Tale as old as time, the path to great wealth and fortune is often a coveted dream that many around the world aspire to achieve. Many have their theories on how to reach the goal of being rich, however many have not configured a proper strategy to accomplish this ambition.
The average income per the 2020 census for the United States as a household income is $63,179. The media and the shrinking of the world through technological enterprise has conditioned many to always wanting more, and to look upon others who they consider to be at an upper echelon with envious eyes. Everybody has their idea of what success is. When I use to manage the day-to-day operations of an agency, I have been persistent in my requirement of setting achievable goals with agents and discussing what it took for that individual to achieve that goal. Most agents I saw come through the door had one major attribute in common, most if not all did not grow up aspiring to be an insurance agent.
Many choose a career in the life, health, and annuity retirement planning insurance field because of the renewals certain sectors of our industry pay as a commission, which in turn becomes a salary over time. The other payout dimension is the high-profit margins in the life and annuity retirement planning area. Profit margin alone does not even matter without a work ethic. At Hombolt Inc. we have the technological enterprise to disperse leads, communicate with ease to our agents, and have agents socialize with prospective clients.
What is success?
The word success takes on many potential viewpoints of interpretation. What some might see as success could be viewed as a failure from another. Many view successes as a monetary victory, but what about personal relationship success?
I remember the company events I use to attend back in the day when I started my career. At the time, upper-level management always grouped at the bar in the front row, and crowds of agents would group around them to praise them on their accomplishments. The drink of choice was always Patron chilled with training wheels, and the level of conversation always stayed on the surface with the occasional jabs at an individual’s insecurities. We had a President who was phenomenal at public speaking to the point he could change the whole dynamic of a concerned room, and turn that room into believers. The difference despite being great at motivation was finding the man many idolized also had more in monthly child support payments than I made in a year. He had and was able to figure out how to support the weight of the world on his shoulders in work, and in return was compensated to the point of being able to drive a Bentley, he wore a watch valued more than most people’s cars, yet he couldn’t find a balance between business and the personal side. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know what went on behind closed doors, I have my preconceived notions based on the fact that when running an office, he planted his son to live with me and learn the industry.
I have always believed that family comes first. Does that mean I have always made the correct decisions in life? Not at all. I was married previously that ended in divorce. That was back when I was building my career, and my ex-wife and I had a daughter in and out of the hospital for well over a year. Nobody is perfect, but a wise man (my dad) stated true success is finding what I am best at doing, perfecting by performing that duty to the best of my ability, and through my successes paying taxes to help our government and society as a whole. Combining that logic with finding a balance of the most valuable asset anybody has (time) to share with loved ones is my definition of success.
Is Hombolt Inc. the right fit for you?
Not every company is right for every individual. You can have the best most innovative strategy ever and still fall short of being the perfect fit for everybody. A company can have all of the checks and balances put in place, and no matter what technological progression a company may have, the one thing that technology cannot fix is a lack of motivation and work ethic.
The other thing a company cannot fix is the budget. Whether an agency entity is an MGA, BGA, SGA, IMO, even an FMO or any other 3 letter acronyms, there is a profit percent that the company must realize minus expenses, and true profitability is derived from the company’s net present value. Does the company make more by giving less to the agent, and having a platform in which the margin between the different levels is greater to push the notion of recruiting for growth? The other side is the company gives more to the agent, but the margin than for growth in a hierarchy setup does not exist, and then for growth it is solely up to the agency entity to recruit and build.
Hombolt Inc. uses the best of both models. One thing that has given our company a very aggressive competitive advantage is the mere fact that upper-level management at most of our other competitor companies have always been advanced within the system that was based on the ability to sell and that none of the pioneers of our ever-changing dynamic industry have had the education on vectors and matrices, or even taken linear algebra. We pay our agents extremely high percentages while having the ability to utilize 2 different recruiting models. Having the ability as an agent to utilize this model does not add on a heavy burden to the agent of time spent outside of their daily responsibilities in the field, yet it allows them to profit above and beyond the normal agent, and it allows for them to not be held back from their true potential and growth.
Current management determines your future!
I helped build up an office in August Georgia. This story is the definition of a bad decision done by upper-level management. The CEO at the time had a best childhood friend who for the past 15 years took care of his estate in North Carolina. Around 2012-2013 the market was starting to rebound, and the decision was made to sell that house. He told his friend he could get his license, and then decided to give him to develop through our industry learning curve the Augusta Georgia office to manage. To make a long story short, the office failed deep into the red, and that individual left and worked as an agent out of a different office. The point I am trying to make is when I arrived to help build that office, I watched this man at 9:00 in the morning blindly reach into a supply closet with one arm, and grab an application while looking at his audience which was about 7-10 agents that appeared to be about 40% checked in by the look in their eyes. He then stated, “let’s see what we got here.” He looked down at the paper that he grabbed and it was an application to join the American Retired Association. “Well, I guess this is what we are going to learn about today”, he stated. I couldn’t believe that is the basis of how he planned his morning meets/ educational training classes, but on top of that, I felt as if I would be insulted if I woke up to learn industry strategies, and instead visually saw that was the forethought a manager put into planning and preparing for my arrival.
The role management plays in this industry is imperative to the success of the whole unit. With an average household income of $63,179 in America, the average income of an insurance sales agent is $50,600. The best-paid top 25% earn $77,930, while the lowest earned less than $36,040. The whole point of management is to of course, manage. I have seen every color of the rainbow, to the dark colors ranging from screaming to throwing chairs. That is just one feature of the job. Holding people accountable for results. The huge role that is very much overlooked is the mentoring phase. It is the part of management that helps an individual get from one level to the next, where the results are shown on their income. It’s teaching them strategies on the four major parts of a first time meeting with a prospective client. The transition from the warmup into the fact-finding, from the fact-finding into the presentation, and the presentation into the close. I have watched the same strategies being taught that are based off of old school methodology. We have the A.B.C. always be closing approach that has a direct correlation to the 10 no’s approach. One study I would be very interested in would be from data from Vector One. I have noticed the high number of vectors from experienced agents on my recruiting missions. The difference that has changed the landscape of our industry is the change in technology.
Many do not understand why they keep getting charged back from the same types of clients that in the olden days as an average didn’t receive chargebacks from. A chargeback is when a client either passes away or cancels a policy due to a replacement, or a buyer not seeing the value in that policy inside of a certain period that is described in that companies’ chargeback schedule. Going back to the A.B.C. or the 10 no’s approach, one could compare the mental thinking of that client to that of someone in a completely different cohort than themselves. An example of my rambling, it wasn’t so long ago I realized I was aging. I was talking to a friend’s child about school, and I caught myself as I was saying “knowledge is power.” I tried to keep the words contained, but still couldn’t help myself, and after it was said, I could see in the kid’s face (his eyes rolled) his confusion in why I was still talking to him. The approach I was discussing is the same in which trust used to be based on persistence and efforts. These individuals still trying to hammer these prospective clients into a yes have still not realized that before they backed out of the driveway, these prospective clients are on their smartphones on Google figuring out what they just bought and how to cancel it. At Hombolt Inc. the foundation of our education is the ability to transition from one sale to the next by using advanced strategies and verbiage to create credibility, but most important to solve the entire issue these prospective clients face with their current insurance situation. To get to the point of having the opportunity to solve this issue falls back to the simple building blocks of sales, that people buy from people they like.
Developing a perfected strategy has its mistakes
Experience is key when configuring a training platform that can evolve and become more efficient and effective over time. Where companies and other agencies will fall short is having the channels in which realizing an inefficiency, and being able to correct that issue for the entire group. Some call it ignorance, overzealous tendencies, or even to the point of fear of showing weakness. I call it hubris. I know for a fact I have made many mistakes. From many of those mistakes, I have learned from them. My goal is to continue to make fixable mistakes due to my continuous search for innovation and progression. From those mistakes I am bound to continuously make, we can learn from them as a company to continue our growth at making an environment that strives to be almost flawless for the education of our agents.
Hombolt Inc. has a training platform in which we provide videos on the major subjects that aim to take that one-dimensional agent and helping them achieve the ability to be a multifaceted agent, and an expert in the sales of insurance. One great thing about having many of the top-rated carriers is being able to mix and match products to achieve the optimal result for our prospective clients. One of the downfalls of having that many carriers to represent is sorting out all of the benefits and figuring out what product is the best product for my client. Our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is our proprietary system that is developed for insurance agents. It has an Agent Chat Room inside of the database for agents to talk with agents. We will have conference calls in which if someone has a question, they have the option to have their video camera and mic turned on so they can have the floor and ask their questions, teach, or any other information they want to discuss. The database has the ability for the agent to do licensing, email, get prospective client leads, disposition those leads with a simple click of a drop-down menu, get prospective agent recruiting leads and disposition the same way as prospective client leads, run quotes and enroll, upload new business to track, and view payroll. (Along with many other functions) Building our own company ERP database has given us the ability for this to be user-friendly to the extreme. What I mean by that is that everything is on 1 page on the dashboard! To do so, I had to make a very big decision, and that was whether or not to code the database in PHP or ASP.NET. (I will always find a way to geek out!)
The future is bright!
Many have dreams of being in the spotlight. I as well believe to live our lives to the fullest. Individuals watch the famous stars of Hollywood on their Youtube channels or social media accounts and think to themselves, “I can do that”. They don’t understand the tech side behind the posts. Search engine optimization (SEO) keywords, domain meta tags, but most importantly how indexes rank. That is not even counting the amount of backlinks these places receive from very high and reputable sources. The same goes with a blog. They read blogs from the New York Times, Kiplingers, Wall Street Journal, etc.. and think they can get the same amount of traffic having a blog that has 600 words of content.
Hombolt Inc. fully believes and understands that everything that we do matters. Providing a system for agents that revolve around the progression of this world will give us over time an advantage over those companies that have not made the technological change, but have had success using outdated strategies. I’ve stated before, what they do works because pounding on many doors in a day is the activity, and the point is to get in front of prospective clients. There are more efficient and effective ways to do so, and again I reiterate that “the times are a-changin”- Bob Dylan.
Read next about the development of Hombolt World, our own proprietary social media platform. The user can create a post, and with user-friendly ease (a checkbox) share that post to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The user will also have the ability to have group business webinars that include video streams from their computers, as well as microphone access to communicate! Of course a social media platform would not be complete without having the ability for the user to experience the benefits using an Android or Apple IOS App.