Here’s another look at what you might have missed out on in our recent agent training…
Our monthly Q&A with an industry leader featured a top producer who has written millions of dollars in annual premiums of life insurance and sold and started multiple insurance agencies. To the average insurance producer, he’s kind of a big deal! But, in all seriousness he highlighted some great points and reinforced some of the basic tactics many insurance producers often forget.
John Byrne has a big goal for his business: Focus on 15-20 life insurance deals per year and close 7-10. Doesn’t sound too tough huh? John’s deals will generate nearly $1,000,000 in annual premium and nearly all comes from business owners. In order to achieve success in a low volume sales model it requires a high level of focus and discipline and a passion for the process.
John addressed not only how he has written millions of dollars in life insurance using this strategy but how he has managed to set himself up for acquisition three separate times. It was great listening to his story and I’m sure many of the attendees were shaking their heads thinking, “If he can do it, I can do it!”
John had 4 tips for building a successful insurance agency that I think really connected with those on the call.
1. Work Life Balance
John emphasized the importance for an insurance producer to maintain balance in their life. You are your own boss and have multiple distractions hitting you every day from every direction. This ultimately creates an environment that breeds conditions for turmoil.
Whether it is staying late at the office to itemize your commissions or taking your Saturday to play golf with a client, there are always time vampires in regards to your business. It all comes down to prioritizing without sacrificing the growth of your agency. Your clients don’t do business with you because you are a golfer; they are your clients because you help them address the needs that will haunt them on their darkest days.
Bust your butt from 8:00-5:30 and take the time that matters to spend with your family.
2. Asking for Referrals
John’s success as an insurance producer started by following Al Granum’s One Card System, putting him in the position to rely solely on referrals for the rest of his career. Granum is the father of insurance prospecting and those who have mastered his concepts are consistently top producers. Granum said it best in an interview in 2009 with LifeHealthPro:
“The best way to get someone to listen is through a referred lead. I could spend all the time in the world mastering a magnificent presentation, but I still need someone to talk to. It was on that basis that I put my foot down.” – Al Granum
John was adamant in our interview how his success has been driven around his ability to face his fears and ask for referrals. You shouldn’t be shocked if you’re telling yourself you aren’t comfortable asking for referrals… most insurance producers aren’t. When John started his career he was focused on the daily activity around generating referrals—the grind–and results followed in a big way. Today, 100% of John’s sales are generated through referrals.
3. Face your Fears
If you are going to charge up the hill with the big boys, then you need to be prepared to charge up with bullets flying. Cliché I know, but painfully true nonetheless. U.S. News Money states the average insurance agent’s salary is roughly $48,000. If that describes you then you need to step out of your comfort zone if you are going to chase the top insurance producers. A good way to start is by keeping some generic illustrations in your bag that show what a client can accomplish by funding a life insurance policy with 3-5k / month. While this may seem crazy, it’s the start of fueling growth from a position of discomfort. Show this to clients to illustrate your capabilities and see where the discussion goes. The worst they can say is no. John’s advice was sound when he stated, “a lot of money to one client might be a little to another” so you need to just face your fears and try it.”
4. Never Prejudge an Appointment
Ok, so we’ve covered some good points here and I’ll reiterate that sometimes it’s just nice to know that other people think the same way you do. As a top producer, John has learned to keep it simple when running his agency. Out of all the rules to follow, John was very clear that agents should never prejudge an appointment.
He referenced a referral he met when he was 27 years old and still a new agent learning how to sell life insurance. There he was, sitting in the back of a small tire store with the co-owners talking about health insurance. After he was done with the two simple health insurance applications, John asked if they had life insurance. To his surprise both brothers were paying nearly $75,000 annually into their whole life insurance policies with an anticipated break even point of about 12 years for their cash value. After a brief deep breath, he conjured up the courage and simply said something earth shattering:
“Would you be open to me educating you on life insurance?”
Simple language like this was all it took for the two brothers to agree to another appointment. From this John wrote his first large life case, a staggering $150,000 in annual premium. This was a defining moment in John’s career as he learned he was capable of greater things and, more importantly, to never prejudge an appointment.
It’s a breath of fresh air to again hear there is no silver bullet to building a successful insurance agency. Much of our day is trying to help agents keep it simple. The four keys listed above are exactly that, simple!
The next time you are faced with adversity and contemplating going back to your job at the bank or the steel shop, remember to go back to the basics, keep it simple, and focus on the activity required to drive results. We’re happy to send you the link to the full interview or any other training sessions.
I would love to hear what has been your biggest hurdle in growing your business. Use the comment section below and let us know, so we can offer our advice and maybe just help you tip the scale in your direction!
As you may start to realize, we want to make sure you have every shot at getting valuable information. So if you miss our live training, you can always visit our blog for more tips to building a successful insurance agency. Click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.