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farmers insurance agent- good career choice? - Page 3
Being a Farmers Insurance Agent was, at one time, a great career. Not anymore, sorry Mr. Recruiter. Despite the fact that Farmers has changed its career program AGAIN because 90% of those trying to go career failed, it is still near an impossible career. Those who did it years ago had great success but still farmers is terminating independent contractor agreements for lack of the agent supporting the companies goals and initiatives. If any recruiter paints the picture for you that this is a career that requires you to work hard and then hire staff and enjoy your company they are lying. E-myth? They do not really want to follow it. Platform agent? Bad career choice.
Bottom line -it you want to be a successful insurance agent Farmers can provide the platform. It will be hard work and it will cost you money, You will have to pay for your own background check and in some cases your own licensing. Some will tell you that you will get subsidy and not talk about paying it back or make it sound easy to payback. Go to your interview and ask "how many of their career agents Run to Daylight that is the terminology for not having to payback your subsidy.
Finally whatever you do stay away from the Platform District model and go with a DM who is on the old system way to tell if they have 90+ agents you do not want to be there!
Please do not get involved in the Farmers Career program. As a matter of fact there are very few captive insurance companies that have a good start up plan that allows you to make a living. Every contract is biased to the company writting the contract and is not in your favor. For Farmers the career program is their largest growth program. You are required to write a considerable amount of policies and a minimum of 40 to 50 life insurance policies per year. that is difficult for any a regular personal lines agent. The Farmers program is a horrible idea for anyone. I did it and it cost me thousands of dollars ... and I finished the program and succeeded as an agent for 7 years. however I realize that you are seeing huge dollar signs and for a lot of people the invitation is too tempting. It is hard to weigh the advise of a few people against the promises of a recruiter. Just beware. Few people make it in the Farmers program
Either way, I would like to thank you guys for bumping it every so often. I always remember to read the post by the used-car salesman, and it gives me a chuckle. The one by the Farmers recruiter is pretty solid, too.
I work with Farmers as a recruiter. I am impressed by the company and the program they offer prospective agents. I wouldn't have accepted the position if I felt it was a 'scam' as so many uninformed people put it. I'm guessing the people who have slammed the company either didn't want to work hard or they just didn't have what it takes. Yes, you have to work hard, the training is great but it's also collaborative (meaning you have to get involved as well), but the work-life balance is awesome. You won't make a ton of money right away, but if you perservere it can be an extremely rewarding career.
I had a friend that was deeply into AL Williams (I think it's called Primerica now) the big MLM life insurance company. This guy was a true blue believer and relentlessly tried to get me to go to one of the meetings. He put a big push for this one particular meeting as some big shot was going to be there. So finally I relented and went. The big shot speaker started off with, "If you think you're going to earn 100k at your day job next year just leave now." I got up and started walking out. People freaked. I guess it's the first time anyone ever got up to leave.
I had a similar experience once; much lower end and probably a more insidious scam. I may have posted it on SF before but it's good enough to be worth a re-post.
I was taking some time off from college and looking for a job and responded to a newspaper ad (this is how "old" I apparently am) that said it was looking for something like "SPORTS-MINDED PEOPLE" and was thin on details. It sounded too good to be true but I was like, 19, maybe 20. I called and was given no details (despite my asking for them) but was still encouraged to come in for an interview. The directions took me to some Class-C office park and I parked and walked into a nearly completely unfurnished office space. The "receptionist" sitting at a totally empty desk asked my name and opened a drawer and checked my name off from a paper within the drawer. She asked me to wait. A few dudes in bad suits were milling about and started to chat me up. They told me how lucky I was - some big shot was there (sound familiar?) and it was going to be a great opportunity.
Eventually we went into a big room with chairs set up for the presentation and someone started to speak. There were about 20 people there, presumably like me, there for the "interview." One of the first questions was something like "are you tired of working all day for someone else to get rich?" They all shouted "YEAH!" like they were in some kind of informercial. I was startled. Then they said something like "are you ready to make big money and have time for your own life?" "YEEEAAAHHH!!!!"
Anyways, then there was a video with some guy touting their company as being on the Inc. 100 fastest growing companies and a picture of him at some mansion in Florida with Lambos parked out front. Still very vague on details at this point. Then the video ended, someone came and gave a vague presentation, deliberately obtuse, about how the moneymaking secret was in eliminating the "D" between the "M" and the "C," I may have some details wrong but it was about eliminating the distributor and after that, PROFIT $$$. Then they showed us what we would be selling - energy drinks and powders and other nutriceutical snake oil. They showed us how to sell it with really exciting presentations - they hooked a battery up to a light bulb and the circuit was broken by two leads going into a beaker of water. When you poured the snake oil powder into the water, THE BULB WENT ON!!!! "Ooooooohhhhh" gasped the crowd - no doubt all plants.
Anyways, they took a break and said, "OK, at this point, most people fall into one of three camps. Camp 1 people are totally jazzed and excited. You get it. You understand why this is such an amazing breakthrough and can't wait to get started. Camp 2 people are interested, but want to learn more. There may be a few camp 3 people. Thanks but no thanks, this just isn't for me. If you're in that camp, I'll ask you to leave now.
I think I must have bolted like a sprinter out of the blocks. I was totally creeped out by this cult-like crew in this half-abandoned business park in a shitty area right on the beltway with no main road visibility. I was actually a bit concerned. Then a few of the suits wouldn't let me leave, accosting me about the opportunity I was missing and why didn't I understand what was being given to me. I kept repeating that I was in camp 3, thanks but no thanks, no offense. I asked about whether I had to pay for the stuff upfront and they said "yes but there is financing available at great rates if you don't have the cash now." I said again thanks but no thanks. I almost literally had to push past them.
I was practically running by the time I got to the door and my heart didn't slow down until I was back in my car, out of the parking lot, and onto the highway. It was seriously fucked up shit.
If a career at Farmers Insurance is a scam, then pretty much all insurance sales opportunities are scams. Having said that, I have made a good career as a Farmers agent, and life is good. I am now at that stage where I don't need to knock on doors every day, and long lazy afternoons at the golf course are the norm. But things are not what they used to be, and it has become increasing difficult to make a decent living as an insurance agent, especially for those just getting into the business. Factors like the economy, internet, changing consumer trends, and stick-in-the-mud management of agent based companies like Farmers and Allstate etc. are squeezing your friendly neighborhood agent out.
Consider the following before you commit to becoming an agent with Farmers Insurance:
1. Are you are born salesperson. Do you have a convincing style and personality to make people part with their money in return of a protection promise? If the answer is yes, then you are already on first base. However, if you lack presence in a crowd, and if you have difficulty getting your way in everyday life, then stay away from this career. I have been around long enough to know that people who are good communicators, have a style of their own (dress-up, looks, popularity etc), and are not bashful, tend to make good money as insurance professionals, and most everyone else just buy themselves a job.
2. Are you willing to be a professional. Selling insurance is a lot more than just making the sale. Unlike car or real estate sales, insurance sales generate long-term relationships. This profession gives you residual income, and you have to service your client, sometimes for decades. This takes a type of person who is willing to stay on top of product knowledge, industry trends, inside politics, and social networking. The more industry designations that you have (CPCU, CLU, etc) the more you are likely to be trusted and admired. However, this type of education takes years to accomplish, and it is not easy to come by. Additionally, Farmers is interested only in the money that you bring in, and could care less about you burning the midnight oil to polish your career. Additionally, do you have the vision to have a professional office with all the needed technology, staff, and class-A amenities? Look around, some insurance agents have pretty skanky offices, and equally skanky attitudes, but there are also those that impress you from the moment you step into their offices.
3. Do you have a natural market. You don't become a Farmers agent to sell policies to your in laws. Successful agents have a very large ready-made market that they solicit to. This market could be all your students if you are a retired teacher/coach, your constituents if you were the mayor of your town, or the ethnic community that you belong to. Today, agents from ethnic backgrounds (Asian, Russian, Hispanic etc) do much better simply for the fact that they have a readily available base that trusts them, and shares cultural/language/religious/immigrant ties.
4. Are you an Army of One. Farmers (and many others) does a poor job of turning you into a lean mean fighting machine. Their training is local district office based for the most part, and the quality of training depends on your manager and his resources. Often times, these recruiting managers are poorly trained themselves, and lack the necessary skills to train a person to become a successful insurance professional. Many of these managers (called DM at Farmers) were once unsuccessful agents themselves, but got "promoted" to DM because of nepotism or some other "ism". You stand the best chance of success if you are a self-starter, and a business man/woman at heart. You will need to develop your own strategy, tactics, and the bigger war plan, or you will become a casualty in no time. If you have this type of personality and stamina, then Farmers could be a gold mine. Else look at other companies like State Farm that have centralized training for agents, and significantly more resources than Farmers Insurance to get the agents up and running. However, you will be on a much tighter leash with State Farm as they would want your first-born in return for all the resources they spend on you.
So, considering the above, issues like how much subsidy does one company pay while you are in training, and how much money will you owe the company at the end of your training etc are minor considerations. Do medical students really care how much money they will owe Uncle Sam at the end of med school? Well, maybe some do, but most see career opportunities way beyond what is owned on their student loans. Same is true for a career as a captive agent. If you have the acumen, then just go for it.