The year was 2016. Dave was in a period of transition in his career and decided to move from banking to insurance. A fancypants headhunter recruited him out and sold him on the idea of owning his own business and controlling his income and future.
There was one caveat though.
The carrier wanted the Agent to open in Ohio. Dave lived in Arizona.
It was a big decision for Dave and his family but ultimately they decided it was the right one and they moved across the country in pursuit of a lofty new dream.
The Agency opened as planned and Dave did everything as instructed.
Hung the sign. Bought the direct mail package. Bought the social media “ad package”. You know – the one that Agents pay for that brands the carrier but gets no leads for the Agent
Bought the “discounted lead program” that he was told to. Hired staff.
The phones did not ring. The people were not coming. It was smile and dial just like in previous careers.
The type of stuff that wears an Agent out.
He joined a networking group AND the Chamber of Commerce. Woke up early once a week to network with other business owners for referrals that were rarely provided and offered up by Dave as a new person in town, even less.
Tried to run for a position in the Chamber and got boxed out. Threw his hat in the ring at his networking group for some leadership and no one voted for him. Same incumbents won every seat.
The pressure was mounting. At home he was stressed. The bank account was moving in the wrong direction. His wife was giving him quite a few “I told you so’s” about the move. The carrier was also threatening Dave that they would pull his contract if his performance didn’t improve.
Dave was feeling like all may be lost. A move across the country to chase a dream that was quickly becoming a nightmare.
In a moment of desperation Dave decided to follow some crazy advice he had heard in Insurance Soup, the FREE Facebook group for Insurance Agents with 30,000 members across North America all in the trenches selling policies every day.
Something that did not feel natural….but enough people were saying it works well so he decided to give it a shot.
He decided to create something where HE was in charge and HE was the leader and main voice being listened to.
He started a Facebook group for the locals in his area and gave people reason to join.
Running point on all things going on in the community, the locals quickly flocked.
Steals and deals, recommendations, school goings on, events, charity – you name it – if it was going on in his town Dave was reporting and supporting it.
His few local friends that he made all invited their friends…. And their friends invited friends… and before he knew it Dave was sitting at the top of a community of people that were visiting his Facebook group very regularly to have fun and learn about what was happening this week around town.
And then it happened. On the 3rd week of owning the group with just under 400 members… one of the members asked
“Does anyone in here have a good Insurance Agent? My payments are out of control and I need to shop it.”
Well… Daves local friends all began tagging him. And as the owner of the group running the conversation and keeping people infotained regularly he was the obvious choice for a chance at the business.
Dave called the woman and was very competitive. Assuming that the prospect would need to shop around or think about it he did not try and close. New to sales and not confident, this was another major flaw in Dave’s game.
The prospect closed themself!
“What do I need to do to get started”
Dave COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.
This prospect that came to him in the group was a lay down sale – almost like a referral!
And then it dawned on him…. These people were all coming to hang in his community every day.. but at the same time they were getting to know, like, and trust him.
It then became his goal to grow that group as large as possible and to continue to infotain while lightly promoting his business.
Business continued to flow and as the group grew Dave now had other opportunities coming his way as well.
Business owners wanted to partner up. The top loan officer in town wanted to be an admin in his group. Several realtors too.
Before he knew it Dave had 1400 locals buzzing around his group daily and 4 referral partners that swore allegiance to him. Business owners were asking for face time in his group.
A myriad of lucrative opportunity opened up both insurance and non-insurance related.
Everyone wanted to be recommended by the admin of this little local social media community.
As the group grew Dave picked up more and more clients and they all came to his office at no cost.
He now hosts events with the locals.
Rents out movie theaters. Hosts Happy Hours. He’s invited to every local event and even MC’d a local parade hosted by the town mayor.
All as someone who moved from Arizona to Ohio to a new town where he knew no one, Dave was now writing 4-5 policies a week for free from the group while also pulling a nice amount of referrals from his new referral partners… and the group continues to grow and prosper.
Dave will be the first to tell you that he now looks at his Facebook group as his virtual and digital “agency”. And his "Agency" has thousands of people in it every single month - just about every single day!!
And his digital “Agency” currently boasts 4700 people with over 250 households in his book directly coming from the group itself and an untold number more coming over from his referral partners who also are highly recommended in his community.
All because in a moment of desperation, a transplant from across the country decided to follow the advice of some strangers that were praising the idea in Insurance Soup.
If you are struggling to pick up momentum in your town, we strongly urge you to create your own online community.
Following the Blueprint laid out by Career Agent Concepts in the mini course “Growing Profitable Groups on Social – The Definitive How To” Agents across the country are closing a ton of business without spending any money on marketing – all while having fun and gaining credibility and clout in their community… and monetizing in a number of manners that are truly outside the box and fun.
If you are not in Insurance Soup you need to be – 30,000 of your peers are having conversation about how to win and every day there is something being dropped in there that is a major a-ha golden nugget moment.
Click here to join Insurance Soup
Interested in learning how to build your own thriving community on social media that will do business with you and look to you to be the leader they need?
Grab a copy of Growing Profitable Groups today! Follow the link at the top of the page! $197 one time payment gets your thriving community off the ground!
It is very easy when you bring on a new team member to fall in love with them.
Make sure you are falling in love with the actual person you hired and not the person you FEEL like you THINK you hired.
The honeymoon stage in an employer / employee relationship is as real as it is in a romantic one. That hot and steamy first few months where the new staff member is trying to impress their new boss generally wears off.
It is easy to get caught up in the idea of "potential" or production numbers boasted from previous offices.
By the end of the first two months you should be seeing more than just a glimmer of the person you thought you hired.
If you do not... you should begin thinking about cutting bait.
Slow to hire.
Quick to fire.
Do NOT fall in love with the person you INTERVIEWED....
or the person you THINK you are getting...
Examine the body of work they show you once they start, independently.
Fall in love with the results; when they deliver as advertised and ARE the person you believed to be hiring.
Many of your hires are the product of being in a great or poor system with good or bad leadership.
The environment and culture created in YOUR office will also be a determining factor in your hires' success.
Make sure you are providing them absolutely everything they need to be successful and watch your new hires soar.
If you are not already a part of Insurance Soup we would love for you to join the family!
If you follow along in our free group, Insurance Soup, you know that I like to poll the audience of 17,000 Agents, Brokers, and Team Members that hang out with us daily. The broad range of industry experience and carrier representation in conjunction with our efforts to keep corporate suits and vendors out of the group generally gives us some good and honest feedback when we ask tough questions.
We recently asked our group to rate the training they receive from their carrier partners in 3 different areas.
Product Training... Sales.... Marketing
The results from this impromptu poll sadly did not phase me. It did however make me a little sad.
One of the hardest decisions we are forced to make in this business is when to stay open and when to close during inclement weather and national disasters.
One one hand our business is our baby. Closing our business means not feeding our baby and a hungry baby is not a happy baby.
Before we even jump into this article did you know we are giving away a CRUISE on New Years Day, 2018 to a licensed agent?
Anyway on to a controversial conversation! Who doesn't love disagreeing with someone on the internet!
Recently we asked two questions in our public Facebook group, The Insurance Soup with a little hidden agenda. One thing we have learned is that when you pose questions separately that sometimes you can better gauge how an audience really feels than when you pose them together.
The first question we asked was, "Do you believe that Insurance is still a relationship based industry?"
146 comments on the post... Most of them resounding YES!!
It's 2017! It's time to start marketing like it.
Now days there is so much technology out there that will accomplish the same task that even just 5-10 years ago would have cost agents hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to do. Say for example an agent wanted to send out a post card to wish their book of business of 2000 households a Merry Christmas. They would have to not only pay for the postcard itself but also the stamps. Those bad boys are 49 cents a PIECE! You're talking almost $1,000 in stamps alone. Now add in the fancy postcards and it's getting pretty pricey.
What if I were to show you a way to accomplish the same thing but on a more personal level, that's a fraction of the cost and allowed your clients to feel like you care more about them than a 15 cent postcard?
The every day agency is in a state of chaos almost all the time.
Sales are up and down. Staffing turns over a bit. The marketing and leads are inconsistent. There are so many variables in the every day life of an Agency that things are both tough to manage and unpredictable.
We speak with a LOT of Agents both privately and within the FREE INSURANCE SOUP Facebook group and the perspective we have from having conversations with hundreds of agents a week and thousands a month is relatively unique.
There is a spectrum that Agencies fall on with regards to how they operate.
I like to call it the Latch Key - Turn Key Spectrum
We hear it in The Insurance Soup Facebook group literally every single day. There is always an agent in our 14000 member FREE group that is wondering who the best company to purchase leads from is.
We totally get it. You need opportunity. Clients are not just walking through the door or calling the office like they did when the dinosaurs in your districts, territories, and towns were young and spry.
Before we jump into the article lets just get the shameless plug out of the way.
Join Insurance Soup – the #1 FREE Group on social media for Insurance Agents and Brokers (OVER 12,000 active members!!) looking to talk about sales, marketing, social media, office culture, compensation, policies, industry rumors, claims, and wacky clients!
Shameless plug over! On to the show!
You all have heard it from your district managers, corporate training, or other sources that you need to use social media in your agency but no one ever shows you how. It’s one of those “do as I say not as I do” situations because the ones telling you that you need to use it has no clue 99% of the time how to use it themselves.
After closely working with over 200+ agents and loosely with over 10,000+, we’ve put together the top 3 basic mistakes we see agents making on social media.
Lets get the shameless plug out of the way… we all know you don’t go to some blog post without some kind of agenda so here’s ours – Join Insurance Soup – the #1 FREE group on all of Social Media for Insurance Agents and Brokers interested in discussing Sales, marketing, lead generation, social media, vendors, crazy clients, comp plans, staffing issues and more.
Did we mention it’s FREE?
Good.On to the show!
Weathering the storm of dwindling finances in the early stages of owning an Agency is no easy task. It’s even more difficult if you are a captive agent trying to “earn” a contract as an “Independent Contractor”
It can be downright impossible to get ahead of the mounting bills, expenses, and costs of a new Agency. Keeping the Agency in the black, growing your book of business, AND taking home a paycheck are three tasks that typically do not align for 18-24 months.. but they can if you take heed the advice in this article.
Today we talk about how you can avoid being Agent 0…. Dollars.
Here are 5 ways you can avoid being the broke agent.