Although important and necessary, continuing your education as an insurance agent doesn’t just have to consist of checking off continuing education requirements. Pick up one of these books to motivate and inspire you for your next sale!
State continuing education requirements for insurance agents usually entail attending in-person events or online trainings or courses. Fulfilling these yearly obligations expands your skillset and keeps you on top of current trends. But why stop there?
We’ve asked some members of our sales team to recommend their favorite insurance reads. Here are some of their top picks. These suggestions cover a large range of entrepreneurial topics that are all useful to the self-employed independent insurance agent. Remember, being an agent means running your own business, so you must learn about and wear many hats — business manager, marketer, salesperson, and advisor.
The Psychology of Selling
By Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy’s book, The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible, helps lay the foundation for your insurance business by giving you the tools to foster the right mindset, or as Tracy calls it, “self-concept.” In this must-read for every sales professional, you’ll first look inside yourself at those self-limiting beliefs that get in your way before exploring the inner life of the buyer.
Besides focusing on self-concept, Tracy covers how to set and achieve goals, what motivates people to buy (hint: emotions over price), how to sell creatively, the unspoken aspects of making a sale (e.g., body language), recognizing different buyer profiles and how to close the deal with each, and more.
In this must-read for every sales professional, you’ll first look inside yourself at those self-limiting beliefs that get in your way before exploring the inner life of the buyer.
Looking for a taste? You can read an excerpt of the first chapter on Amazon! See why this has become a gold standard for salespeople worldwide.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
By Dale Carnegie
Now this is a time-tested volume that you need to add to your library if you haven’t already! Written more than 60 years ago and with more than 15 million copies sold, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie has taught generations of people how to succeed in all areas of life with its 30 principles covered in 320 pages.
Here are some examples:
- Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
A more general book about how to communicate and interact effectively with others, don’t expect to learn a bunch of sales tips. Instead, you’ll learn invaluable life lessons that you can apply to your business and interactions with clients. This isn’t a book about pulling a fast one over on others either. Instead, it’s about tapping into the person you’ve always wanted to be, that authentic self who can grow and live in harmony with others.
You’ll be captivated by Carnegie’s engaging storytelling. When shopping for this book, don’t forget to check out the recently updated version from 2022.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
By Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.
You might be seeing a trend with our recommendations, since being in sales has a lot to do with influence and psychology, and Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is no exception. As a social psychologist, Cialdini writes from a different perspective than that of a native salesperson, making the science behind influence understandable to the average reader. A renowned international bestseller, this book goes deep on persuasion over almost 600 pages.
After years of research and going undercover in different professional fields, Cialdini discovered what he calls the seven “weapons of influence,” which can be used to bring positive change or deceive others. The seven principals include:
- Social Proof
- Commitment and Consistency
Cialdini teaches his readers how to positively influence others while protecting yourself from trickery. Another fascinating installment in our list, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion will show you behind the scenes on why people say “yes.”
After years of research and going undercover in different professional fields, Cialdini discovered what he calls the seven “weapons of influence,” which can be used to bring positive change or deceive others.
Read up on these seven principals in the newest addition that came out in 2021.
Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice
By Dennis Kimbro & Napoleon Hill
Another trend you’ll notice in these top picks — the importance of mindset. In Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice, Dennis Kimbro takes the “Laws of Success” from Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic, Think and Grow Rich, and combines them with his own experiences and the stories of successful African Americans like Spike Lee, Jesse Jackson, Dr. Selma Burke, and Oprah Winfrey.
Kimbro’s theory to success centers on pushing through the mental block that everyone stumbles on preventing them from getting rich. He terms the decision to push through a “black choice.” Money is simply a tool, but mindset is the key to success. Some of the tenants he explores include the importance of making the decision to think, stoking the burning desire to achieve your goals, being an unstoppable force, and conquering fear.
Money is simply a tool, but mindset is the key to success.
An inspiring guide to success, Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice will propel your mindset to another level. See why this was a No. 1 bestseller when it debuted in 1992.
Go for No!
By Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz
An engaging and quick read, Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There teaches you how to take the power out of hearing “no” and use it to propel you to the next “yes.” In other words, making mistakes and failing is necessary for learning and success! Your clients won’t always say “yes” to you or a policy you’re trying to sell, and with this book, you’ll learn how to make the most of it.
Self-described “Failure Philosophers” and “Reject-ologists,” Fenton and Waltz outline the steps to implementation in only 80 pages, making this recommendation one of the shortest on our list. They show you how to reframe the word “no” by playfully using “successful Eric” talking to the “not-so-successful Eric” of 10 years ago.
Looking for a quick win? Check out this fun and short recommendation.
The Trusted Advisor & The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook
By David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford & Charles Green and Andrea Howe
As an insurance agent, you’re focused on creating meaningful relationships with your clients built on a foundation of trust. In The Trusted Advisor, David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford explore the relationship between trust and successful advice-giving, the trust development process, and five steps on how to nurture this important component of healthy relationships with your clients.
In the companion book, The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook, Charles Green and Andrea Howe provide a pragmatic workbook on how to train your thinking and adjust your habits to earn more trust from clients. You’ll find worksheets, coaching questions, real-life examples, and action plans to implement in your business.
Our Under-65 Health Manager, Danica Stover, thinks books like these “are important because even though we are doing ‘sales,’ agents are advisors to their clients first and foremost, and building trust and rapport is an important part of the foundation of being a successful insurance agent.” Check out The Trusted Advisor and The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook for actionable steps on building strong client relationships.
By James Clear
One of the newer recommendations on our list, Atomic Habits quickly became a New York Times bestseller and has sold over 10 million copies since its publication in 2018. This book is a great one for general mindset building — an essential first stop for anyone looking to enter the insurance business as an independent insurance agent. Read this one if you’re feeling stuck or are just setting out on your business journey!
Read this one if you’re feeling stuck or are just setting out on your business journey!
First, James Clear takes the pressure off the reader, exploring how it’s the system’s fault that you have trouble forming good habits — not yours. Then, he deftly distills complex topics from biology, psychology, and neuroscience into easily applied behaviors that can help you with healthy habit building. Some of the principles you’ll learn include:
- Overcoming a lack of motivation and willpower
- Making time for new habits (good for the busy business owner!)
- Designing your environment to make success easier
- How to put these ideas into practice in real life
Our Director of Product Sales, Mike Baker, says this about Atomic Habits: “A great book to help reframe how to create meaningful, long-lasting habits! Clear’s style and approach makes this an easy, first-time read and compelling enough to reread different references within the book. Love the idea that one percent improvements compound to make meaningful change over time and that focusing on the process is more important than the goal.”
If you buy a copy of Atomic Habits, don’t forget to head over to the author’s website to claim some useful free bonuses!
Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Little Books”
So, this isn’t just one recommendation — more like eight! Covering many different strategies and principles of successful business, Gitomer’s “Little Books” provide digestible and memorable tidbits with a healthy dose of humor.
The eight titles include:
- Little Red Book of Selling
- Little Red Book of Sales Answers
- Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude
- Little Teal Book of Trust
- Little Book of Leadership
- Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching!
- Little Green Book of Getting Your Way
- Little Black Book of Connections
From more specific sales tactics to more general mindset and communication practices, Gitomer’s volumes have something for everyone. One of our Senior Managers, Jake McGeoy, loves these books, saying, “They were absolutely awesome. Gitomer has the best sense of humor and really keeps you engaged and helps you remember what he teaches.”
Check out one or all eight of Gitomer’s “Little Books,” and get ready for some fun!
Ritter’s Library of eBooks & Guides
No list of suggestions from us would be complete without Ritter’s own collection of eBooks and guides. While the rest of our recommendations center on general sales and business principles, our eBook and guides, written by our in-house team of copywriters, cover more specific insurance topics and products.
For example, you can find information on:
- Selling Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage, Part D, ancillary, final expense, and ACA plans
- Getting leads, prospecting, and marketing
- Hosting Medicare educational and sales events
- Developing an agency
- Client loyalty and retention
- How FMOs work
- Navigating Medicare Supplement underwriting and more!
With 15 different titles to choose from, there’s something relevant to your business! Meticulously researched and updated regularly, our eBooks will keep you up to date on various insurance products and help you sharpen your game.
All Ritter’s eBooks are completely free, whether you’re registered with Ritter or not.
And guess what? All these eBooks are completely free, whether you’re registered with Ritter or not. Of course, we’d love to have you create a free account with our site and use our free tools if you’re interested. You can read more about what Ritter can offer you and then register for a free account to gain access to all our tools and resources!
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We know you’re busy selling, but setting aside some time for self-development can help you improve your closing rate or the way you do business. Even a couple minutes of reading here and there throughout the day when you have a moment really adds up. Before you know it, you’ll have read one of these books and be on to the next!
We couldn’t fit all our favorite books into this post. There are lots of other great options out there! If you’re looking for more recommendations, feel free to reach out to your sales specialist.