It’s spring time! The birds are chirping, the grass is growing, and the weather is warmer. It’s a great time for GROWTH, in business and your personal life. To help you grow your business, we have arranged special Spring Forward events around the country. These Spring Forward events are designed to help you grow and take your business to the next level. Or if you’re new, it will help you see who we are and what we’re all about. The leaders of Symmetry Financial Group will be at these events and it’s a great opportunity to get to know them, to learn from them, and to network with other insurance agents and industry leaders.
Spring Forward Dates and Locations:
- April 24th: Baltimore, MD
- May 1st: Dallas, TX
- May 8th: Indianapolis, IN
- May 15th: Atlanta, GA
These events are FREE to attend, but you must register. Please register here. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again and meeting new ones.
Week 5 of SFG’s March Madness is complete. In this week’s edition of SFG March Madness, we find out that Sarah Pappas and Nate Auffort made it to the championship round. We see how they celebrated along with how Kevin Purdy and Ashley Jones took the news that they were no longer in the running for the grand prize trip to Cabo. Plus, Brandon Ellison is back after a week with little Mikey. It’s good to have him back. We’re glad that he’s ok. Enjoy the video!
Week 4 of SFG’s March Madness is in the books! Check out the video to see who advanced to the Final Four. Also, we had a special guest…Mr. THEO Edward Pritchett III. Watch to see if Casey & Edward held their own or if we need Brandon back in the Symmetry Financial Group studio.
Week 3 of SFG’s March Madness is in the books! Check out the video to see who’s moving on and who’s headed to the redemption bracket. You’ll also get to know some of our agents, their background, and how they found their place as insurance agents with Symmetry Financial Group.
Week 2 of SFG’s March Madness is in the books! Check out the video to see who’s moving on and who’s headed to the redemption bracket. What a honor is was to have Pancho Villa himself on the show!! (This video should have come out last week, but we had some severe hardware issues that took a few days to correct. The results in the video are based on the week ending March 14th.)
Brad Smith – Agency Manager at Symmetry Financial Group
We at Symmetry Financial Group are very happy to have Matt and Brad Smith on our team. They have been with SFG since March 2013 and have quickly risen to the ranks of Agency Managers. This post will help you get to know Brad, what brought him to SFG, and his current and future goals. Enjoy!
SFG: So Brad, when did you first become licensed to sell insurance and why? Tell us the back story:
Brad: I was pre-med in school and got my degree in Finance at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI. During my Junior and Senior year, my brother, Matt, and I built a large sales organization with a company, earning us a nearly six-figure income. After college, we started a mattress business that eventually grew into a multi-million dollar manufacturing and internet business. After 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears, we eventually were forced to close the doors in April, 2012.
A year later, I became licensed to sell insurance in March, 2013 after Doug McGowan shared with me the success he had in the first two months of being with SFG. It was pretty compelling. He averaged $20,000 in annual premium volume both months. At that time, I was looking for a way to make additional income. Though my long term goals are pretty ambitious, at that point, I would’ve been happy with half of Doug’s success for the short term. But, with the ability to build an agency, I saw the potential to make the long term income I was looking for while building a business that I own.
SFG: How does your annual income differ between how you were doing prior to SFG and now?
Brad: In my previous business, we had revenues of about $5 million per year, but we reinvested nearly all of it each year. So, my take home income was never great and relatively inconsistent. Now, I make more than I ever did in the 10 years of running my previous business, and with the consistency my family needs.
SFG: How have you benefited from working with SFG?
Brad: There are so many benefits to working with SFG!
- Ability to make a great income immediately, while still building a business for the future. I can make a LIVING 2 days a week, while working on my FORTUNE by building an agency. Most opportunities will allow you to do either one or the other.
- Proven business model that I can follow.
- There are leaders and mentors in place to help me, giving me the ability to build a business for myself, but not by myself.
- A system that I can first learn, than teach. And by teaching, I can duplicate myself and build a long term business with a solid income that does not require me to be there all the time for.
- Great training system, which is crucial to build a business that does not depend on ME.
- Extremely low start-up cost, with extremely high potential.
SFG: Where would you be doing if you weren’t working with SFG?
Brad: Without SFG, I would be working for someone else at a job I wouldn’t enjoy. My dreams of time and money freedom would be on the shelf getting dusty. I would probably not be working with friends, family, and like-minded people, like I do with SFG. My sense of purpose and vision for the future would certainly be no where near where it is right now.
SFG: What are your future professional goals with SFG?
Brad: My goal is to have a Master Agency with at least 10 Agency Managers who are each writing at least $100,000/mth in issue/paid premium. This would represent $1,000,000/mth for our Master Agency. Once this is achieved, new goals will be set.
SFG: Tell us about your family: Are you married? Kids?
Brad: I am married to a beautiful woman, Bessie. We’ve been married for 10 years and have two wonderful children.
SFG: Is Bessie active with SFG?
Brad: Bessie is not active with SFG in a sense that she plays an active role in building the business, but she’s very supportive of what I do and picks up any slack with the family. Before SFG, there was a lot of tension in the home that had built up due to financial struggles. My wife wanted me to provide a consistent income that she could count on, while I wanted an opportunity to build something worth building. Something that would provide time and money freedom for our family. The SFG business opportunity gives both Bessie and I what we were looking for.
SFG: What qualities/characteristics do you attribute to your success?
Brad: A few things come to mind:
- One quality that I believe contributes to my success is that I’m very teachable and coach-able. I want to learn for those who have more success than me. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel.
- I’m a long term thinker, and can envision myself with a Master Agency. I know where I’m going and why and I know who I’m doing it for…my family. This is my driving force everyday.
- Personal growth: I’m addicted to growing as a person, and becoming better. If I don’t know how do to something, I know it’s just a matter of me learning. This gives me a lot of self-confidence to try new things without excuses.
- I focus on solutions instead of problems. Most people complain about what they DON’T want, instead of focusing on what they DO want.
SFG: What has SFG taught you about running your business?
Brad: Two things:
- Time management is something I need to work on. SFG has taught me this.
- Having better systems in place to guarantee success, so it’s not all dependent on yourself. People fail…systems don’t.
SFG: What did it take from starting with SFG to where you are now with the company as an Agency Manager?
Brad: Matt and I knew from the beginning the importance of creating a great story from the beginning. New potential agents always want to know how much you made and how fast. I really liked what I saw about SFG in the beginning, but that wasn’t why I got started. I got started because of Doug’s story. If he hadn’t made the income he made in his first two months, I wouldn’t be here. Also, we recruited new agents right away in order to continue advancing every two months. You can advance without a team the first few times, but to get past 75% it gets pretty difficult. Because we started building our agency right away, we’ve not missed an advancement yet.
SFG: Thank you Brad!
When you ask an agent what is the hardest part of the industry, some will say the hours, some will say the travel…but most will say, “The Phone.” How could a simple phone call be such a stressful part of the job? How can you rise above the stress and connect with your client? In the following, we will discuss the strategy behind a successful call and how YOU can improve your response rate.
Being a master on the phone is the basic foundation to making the sale. It’s your first chance to not sell the product, but to sell yourself. Let’s start by talking about the psychology of the phone.
Psychology of “The Phone”
When you are approaching your call day, there are a few things that you must understand to be successful. You’re about to call 75 – 150+ potential clients who are looking to purchase coverage. While these clients might be ready to buy, you have to convince them that they are ready to buy from you. How do you do that?! There are two keys to posture that will lead you to being not only liked by your client, but trusted.
The foundation to being liked and trusted by your client is sincerity. The phone is the first place where you can establish this. It’s easy to be over-confident and aggressive, especially if you are thinking about money. The key to success here is to be genuine and forget about the money. Providing a smooth conversation and inviting demeanor will create a solid foundation with your client.
The key to confidence is activity. Get yourself out there, make appointments, meet people and CLOSE! Some of our leading agents find it their call day more relaxing if they hit the phones on Friday evening. This allows you to not only reach out to more potential clients, but it also gives you the ability to create some activity going into your Saturday calls. If a potential client sees that you are busy with other families, this can give them a wealth of confidence in you.
From time to time, a potential client will throw you a curve ball on the phone or even after you set up the appointment. How do you respond? In a recent national conference call, some of SFG’s top agents tackled that exact question.
“Thanks, but I already have coverage.”
One of the most told objections is that the potential client already has coverage. While this would ignite failure in some, there is a way to handling it.
One way would be to ask them if their current policy is new and who it is with. Many clients may already have coverage, but new policies are available most of the time that may give them better coverage. Here is another instance where you need to forget about the money and remove yourself from being a salesman. Start a casual conversation with them about when they purchased the policy and how a policy is not a “one size fits all” thing. We already know that people don’t care to be “sold,” they want to be taken care of, and that’s why we call. Make sure to stick with your script and keep moving forward.
“I’m worried that we cannot afford coverage.”
Another common rejection is that your potential client believes that they cannot afford coverage. While we know that this may be true in some circumstances, it’s our job to work with the client’s budget and find them the best coverage for what they can afford. Your confidence in the products come in handy at this point. The more comfortable you are with policies, the easier it’ll be to narrow down a policy that will fit in their budget. Not only will this help you make the sale, but the client will gain confidence in you. This may lead to more business!
One question that we always receive from new agents is how many and far away do agents normally go for an appointment. While this question may be different for every agent and their willingness to be successful, there are some basics to stick by.
Setting up your week
As mentioned earlier, activity will create confidence. Confidence will create success. There is a method to setting up your week and the phone is the first step.
For most agents, a call day consists of at least 75 – 100 dials. The average amount of appointments set up off of those calls is approximately 12 – 15. You will want to group appointments by area and stack them according to the times. This will give you the ability to set up a large schedule that will build confidence.
Distance between appointments is very important as well. Some agents will schedule appointments over two hours away from their base, some longer distances. While setting appointments, keep in mind the distance between your appointments, and always account for traffic especially when meeting potential clients after normal work hours.
When I think about married couples working together, I immediately think about Johnny and June. A musical and romantic combination for the ages. The success that they created with each other continues to be inspiring to many.
Here at Symmetry Financial Group, we have our own version of Johnny and June…Agency Leaders, Ben and Sarah Seifipour. In just a short time, they have taken SFG Dallas from a ground-floor operation to one of the highest producing agency’s in the company. I had the opportunity to talk to them recently about their working relationship, the growth of their agency, November To Remember, and more.
How’s Fall Tour going for SFG Dallas?
BS – “It was great. We had about 45 people come out for the day. Since we have been here, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the quality of agents and the recruits are just as strong. Casey Watkins and Brandon Ellison had the opportunity to come out and made it really fun. Their presence created a buzz with our agents, and they were really impressed with what we had to show them.”
SS – “For a lot of the agents, it was the first time that they had a chance to interact with the company. Not all in attendance were established agents, so getting a chance to meet the people who are SFG, made a really good impression. For example, I know of two prospective recruits that mentioned to me that just being there and getting to interact with the leaders of the company sealed the deal for them.”
Tell us a bit of your background. How did Team Seifipour come to fruition?
BS – “I started out at Arizona State, going to school as a Civil Engineer. By the time I was a junior, I started to find myself not as interested in that topic and became a Missionary. I began to travel and really enjoyed it. From there, I went moved to Colorado, got into construction and worked with a precious metal brokerage. That’s when I met Sarah. In 2005, we moved to Texas and I went into banking. Again, it wasn’t for me, but I was a branch manager. I had opportunity, but working 75 – 80 hours per week at a bank was not only keeping me from living life, but it also kept me away from the family that I so dearly wanted to cultivate.”
SS – “University of North Texas is where I went to school. I, too, stayed until my junior year when my parents moved to Durango, Colorado. When I was visiting for Christmas, I was lucky enough to meet Ben. The next thing I know is that I’m looking at Ft. Lewis College. I make the transfer, as an out-of-state student and started life with Ben. We married in 2002. After we made the move back to Texas, I started to teach high school Social Studies and was an Instructional Tech Specialist.”
How did you find SFG?
BS – “I was frustrated. I was working over 75 hours a week, not having the time to myself, let alone my family. I started looking for jobs and noticed an ad on our church’s website. I researched it a little bit and found Symmetry to a very interesting company. I really enjoy helping others, and working with families, so when I found this opportunity, I had to explore further. Fortunately, I met with a gentleman and he introduced me to the company. At the time, I really had nothing to lose and could see the potential. I had to take the change and so I gambled.”
SS – “When Ben first mentioned Symmetry to me, I was very skeptical. Insurance?!”
BS – “It wasn’t easy at first, but now that I look back…it’s better than I could have ever hoped for. As good as I have dreamed. Honestly, I just didn’t think that it was going to happen nearly as quickly as it has.”
SS – “All I could think of was that it is way too good to be true. Ben went for it and I started to see that it was exceeding everything that we hoped. I wake up everyday and think…this is MY life?! Wow.”
How do you spend your free time away from the office?
SS – “Free time? What’s that?!”
BS – “Can’t say that there’s too much of that to enjoy with the business and family, but we enjoy a lot of things. Travel is a big one. As much as we love this area, getting out and exploring is a passion of ours. Even though I’m not at the brewing stage yet, I’m very interested in craft beers. That’s something for 2014.”
Ben, where have you traveled to?
BS – “18 countries on 5 Continents. With SFG, we’ve traveled to Hawaii and Costa Rica in 2013 and next year we will be on both the Alaska and London trips.”
SS – “I have to say, being able to travel with SFG has been such a treat. The opportunity to travel and associate with the people that you love makes life so fulfilling.”
Sarah, How about you?
SS – I love to cook. Ben loves to eat. It’s a perfect match! As for travel, I’ve mainly been to Europe. I studied in Italy for a period of time.”
Ben, How did your first year with SFG go?
BS – “Well…I had no experience, so it was really new. At first it was tough. I didn’t have a lot of leadership, but I learned.”
SS – “Ben never blamed anyone. That’s not the type of person that he is. He would spend hours on the phone with carriers, learning about the products.”
BS – “Trial and error was the name of the game, really. I learned with declined apps. I would call carriers and ask them why something didn’t work. Quitting was not an option at that point. I had seen that I could potentially make the same amount of money working a third of the time. I had to learn the business. It’s the only way to be successful in any company. I knew that as I started to gain freedom (time), the money would come.
Another hard part was that I didn’t really have a ton of help when I started. I didn’t recruit and only had one guy working with me. You have to recruit. The whole first year was such a learning experience. I was very humbled.”
During your first year, what was the biggest moment?
BS – The moment I started working with Ed Orell. Guidance and leadership make all the difference. I was invited into the Key Leaders call and just that gave me the confidence that I needed. The leaders saw something in me that I hadn’t seen yet.”
How were you as a producer?
BS – (sigh) There was a period of 6 weeks that I didn’t do anything. I would set up appointments, meet with potential clients and nothing came of it. I was discouraged and felt beat down. I couldn’t really figure out what I was doing wrong until Ed, Casey and Brandon came to town. It was an immediate turnaround. I started to realize that I need to change the way I was doing my business. SFG has a system and I just wasn’t following it. They showed me the right way, their way, and it made a world of difference. Everything changed…literally.”
SS – “Ben was solo for the first year, and I joined in August of 2012. That December, I just lost it. I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted, and I knew that it was bleeding over into Ben’s world. I was sitting in front of a fire and felt so discouraged, but it was such a revelatory moment. I had control over everything. I could get better. It was one of those moments where you realize that you just have to take ownership of your choices and your actions. It changed everything for me.”
What aspects about SFG drive you?
BS – “All of it. The leadership is tremendous. It’s who they are and getting to know them personally. Integrity. Outside of business, we have become good friends and that says a lot too. What really gets me excited about SFG is being able to realize, really realize, that we can reach our dreams through time, money, and resources. Seeing that down the road shows the potential that one can achieve here with Symmetry.”
SS – “I can honestly say that the relationships that we have forged here are what drive me. I want these people in my life. Good days, bad days…it doesn’t matter. Just knowing that I’m working with a company filled with genuine people is moving.”
BS – “We do get to help a lot of people. It’s not just a sales job. I think most people miss that. We get to bring an impact to somebody’s life. That happens everyday. Being able to help families by providing them the ability to be covered, and then there’s the recruiting aspect. We can help someone who was walking down the same path as myself. Bring them in, and show them what’s out there. We have a real special thing here at Symmetry.”
What’s your relationship like with Brandon and Casey?
BS – “It’s great! They have a great balance about themselves. I feel like I can relate to both of them business-wise and as a friend. They’ve been available to us as mentors as well. I really enjoy the relationship that we’ve cultivated.”
SS – “I had the opportunity to meet them at a conference in 2012. I was impressed with how genuine and kind people they were. Both Casey and Brandon are so giving of not only their time, but their resources. I’ve been inspired by them. They’re always encouraging and a pleasure to be around.”
What’s your SFG Highlight so far?
BS – “I don’t know…we’re still working on it! Everyday, I wake up and see that this is our life. Wow. This is our dream and we never even knew it until it happened. The whole trip so far has been the highlight.”
SS – “The December Key Leader meeting sticks out for me. We were spending time with Brandon and Casey the night before we left. As we were getting ready to head out for the night, Brandon stood up and gave me the biggest hug. It was when I realized that we are not alone out here.”
What is getting you excited in your agency?
BS – “We are growing! We finally have a culture here in Dallas that aligns with us and SFG. We have some great agents out here too. I’m very happy with our current growth and our agency has a great outlook.
Shell W., what can I say about her?! She’s bringing in some of the best production in our agency right now. She was a Final Four participant, which is huge. She’s done a complete 180 from where she was about 6 months ago. Shell has been pressing her edge and doing great things. We couldn’t be happier about how she has grown.
Elayne D-S. is another one. She’s also been doing great things. It’s gonna be fun to see who makes it to agency manger.
Several people are joining right now and they have great potential. Putting together teams of the right people is our main objective and it’s really putting us on the map. We’re also moving into new territories. We’re all over the map! SFG Dallas is about to turn a corner in what we give to the company production-wise. Our footprint is getting bigger everyday!”
The National Conference is approaching quickly. What is SFG Dallas doing to prepare for the event? Are you planning on presenting?
BS – “We are really looking forward to conference. Probably more so this year than any other one, honestly. We are looking to bring at least 50 people and it’s a very realistic number. Again, it’s all about having the right people in the right place. Conference is all about that; getting the right people in one place, setting expectations and learning from each other. Conference is something that you can only benefit from. There’s no reason to not be excited for it!
I hope to get back up in front. Last conference, I had the opportunity to teach and it was so fulfilling. It was a moment that gave me that feeling of credibility.
I have to say, one of my favorite parts about conference is watching people grow over the course of the two days. Being an agency leader, it’s awesome to see the growth of the team and company. So many people come in not expecting anything and leave blown away. It’s a great experience.”
November To Remember. What did you think?
BS – “From the producer side, it was enjoyable and a great experience. I did well. Joe D. took me out, but I had a great month of production. Now the big story is Shell. What she managed to do was fantastic. Her run to the Final Four was nothing short of a Cinderella story.”
How has the tournament changed your agency?
BS – “When we have contests like November To Remember, you tend to see what people are made out of. This is the perfect time to step up and put it all out on the table. As an agency manager, you get to see how much your agents want it. For most of us, there could be nothing there to win; you just want to be the best you can be.
There are moments of stress. It can take away from sleep and relaxation because its big. It’s an important time. Production is hitting record highs in every agency and you don’t want to be left behind. It takes the company to a whole new level.
The prolonged results are the best though. Your 90% is now better than what your 100% was before. You know what you can do. As an agency leader, I have the ability to see what our managers and their down line can produce. It does raise the bar all across the board.
Shell getting to the Final Four was just as fulfilling as winning would have been. She was a 14 seed, took out a number one. That’s huge. Sorry Kevin! Just seeing her work hard and build herself up this month has been awesome.”
It’s been a pleasure. Looking forward to seeing what SFG Dallas will present in the next year!
BS – “Thank you! This is just a start for us. Becoming an agency leader was never really a goal, but it’s been a great experience. We’ve made it Base Camp and we are ready for our ascent. It’s going to be big. When we hit that point…wow. We’re just excited for 2014 and seeing the SFG footprint grow!”