Day in the life of
Sales Manager – John Richardson
My typical day
My alarm goes off at 6am and I hit the gym before work. I check my emails before arriving at work to see what the day has already got in store.
If I’m working in the office, I then arrive and work through my emails and existing client accounts. As a Sales Manager and Account Executive, I have my own book of clients to look after, as well as managing a team of Account Executives and Account Handlers who also have their own book of clients.
Part of my role as Sales Manager is to ensure that the other Account Executives and Account Handlers are managing their work flows and ensuring that renewals go out to clients in good time with no issues. I hold weekly meetings with them as an open forum for people to air any issues that they may be having with certain renewals and with insurers and to see if either myself or other colleagues have had similar experiences and if we can therefore offer any advice.
We will also discuss insurers and will call out insurers who we feel are not providing us with a great service at that particular time. We will also share experiences of insurers who are really working with us at the moment to try and direct the flow of business towards them if required. Everything we do is geared towards getting the best results for our clients and for encouraging insurers to work with us.
I also have an overall responsibility for income coming into the business, and as such, I will always be looking for new insurer markets to broaden our appeal and new products/policies that we could offer our clients. For example, we have recently launched a new fleet breakdown policy which has really taken off. Also, I have a lot of involvement with our websites and work closely with an SEO company and write content for our website and come up with ideas for changing our websites, all with the aim of pushing our website further up the Google rankings.
Throughout the day I will take calls from clients either on my mobile or through my office landline and will react accordingly.
Also, throughout the day I will respond to any online enquiries that come my way or look to quote my existing clients for their policies that we may not look after for them at the moment. For example, we will often pick up new clients for one class of business, so for example a prospective client may come to us for a fleet quotation and if we end up placing this business for them, then we will often provide quotations for the clients other insurances when they fall due for renewal, such commercial combined insurance, professional indemnity insurance, etc.
My day will also be filled with client meetings, face to face at their premises, and also attending surveys with clients. If we place a new commercial combined risk with an insurer for, say, a manufacturing company, then the insurer will probably want to conduct a post cover survey at the clients premises and we attend these. The survey will look at how the business operates, health and safety procedures, risk management, etc.
No two days are the same and often I will start work and then the next time I check the time it will be lunchtime… and then when I check again it will be mid-afternoon, so the days really do fly by usually.
Insurance is 100% a relationship business, and if you have good people skills and attention to detail, then you will generally do well in insurance and can build a very successful career.
There are so many facets to insurance and career avenues to go down, whether it is claims, new business, broking, underwriting, business development managers, actuaries, IT, the possibilities are endless.
It is a very social business and there are events throughout the year to attend, ranging from black tie dinners organised by local insurance institutes to drinks organised by insurers after work and local networking events.
Managing expectations of both clients and insurers. Clients can be very demanding, and rightly so, and as more of our everyday interactions with companies are instant such as purchasing things online, online chat, same day delivery etc. so our clients demand the same levels of service from us.
As a broker, we are the middleman between the client and the insurance company, and a client may make a request of their policy which they will see as possibly innocuous. However, there is a referral process that we may need to go through, and sometimes this can take days – but the client wants an immediate answer. We do what we can in these situations to get an immediate answer, but sometimes we have to let the process run its course, so we have to manage the expectations of the client.
Likewise, if we ask 15 insurers to quote for a piece of business, then they will all expect to pick up the business if they provide a quotation, so we have to manage expectations with the insurers as we can only place the insurance with one of them.
Advice for students interested in getting into this career path
Good solid GCSEs A Levels, especially in Maths and English, will be a good starting point for anyone wishing to enter the insurance industry, and having good communication skills is key. Being able to present ideas to others and communicate with a wide variety of people is vital.
Having good attention to detail is important when it comes to checking insurer documents before sending them to clients. Customer service experience and sales experience are therefore valuable skills to have. I worked in a pub whilst at University and that gave me a great grounding in both customer service and sales, so these skills are transferable.
The best advice that I could give a student looking to enter the insurance industry would be to look closely at what is on offer with your prospective employers, in particular training opportunities. Are there any graduate schemes available, or will they pay to put you through your insurance exams? I work for a Chartered Insurance Brokers and they pay for us to complete our basic insurance exams and then also support us if we wish to continue studying to work towards the degree level qualifications such as ACII.
If you see yourself being an underwriter or working in claims, then you might want to join an insurance company, but if you want to become an Account Executive then you would want to find a good insurance broker to work for. Account executives are very well paid once they have established a ‘book’ of clients so it can be a very lucrative role to work towards.
plan, direct, or coordinate the actual distribution or movement of a product or service to the customer. Coordinate sales distribution by establishing sales territories, quotas, and goals and establish training programs for sales representatives. Analyze sales statistics gathered by staff to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and monitor the preferences of customers.