Whether you’re new to the insurance industry or a decades-long veteran, one thing is certain: The learning never stops.
While every agent is taught about their carrier’s products, computer systems, how to quote, etc., few are taught about the most important aspects of the business: sales, business development, and strategy planning for long-term growth. These subjects, while crucial to success, are typically left for agents to figure out themselves.
Luckily, there are resources available to help. We spoke with Vlad Cherchenko, founder of Insurance Sales Lab, to get his take on the best books on selling (insurance or anything else!) and business development to read for 2021. Each of these books—including some of the best selling sales books of all time—has something to teach that’s highly relevant to insurance agents, and will help you build a more successful business.
10 Best Books For Insurance Agents on Selling & Business Development
Business Development Books1. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
Many agents approach running their businesses from an operator standpoint. They wear a lot of hats: making the sales, servicing clients, marketing, talking to vendors, etc. Putting out fires is their life, and as a result, they don’t have the ability to leave their agencies, ever.
This book explains how to break that cycle. You’ll learn how to think from a systems standpoint, which will help you build a franchise-prototype business that can be duplicated an unlimited number of times and operated as if you are running every single one. The bonus: You don’t actually have to be there to do it!
- Rich Dad's CASHFLOW Quadrant: Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert Kiyosaki
This book is valuable for agents who want to move from the day-to-day grind and toward financial freedom. It gives pointers on how to “work less, earn more, pay less in taxes, and learn to become financially free.”
- The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, & Jim Huling
This must-read provides a framework for how to build a business where you’re guaranteed to hit your goals. It walks readers through the importance of having the right infrastructure for setting goals, how to break goals into bite-size pieces to facilitate hitting them, and why accountability for goals is important. For new and veteran agents looking to grow their businesses, this book offers theory and strategy on how to set goals and follow through.
- Who: Solve Your #1 Problem by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
Hiring the best people is one of the most difficult aspects of being an insurance agency owner, which is why I can’t recommend this book enough. It teaches agents how to hire the best players and pair them with a solid business infrastructure. Two practical reasons I recommend this book:
- It explains why you shouldn’t rely on your gut for hiring great talent (and how to avoid doing that), and provides a systematic approach to use instead.
- It also helps you create a template you can use repeatedly for every hiring scenario.
One final note: Don’t be scared off by reading about some of the high-level people the book mentions; its lessons are incredibly valuable for businesses of all sizes.
- Developing the Leaders Around You by John C. Maxwell
Most people who work in an agency want a clear picture of the next step. That highlights a weakness of many agency owners: While they may excel in sales, owners aren’t typically focused on becoming leaders, developers, and mentors of their people. This book will help agency owners learn how to create a blueprint for their team’s professional and personal growth and keep them on track with milestones. Its practical advice can help you develop exceptional people who are satisfied in their work and in their lives.
- The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
In this book, agents will learn three practical secrets about how to lead others and why these techniques work so well. It’s useful for agents who want to reinforce good behaviors, as well as learn how to guide lower-performing team members in a positive way.
Sales & Customer Service Books
- Customer with a Capital C by Ken Welsh
The insurance business is all about retention. If you provide a good experience for your customers, you’ll have decent retention; but if you want an extremely high retention rate, you need to go above and beyond. This book provides real-life examples of what your customer service team can do to ensure your agency provides exceptional experience every single time. It’s an eye-opening look at how paying attention to the details of a customer’s experience can transform your agency’s growth.
- Sell It Like Serhant by Ryan Serhant
This is a fun and easy read about how to sell anything and achieve long-term success, written by someone you may be familiar with. (Hint: think real estate and reality TV.)
- Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
This book by a former lead FBI hostage negotiator teaches you there is no “middle ground” in negotiation. Using real-life scenarios, it explains how to read people and subtly influence them to think in a certain way, without necessarily using any words.
For insurance agents, this must-read underscores the importance of psychology: how people think and make decisions. When it comes to insurance, what your scripts say is important, but that’s not nearly as important as being able to read people and influence them with just a few choice words.
- Sell Or Be Sold by Grant Cardone
This motivational book centers on perseverance.. The author helps readers shift their perspective, from thinking of sales as a job to thinking of it as a lifestyle. Not only will this attitude change help you learn how to sell more insurance, but it will also help you in other areas—everything from recruiting potential job candidates to hitting growth goals to persuading team members and clients.
Bonus Resource: Insurance Sales Lab by Vlad Cherchenko
It’s not a book, but this free webinar gives you important sales scripts to use (literally the word-for-word language to use with a prospect) so you can close a sale on the first call. Top agents across the U.S. use this exact script and process to close more business. You’ll learn:
- The hook (exactly what to say in the first 20 seconds of a phone call so the prospect agrees to a quote)
- How to building value vs. selling on price
- Multi-lining policies
- Compelling cost presentation
- How to ask for the sale (and close on the first call)
- The sale wrap-up that persuades your new and existing clients to give more referrals more often
So, why does reading (or listening to) these books matter?
Simply put, these resources will give you the biggest impact with the least amount of time commitment. And if you’re an audiobook listener, it’s even easier to fill up the empty time in your day with something that will edify you and help you become the agency leader you want to be, all by reallocating time you were already spending somehow. These books can give you business development, sales, and customer service approaches to implement in your organization immediately, all for a small investment of time and money, and instead of you having to “live and learn” some of these things on your own.
What books would you add to this list?