Great piece below posted by Mike in Insurance Soup back in 2019. I'm posting it to the blog now, in 2021 because of the everyday relevance it has to insurance agents and to anyone determined to make it.
"Long read even for me. It’s worth it.
I want to tell you a story I’ve sat on for a while. It’s the first time I’m publicly sharing it. It’s a story I was ashamed of but in hindsight has taught me a very valuable lesson.
When I began in this industry I had a year to prove my worth to earn my contract. Every quarter the carrier leadership would check in and let us know “how I was doing” in their eyes. Every quarter I was told I was doing poorly.
I was top 3 in all product lines but 1 in my district and I was scratch having my stats compared to agencies that were padding theirs with rewrites and renters that move and need new policies every year. I was 2nd in homeowners despite only being allowed to write 3 a month on Long Island. I marketed north of the city.
I was told I wasn’t writing enough life insurance. But I had no local homeowners and renters were a tough close. I started selling auto insurance in Queens and Brooklyn where the premium was so high the discount for life insurance lowered their auto and gave them life for free.
I was told I wasn’t writing enough auto loans so I started generating leads for a local used car lot who started using me for their loans.
I was told that I (ME!) lacked vision and entrepreneurial spirit and creativity.
I was put through the wringer for a year. I cried in the parking lot of my Agency after a conversation with my “leadership” left me feeling like I wasn't earning my contract. I finally had enough one day and called up my leadership and said "Can you explain to me why you are harassing me while I’m top 3 in all lines but 1?"
We went back and forth and I demanded her production numbers from when she was an Agent.
Had to be a pretty big hitter to be busting my balls when I’m doing well and putting in 6 days a week, 12-14 hour days and half day Saturdays. Hell, I was so rattled that summer I worked Sundays too.
Let's just say that asking for production numbers killed the conversation quickly.
And then one December morning with just days left before my contract renewed... or denied...after asking for weeks for a heads up because I have staff and a lease I got a phone call saying I got my contract. A contract I no longer personally wanted as I hated my carrier and leadership for the year of hazing they put me through... hiding that I wouldn’t be able to write homeowners from me until after I opened... pushing me to sell life to people who didn’t need it or want it... and hanging compliance over my head, not allowing me to market the way I knew people were killing it.
I went on for another 2 years hating it and hating my carrier leadership.
Ultimately I left knowing that I didn’t own my book and here I am fighting to build a book without the ability to sell a marquee product and being pushed to sell another product to a niche that didn’t really want or need it just to hit numbers.
I smiled when I saw leadership. Shook their hands. But the way I was treated and spoken to that first year put a fire in my belly. A fire that was lit by my leadership and that burned hotter and brighter with each new agent I spoke to going through the exact same thing.
Agent in Pittsburgh tops in a bunch of lines in her area being told she sucks.
Agent in Vermont doing very well actually NOT get their contract because of some arbitrary skill they said he didn’t have.
Agent in the Bronx dealing with another Agent stopping by his office and trying to poach employees and telling clients my buddy was new and didn’t know what he was doing... carrier did nothing.
The stories I had my first year as agency owner transformed me from a fresh faced starry eyed kid who thought he just landed his dream gig into a crusader for the industry out to smash corporate in the mouth and smash it for all it stands for.
I was a loser by their definition. It made me begin to think I was a loser BY DEFINITION. And I knew I wasn’t. I knew my numbers. I knew my career leading up till now. I’m a banger. I'm a scrapper. I’m always near or at the top.
That experience nearly broke me but it didn’t. It spit me out as someone who decided to challenge the industry and fight for Agents and ruffle feathers at carriers and teach Agents how to be themselves and ignore the whimpering monkeys and their demand for bananas while still performing at a high level.
My point is this: this industry is ugly and there are just as many if not more people trying to tear you down than build you up. Don’t listen to any of them. Their voices can get in your head and you can start believing them.
So here I stand before you today, an Agent with no vision, no creativity, and no entrepreneurial spirit who, just a short time later in the grand scheme of things, owns 6 businesses in this industry. Most are or were new ideas when we started them. With 38,000 strong in Insurance Soup on Facebook. Having more solutions on the way. Speaking at conference after conference alongside names such as Gary V, Cardone, and most recently now, Jeffrey Gitomer.
Know your worth. Don’t let anyone else tell you. They don’t know. Go for yours and don’t stop until you get it. Quit and prove them right. Listen to them and they ARE right. Ignore them or use the words for fuel and never look back.
You’re a winner whether the losers who got “promoted” to corporate realize it, acknowledge it, or not.
Your favorite “failed” Agent"