There’s nothing really secret about it. It’s it’s really about. It’s really about execution. I really believe that it’s about understanding what you do become knowledgeable about what you’re selling and executing every single day. I really I don’t think it’s anything beyond that. I think it’s it and figuring out ways to go the extra mile for you for your customers to do something maybe they didn’t ask you to do but you do it anyway or respond to them at a time they’re not expecting your response. You know these are things you can do in order to make yourself different and noticed in the marketplace.
You know I think the biggest reason for my success and I’ll go back to what I talked about the. Is just being consistent about what I do and that’s something that I think in any sales job. When you look out in the landscape and go who’s my competition there’s lots of folks out there who can’t be consistent they’ll do it for a while. They’ll do it here and there. But if you can be really consistent about how you do what you do in terms of responsiveness and getting back to people and that is a huge huge thing it’s going to put you ahead of your competition.
What about sales philosophy. Do you subscribe to a particular approach. Yeah I think persistence is the one I subscribe to. I think that if you read a lot of sales literature oftentimes sales are won on the third or fourth try and and I think that’s true. I think that you have to not give up and we’ll do that in our business. So someone told me tell me for example if I’m dealing with an underwriter on an account then under under me tell me no. But oftentimes I’ll wait I’ll call them back. They may say no again I’ll wait the next day. I’ll try again. And it’s taken me three four times sometimes to they say basically wore them down into getting them to say yes to what I want. And so there’s a lot of value in persistence. If you do it the right way. You know a lot of times calling and and you know making humor out of it making it funny that hey are. And I know I’m calling me again. I’m not bothering you again. But come on you got to help me out here. And oftentimes that’s effective in getting people to to come your way on a point of view.
Do you have a particular rule of thumb or triggers that you sort of suggest that people look to to make that decision that hey this is a time I should be picking up the phone versus sending this e-mail. Well anytime it’s bad news they should be picking up the phone. You can follow it up with an e-mail. But if you don’t think the person on the other end of this phone is going to be happy with what you’re going to tell them then you pick up the phone. And that’s something that we work hard to try to get our staff to understand this pick up the phone have the conversation if you think it’s going to be bad news or something and you don’t think that that’s the answer they’re looking for then pick up the phone hey this is what I have today but reassure them. This is what we’re working towards.
This is another thing I’ll say. We have had trouble sometimes with folks who don’t want to respond because they don’t have the answer. And that is something you have to not do. You have to respond even if you don’t have the answer. So for example if I get a request in I don’t know the answer I’m going to respond to that person and say hey got your request. I’m checking into this. I’ll be back to you shortly or I’m checking into this. When do you need this by. So immediately responding to that. So they know I got their response and I am working on their question or their issue and not waiting. Sometimes people will get a response and wait. It can be 24 hours before they get the answer. Well that’s too late to respond to somebody in our world. So we’re looking to respond right away and at least tell them hey we’re working on this. Yeah. Well and at that point you also can understand what their expectation is you know maybe it’s like well I didn’t need that for two weeks no big deal. Great I don’t have to light my hair on fire and go chase down that answer versus somebody else that you know I need this by noon today to make a decision on X Y or Z. That’s right don’t I mean don’t assume everything’s a rush but if you don’t know when somebody is looking for it and then ask when they need it by you know. And oftentimes when you do have the answer then immediately respond with the answer then you look like a hero.
What advice would you give to somebody that wanted to start a career in insurance. Well I think the most important thing is to look at your own personality. You know there’s different aspects of our business from underwriting analyzing the risk pricing the risks to what we do which is brokering. There’s also claim handling an aspect of our business as well. I think you kind of looked at you know what type of personality are you. Are you an outgoing person that’s not afraid to take a risk. I mean part of the amazing thing about sales is that it is a huge risk reward proposition and if you get into the right position it can pay off handsomely. You know one of the things I would always ask is whether where whatever company you’re going to look at what does the top salesperson make. Because that’s going to give you an idea it’s not necessarily meaning that you’re ceiling, but that gives you an idea. What is it. What is possible in that particular industry. What is possible in the type of insurances that are available is to always ask that question what does the top guy make because I want to know what is possible what has been done. And I think that’s a good question to certainly ask if you’re examining a career in any kind of sales position.
I’m proud of being consistent and persistent and watching it build a business and that’s something that I look at today and say wow you know you went the extra mile. You know you went above and beyond when you had to and and you know what you all of a sudden 26 years later you’re like Wow I actually built something and that’s something that I’m proud of doing you know and people have to remember anything worth having has to be paid for. And it has to be paid for through time and perseverance and effort. And I liked what Napoleon Hill said and that’s you know he would always talk about the lot of the extra miles. And that’s basically doing more than what you’re paid for.
That you’re never going to make more than what you think you can make. You’re never going to write more business or produce more business more income to your company than you ever think you’re going to do is just not going to happen. You have to start getting beyond those numbers that you’re at today. You have to start setting the number into the future. Hey he may never make the number but I personally I’ve made every number I’ve put out except the latest number because I always keep moving that number out. So that’s why it’s important to really start thinking about what you want for yourself and starting to put out some things into the future and that’s where I’m going. That’s where I believe I can get and and then you know you’ll start doing things that move you along that path.
Oftentimes in my early days I would go out you would tell a customer well I have this and that I have this product and I have this place I can obtain it. And at the end of the day all I was doing is what we call weather reporting. And everybody can weather report. Everybody can walk in and say and give out ten different facts about their company or their business and what they do. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about having them think about you in a different way. So I started to think about what I want from my customers. And I decided to answer that question. And but to also answer that question without them asking me that question and I’ll give you example. So instead of going in and talking to my my customers about you know I have this product that product I went in and said Listen I’m here to help you to deliver the best possible solution for your customer because I knew that’s what they wanted. I knew ultimately they could never say no to not wanting to do that everybody wants to deliver the best product to their customer and help their clients get the best solution. And then the second thing that I realized is that all of us are looking for somebody to help us. So I said well wait a minute I’m not here just to help you deliver the best product for your customers I’m here to do that. But in addition I’m going to help make your job easier.
This is all about service and this is all about relationships. And so I started to think about well you can’t build a relationship unless you first have good service. So what are those components of service that we deal with on a day to day basis. And in my industry it’s one of phone calls e-mails. In the old days faxes. But one thing that I realized is that if I could be more responsive than my competitors and I could do this every single day then I could stand out from them. And that was something that early on proved to be true. I would make sure that if I received a phone call I was really quickly returning the phone call if I received in the old days a fax which many of you probably have not seen but in the old days if you get a fax I’m not waiting around to send a fax back. I’m picking up the phone and acknowledging that I received their fax and talking to him about that particular account that I am going to work on for them.