Meet Vira Egli, licensed agent, software sales VP in our spotlight on insurance industry professionals
1. Continuing our spotlight on female insurance industry professionals and leaders, today we meet Vira Egli, VP of sales at Record Guardian Technologies.
2. Egli has been an insurance agent, a marketing rep and now manages sales for an insurance software platform.
3. “You don’t need a formal education to be in sales; you need to love people and desire to help them,” she explains.
We’re continuing our March spotlight on insurance industry professionals, particularly women leaders in the industry, as our way of celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Today we’re talking with Vira Egli, vice president of sales at Record Guardian Technologies, Inc. and president of the insurance association BIG Independent Group (www.biginsusa.com).
Egli grew up in the industry. She began working in her father’s office as a teenager and, as a result, was licensed at a young age. She’s been on the agency side, the marketing rep side and now on the software side of insurance. As vice president of sales for Record Guardian, she also oversees product development. We chatted with Egli on the phone in mid-February for this spotlight on insurance industry professionals, asking about her successful career.
How did you choose your career path?
I’ve always enjoyed talking to people, understanding their needs and doing what I could to help them. I found that sales is exactly that – someone has a problem; my product or service can provide a solution. I wasn’t a business major. I studied what I love: History and French. However, you don’t need a formal education to be in sales. You need a love of people and a desire to want to help them.
What misconceptions do clients often have about your job?
Being in software as a female is quite common nowadays, but, every once in a while, a potential client will say “double check my request with your manager and see what he says.” Can you believe that? I love being able to come back and say, “I just had a meeting with myself and yes it is possible.”
Another misconception is really more from friends or acquaintances. They think that insurance is boring; therefore, working for an insurance software company must be the dullest thing ever. I think insurance is very underrated and misunderstood. It impacts every aspect of our lives. Most people just think about auto or life insurance. They’re not always aware of how far insurance reaches and the scale of the industry’s worth.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
Getting to know others in your industry. Coworkers, peers, clients – get to know them, build bridges, network. That’s the best way to stay in the know, find job opportunities and build great friendships.
What’s the worst part of your job and how do you deal with it?
In any job, having to let someone go is always a difficult thing to do. I believe in being clear and direct, kind and supportive by way of recommendation/reference, if appropriate.
What’s the most enjoyable part of the job?
Collaborating with my team on goal setting, projects, campaigns and so forth. If you want team buy-in, they must be part of the process of what you are doing. I also love collaborating with clients. I talk to some clients quite frequently to discuss system enhancements, improvements, etc.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession, or advice to newbies in the field?
There is so much opportunity in insurance and in software. My advice is to attend events that expose you to individuals doing the type of work that you’d love to do. Reach out to them. Most of us are more than happy to provide tips or some form of guidance. There is always the chance that you might get offered a position.
Also remember: Having or not having a degree is not a showstopper in sales (and so many other positions nowadays). What matters is drive, a willingness and ability to learn and act, soft skills, computer skills and, ideally, at least some sales experience (but that can be learned).