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Nils Bohnenkamp

ERGO and me: field sales – a real buzz

“Hi, my name is Nils Bohnenkamp. I’m 20 years old and have been on a formal training programme at a DKV Plus agency (owned by ERGO). This will qualify me as a management assistant for insurance and finance.”

Why I feel at home in field sales

“Working in field sales for an insurance firm requires a lot of travel as well as an independent mindset. Thanks to the seminars, I now have a level of expertise that allows me to hold customer appointments and advisory sessions alone on site and to conclude insurance contracts independently. Of course, my trainer still always checks my work to make sure everything is correct and gives me feedback. While at school I did two internships at insurance firms, and could see that this was work I liked and was good at. So after finishing school, I applied to join a formal training programme at ERGO and was accepted.”

Taking responsibility is fun

“Each client appointment requires a lot of preparation. I was so nervous before my very first appointment. But I have a lot more experience under my belt now. Nevertheless, no two clients are ever the same. Looking back, I was given a surprising level of responsibility right from the start. I was given the keys to the agency and a laptop right away. I can schedule my hours relatively independently and am not continually monitored, although I can turn to people whenever I need to. It feels good to have so much confidence placed in me!”

Independent yes, left alone no

“My greatest highlight so far happened after my first sales seminar. I was to accompany my boss to an appointment at which we were to discuss a ‘comprehensive package’ with the client. The client ended up liking and agreeing to our proposal and was grateful for the comprehensive advice we had provided. Building and maintaining client relations feels good. So I regularly analyse my clients’ situations to make sure their policies suit their needs. They love the fact that they are being taken good care of. This is our customer service philosophy.”

Continual support as opposed to perpetual pressure

“During my first client appointments, I just observed the goings on. Today, I often conduct meetings myself, with my boss or trainer doing the observing – making sure the advice I give and offers I make are correct. This is one of the major benefits of working at ERGO. I have never been pressured to quickly get to the stage where I can go and see clients on my own. And when I did start conducting meetings, I often told the clients openly that I was a trainee. They never saw this as a problem. This approach enabled me to gradually build my self-confidence.”

Perfectly prepared for the future

“At the beginning, I was so nervous that I asked my trainer to role play client meetings with me. I didn’t start visiting clients by myself until I felt I had the necessary expertise. In sales, you often have to make the first step yourself. This is challenging. But after a while you get used to it. And if, after a consultation, the client agrees to your offer and is grateful for your advice, it makes you feel great. Satisfied clients mean satisfied consultants. Today, I feel well equipped for the future. And I have a wealth of further training options available to me. I could qualify as a financial investment specialist, for example.”

Are you curious? Find your challenge at ERGO here