Reading time… 8 minutes
Key takeaways from this interview: Dean Skidmore is attacking a high potential audience, small businesses, with a strong product: voluntary benefits. Redbird is helping him find targeted lists and assistance with other techniques, such as social media. And, Dean has customized Redbird’s Services Offered selling sheet with a local photo and his logo, all to help build his brand. As we all know, it is seldom one thing that is the difference between failure and success.
Name: Dean Skidmore (partner: Carla Rose)
Years in insurance: 10
Agency: Pearlsnap Insurance Consultants
Location: Keller, TX
Primary target audience: small business (15 employees or fewer)
Areas of focus: group health and voluntary worksite benefits
Q. Where do you see the opportunity for your agency?
A. “We’re getting into worksite benefits on the group side. Carla and I had done a couple of groups prior to starting Pearlsnap and liked what we saw with the opportunity. We’re now teaming up with Legal Shield and some other companies (Redbird is helping with). We’re focusing on small businesses with less than 15 employees.”
Q. Why small business?
A. “A lot of these small businesses, especially those with under 15 employees, like the idea of having something else like a Legal Shield, that’s a voluntary benefit, they can give to their employees since most don’t have group benefits. And, I like working with smaller businesses.”
Q. How are you generating leads?
A. “When I started with Aflac (in 2004) I was thrown to the wolves and had a hard time getting to the people I needed to talk to. Carla and I are members of a local organization that is Chamber-esqe called the Keller Business Connections. Everyone pretty much knows who we are. There are a bunch of small businesses in it. We’ve been canvassing Keller members door to door to get interest and set some appointments.
“Nobody likes cold calling whether you’re buying leads off the Internet or somewhere else. To me it’s the nature of the beast until you get to the point where you’ve taken care of clients or met enough people to prove yourself where they are referring you. There are over 900 small businesses in this Keller organization and I’m always looking to see if they have a Keller or Chamber sticker on their door.”
Q. What is your key message to prospects?
A. “I’m extremely customer-service oriented and I emphasize I will be the one to help them with anything they need. Carla and I care about taking care of our customers. We always try to do the best for the customer, sometimes doing things where we don’t get any benefit out of it.”
Q. What products are of highest interest for these small businesses and their employees?
A. “Critical illness, cancer, heart attack and stroke. These are the things that could potentially bankrupt them whether they have insurance or not.”
Q. Redbird is helping you broaden your footprint in social media. Do you see that as an area to help you grow?
A. “Yes. I think getting more involved in it is a good idea. I have a personal page on Facebook and a business page for Pearlsnap. We’re just getting the business Facebook page going. I also have LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. We’re trying HootSuite as well. For the short amount of time it takes in HootSuite to get a blast out and it doesn’t cost really anything… it’s great.”
Editor’s note: Contact Drew Gurley if you’re interested in talking about social media strategies. And, check out the HootSuite site. They provide amazing capabilities for marketing and communications on the Internet. Well worth the look and we can help.
Q. What’s up with the name “Pearlsnap” and how has it impacted how you brand yourself?
A. “I grew up in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex but I was born in northern Oklahoma. I’ve been wearing boots, jeans and Pearl Snap shirts for a long time. Over the years it’s just become how I dress. When I started going to the Keller meetings nobody else dressed like me. They (members of Keller) may not know my name but they know exactly what I do and they remember my clothes. They say ‘there’s the cowboy.’ It’s my brand now. It’s just a way to stir up the dust and keep moving forward.”
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