Early in your insurance career it can be challenging to understand all the ins and outs of how an agency operates. The thought of saying “no” and standing up for yourself in situations that may feel a like an intimidating prospect, but not every request deserves a “yes.” In fact, automatically agreeing to everything asked of you for can have unintended consequences.
- Listen to Your Gut –
Early on in your role, it is normal to feel like you don’t have a good sense of what is acceptable and what is not. The confidence you need to be able to separate those two is not yet developed. However, when a request comes to you that sounds questionable, your body will generate a physiological response of some sort. While some of this can be attributed to nerves of being in unfamiliar territory, it is wise to listen to that instinct and at least allow yourself to question the validity of the request.
It may be something as simple as a request that is outside the normal workflow to something more serious like an ask to take action that would be viewed as unethical. Either way, slowing down and listening doing a gut check rather than automatically saying “yes” to what is being asked of you can save you some heartache in the long run.
- Defer to a Supervisor –
When a questionable request comes across your desk that makes you feel unsure about what to do next, do not make assumptions about how to handle it. Whether it is from a co-worker or client, attempting to guess your way through what to do next can end in frustration and taking the wrong course of action.
Instead, reach out to a supervisor, explain the situation and allow them to guide you through the appropriate next steps. While you may be attempted to handle the situation on your own, reaching out for clarification and direction shows maturity and a willingness to learn. It also gives you an opportunity to learn that right way to handle the situation the first time around meaning you’re equipped to respond whenever a similar request comes around again.
- Lean on a Mentor
You will need a trusted advisor at every stage of your career, but the mentor relationship is especially important in the beginning. As you begin your career, you will have so many questions and feel unsure of your capabilities on a daily basis. Some of what you need to know will be very coverage and process oriented. And while a mentor will help provide knowledge specific to the job, they will also be able to provide insight of their own experience. They are a valuable resource as questions come up whether it is about coverage, how to handle a difficult conversation, and also a sounding board as you continue to navigate new and unfamiliar territory.
A good mentor will listen and provide advice without judgment. When that request comes in that feels questionable in your gut, your mentor can help talk through the problem and work with you to find a solution.
Getting to a point where you can rely on your instincts will take time. Using the tips above will help you utilize the right resources and build self-confidence you are better able to handle difficult situations.
For more on this topic, check out the full episode of The Independent Agent below.