How do you continually learn about products/marketing etc...

I always enjoy reading the information posted here and learning new snippets of information that I can use in my business.

I know from several posts that I have read that several not all of you have stated that reading sales books is not a very productive use of learning how to make your business more successful.

I enjoy reading it is probably my favorite past time. I actually finished a book called Cold Calling Techniques that Actually Work by Stephan Schiffman. It is in my mind one of the best books on cold calling I have read.

The point is there any books spefically that you would recommend for life and health insurance selling/marketing/ and togather product knowledge.

I know several by Ben Feldman, John Savage, Al Grandum's how to build a Financial Services clientele ONE CARD SYSTEM. Just some thoughts.

Also I know that several have stated there new year goals, read one new book once every two weeks.

If you read Stephen Schiffman's books, you'll be making him wealthier.

If you read Specimen contracts, you'll be making yourself wealthier.

Whether it be Life, Health, DI, LTC, or Annuities, reading the contracts and learning the strengths and weaknesses of each product will let you know what segment of society would be best served by each product.

Do spreadsheet comparisons of like products.

Contact agents in your area, and ask them why they sell certain products in certain situations. Take notes.

Everytime a new product comes out, read the EC, Specimen, or Statement of Understanding. Then, go on boards, such as this, and ask if anyone has had any experience with it, and what it has been.

I make it a practice to never read a book, where the author is smiling. He/She is usually smiling AT me, not WITH me.
I make it a practice to never read a book, where the author is smiling. He/She is usually smiling AT me, not WITH me.

Great point Bob,

I think I will definetly chalk that up to lesson learned!!

Also great point about asking agents question is how do you do it.

I mean I can see the conversation going like this

Me:" Hi I am Matt and I was what products to do you recommend and why?"

Local Agent: " Why do you want to know?"

Me:" I am a health agent just trying to keep up to date on products on the market and was wondering what you recommend to your clients."

Local Agent: " I need to go Good Bye!"

I know that I might be exagerrating but still interesting how to approach that.
James said:
Personally I like the book "Rainmaker".

loved the movie.......

"One thing the film does almost as well as the book is send the message (sorry Mr Goldwyn) that America needs to do something about its medical insurance system, if the present chaotic mess can be so described. The court system, while not perfect, comes out of it a bit better (David is able to beat Goliath fair and square) but as for lawyersÂ…well, let's just say things would be a lot better if they stuck to Deck's minimal ethics. The story also might explain why John Grisham (who has a walk-on role as a lawyer at an al fresco deposition) gave up the law to write books, thus bringing pleasure to millions instead of (hopefully) winning retribution for a few."
Thanks for the book recommendation.

Also Bob had an interesting point when he stated that he doesn't read any books where the author is smiling at him good point.

I think it is important read inspirational books from time to time.

I know that some peoples apprehension to books is the philosophy that people who are really really good at what they do would not divulge secrets to others. The addage "Those that can do and those that can't teach or write books"

Great suggestion any others.
If you are going to read books, pick folks like Jeffery Gitomer, Seth Godin, or Tom Freese

These are good authors on generic selling & marketing. There are others but these are a few of my favorites.

To stay on top of industry happenings, I subscribe & read Brokers World, Insurance Newscast, Tony Novak and a few others. I also read (and contribute to) several blogs and newsletters that are industry related.

CE classes allow me to see who my competition is and pick up marketing ideas. I usually attend 2 - 3 carrier based classes every year in addition to the ones I pay for to get in my hours. Anyone who says they cant learn from others locally just hasnt tried.

I have also been known to attend seminars put on by other agents. This allows me to see what works, what doesn't. I never use these opportunities to steal clients, only to learn what others are doing that seems to work.

I dont have access to home offices like I did in the past, so local marketing reps & RSD's are the next best thing . . . kind of. I make sure I get invited to lunch at least a couple of times a year by reps for KP, Aetna and others just so they know who I am (besides just another pain in the butt) and I get an opportunity to vent about what needs to change. (They always love that).

When local GA's & IMO's host kick off meetings I attend those as well. That keeps me on top of new products, new marketing techniques and allows me to scope out the competition. I will occasionally swap business cards with some of the folks who stand out in the crowd and later contact them to pick their brain or bounce a new idea off them.

My "secret weapon" are guys I have met online. I have had conversations with many of the folks in this forum as well as other forum's where brokers congregate. My closest confidant is a guy I have known for 3 or 4 years and never met but we swap email several times a day on (mostly) insurance related topics. I am a few years older but we have a lot in common about the way we view the market, our beliefs about carriers and the way in which we conduct our business. I have a great deal of respect for him and he tolerates me, so we get along just fine.

This isn't all of my resources but does a good job of hitting on most of them. By far my most valuable resource is other agents.