In this podcast episode, Andy is sharing 3 insurance secrets to you kick-start (or revamp) your insurance career.


Video Transcript:

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Hey, Hey. Welcome back to the Bullpen Sessions podcast. My name is Andy Neary, and this is episode 277. Today, I am sharing three things I wish I knew when I started my insurance career. Now, whether you have been in the industry for two months, two years or 20, this is going to be a great episode for you.

This episode is a build off of the last two interviews I did with Hayden Partain and Terence Ogden and it made me reflect back on my insurance career and just the things I wish I knew when I’d just gotten started. You think about our industry, we are sold the dream. We are told if we stay around long enough, we are going to make a ton of money.

But then no one gives us the blueprint to actually do it. And let’s face it, it’s never been easier to win in the insurance industry today. Why? Because there’s a shortage of drive and discipline. I talked to sales directors, sales managers every week who complain that their producers are great at closing business. When given a lead, they do not know how to go out and get their own business.

So I’m going to share three things with you that I wish I knew 22 years ago, and if I had done that, maybe my career would have looked very differently. Today I am happy with what I’m doing. I love my business, but man, where would I be if I knew these three things 22 years ago? So let’s dive in now.

I’m warning you what I’m going to share. You may not necessarily want to hear, but you need to hear. That’s my job as a coach. All right, Let’s dive into episode 277. Hey, Hey. Welcome back to the podcast. I am excited today to talk about this topic because it is a topic near and dear to my heart. Three things I wish I Knew when I started my insurance career.

You set the stage for why I wanted to discuss this topic on today’s episode. So as you probably notice the past two weeks, I put out interviews that I can conducted with Hayden Martin and Terence Ogden, and I really like to use these solo episodes as an opportunity to debrief on what we talked about in the podcast and my interpretation of the topic I talked about with these guests and how it pertains to your career.

And when I look back at my interviews with Hayden and Terence, you know, a couple of things really stand out. Hayden is a young insurance professional who’s gotten off to a great start this health insurance career. And Terence Ogden, if you listen to his story, it is inspiring in his whole mission of how we do hard things. So I wanted to use both of those topics to share my thoughts in this episode on three things I wish I knew if I were getting started in my insurance career.

Now let me set the stage. That does not mean if you’re listening in and you have been in the industry for 15 to 20 years, this message does not apply to you. That’s not what I’m talking about. However, this message is going to re-energize you, maybe refocus your career, or just give you some clarity you’re lacking right now.

But if you are a new advisor and you have been in the industry for just a few years, this is going to be extremely impactful for you because I’m going to share some things I wish I knew when I was in my twenties getting into this insurance career, right, Because most of us did not get in it by design.

By the end of this episode, you’ll have clarity, you’ll have more direction. And if I do this right, you’ll have some more drive, more fire to get out, get after it. So let’s talk about why I think this episode matters. Three things I wish I knew when I was starting my insurance career. I see some problems in the insurance industry right now, and we definitely have a shortage of drive and discipline.

And when I look at the insurance landscape and I talk to producers, I talk to a lot of producers every week, I really feel like it’s never been easier to win in this industry because of this shortage of drive and discipline. It’s hard to find producers who want to just get out, get after it. And before I start pointing the finger at the producer, I am going to point out at the industry first, because as an insurance industry, I believe we have set the stage to create this problem.

Why? Couple reasons. Number one, we grossly overpay producers, especially new producers. And trust me, I am saying this from the lens of somebody who was overpaid far too often early in his career. Think about this. I see agencies, small or large, pay producers good six figures guaranteed for at least a couple of years to go out and produce.

When you pay a producer a very nice salary out of the gate, you are breeding complaints of complacency. They’re starting comfortable. So are we surprised that it’s hard to find somebody who’s got the drive and discipline to get after it? No. The second problem is commissions. I talked to agency owners who are paying ridiculously generous renewal commissions splits to their producers, sometimes 30 40% commission on renewals.

Think about that for a second. If you are compensating your producers with a very high renewal commission split, it doesn’t take that long for a producer to grow a book to a point where they are going to get very comfortable focusing on renewing what they have instead of consistently going out and trying to grow their book. Are we surprised that we have a team of producers who are complacent?

We have created the problem in the last part of the problem is because we pay them a big salary because we provide very high renewal commission splits. We’re missing the boat on how we train our producers right now. You have heard me talk about this at length that I’m not going to go into detail in this episode, but training in the insurance industry is horribly outdated.

We are teaching new dogs old tricks. We are still teaching our producers the way we did it 20 to 30 years ago. I can remember I gave a talk a couple of years ago at an international D-I Society event in Salt Lake City, and halfway through the talk I wanted to create some audience engagement. I remember I looked to the left to a at a man who was sitting over by the wall, and I asked this gentleman, you know, how long have you been in the industry?

And he said, 45 years. And I said, okay, when you got in the industry 45 years ago, how were you trained? And I was trying to demonstrate that our training is outdated. So when you got in the industry 45 years ago, how were you trained? And he sat up proudly and he said, I was given a phone book, a desk, and a plan to go door to door, which is exactly what I thought he would say for a gentleman who spent in the industry for 45 years.

And then I look to the center of the room and I found a woman who looked to be in her upper twenties, early thirties. I said, Ma’am, how long you been in the industry? And she said, Three years. I said, When you got in the industry three years ago, how were you trained? Her answer wasn’t all that much different than the gentleman who’d been in the industry for 45 years.

Two people who got in the industry four decades apart, who are trained almost the same way. That’s a problem. And so what happens is we think that paying producers a lot of money, rewarding them with generous Renewal Commission splits, is going to encourage them to go out and win more business. But what we fail to do is say, how about we give you some tools to actually go out with in just a couple of years into the industry, What happens is producers find themselves out on an island.

They’re trying to figure that figured this out and they get frustrated. They feel dejected. I know I’ve been there and so I really want to talk to that producer today. If that’s you, whether you’ve bet in the industry for two years, two months or 20, I don’t care if you feel like you could lose, use a little more clarity and drive right now.

This is what this episode is about. And I’m going to warn you, I’m going to say some things today as it coach you may not want to hear, but if you want to turn things around, you need to hear them. I’m not here to be your friend. I’m here to be your coach. I want to help you get better because let’s face it, the industry is struggling to find good young talent.

This is true. I speak at a lot of Navy chapters around the country, and every single one of them is telling me we need more young members. They can’t find them. We’ll talk about that, too. I talked to sales directors, agency owners every single day who tell me the same thing over and over again. 80. My producers are great at closing business.

When I give them a lead, they can’t go produce their own business. This is that shortage of drive and discipline. I’m talking about. And then the last thing, and this one is aimed at you, the producer. If this is where you are at because of all of this, you find yourself in a career right now. Let’s face it, you didn’t intend to get into in the first place and you’re frustrated because you keep telling yourself this isn’t what I signed up for.

Even if you’ve been in the industry for 25 years with the way things have changed and evolved, and especially since 2012, you might be finding yourself saying this isn’t what I signed up for. And as a result, unfortunately, I see too many really good producers have a lot of good potential end up leaving the industry two three years after they got at it, because this isn’t what they signed up for.

And I do point the finger at the industry because of the way we pay producers, the promises we make, that quite frankly, we don’t intend to back up. And it’s a problem. We need more good young talent. And so I want to use today’s episode to really set the stage mainly at you. The producer who’s tuning in say, All right, I’m going to share three things I wish I knew Young earlier in my career that would have set my career off on a much quicker, faster, successful path.

It took me a long time and I am glad I finally learned them. But I don’t want you to have to wait as long as I did or go through your career as long as I did to figure this out. And my epiphany really occurred back in 2014. At that point, I had already been in an industry for 13 years, and up until that point I was that producer I just described.

For the first ten years of my career, I was the guy who expected business, didn’t want to put the work in to go find his own. I was the guy who constantly made excuses for why I wasn’t winning and I was the guy who just refused to put in the work that it took to be successful because I was sold that this is an industry you can get into and if you stay in it for the first at least five years, you’re going to be really financially successful.

And I was not. After five years, I looked back and I said, This isn’t what I was sold. I was told I was going to be making a lot of money by now and I’m not. And I blamed everything and everyone but me. And that’s why I’m talking to you right now. If you find yourself in a place that you’re not as financially successful as you want to be, you’re not as happy.

You’re not winning as much business as you thought you would be. First, you got to stop blaming everybody and everything else. You got to look in the mirror. It’s you. It is not them. That’s number one. That’s not three things I wish I knew. But we got to start there and what I want for you right now is I want you to have a little clarity on what you are going to do to set yourself up on a trajectory of success because when I look at the industry, I look at all the producers that I get a chance to talk to and I look back at my career, what I don’t want is for you

to be the happy hour zero sales meeting zero. And I was that guy When we’d go out for happy hour as a team, Guess who was first in line? Yep, yours truly. But then next Monday morning, when we were in our sales meeting, guess whose numbers were at the bottom? Yours truly. Do not be a happy hour hero sales meeting.

Zero. No, no, no. I want you to focus on the right things. I want your name to be at the top of every sales leadership board. I want your career to feel fulfilled. I want you to enjoy what you’re doing. I want you to have fun. I want you to wake up every day with the fire to get out and get after it.

And so where this really became a reality for me, it was 2014 when Amy and I decided that we were going to move to Colorado. It was my pivotal moment because for me, honestly, I haven’t shared this a lot with with people. It was a chance to start over. Hi, it’s Andy NEARY and thank you for listening to the Bullpen Sessions podcast.

Did you know the ideas shared on this show are things we actually specialize in helping to implement? If you’re an insurance professional and you want to turn your credibility into consistent client acquisition, visit complete game consulting dot com and schedule a free strategy call again that’s complete game consulting dot com to request your free strategy call. All right.

Let’s jump back in to today’s podcast episode. You might’ve said I’d been making some stupid decisions here in Wisconsin professionally and personally. And when Amy and I had made the decision we were going to move west, I looked at it as an opportunity to rewrite my future, rewrite my story and start over. And when I got out there and I went to work for Vogue Belle, I used it as a chance to basically act like I was starting over in the insurance industry.

Fortunately, I was coming with some industry knowledge, but I was looking at it as an opportunity to completely restart my insurance career because I was in a market where nobody knew who I was. I was back in a production role the previous three years. I actually took a step back and became an account executive, and this was an opportunity to start fresh.

And it was here where the three things I’m going to share with you that I wish I knew earlier in my career really started to positively impact my career. And I there’s moments I look back now at age 46 and go, man, if I had known this when I was 25, where would I be today? But hindsight’s 2020 and I want to share these with you because I want to make sure they’re embedded in your mindset as quickly as possible, because this is an opportunity to rewrite your future.

Maybe you have been in the industry for a couple of years. Maybe you are that producer like I was, who was all excited to get in. But right now you’re not experiencing the success you thought you were or you told you were going to have, and you might even be sitting there saying, This is what I signed up for, and you’re starting to have the self thought that says, maybe I should go do something else.

Or you’ve been in the industry for 20, 25 years and you’re finding that things are coming as easy as they used to, or you maybe have developed some bad habits over the years that have led to where you are today. I want to help right size what you’re doing to get you back on track. So let’s dive into the first thing I wish I knew when I was starting my insurance career.

Do hard things, embrace the suck. You know, when I interviewed Terrance Ogden, and if you haven’t had a chance to go, listen to that episode. Episode 276 please do. He’s got a very inspiring story. This is a man who was addicted to drugs, alcohol, found himself in and out of rehab, in jail, and realized that he had to make a change.

And today he runs Project Grit, which is an organization that does endurance events like rocks, 75 Mile Rocks. And he realized that one of the best things he could do to change his life, to go from an addiction to drugs, alcohol to an addiction to success was to do hard things every day. In fact, when I interviewed him, he just said, We do hard things.

And I absolutely love that. I got chills when he said it, because that is a motto we live by here at Complete game consulting with pitches. We do hard things every day. And so when I was getting into the industry at age 22, I wish that I just knew it was going to suck. It’s going to be hard and you got to embrace the suck you’ve got to embrace failure.

If you’re a producer, you are in sales. Any sales requires you to fail a lot. You know, in the game of baseball, a hitter goes three for ten. He’s in the Hall of Fame. But that means he failed seven out of ten times. Sales is a game of failure. The more no’s you get, the closer you get to a yes.

And if you’re too afraid to go out and get after it because you are fearing the know, you’re not going to achieve your full potential in the insurance career, you have to embrace the failure and this really hit me, actually, this took me a lot longer than I thought it ever would really use this as an asset in my career.

I can remember when I started complete game consulting and I decided to go all in on it. I gave up my book of business. I made complete game consulting my full time business. I remember a particular day where I just got my ass kicked. Everything went wrong. I think I lost a couple of clients. I lost a coaching arrangement that was bringing in some nice money because they were going in a different direction.

And I had that moment honestly where I thought about, okay, this coaching business might not be for me. I might want to think about going back and selling insurance. But I can remember going to bed that night and it was a pivotal moment in the growth of complete game consulting, where even though the day sucked, I had my doubts about the future of the business.

I went to bed excited to get up and do it all over again. And that little moment there is what actually changed the trajectory. A complete game consulting because it was in that moment I actually learned what it meant to embrace the suck embrace failure. Listen, if you’re going to have success in your insurance career, you’re going to fail and you’re going to fail a lot.

But you cannot let this fear of failure prevent you from doing what you have to do to grow your book of business. You can’t let it prevent you from putting yourself out there, doing what it takes to have success, to win more alphas. You can’t let this fear of failure prevent you from telling people you can help them.

I watch too many producers right now who literally are hired to sell, and they’re doing everything except sell because they’re too afraid of a no. They’re too afraid to do hard things. Success has never been achieved without doing hard things, so you have to embrace the suck. Anybody who told you that, all you’ve got to do is get in the industry and make it for five years and you’ll have success is full of shit, but you have to put it on yourself to embrace the suck, to do the hard things.

That’s why we have a bottle here. We do hard things. It’s just part of what we do. And I have made it a big part of my life. So I get up every morning and the first thing I do is take a ice cold shower. Why? Because the first thing I do every day sucks. It’s hard.

I look at I look at my day and go, What is the number one priority I have to do today to move this business forward? It’s the first thing I do every day. Why? Because it’s usually hard. You have to learn how to do hard things every day. You have to learn how to embrace the things that aren’t going to be fun.

And you have to understand that you’re going to fail. But in joy, it’s part of your growth process to success. The second thing I wish I knew when I was getting in my in this industry and this is a big one, you got to invest in yourself. Don’t expect others to do it for you. One of the biggest reasons somebody will not hire us for our coaching and our training is because they’re expecting their boss, their company to pay for it.

And if they don’t, they don’t do it. If you are expecting others to invest in your professional development, you will not be successful. I don’t know how else to tell that to you, but you ought to look at the people who are having huge success with books of business. There are seven, sometimes eight figures. They didn’t expect their boss to invest in their their development.

They went out and did it themselves. They went out surrounded themselves with people who are playing the game at a higher level than them, and they put themselves in rooms that are uncomfortable. That’s how you grow. But I can remember when I moved out to Colorado, I didn’t even know what professional development was at that time. But I remember that first year I was out there, I found this course online by Darren Hardy called Insane Productivity.

Now it was $1,000. Did I go to my boss and say, Hey, Claire, we paid for this for me, I really want to take this course. I think it’s going to help me improve my productivity. So I got one more business. We pay. No, I didn’t. I didn’t once think Claire should have to pay for that, because if I want to have success, I’ve got to invest myself.

Because if I’ve been investing myself, guess what? I’m going to take it seriously and I’m going to take my career seriously. And ever since that started a transformation of professional development, I invested in I Invest In 2016, I joined a National Speakers Academy. Speakers Academy, 20 $500. I hired a personal speaking coach, $500 a month that I ask my boss to pay for it.

No, I didn’t. When I look back since 2014, that was nine almost ten years ago, I can guarantee I have probably invested close to a quarter of $1,000,000 in personal development. Not one penny of it was paid for. My boss, if you want to take your career seriously, if you want to get the results you are trying to achieve, stop expecting other people to do it for you.

Invest in your own growth. And yes, sometimes investing that money is going to be uncomfortable. You’re going to invest money you might not have. But how serious are you about succeeding? How serious are you about achieving your success, your full potential? Don’t expect others to invest in you. You’ve got to invest in yourself. And the third thing I wish I knew when I was getting in this industry back in 2001 was the number one skill that you must acquire is consistency.

Yeah, not industry knowledge, not better sales tactics or how to write the perfect cold call script. No, the number one habit, number one skill you have to acquire is consistency. When I look back at the younger version of me when I was 2223, I was not consistent at all. I wanted the quick wins. I was complacent and I would try something for a week or two and then I’d give up.

I go back to my old ways and I realized if I’m going to have success and I look at all of the people I want to model myself after they’re doing the things that are not sexy day in and day out, but they’re doing the activities they have to do to create the long term success, right? Everybody wish they could have been Tom Brady throwing the touchdown in the Super Bowl.

Everybody wishes they could be LeBron James playing basketball at a high level at age 39 and hitting the game winning shot and the NBA title. But nobody wants to put the work in they do every day to be able to do that. I was just listening to a podcast where Tony Robbins was getting interview and he’s talking about Steph Curry.

Steph Curry is the all time three point king, right? By a wide margin, he is going to absolutely destroy that record. But he has taken 500 shots every day of the week since he was in college. Tony added it up. It was something like 2.5 million shots. That’s why he now holds the all time record. And by the time he’s done, it’s going to be an unbreakable record.

Are you putting in the work? Are you doing all the things off the field when no one is watching that is going to help you achieve success on the field in the game of business? Or are you too focused on being first in line at happy hour? Consistency is the secret to success. There is nothing sexy about selling.

It is about waking up every day and doing the things you have to do that will ultimately lead to your success. For me, when I build a consistent game plan as a producer, that allowed me to wake up every week and do the same activities I needed to do every week. Here’s where the game changed. I was no longer putting so much pressure on having to sell.

I was putting pressure on running the process because I knew that the calls I made today, I knew that the emails I sent out tomorrow and I knew that the LinkedIn activity I put in the following day may not lead to success on that day, but it was going to create a flywheel success in the future. These activities don’t ever create immediate results, but if you apply them week after week after week, they compound.

The reason you’re not having success right now is you’re just not consistent. You try something for a week or two and then you’re gone. I see it with social media content. I see producers who get all excited about creating content for LinkedIn and being active on LinkedIn, and they do it for a week. They do it for to heck, they might do it for a month and then they’re gone.

What happened to that consistent? So if you want to have more success in your career right now, consistency is going to be the key. Whether that is the habits you put, you create every day, the discipline that you apply to your business or the activities you’ve got to put in as a producer to grow your book, Be consistent.

So that’s my advice for you today. I wish I knew these three things when I was 22, and here I sit 46, 24 years later, and I feel I am living out these three things. But man, I look back at my career and go, I knew that 20 years ago, where would I be today? I’m still very happy where I’m at today, but wow, I don’t know where I’d be today if I’d applied these a lot earlier in my career.

So my advice to you, if you’re listening in your 27 years old, you’re just getting your insurance career kicked off or you’re 57 and you’re trying to find that spark. Number one, embrace the suck. You’re going to fail. Love, failure. It’s part of the process to keep investing in yourself. Don’t expect others to do it for you. And number three, if there’s one skill you must acquire as quickly as you can, it’s consistency.

Because if you focus on these three pieces of advice, I wish somebody had given me 25 years ago, you’ll have more drive, more discipline and more consistency. I hope I’ve given you a bit of that today. It’s going to lead to more financial success. But most important, you are going to have career fulfillment and that’s what I want for you.

Not only do I want you to have a lot of financial success, not only do I want you to have an amazing book of business, I want you to frickin love what you do. There’s too many people in this industry who are here for the money, and they’ve done well financially, but they don’t enjoy what they do. They’re not fulfilled.

That’s not what I want for you. I want you to love what you do. I want you to wake up every day. Fired up about what you do. That’s what this is all about. So take what I had to say today. I hope this gave you a spark, gave you clarity. And I hope you’re fired up to wake up tomorrow to get up and get after it.

Because you know what happens when you’re clear? You’re confident. When you’re confident, you’re consistent. When you’re consistent, you are honest, unstoppable. Go out and get after it. That’s all we got for today’s episode of the Bullpen Sessions podcast. One thing that would really help us both and other new potential listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a comment in iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you tune in to listen to the show.

Also, make sure to link up with us at complete game consulting Dot com on social media and please share this podcast with anyone who you think might enjoy it. Until next time. Remember, clarity creates confidence. Confidence creates consistency. Consistency makes you unstoppable.