Glenford Smith | Selling is hard work
Over recent months, the Careers section of The Gleaner has carried three articles on selling life insurance. They were: 'Frustrated with selling life insurance', 'Selling life insurance a great career move' and 'Not cut out for selling life insurance' - written in response to correspondence from S.L., Leopold 'Steely' Williams and Angry Mom, respectively.
From Leopold, one could get the idea that selling is easy, that S.L. is lazy and Angry Mom is defending an indolent daughter who doesn't want to work hard. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and this column hopes to set the record straight, with two messages.
In the first case, Leopold sold life insurance from in the nineties at Life of Jamaica, now it is Sagicor Life, and so things must have changed. His story must take that into account.
The people who wrote to tell me their story of signing up, paying money to do the courses and then striking out, all seemed to be intelligent persons. If they did not have the stick-to-itiveness, it's not because they are lazy; they are just not cut out for selling life insurance.
My message to them and others like them is to pick themselves up, and find the career that is theirs. Do not become bitter. Don't blame the people who recruited you. There is simply no time to sit around feeling sorry for yourselves.
If you spent money and have nothing to show for it, you still have to let it go.
Life is a series of lessons, some very tough to learn, but you must go on. Winston Churchill is quoted as having said: "Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm". At least you now know what you will not do again: sell life insurance.
I have a message for the recruiters of these young people, too.
One person who wrote to me said they were in the life insurance industry. "The problem is with the proliferation of insurance agencies over the past decade. These managers are not doing proper selection and they are lazy and not doing what is required before they take up these young people who are graduating from university and throw them in the lion's den without proper selection".
This writer has detected something which is very evident. She detected some "bad blood, which has been coming through your column recently."
I have tried to remind young people of their responsibility, because only they can fix their situation. But that does not mean that the recruiters are not at fault. The recruiters have to do a better job of selecting candidates and preparing them to sell life insurance.
Selling is very hard work. The insurance companies and their recruiters must have a better process to weed out those who are unlikely to make it; otherwise, you will only succeed in getting young people angry at you and questioning your motives.
- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.