Leading with Understanding: Bilingual Insurance Agents Build Strong Working Relationships
Life insurance agents hold one of the most lucrative but challenging sales positions in the insurance world. In addition to addressing a highly personal—and oftentimes emotional—subject matter, wide information gaps between potential clients and agents can lead to confusion and mistrust and may obstruct the working relationship.
When language barriers are added into the mix, working relationships are even harder to build or maintain: “Our community lacks the right and proper information,” says Patricia Diniz, a bilingual English and Spanish New York Life agent from South Florida.
The solution? Clear communication, compassion, and the language and cultural skills necessary to develop a trusting bond. According to Lizzie Dipp-Metzger, a bilingual agent from El Paso, Texas, agents need to “get in front of the client and really start speaking to them, really make sure that they understand that you have the education and the resources” to support them.
Once a level of trust is achieved, a working relationship is easily established and difficult questions regarding wealth, life, and death can be addressed. Understanding and being open to the culture of a community or client can also help agents identify their specific needs.
Gilberto Perez, a bilingual agent from South Texas, explains:
“To be able to implement the insurance with our clients requires us to ask very personal questions and these personal questions are not very easy to ask when there is no relationship.”
For those up to the challenge of becoming a bilingual life insurance agent—no matter their second language—the rewards of overcoming the obstacles to a working relationship with a client are much more than financial: They’re personal. For Irma Perez, a bilingual agent in Silicon Valley, her reward is helping her community: “If I don’t feel like I have done something good for somebody at the end of the day, it’s not a good day for me.”
Thinking of a career in insurance? Or interested in learning more about the value of language skills to a variety of sales positions? Visit our Professional Success Stories page to hear from bilingual professionals in similar industries about how language and cultural skills have shaped their careers.