I recently got an email via this blog that stopped me in my tracks. Most likely because I wasn’t expecting such a heartfelt plea for help. The writer laid it all out- bare, warts-and-all honesty. And to someone who she had never met.
Although this is not why I’m telling her story, I have to say I give her mad props for contacting me. I could have laughed her off the screen, ridiculed her or at best, ignored her. But she took a chance. She found me, read enough of my work and about who I am that it convinced her I was the person she needed to contact. And boy am I glad she did.
Note: she gave me permission to tell her story, but to protect her privacy, I have changed her name.
Here’s the email that rocked my world:
Hi Carrie! I’m so glad I stumbled across you on the internet. I am a brand new P&C agent and boy, am I overwhelmed at the moment. I have signed on with an insurance broker as an independent rep and am currently feeling really frustrated.
I’ll give you a visual: New on the job. No training offered. No mentor. Office staff all have their own areas of expertise – one for home and auto, one for commercial, two for trucking, the owner and his wife. If I ask the owner he directs me to his staff for any questions as he seems too preoccupied with his computer screens to even look up at me when I enter his office with a question. I find this rather rude myself, but…
I am currently the only independent rep in the office. The owner said the best strategy is for me to get visiting auto garages and milking that particular industry until there is nobody in the county left then move on to another industry, i.e. restaurants. He also advised me since I didn’t have experience or any stories to share with prospects is to just walk in and say, “I’d like to quote you on your business insurance”. Hmmmm. Sounds really impersonal to me.
When I do go into the office with a quote I feel like I have to take a number as the office staff is really busy and they don’t have the time to help me with questions or show me how to properly fill out the paperwork. I’ve had two auto garages say I can quote them but I cannot get these owners to get back to me with all the necessary information I need for quoting (garage keeper forms, etc.). The insurance owner really wants me to focus on commercial quotes and sales because that’s where the higher commission comes in.
I’m feeling really let down right now. I just got my license in March 2014 and have had some serious questions about if I should proceed in this industry. I LOVED learning about insurance while I was studying to take the exam and was so hyped and eager to conquer the world, however, I feel deflated and not so interested any more. Is it because of the lack of help? The lack of a mentor? What if I want to start out slow and easy with home and auto to gain a better understanding of the industry? Do I need to work for a different agency? I don’t know at this point. I’m just talking at the moment.
Carrie, any advise that you have would be such a wonderful blessing to me. I love your vivaciousness and outspoken boldness and I wish I had a quarter of your knowledge and experience behind me. God bless you!
Feeling pretty fragile but still hopeful,
My reply to her:
And her final response:
Hi Carrie! You emailed me back! I’m so excited! Your email brought tears to my eyes as I read it aloud to my husband. He was so happy to hear your guidance as we both didn’t know what direction I should be walking down.
I too feel that a different agency is the best road for me to take. I’m just not feeling the love, if you know what I mean.
I live in the Boise, Idaho area if you should have any connections here.
You have blessed me more than you will ever know by your email of warmth, confidence, conviction, and honesty. That is how I roll as well.
Here’s to movin’ on, right? YES! I CAN DO THIS! May the passion never die!
Here’s my key takeaways from this conversation (can you think of more?):
- If you make yourself easy to find online, people will find you.
- If you are active online (in whatever capacity that is, I’m assuming mine was because of my writing), you increase your chances of being found.
- By telling your story, being real and approachable and believing it 100%, others will believe too.
- They will trust you too. And trust is the foundation of ALL relationships.
- You NEVER know when something you’ve said or done has a positive impact on someone else. So keep doing good things.
- If you’re in an insurance agency that operates like this and are miserable, you need to LEAVE as fast as you can. It will NOT get better. It’s NOT just a bad day. It’s an environment, a culture and one that will suck you dry.
- If you’re an agency owner and can see any similarities in the situation Jill described, something needs done STAT. You’re not doing the employees any favors (plus they WILL leave you) and you’re not doing your business any favors (lost productivity, negative attitude, no motivation to help contribute to bottom line, etc.)
- Insurance is a GREAT profession. We, as an industry, should never do anything to discourage people trying to break into the industry. We NEED people with fire & energy. Insurance gets bashed at every opportunity. We need people who are willing to fight & defend.