If you are new to the SFG world, you may not know that we are not afraid of being in front of the camera. Whether it be a witty commercial, or a recap of one of famous contests (see previous post: November To Remember), our Creative Team is always hard at work designing the next SFG video.
Here we have our first installment of “SFG LIVE.” It’s a great look into our culture and how being a part of SFG is more than just insurance sales.
We would like to send out a congratulations to our agents that are doing great in the field. The following agents received a promotion in the month of October! Keep up the great work!
This is just of of the many reasons why Symmetry Financial Group is the leading insurance brokerage in the nation. Work hard…Play hard.
It’s that time of year when Symmetry Financial Group hits the road! For our 2013 Fall Tour, we’re putting our best agency leaders and managers on the bus and bringing them to you.
Each event will feature our Corporate Overview, advanced trainings and more. This will give you a chance to see who Symmetry Financial Group is and how we do business. It’s a great opportunity to meet top agents and find out what makes SFG the fastest growing insurance brokerage around.
All events are free to attend, but registration is required. For more information about times and locations, go to www.sfglife.com.
SFG 2013 Fall Tour
11/7 – Minneapolis, MN (Hosted by Jon Woodbury & Ed Orell)
11/8 – Asheville, NC (Hosted by Brandon Ellison, Casey Watkins, Edward Pritchett, Brian Delaney, Josh Wise, Paul Honeycutt, and Lynn Watkins)
11/14 – Cincinnati, OH (Hosted by Brandon Ellison, Dick Sylvester, Jon Woodbury, Brian Delaney, and Josh Wise)
11/14 – Dallas, TX (Hosted by Casey Watkins, Ben Seifipour, Danny & Chotsie Bickerstaff, and Edward Pritchett)
11/21 – Baltimore, MD (Hosted by Brandon Ellison, Dick Sylvester, Marshall Wayland, Lynn Watkins, and Kevin Purdy)
11/22 – Tampa, FL (Hosted by Casey Watkins, Ed Orell, Edward Pritchett, and Brian Delaney)
12/5 – West Palm Beach, FL (Hosted by Casey Watkins & Ed Orell)
12/6 – Atlanta, GA (Hosted by Brandon Ellison, Casey Watkins, Lynn Watkins, Marshall Wayland, Robert Puckett, Edward Pritchett, and Brian Delaney)
The insurance industry can be quite colorful. There’s opportunity around every corner and always a sale to be made. There are good days, bad days and the days that you know you made the right decision to get your license. I, not being an agent, am still learning about the industry, the people, and the culture…and finding that it’s not always about the money, the freedom or the ability to run your own business.
After meeting Agency Leader, Jon Woodbury, at the 2013 Summer Leadership Conference, I could see the determination and depth that makes him one fired up individual. I recently had a chance to ask him a few questions about his business, his take on conference and what really makes him tick.
Tell us a little about your background. Where are you from and what did you do before insurance?
“I’m currently in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, by way of a lot of places. My parents were always on the move due to their work. It seemed as though we were always on the move. I wasn’t a fan of it then, but looking back at it now…it was really an awesome adventure.
I originally went into Manufacturing. I started as an entry-level associate and moved my way to middle management. After coming out of school with a business degree, I knew that I wanted to build and run my own business. I thought that manufacturing could be the way, but I learned a harsh lesson…I was never going to have control. In that industry, the chair holders have all the power. They ended up moving the plant to Pennsylvania and I wasn’t about to uproot my family (wife and two children).”
What did you do next? Is that when you found insurance?
“Financial Planning…I know, right?! Again, I knew what I wanted, but just couldn’t find that ‘In.’ I was labeled as a “Rising Star,” but didn’t see the return on it. That’s when I knew that I had to make another change and that’s when I found insurance.”
Is that when you started with SFG?
“No. I started with a practice company. It was captive. That’s when I met Casey and Brandon. I liked the change because I developed a real passion for life insurance, mutual funds and annuities, and knew that I could really help people. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as profitable as I thought it would be. The responsibility was there, but knowing that the financial ceiling was limited; I couldn’t bring anyone into that system and build. It was possible, but not profitable. I just couldn’t do it. Luckily, I ran into Casey and Brandon again and they were about to take SFG off the ground. For me, it couldn’t have been a better time to cross paths again. I was broke and working in a non-profitable situation.”
What happened next?
“I had the opportunity to sit down with them and hear what they had to offer. They went over their system and their plans for the future. I was always impressed by their motivation and desire to succeed. When they asked me if I was in, I said, absolutely.”
How was your first year?
“With SFG, it took just about a year to get out of the field. One of their mottos, “Sharing the wealth of opportunity,” you know, you have to question that. It’s a powerful statement coming from a start-up small business. Casey and Brandon definitely came through.”
Tell me more about you first impression of SFG.
“Integrity, leadership, opportunity and profitability. Those are the first four words that come to mind. In my opinion, SFG clearly stands out from other companies. It’s an agency for insurance agents, built by insurance agents. They know the business; they know the profitability that exists in the industry. You combine that with a great business mind like Brian Pope and you have something really special.”
Let’s dig into your first year. What was it like going from the captive agency to SFG as a personal producer?
“Well, it wasn’t easy. You know, this isn’t a pipedream; this isn’t for everybody. In my first year with SFG, I pulled in six figures. I worked my tail off. The structure of SFG was still building and yeah, being in the Midwest…things were slow. It was during this time that I found the one flaw to the system, you.”
Can you elaborate?
“Unless we develop ourselves, we screw it up. 95% of this business is mental. The other 5% is the start-up cost. The emotion that one needs to connect with clients and deal with the up’s and down’s is tremendous. It takes a strong willed person. I will say this though, no matter what, if you follow the system, and keep your head up in that first year, the sky is the limit. I knew after my first year, I’d be out of this business if it wasn’t for Symmetry.
There is a common trait between success stories in different industries. Winners win, and they win early. If you’re a winner and you come into this model, you’ll struggle, no doubt. But, I’m sure that you’ll make it to the top. You have to keep an eye out for the winners.”
You’ve known Brandon and Casey for a while now. What’s one of the biggest things that you have received from them?
“Leadership. Hands down. Not only are these two guys great at what they do, but they’re great leaders. They’ve showed us how to make money, but also how to manage it. That’s one thing in the captive agency that I was never taught. You don’t get the coaching there either. I like to think of it as a sports analogy. You have your captive agency, they are similar to college football. They give you the basics, but they are so limited. SFG is like the NFL, man. These guys get you up to speed, give you the tools, the training and really show you the ropes.”
Let’s talk about conference. How did it go for you this time around?
“Always fired up for conference. It’s all about the passion. That’s what makes the difference. At first, I was a little held back, but after our Key Leaders meeting, I said to myself, this is for real. It’s amazing where this company has come in just a few years. The footprint, it’s really small, and we have a lot to do, but it’s great.”
“Idol, no doubt (See previous post for details). Hosting that portion of the event was humbling. I got to see first hand, behind the scenes, the culture of the company; contestants getting ready, nervous, and confident. It was all there. It’s really shows the integrity of a company that can allow themselves to have fun and laugh at ourselves. It shows great character.
Casey had a tremendous speech. He really opened up his heart and showed us how humbled and honored he was to be there and to see all of us out there in the crowd. We’ve built something really great here and he nailed it in his speech.
The Key Leaders Meeting on Friday was a highlight. Between announcing new leadership and announcing the new SFG Advisory Board, that’s the big stuff right there. It shows progress and commitment; two things that I have always seen with SFG.”
Tell us more about hosting SFG Idol. How did that come to fruition?
“Ha…ok, so there’s a story with this that I’m sure Brandon and Casey want me to tell you. At heart, I’m a rocker. I play guitar and love it. I grew up with a big aspiration to play and I took it on. When I lived in Africa as a missionary child, I taught myself how to play. My guitar was my best friend. I was upset that I was there, so I ended up getting into Metallica, Ozzy, just metal in general. I had a good run. At one point, I had a record deal and moved up the ladder of touring and took a really good look at the industry. I had the opportunity to open for some bigger bands (Anthrax, Sepultura) and tried out for a pretty popular band and just fell short to some other guy. At that time, I found my beautiful wife and went into manufacturing.”
Missionary Child? Africa?
“My parents were missionaries. We moved all over the world at different times for education. Africa, Europe, across the United States. I was really upset about it then, hence the guitar. But now, I look back and it was just awesome. Not many people get the opportunity to travel to other continents and be immersed in other cultures. It was truly a blessing because it helped me with my communication skills. I can relate with anyone. It’s been a great help with SFG, working with clients and even building my own team. I’ve seen a lot of stuff, and that has given me the ability to see things from a different perspective.”
Let’s talk about your team.
“Alright! I have a great team, but right now I have two guys that are just standing out above the rest. It’s bringing some good competition to the agency.
There’s Scott S. Such a spark plug. You know, I didn’t give him a chance at first. I wanted to see how much he wanted it. He just kept showing up, so I gave him challenges. He would come back determined with a great work ethic. It’s been very rewarding to see him develop.
Kent B. is the other. This guy works really hard burning the midnight oil. His integrity, humility has put him up there. He’s a great developing agent that will see great things in a very short time. Both of these guys are class acts.”
“From a production perspective…doubling and getting a market share. My outlook is to find twelve people and help them find what they want, working on ourselves and building. Doubling is normally unheard of in our industry. It’s kid of the norm with this company.
I think that Brian Pope said it best, “Don’t Quit.” If you’re going to succeed in this industry, you can’t quit. It’s going to be tough. You’ve gotta want it.”
At conference, you gave a great speech with the coin phrase, “Fired Up.” Where did the inspiration come from?
“It came straight from SFG. It’s all about getting excited and that’s really the first stage of the business. It’s the easy part. The energy that exists in this company is quite powerful. No matter what role you play with SFG, how can you not be fired up?! There’s so much going on that is good!
When you work with guys like Brandon and Casey, it’s hard not to be excited. These guys are the real deal. I’m very impressed with where the have come. They’ve developed themselves into great professional businessmen. Brandon and Casey are really the same people as they were 7 years ago. They love to have fun, but they love the business. They are much more polished now. One thing that really inspires me is how they have never lost sight of the field. They have healthy egos, they are humble…everything that you want in a great leader.”
When you are able to vacation together, how is it?
“We laugh and we laugh hard. When we were at the captive agency, we were in panic mode. We were broke, seriously. Now that we are all here at SFG, we can laugh and enjoy our time together. The trips have been great.”
Anything that you would like to add, Jon?
“ Honestly, I’m just so fired up about our future. I’m honored, humbled. This company has literally been life changing for me. Financially, personally, spiritually…I’m really excited to see where we’re going to go. The train has left the station, but we’re not even out of 1st gear yet. How can you not be fired up!”
Last month, Symmetry Financial Group hosted their 2013 Summer Leadership Conference. Held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Buckhead, GA, the ever growing company brought together agency leaders, key leaders, managers, agents and prospective agents for a weekend of training, teambuilding and fun.
Starting on Thursday evening, SFG entered the weekend with a leadership meeting that welcomed agency leaders and key leaders from all across the nation. The opportunity to reconnect with all the leaders who have helped build this company was a perfect way to start the weekend.
Friday’s agenda was highlighted as one of the company’s most successful conference days to date. Hitting a record number of attendees, SFG’s Leadership Conference was filled with motivating guests, powerful speeches and most of all, it was packed with useful information on how the company can continue to be at the top of the insurance game.
The day started out with the announcement of the Symmetry Financial Group’s Advisory Board. Edward Pritchett, Marshall Wayland, Ed Orell, Dick Sylvester and Lynn Watkins were given recognition in front of the capacity crowd. The meeting also recognized top managers in the company and featured many moving moments about how SFG has changed the lives of the recognized leaders and managers.
The first day of the Summer Leadership Conference continued and featured a full list of speakers and videos. Guest speakers included representatives from American Amicable, United Home Life, LSW and some of the agency’s top agency leaders. Emotionally charged speeches were also given by Casey Watkins and Brandon Ellison, two of the masterminds behind SFG.
Saturday’s activities started bright and early with representatives from The License Coach and a panel that featured the company’s top producers and leaders. Taking questions for approximately an hour, the panel discussed an array of topics about the industry and how agents can make the most out of their career with SFG. The day session concluded with great speeches by agency leaders, Jon Woodbury, Edward Pritchett and SFG partner, Brian Pope.
The 4th edition of SFG Jeopardy pitted four of SFG’s brightest leaders against each other. Fighting for a $500 lead credit, the contestants put their knowledge to the test and agency leader, Lynn Watkins came out on top. Better luck next time Pritchett!
The afternoon had the company split into different breakout sessions that were led by agency leaders and managers. This gave agents and prospective agents the opportunity to get some great pointers on many different topics.
The weekend concluded with a fun-filled gala dinner, awards ceremony and an 80’s Karaoke Idol competition. The bi-annual awards ceremony gave recognition to the company’s top producers, recruiters, and recent breakout agency leaders. The 80’s themed party also handed out a “Best Dressed Award” to Edward Pritchett. His spot on rendition of “Mr. T” was an easy choice for the crowd.
Before the evening came to an end, the SFG 80’s Karaoke Idol competition wowed the crowd. 12 of SFG’s finest entered the competition with some of the 80’s best tunes. The final round found Nancy Dominguez leading the pack with her goosebump-inducing rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. The showstopping version brought the crowd to their feet for a lengthened standing ovation. Dominguez brought home a $500 lead credit and bragging rights for her win. When asked about her win, she replied with, “I’m a born winner!” She also mentioned a high degree of respect for her fellow competitors, as all of them were worthy of bringing home the win.
The weekend was a great success and the company is already looking forward to the next opportunity to come together as a whole. The Symmetry Financial Group National Conference will take place in February of 2014 at Grand Hyatt Atlanta. For more information and early registration, go to www.sfglife.com
The Pritchett Agency was bustling last Friday morning as I sat in the neighboring Native Kitchen and Social Pub. Agents a plenty, these business pros looked the part. Suits, ties, and briefcase in hand, these Symmetry Financial Group agents were ready to tackle another record-breaking weekend. It’s never an easy task to get one of them to slow down on a day like this, let alone dedicate enough time for an interview, but I was lucky enough to have agency leader, Edward Pritchett, share part of his day with me in the cozy and rustic Native pubroom.
Looking slightly more casual than the rest, Pritchett made his way over to my table, sat down with a big exhale and hit the reset button. It was barely 11 A.M. and Pritchett had already been at it for four hours. He mentioned that the morning had been quite busy submitting agency business and preparing for conference. Not showing a sign of wear, he sat back and got settled in.
Pritchett’s background is not all insurance-based. Coming out of Yale University in 2005, Pritchett started out as a chemical engineer, but quickly found out that the field was very demanding and it started to take a toll on his personal life. He was looking for a change.
How did you get your start in insurance? Was Symmetry your first gig?
“No, Symmetry was not my first time in the industry. I started out with a captive agency in 2008. I worked there for about two years. It consisted of generating my own leads, door knocking, and doing my own marketing. Captive agencies tend to be limited in the resources that they give to their agents. It seems as though they are always in survival mode and stability is always in question. The growth potential wasn’t there, and knowing that my passion, my dream, was to create my own business; I knew that I would eventually need to make a move.”
How did you find Symmetry?
“I had my resume posted on CareerBuilder and I received a call from a recruiter. After responding to them, Casey Watkins gave me a call and invited me in.”
Casey was hands-on immediately?
“Yes. He set up an opportunity to come in and meet with him. I was part of a group interview with a few other people. Casey gave us the corporate overview and the basics of the company and after that meeting, I met up with Casey. We went downstairs to Native, shared some sweet tea and went over my goals in detail. I told him what I was looking for and where I wanted to see myself in a few years.”
What happened next?
I signed up and started with about 50 bonus leads that Casey and Lynn Watkins had worked and hit the field. In my first week, I wrote $5,633 in production.”
Did you see an immediate difference in your income from the captive agency to SFG?
“In a good week with the captive agency, I wrote $1,200 in production. Coming out in the first week with over $5,000…that blew me away. It was just a matter of how many more leads I could get and how long I could be out in the field. From October to December (2010), I made about as much as I did in six months with the captive agency.”
How did you handle that?
“I did what any sane 27-year-old would do. I took a three-week vacation! I went snowboarding up in Canada. If I had to do it again, I probably wouldn’t do it that way. I had to restart when I got back and that was tough.
The sales side isn’t the biggest draw for me. I like sales, but I don’t love sales. I’ve had personal experience at what life insurance can do for a family and it’s a great thing what we can do for families. We have the ability to provide a safety net for families for those moments that we don’t want to think about.
For me, it’s the business building side. That’s my passion, that’s what motivates me. I have guys at the agency that have had huge changes in their lifestyles and that’s what drives me. It makes me feel good. Watching some of these guys come in all pumped up after getting a sale, that gets me pumped. You can see the business grow every day.”
Growth perspective is very important when searching for a career as we discussed earlier. Can you talk about how your financial perspective has differed from being a personal producer to an agency leader?
“There is a limit to what a personal producer can achieve in a given year. You can work up to 70 hours a week, but a personal producer, from what I have seen, will top out at around $250,000 – $300,000 gross income a year. Your cost will be about 25 – 30% of that. From an agency leader side, it starts to grow at an exponential rate. You start to add agents and the agency grows. We, as agency leaders, don’t make a dime until our agents make a dollar. They have to produce, they have to make an income and if you can show them how to do that, more people will want to join. I really don’t see where the benefits of building an agency will stop.
Being a personal producer, you can work as hard as you can, but you can only be effective for so long. You will eventually begin to show wear. You have to be emotional with your clients and you can really only do that so much in any given day. My emotion is poured into my agency, and in turn, they aid their agents in developing the agency. This gives me more energy to do more for the company. There really is no limit at that point. It only matters how far you want to go.”
I hear that you have some big plans coming up. Care to share?
“I’m getting married in January. My fiance and I have been dating for about four years. She was with me before I started at Symmetry. She’s seen it all. I came out of the captive agency and I was broke. I had some reserves that I utilized while I was with the captive agency and coming out of that, I was in a tough spot. I had to give up all the toys that I had been accustom to with the engineering job and she was very supportive. She could see my belief that Symmetry was the vehicle to make things happen and she really helped me out. It was pretty impressive on her part. We had known each other from earlier in our lives and after reconnecting and cultivating a relationship, she found it fit to invest in me.
Thankfully for Symmetry, our wedding is being taken care of. We’re doing it ourselves and so far, everything is paid in cash. It’s quite a relief not having to put it on a credit card.”
You have a new office in West Asheville? What’s going on there?
“There’s something about your environment that tells you how much you can grow. Sometimes a confined space limits the thought of growing. Right now, we have eight people in a tight little space. It can hinder workflow; this is an opportunity to stretch out and grow. The new space has room for about 20 agents. We’ll have a space for a human resource side and it’s an investment.
The area is somewhat like a campus. Our agency is blessed to have great leaders and a few of our agents have broken out. These managers still have space here and at the new office, but the goal is to take advantage of that area and hopefully build their offices there in adjacent spaces. That’s the long-term goal.”
You were a Base Shop Mentor before coming into your current position, how has that experience helped you personally and how did it help your business?
“I was BSM from February 2011 to October 2012, when Brandon and Casey tapped Brian Delaney. I think that the biggest part for me personally was that it was a vote of confidence that Casey and Brandon had in me. It taught me how to work with the right people. With Symmetry, you have to know the right people to invest in. Anybody can do this job, but not everybody will do this business. It’s helping people identify something within themselves, and by that, showing them what they are truly capable of in this company.
Business-wise, obviously those things carried over to working with my agents. I had the opportunity to go back to Casey and Brandon and discuss what they wanted me to do with agents when I had any questions. It’s their company, and I really wanted to know the direction that they wanted me to go. There are agents that have their ego and don’t feel that they need to ask questions, or maybe they don’t know how to ask. For me, this wasn’t my agency; I had to go to them. It allowed me to put aside my ego and see how they wanted their agency built. After seeing how it worked, I’ve taken that knowledge and applied it to my agency. One word to new agents, listen to your mentors. You want to see your agency grow, and they want to see your agency grow. Let go of that ego and trust your mentor. It’s the only way that you can build in a positive direction.”
Your position as BSM gave you the opportunity to work closely with Brandon and Casey. Can you tell us what kind of experience that was?
You have to look at the big picture and see what they are trying to build. If you see the big picture, you can see why people make the actions they do. It gave me the chance to dig in and find out some answers by myself. They were always available, however, they are very busy.
Symmetry is a system. The tools are there. You have to dig in and if you do…the answers will present themselves. If I hadn’t plugged into the system, I wouldn’t have the ability to find the good questions to ask Brandon and Casey. The tools give you that ability. Working with them taught me a lot about having passion about what you do. To know where they were four years ago…and to see where they are today; the passion to succeed is motivating.
You have been called a “Proud Grandfather” around the office. How did you get that nickname?
“It’s all about a succession of leadership. When somebody reaches the agency leader position, you have the ability to break out managers. My first break out manager was Brian Delaney. That made me a “Papa.” Now, Brian just had Josh Wise break out. That made me a “Proud Grandfather.” What that is for the company is stability. Salesmen come and go in any business. They’re not just going to walk away after putting all this work into their agency.
Recently, SFG eliminated the override lead cost for agency leaders. For those out there who are not familiar, can you describe what that is and how the change has affected your business?
“Basically, there was a shared cost in the lead program for agency builders. Any time a lead was purchased by one of our producers, I had an expense as well. In 2012, SFG absorbed that cost. It was an unbelievable decision that totally changed the model for the better.
There were some weeks where I was paying upwards of $2,000 to $2,500. That’s just to have my agents out there running business with A leads. When the company absorbed that, it allowed me to hire a new HR person, and a new recruiter; I can afford the new office. It’s given me the ability to travel on most weekends to different locations, giving corporate overviews and expanding my agency. Being able to reinvest into agents has been great. I haven’t had that ability…ever. What other company is doing that?! It makes it a lot easier for people to build their business. When you’re at 80%, this is giving you the opportunity to invest into your business.
SFG has given you the ability to live big and travel. Where have you been able to travel with the company?
“Company trips have been great. We’ve been as close as Destin (Florida), stayed in a twenty million dollar mansion in the Gulf of Mexico, and as far as Hawaii and Costa Rica. These trips have been all expense paid trips. I don’t know many, if any, companies that are doing that, and it’s not just us. There are agency key leaders that earn the opportunity to go.
Being able to travel with my fiance has been wonderful too. Hawaii was our favorite. We had the opportunity to ride in a helicopter, go power rafting, snorkeling, and the hotel was beautiful.”
Do Casey and Brandon make themselves available on these trips?
“Oh yeah! That’s one of the best parts…we get to hang out. We talk about business, we talk about Symmetry, but we’re relaxed. We’re sitting at the bottom of the water slide, Maitai on the side of the pool, talking about where we see the company going and what we can do to take it there. I can’t say enough, how great it is to be in business with someone who you enjoy and want to hang with. It’s an opportunity to teambuild, but in a loose fashion.
What advice would you give a new agent?
“The hard thing about this is to say something that hasn’t been said, but that’s the beauty of the system that we have here. Many people come in jaded; it’s kind of hard to push that down so you just trust the system. That’s where I have seen people struggle. If you come in, drop the ego and trust the system. You have the chance to be as successful as you want to be. If you look for something negative, you’ll find something. It’s a system built by humans. There are going to be mistakes, but that’s where you get better. Honestly, if there was a better system out there, I probably wouldn’t be here.
Before I let you go, conference is right around the corner. What are your favorite parts about conference? What do you suggest agents do?
“Conference is all about getting all the key leaders together, learning with each other and really just hanging out. Between the Summer Leadership Conference and the Winter National Conference, the company pulls together everyone for business development and training. My first conference (January 2011) is the main reason why I’m here. I finally caught the vision of what Symmetry was and I decided not to drive this Ferrari like a Yugo. Since then, I have used these conferences as my mid-year accelerators for both my personal business and that of my team. If you are looking for a shortcut to what we do, just attend every conference and come with a receptive mind.”
SFG just finished their 2013 Summer Leadership Conference in Atlanta, GA. The two-day event brought the company together for leadership meetings, guest speakers, breakout training sessions and was capped by a gala dinner that featured an SFG “Idol” competition. More news on the conference is to come!
Symmetry Financial Group has determined the dates for its next Key Leaders Workshop and Reatreat!
May 15-16, 2013 in Charlotte, NC
Wed May 15 – A 4 hour, intensive agency building workshop in Charlotte NC, followed by dinner with the leaders of SFG. (Exact location TBD).
Thur May 16 – A trip to the US National Whitewater Center. Transportation and lunch will be provided.
For details on how to qualify, visit our Facebook page!
Author: Symmetry Financial Group
Whether you sell life insurance, mortgage protection, disability and critical illness insurance, or annuities, the goal is the same: grow leads and increase sales. The good news is that you are in a sales career that offers multiple ways to grow your business relatively inexpensively. Here are 10 tips every insurance agent should know to close more sales.
1. Listen More, Talk Less
As tempting as it is to sit down and begin explaining all the benefits of your insurance policies and plans, the best thing you can do is let the prospect lead the discussion. Instead of pitching your product, sit down and ask the person you are speaking with about their lifestyle. Ask questions about their family and concerns for the future, and let them tell you what it is they are looking for. Your role is to be an insurance consultant, not an insurance salesman.
2. Don’t Sell Products, Provide Solutions
Instead of jumping into a sales pitch about the great discounts your agency offers on insurance plans, explain to the prospect how what you are offering can help solve a problem they currently have, or potential problem down the road. People are much more likely to purchase products that resolve problems and provide them with peace of mind. You will only be able to do this successfully if you understand the families’ needs and have followed rule number one: Listen More, Talk Less.
3. Highlight Benefits over Features
Rather than focusing on the technical aspects of an insurance policy (although you do want to be sure the lead clearly understands this prior to purchase), first highlight how having insurance will help them in terms they can relate to. For example, explain how the policy help will pay the bills if they become disabled. Be sure to keep the lead and their needs at the center of the conversation.
4. Leave Something to Remember You By
Most simple life insurance sales – especially lead driven sales – can be a one sit close, but occasionally families will need to weigh their options and put more thought into their final decision. This is certainly the case with annuity sales or more complex life insurance sales. Be sure you are prepared with specific company or product literature that you can leave behind. At the very minimum, be prepared to leave a business card, because those who do buy may have questions after you leave and will need a way to get in touch with you, especially if or when they need to use the policy.
5. Set Goals and Deadlines
Make sure that your goals are specific. What number of appointments are you going to set this week? 10? 15? 20? How many of those appointments will result in a sale? Be sure your goals are realistic. Rather than aiming for a 100% close rate, aim to increase your insurance sales by 10%. Incremental goals are much more achievable and create an atmosphere of success. Don’t leave your goals open-ended. It’s not enough to say “I will increase sales by 10%.” Instead, give yourself a set deadline. “I will increase sales by 10% every month.”
6. Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Take advantage of the opportunity to attend trade shows, conferences and meetings, and network with other insurance professionals in your field. These are great places to make connections, learn from respected industry leaders and stay up to date on industry trends.
7. Ask for Referrals
Have a happy prospect that you’ve helped in the past? Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Word-of-mouth is still a viable, and free, lead generating tool.
8. Learn Something New Each Day
Devote some time each day to improving your sales and marketing knowledge. Read a book, attend a webinar or listen to an audio book, and try to learn something new about your field.
9. Associate with Successful Professionals
Surround yourself with successful, positive people. If you are surrounded by people who are meeting their goals, it will help motivate you to achieve your own objectives. Talk to other professionals in the insurance business about what does and does not work, and ask about their experiences when they were in your shoes.
10. Love Your Job
In order to be truly successful, you have to love your job and believe in the product you are selling. People who enjoy what they are doing experience less stress and a higher success rate.
A career in insurance sales is not for everyone, but if you have the motivation and drive to succeed, it can be highly rewarding, both professionally and personally. For more information on how to thrive in a career as an insurance sales agent, visit: www.SFGLife.com.