A mix of best-sellers, newly published reads, and business classics that belong on your insurance agent reading list in 2023.
When it comes to motivating insurance sales teams, there are two basic approaches: the carrot (i.e., a Cadillac El Dorado) and the stick (a set of steak knives).
Or so "Blake" infamously portrayed as an executive sales leader in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. If you’ve seen the film, then you know the “pep talk” the character so venomously delivers to the sales team he has been sent by corporate to address is pure stick. Not a carrot to be found in his directive to “always be closing” or face the terrible consequences
Another mentoring method Blake might have considered (and perhaps should have, given the film’s outcome), would be to motivate his team by inspiring them. And nothing inspires like learning from the people who have been there and done that.
In the recommended reading list below, you’ll find a mix of oldies-but-goodies, new classics, and informative books written by folks who have dealt with and overcome many of the same challenges you face every day on the job, as well as in life.
Some are written to a general audience, while others are industry-specific, offering insurance sales techniques, marketing how-to’s, and quintessential insurance agent tools for success. If you want to learn from students of the game in their own words, give any or all a read (or a listen on Audible!) in the New Year:
To Sell is Human
Author: Daniel Pink, a former speech writer for Vice Pres. Al Gore turned best-selling author
Synopsis: Pink offers a mix of personal anecdotes, insights, and strategic advice along with documented evidence to support his idea that, essentially, we’re all pitching or selling something every day, no matter what our job title may happen to be. He deftly explores the psychology and art of sales, along with the idea that as long as you’re selling something, it might as well be a product or service that will somehow improve the buyer’s life.
Why You Should Read It: The book was a #1 NYT Bestseller and has been translated into nearly three dozen languages for a reason. In an online review, the Harvard Business Review called it "Excellent…radical, surprising, and undeniably true."
Memorable Quote: “Anytime you're tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you're doing and upserve instead.”
The Little Red Book of Selling
Author: Jeffrey Gitomer, a business trainer, author, and speaker who focuses on sales, customer loyalty, and personal development
Synopsis: Gitomer’s bestseller is grounded in his “12.5 principles” of sales success and foundational philosophy that the secret to getting there is to “sell yourself, give value before selling anything, and make the customer want to buy.” The book is arguably Gitomer’s most successful, and in it, he contends that salespeople are almost always their own best answer or worst enemy.
Why You Should Read It: The self-titled “King of Sales,” Gitomer has more than a dozen highly rated books under his belt and he has the professional creds to back it up. Along with his work as an author, he is also a speaker and sales consultant whose client list includes the likes of Coca Cola and Microsoft.
Memorable Quote: “In order for you to be the best you can be for others, first you must be best for yourself.”
The Digital Life Insurance Agent: How to Market Life Insurance Online and Sell Over the Phone
Author: Jeff Root, host of Modern Life Insurance Podcast, and founder of a successful online life insurance company
Synopsis: Root’s in-the-trenches tome is packed with insurance selling tips, digital marketing strategies, and a helpful roadmap to building a successful technology-first insurance agency. Drawn from his own experiences and learnings, Root dishes on everything from training new agents to tips for selling over the phone, to insurance prospecting ideas designed for the digital age.
Why You Should Read It: One of the hottest buzz phrases in the insurance industry today is “digital transformation.” Root’s book is a helpful guide in transitioning from a traditional brick-and-mortar agency to a profitable online business, either as an owner or an independent agent.
Memorable Quote: “Whether or not you realize it, technology has changed our behaviors.”
Think Like a Monk
Author: Jay Shetty, a business school graduate and former monk turned author, podcaster, and social media star
Synopsis: In his first and now best-selling book, Shetty leverages his own personal lessons learned as a monk to help readers remove roadblocks to success by living a more focused, self-disciplined, and meaningful life. Shetty explores his theory that reducing stress, overcoming negative habits, tapping into your hidden talents, and using them to benefit others are all key to unleashing your greatest possible potential and purpose.
Why You Should Read It: Shetty offers not only his monk-like philosophies learned in the ashram where he served, but also practical suggestions and exercises that help with “training your mind for peace and purpose.”
Memorable Quote: “Cancers of the Mind: Comparing, Complaining, Criticizing.”
The Sales Development Playbook
Author: Trish Bertuzzi, founder and CEO of The Bridge Group
Synopsis: The book’s tagline, “build repeatable pipeline and accelerate growth with inside sales” spells out the overall premise, and the author’s promise for sharing the secrets to achieving “explosive growth” using her methodologies. In the book, Bertuzzi includes her six core pillars for building a sales development model that aligns with your defined market and customer base, as well as her proven inside sales strategies.
Why You Should Read It: Bertuzzi’s book is filled with actionable sales tips and tactics, as well as achievable strategies for recruiting top talent, increasing customer retention, and growing your business from the ground up.
Memorable Quote: “Inbound opportunity is roughly twice as valuable as one generated through outbound effort.”
Along with our top five must-read picks for 2022, some of our favorite Honorable Mentions include:
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall
- The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell
- Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
Got a favorite book you think every insurance agent, broker, or business owner should read that isn’t on our list? We’d love to hear from you!
Share your recommended reads on our LinkedIn page!