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In the past decade, the insurance and financial services industry has undergone massive changes. As a result, fewer people are applying to be agents and advisors, and even fewer are staying in the industry after their first 3-5 years in the game. 

With new regulations, it's more difficult than ever to stand out, but you can build a successful career with the right knowledge, motivation, and guidance. 

Read on for tips to help you on your journey toward building a long-lasting career in insurance and financial services.

1. Develop a niche

Find an area of the insurance and financial services industry that interests you and focus your attention there. For example, if you enjoy retirement planning more than other areas of the industry, then work hard to become an expert in this field. 

By focusing on one specific area of the industry and developing expertise in this field, you'll become recognized as an expert who others come to for advice.

2. Stay up-to-date on industry news and changes

Staying on top of industry news is especially important in the insurance and financial services industries because the landscape is constantly shifting. To be successful, you need to be able to adapt quickly and make informed decisions. 

The best way to stay on top of things is to read industry publications, attend conferences and NAIFA events, and build a network of colleagues you can rely on for information.

3. Get out of your comfort zone

Even if you're doing well in the industry right now, remember that trends change. Learning something new will always give you an edge over those who don't bother expanding their knowledge base and skill set. To remain competitive, you need to continue learning throughout your career.

NAIFA's Talent Development Center offers certification courses for becoming a Life & Annuity Certified Professional (LACP) and Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF). We also offer Leadership in Life Institute (LILI), a highly-acclaimed personal and professional development course.

4. Maintain professionalism

In any career, especially one like insurance and financial services where you are building financial plans, it's important to maintain a level of professionalism. This means being honest with clients, being knowledgeable about the products you sell, and always putting the client's best interest first. NAIFA members adhere to a Code of Ethics to serve Main Street USA to the highest standard.

When working with clients, you should offer advice, but let your customer make their own decision. Remember that there's more to financial advising than managing money; being a financial service professional also requires patience and soft skills.

5. Learn from your mistakes

When you're starting out in your career, you're going to make mistakes. What's important is that you learn from your mistakes so you don't make them again. As you gain more experience, you'll be able to avoid making the same mistakes altogether. 

The best way to get there? Learn what not to do.

6. Network in the industry

Your success in this industry will largely be determined by the relationships you build with others in the industry. NAIFA is one of the oldest and largest trade organizations in the insurance field. With local, state, and federal chapters, there's always something going on—attend events, develop a close-knit peer group with LILI, and take advantage of NAIFA's network of established professionals. 

The more people you know, the better your chances of finding success.

7. Mentor newcomers

A great way to start building your career is by mentoring newcomers. Not only will this help them, but it will also give you a chance to refresh your knowledge and build your network. Plus, you'll be seen as an expert in your field, which can only help you down the line. 

Start with someone new on your team or from another company, then work your way up.

Final Thoughts

A career in insurance and financial services can be very rewarding. However, it takes hard work, dedication, and determination to succeed. Nevertheless, with the right mindset and support, you can achieve your goals and build a successful career in insurance and financial services.