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Become A Sales Agent

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Working As A Sales Agent

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $96,934

    Average Salary

What Does A Sales Agent Do

Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance. Insurance sales agents explain various insurance policies and help clients choose plans that suit them.

Duties

Insurance sales agents typically do the following:

  • Call potential clients in order to expand their own customer base
  • Interview prospective clients to get information about their financial resources and discuss existing coverage
  • Explain the features of various policies
  • Analyze clients’ current insurance policies and suggest additions or other changes
  • Customize insurance programs to suit individual clients
  • Handle policy renewals
  • Maintain electronic and paper records

Insurance sales agents commonly sell one or more types of insurance, such as property and casualty, life, health, and long-term care insurance.

Property and casualty insurance agents sell policies that protect people and businesses from financial loss resulting from automobile accidents, fire, theft, and other events that can damage property. For businesses, property and casualty insurance also covers workers’ compensation claims, product liability claims, or medical malpractice claims.

Life insurance agents specialize in selling policies that pay beneficiaries when a policyholder dies. Life insurance agents also sell annuities that promise a retirement income.

Health and long-term care insurance agents sell policies that cover the costs of medical care and assisted-living services in old age. They also may sell dental insurance and short-term and long-term disability insurance.

Agents may specialize in any one of these products or function as generalists providing multiple products.

An increasing number of insurance sales agents offer their clients—especially those approaching retirement—comprehensive financial-planning services. Such services include retirement planning, estate planning, and help in setting up pension plans for businesses. In addition to offering insurance, these agents may become licensed to sell mutual funds, variable annuities, and other securities. This practice is most common with life insurance agents who already sell annuities, but many property and casualty agents also sell financial products. For more information on agents who sell financial products, see the profile on securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents.

Many agents spend a lot of time marketing their services and creating their own base of clients. They do this in a variety of ways, including making “cold” sales calls to people who are not current clients.

Potential clients often use comparison shopping tools online to learn about different policies and obtain information from insurance companies. Clients can either purchase a policy directly from the website or contact the company to speak with a sales agent.

Insurance agents also find new clients through referrals by current clients. Keeping clients happy so that they recommend the agent to others is a key to success for insurance sales agents.

Insurance agents may work for a single insurance company or an insurance brokerage.

Captive agents are insurance sales agents who work exclusively for one insurance company. They can only sell policies provided by the company that employs them.

Independent insurance agents work for insurance brokerages, selling the policies of several companies. They match insurance policies for their clients with the company that offers the best rate and coverage.

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How To Become A Sales Agent

Although most employers require agents to have a high school diploma, many agents have a bachelor’s degree. Agents must be licensed in the states where they work.

Education

A high school diploma is the typical requirement for insurance sales agents, although a bachelor’s degree can improve one’s job prospects. Public-speaking classes can be useful in improving sales techniques, and often agents will have taken courses in business, finance, or economics. Business knowledge is also helpful for sales agents hoping to advance to a managerial position.

Training

Insurance sales agents learn many of their job duties on the job from other agents. Many employers have new agents shadow an experienced agent. This practice allows the new agent to learn how to conduct the company’s business and to understand how the agency interacts with clients.

Employers also are increasingly placing greater emphasis on continuing professional education as the variety of financial products sold by insurance sales agents grows. Changes in tax laws, government benefits programs, and other state and federal regulations can affect the insurance needs of clients and the way in which agents conduct business. Agents can enhance their selling skills and broaden their knowledge of insurance and other financial services by taking courses at colleges and universities or by attending conferences and seminars sponsored by insurance organizations.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Insurance sales agents must have a license in the states where they work. Separate licenses are required for agents to sell life and health insurance and property and casualty insurance. In most states, licenses are issued only to applicants who complete specified courses and who pass state exams covering insurance fundamentals and state insurance laws. Most state licensing authorities also require agents to take continuing education courses focusing on insurance laws, consumer protection, ethics, and the technical details of various insurance policies.

As the demand for financial-planning services increases, many agents also choose to get licensed and certified to sell securities and other financial products. Licensing and certification requires substantial study time to pass an additional exam—either the Series 6 or Series 7 licensing exam, both of which are administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Series 6 exam is for agents who want to sell only mutual funds and variable annuities. The Series 7 exam is the main FINRA series license, which qualifies agents as general securities sales representatives.

A number of organizations offer certifications that show an agent’s expertise in insurance specialties. These certifications are not required for employment, but they can give job candidates an advantage over other applicants. Certifications also can be a source of continuing education credit. For details on specific designations, contact The Institutes and The American College of Financial Services.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Insurance sales agents must evaluate the characteristics of each client to determine the appropriate insurance policy.

Communication skills. Insurance sales agents must be able to communicate effectively with customers by listening to their requests and suggesting suitable policies.

Initiative. Insurance sales agents need to actively seek out new customers to maintain a flow of commissions.

Self-confidence. Insurance sales agents should be confident when making “cold” calls (calls to prospective customers who have not been contacted before). They must speak clearly and persuasively and maintain their composure if rejected.

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Sales Agent jobs

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Sales Agent Career Paths

Sales Agent
Security Officer Operations Manager Account Executive
Account Director
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Sales Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Driver Operation Supervisor Branch Manager
Branch Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager General Manager Account Executive
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Manager
General Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Property Manager District Manager Sales Consultant
Internet Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Real Estate Agent Property Manager Regional Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Account Executive
Regional Accounts Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Property Manager Regional Manager Director Of Sales
Regional Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Specialist Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Consultant
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Real Estate Agent Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager Account Executive
Senior Sales Executive
9 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Sales Manager
Senior Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Delivery Driver Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Senior Sales Representative Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Sales Consultant Sales Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Business Developer
Vice President, Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Outside Sales 3.7 years
Business Agent 3.4 years
Commercial Agent 3.1 years
Sales Professional 2.8 years
Sales Producer 2.8 years
Farm Agent 2.7 years
Land Sales Agent 2.5 years
Licensed Agent 2.5 years
Insurance Agent 2.5 years
Field Agent 2.4 years
Direct Sales Agent 2.3 years
Sales Consultant 2.2 years
Sales Person 2.2 years
Agent 2.1 years
Sales Agent 2.0 years
Sales Assistant 2.0 years
Career Agent 1.9 years
Agent Assistant 1.9 years
Inside Sales Agent 1.9 years
Phone Sales 1.8 years
Marketing Agent 1.7 years
Sales Associate 1.6 years
Call Agent 1.0 years
Sales Trainee 1.0 years
Sales Internship 0.5 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 10.1%
Manager 4.4%
Internship 3.3%
Server 3.2%
Agent 2.8%
Top Employers After
Cashier 5.5%
Agent 4.1%
Manager 3.9%
Server 3.3%
Owner 3.0%
Supervisor 2.4%

Sales Agent Demographics

Gender

Male

49.3%

Female

48.5%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

77.6%

Hispanic or Latino

13.3%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.6%

French

10.1%

German

4.2%

Arabic

3.8%

Portuguese

3.1%

Mandarin

2.8%

Chinese

2.6%

Italian

2.4%

Russian

2.2%

Japanese

1.8%

Korean

1.5%

Carrier

1.3%

Greek

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Cantonese

0.7%

Turkish

0.7%

Hindi

0.7%

Urdu

0.6%

Armenian

0.5%
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Sales Agent Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

23.3%

Liberty University

6.1%

Miami Dade College

5.1%

University of Central Florida

4.6%

Kaplan University

4.4%

Valencia College

4.4%

Strayer University

4.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.2%

Florida State University

4.1%

University of Houston

4.0%

Ashford University

4.0%

Michigan State University

4.0%

Utah Valley University

3.8%

Florida International University

3.7%

American InterContinental University

3.5%

Broward College

3.4%

Troy University

3.4%

Weber State University

3.4%

Arizona State University

3.2%

Florida Atlantic University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

34.6%

Marketing

5.7%

Communication

5.6%

Criminal Justice

5.4%

Psychology

5.2%

Accounting

5.1%

Management

4.7%

General Studies

3.2%

Finance

3.2%

Education

3.0%

Real Estate

3.0%

Nursing

2.8%

Health Care Administration

2.7%

Computer Science

2.7%

English

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Political Science

2.3%

Medical Assisting Services

2.1%

Biology

1.9%

Human Resources Management

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.2%

Other

31.9%

Associate

12.9%

Masters

8.2%

Certificate

4.5%

License

1.3%

Diploma

1.3%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Sales Agent Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York, NY May 03, 2013 $275,000 -
$400,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities BGC Capital Markets, LP New York, NY Jun 24, 2011 $250,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities BGC Capital Markets, LP New York, NY Apr 14, 2011 $250,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Barclays Bank PLC New York, NY Sep 02, 2011 $220,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Pine River Capital Management L.P. New York, NY Jan 11, 2012 $200,004 -
$500,004
Sales Agents, Securities & Commodities ABG Sundal Collier, Inc. New York, NY May 22, 2012 $200,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Moore Capital Management, LP New York, NY Dec 08, 2011 $200,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Standard Chartered Bank New York, NY Aug 07, 2012 $200,000
Securities, Commodities, & Financial Sales Agents Vertical North America, Inc. Houston, TX May 18, 2012 $180,000
Senior Equity and Equity Derivatives Sales Agent MYD Market, Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2015 $177,882
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Citigroup Global Markets Inc. New York, NY Jun 14, 2011 $175,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. New York, NY Jan 04, 2011 $175,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Ing Financial Services LLC New York, NY Sep 02, 2011 $175,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Nomura Securities International, Inc. Boston, MA Nov 30, 2011 $175,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Barclays Capital Inc. New York, NY Jul 05, 2011 $130,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities UBS Securities LLC Stamford, CT Mar 29, 2012 $125,029 -
$160,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities RBC Capital Markets, LLC New York, NY Aug 12, 2011 $125,000 -
$150,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Dinosaur Securites LLC New York, NY Jan 31, 2012 $124,155
Sales Agent, Futures/Commodities XP Securities LLC Miami, FL Sep 28, 2016 $120,000
Sales Agent, Futures/Commodities XP Securities LLC Miami, FL Sep 20, 2016 $120,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Cantor Fitzgerald LP New York, NY Jan 05, 2011 $120,000
Sales Agent Maria Pashby Manning New York, NY May 01, 2011 $85,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Monex Securities, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 30, 2011 $82,784
Sales Agent Air Parts International. Inc. Burbank, CA Aug 02, 2012 $80,454
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Bunge Latin America, LLC Coral Gables, FL May 26, 2011 $80,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities H/2 Credit Manager LP Stamford, CT Oct 13, 2011 $80,000 -
$100,000
Precious Metals Sales Agent American Bullion, Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 10, 2015 $75,504
Sales Agent, Commodities McDonald Pelz Global Commodities LLC Boulder, CO Sep 13, 2012 $75,000
Sales Agents, Securities and Commodities Creditex Group Inc. New York, NY Sep 13, 2011 $75,000

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Top Skills for A Sales Agent

CustomerServiceSkillsMonthlySalesGoalsFinancialResourcesInternetInboundCallsRealEstateLifeInsuranceAutoOutboundCallsPotentialCustomersInsurancePoliciesCreditCardPhoneCallsCustomerSatisfactionDataEntryHealthInsuranceTNewCustomersPotentialClientsNewClients

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Top Sales Agent Skills

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Monthly Sales Goals
  3. Financial Resources
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Modeled exceptional customer service skills and appropriate diagnostic sales techniques.
  • Provided unique sales strengths of professionalism, enthusiasm and proven top sales performer; Met and exceeded monthly sales goals
  • Produced lists of properties based on the requirements of the buyers keeping their financial resources in mind.
  • Positioned and effectively sold Cable Television, Home Phone, Internet, and Home Security System.
  • Take a large volume of inbound calls and assist clients over the phone.

Top Sales Agent Employers

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