Consider inviting a panel of consumers to your next incentive meeting. Your agents might like to hear their views on the life insurance business-and have a chance to help shape those views by letting the consumers get to know them better. The latest Membership Profile Survey from the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) shows a drop in an already low percentage of agents who believe the public views them positively. Only 27 percent of agents in the current survey agreed that "the public has a favorable attitude toward people who sell life insurance," down from 36 percent who agreed the last time members were surveyed, in 1992. Agents' opinions on how the public views the life insurance product are also more doubtful than in the previous survey: In 1992, more than half the agents (54 percent) believed the public views life insurance favorably; that's down to 37 percent in the current survey.

Individual job satisfaction is high among these top agents; still, even these numbers have declined slightly from the 1992 study. In the current survey 86 percent of agents said their morale was high, down five percentage points from the previous study.

Also down five percentage points: agreement with the statement "I intend to remain in an insurance career during the next year" (91 percent of current respondents said they agree).