10 Ways to Up Your Game in 2022

Michael Miller | September 25, 2021

Pixelated video game character running over coins in the clouds.Ready to put 2021 behind you and up your game in 2022? Education and professional development is the place to start. Here are ten ways you can use education to up your game and grow your agency next year.

1. Make a Plan for CE

You know you need to complete continuing education (CE) courses to maintain your license, so why are you leaving it to the last minute every year? Make a plan now for completing your CE for 2022. Continuing education courses are designed to be informative and actionable. If you leave them until the last minute, your agency — and your bottom line — won’t reap their rewards.

I make time every quarter to complete the CE credits my state requires. I take the number of hours I need each year and divide it by four to know how many credits I need to complete per quarter. Then, I block time on my calendar to complete the courses. I even scope out CE Authority’s course offerings to find classes that interest me. 

2. Enroll in CE Authority

Speaking of CE Authority, if you’re not taking advantage of your CE Authority discount through Smart Choice®, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. For just $29.95 a year, you can access unlimited online CE courses on a wide variety of topics, from personal lines to ethics. Get in touch with your State Director to enroll or visit our CE Authority webpage.

3. Take Advantage of Carrier Training

Did you know many of your Smart Choice® carriers offer free training to appointed agents? These courses are designed to make it easier for you to use carrier tools to quote and write through the company. Many carriers also offer general marketing and sales training. Safeco is a great example of a carrier that offers free marketing training. 

4. Participate in Carrier Webinars

If you’re looking for live training, Smart Choice® carriers put on webinars throughout the year. This is your chance to meet carrier reps, learn about a carrier’s appetite and product line, and get appointed to expand the offerings at your agency. Use webinars to get introduced to new carriers that will empower you to write new business.

5. Find a Mentor

We have some outstandingly successful agents in the Smart Choice® network. They’re the agents who are always in the running for trips and other bonus compensation. They’re also some of the most generous agents in our network, since they know there’s more than enough business to go around.

If you’re just starting out in Smart Choice® or recently bought your agency, ask your State Director for a referral to a successful agent, then take that agent out to lunch. Be clear why you’re reaching out, and ask them if they would be interested in mentoring you over the next few months. If you can’t find an agent, your State Director would be an excellent mentor, too. 

6. Stay Up-to-Date on Insurance Trends

In Minnesota, we have a saying, “If you want a change in the weather, just wait 15 minutes.” The insurance industry is the exact same way. Our industry is shaped by the economy, politics, and the weather. Advances in technology have transformed our business, from telematics products for consumers to insurtech innovations for agents and carriers.

To stay up-to-date with the current insurance trends, bookmark your favorite insurance websites and blogs. The Smart Choice® blog and magazine are great resources for insurance news, trends, and changes. So are the websites and blogs of our carrier partners. The Insurance Information Institute, Insurance Journal, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners have valuable information, too. 

7. Enroll in a Sales and Marketing Course

Several formal sales and marketing courses are available to agents to up their sales games. While enrolling in one of these courses is an investment, it can make a huge difference at your agency. You’ll learn how to find leads, create a marketing and sales strategy, and get ideas for how to reach out to prospects. Don’t forget to ask your State Director for guidance. They may have resources for you at a reduced rate. For example, I offer the Agency Marketing Program (AMP) to agents in my region looking for impactful information and high accountability. 

8. Consider Leadership Training

If you’re trying to take your agency to the next step in 2022, consider enrolling in a leadership training course. This can help you grow as an agent and an agency owner and implement ideas that will transform your agency. 

9. Learn about Additional Career Opportunities

It’s easy to get comfortable with the carrier relationships you have. But relying solely on your current appointments can limit the growth of your agency. If you write personal lines, ask your State Director about the life carriers that may be available to you. Or, take advantage of Smart Start™ Commercial to write your first commercial policy. Find new opportunities in your backyard with excess and surplus carriers in the Express Markets™ program.

10. Put What You Learn into Practice

You can spend hours, days, and weeks on professional development. But if you don’t put what you learn into practice, it’s time and effort wasted. After you complete a course, listen to a webinar, or read a blog, write down one action item you’ll implement at your agency tomorrow. Learning is earning. The more time you invest in learning and applying what you learned at your agency, the more money you’ll make.

Get in touch with your State Director to learn more about the resources in my top ten list. 

 

Cover of Smart Choice Magazine 2021 Issue 5, The Agent Education IssueAgent Education: Invest in Your Success

Insurance advisors should take their ability to safeguard the public and the financial industry seriously by investing in themselves and their personal knowledge. We should be mentoring and teaching new producers in our agencies, spending time on continuing education, and putting what we learn into practice. Check out the 2021 Issue 5 of Smart Choice Magazine for more.

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