversation away from price but on the product and reliability of the company (or companies) they represent. Only when you sell on value can an agent win new business in this competitive market.
  3. “I’ve been with the company for years.” Loyalty is great but when it’s earned. Check the customer’s current limits. Most often than not they are not covered for a collision because they have low limits or they don’t have collision coverage. Again, educate the customer on why they are paying so little and go over the assets they need to protect. No one wants to lose their home or business because of a car accident. Remind them that wages can be garnished if they don’t have the money to pay for a wreck that was their fault!
  4. “I’ve never had an accident so I don’t need more coverage.” Accidents happen to good drivers too – and when they least expect it. Many insurance agents work with carriers who will not write liability-only policies. If you are one of these agents, explain to the lead why they carriers reject liability-only policies, emphasizing that the reason is not greed on the part of the insurance company. Give real-life examples of when car insurance protected a client who would’ve otherwise gone into a major debt due to uncovered losses.
  5. “I’m not interested.” Shoppers will say this, even after answering all the questions on a quote form. Why? They hope to get an email with the rate and don’t want to talk to an agent. Instead of asking why they don’t want to talk to you, make it worth their while. “If you stay on the line and go over your responses, I can give you a free quote. No obligation to buy.” Start there, and try to to take the conversation to a warmer level as you go over their information so your quote is accurate.
  6. “Email/mail me the quote and information.” This is fine but you want to keep the customer on the phone. Take the same approach as you do in #5, by asking for just a few minutes and promising to email the quote as well.
  7. “Let me think about it.” On a gut level, you know this is the kiss of death of a sale if you get off the phone with this customer after delivering a quote. Find out what they need to think about. If it’s price, then isolate that topic and ask for a time to call back or meet over Zoom. Prior to your next call or meeting, see if you can find any discounts to apply to lower the price a little bit. If you can, it’s a nice golden nugget to present when you call the customer again.
  8. “I have to talk to my husband/wife/partner.” Tell them that is a great idea and ask if you can set up a conference call or group Zoom meeting so you can answer everyone’s questions.  This way, you can hear the partner’s objections and field them too.
  9. “I have to speak with my lawyer/accountant.” Tell them that is fine but keep them on the phone and explain that in order to consult with the attorney or accountant, they should first be qualified for the insurance policy they need in order to present real figures.
  10. “I’m just not ready to buy right now.” This is where you need to get pushy, especially if they seemed interested in the rate for the coverages you suggested. Explain that rates change daily and that you can’t predict what will happen in the next day or two. Do everything in your power to persuade them that being properly protected requires urgency.

How To Turn Rejections Into Successes

The best insurance agents know that rejections are part of the job and that oftentimes a "no" is a "yes" down the line. Good insurance agents don’t waste leads after they are told no. They put in place a long-term strategy to win that client over. Here’s more on how insurance agents overcome rejection:

  1. They don’t take rejection personally. Nothing about insurance sales is personal, so you can’t let a rejection – even a particularly nasty one – ruin your day or keep you from getting on the phone to try another lead right away.
  2. They don’t take rejection as a failure. The fact may be that your customer needs to be presented with a discount because the price is high or a revisit come renewal time. Whatever the reason is that they didn’t buy, you cannot jump into your next call feeling like a failure.
  3. They learn from no’s. In fact sometimes, they ask the prospect why they don’t want to do business. Regardless of how you do it, it’s a good idea to figure out why you’re getting no’s so that you can turn the situation around. A good conversation with a lead account manager may entail tweaking filters to avoid getting the same batch of consumers who say "no!"
The best insurance agents know that rejections are part of the job and that oftentimes a “no” is a “yes” down the line.

Top 6 Cold Calling Script Tips for Insurance Agents

Cold calling people means prospects are not expecting to hear from you and are often unwelcoming. No one looks forward to a bombardment of rejections, rude dismissals and hang-ups but a strong sales team makes sales calls all day long, even cold calls. It's your job to quote people who may not initially be interested in an insurance quote. Cold calling is a numbers game, which means that you will make a connection with some people and earn new clients if you keep at it. Just not often.

You'll have a different script for cold calling than you will for an insurance data lead or live-transfer call. In fact, you’ll have a script for different demographics because not all shoppers’ insurance needs are the same. We don't suggest that you read the script or even to recite it verbatim. However, you have to keep the important points in mind, always:

  1. Be prepared to speak to the type of person you are calling based on their needs so ask questions. (Do they have children? Own a home? Are they high or low income? etc.)
  2. Say their name. No one wants to feel like just another call.
  3. Don’t ramble. Not everyone’s time is free. They may be working or watching the kids so get to the point. Feel out whether or not they want to chit chat before you start talking too much.
  4. Remember the point of your script. Even though we discourage reading or memorizing a script, it’s important to know it inside and out so you can get the important points across.
  5. Be prepared for a short call. They may simply be busy. Be ready and persistent about rescheduling.
  6. Have different scripts for age groups. This matters greatly in health insurance plans and even car insurance policies. Prices differ very much too.

3 Crucial Warm Calling Script Tips for Insurance Agents

When you buy leads, the consumer you're contacting has already taken steps towards getting a quote and is therefore invested. By filling out SmartFinancial's questionnaire, they are expecting an accurate estimate. Because of the time and energy they've invested, your chances of making a sale are higher with leads than by cold calling. In a successful script for this scenario, you'll be brief and friendly but prepared to quote right away. Your best bet is to mention SmartFinancial, not your agency name, to avoid confusion.

But there's more you need to do to sell a policy.:

You Have Jumping Off Point

You'll have a much higher close ratio with Internet leads than cold calls, even higher with exclusive leads and the highest with live-transfers, which are qualified by live agents at SmartFinancial's call center. The main reason is you already know quite a bit about this shopper.

Mention that you work with SmartFinancial first so the person is not confused. You have a starting point, and then you can go over the questions they’ve already answered to make sure it’s all correct before you generate a quote.

Why Is the Lead Shopping Around?

With a lead, you will already have their basic information, but you'll have to ask more questions. Are they trying to dodge a rate hike after an accident? You may have to explain that it will show up no matter where they go.

Most likely, a lead is in search of a lower premium. Find out what's missing from their current insurance policy first before addressing price.

Live Transfer Scripts

With a live transfer, the lead has already been screened to see if they fit with your insurance company. When you have an insurance lead or live call from SmartFinancial, say something like, "You filled out a form for a quote with SmartFinancial. I'm here to help give you that quote in just a few minutes. First, let me say hello!" etc. These phone calls are less obtrusive because the consumer initiated contact to purchase insurance, unlike an insurance cold call.

A lead account manager may tweak filters to avoid getting the same batch of consumers who say "no!"

Top 3 Reasons Insurance Agents Quit

  1. The agent ran out of money. With an honest account manager with a good lead vendor, you’re budgeting closely and growing incrementally. You’re not dumping everything you have but slowly investing and seeing returns grow each year. Also, agents often waste money on leads by trying once and throwing the lead out. No, you must create a follow-up strategy and apply it to all rejections.
  2. The agent ran out of prospects. If you’re buying leads, the marketing is done for you. You will never run out of prospects. You just have to budget wisely to not run out of money. You cannot rely on your personal network to get past the first few months of selling.
  3. The agency wasn’t a good fit. You can be your own boss or change agencies. Just because you didn’t like how things were run in one agency doesn’t mean you do not have a future in insurance sales.

Insurance Agents and Rejection FAQS

What percentage of insurance agents fail?

More than 90% of new insurance agents quit the business within the first year. The rate increases to greater than 95% in five years. The fact is that it takes a few years of investing in leads to begin making real money. Ideally, you’re retaining clients and gaining new ones so you’ll have a passive income.

How much does an insurance agency make?

How much an insurance agency makes depends on many factors, including the number of agents and producers on staff, whether or not they have an existing book of business, how many leads they buy per month and how efficient each agent is in selling. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an insurance agent makes an average of $50,600 per year as of 2018. The highest paid 10% of insurance agents earned more than $116,940 annually.

Key Takeaways

  • Be prepared for rejection so you can turn a "no" into a "yes."
  • Have a different script for each rejection, each type of shopper and the different types of leads (cold call, data lead or live transfer).
  • Being successful as an agent requires patience and an investment in quality leads which need to be nurtured with a follow-up strategy.