D: Greetings everybody. My name is David Duford with Final Expense Agent Mentor and today we are discussing and talking about the final expense industry with my agent, Chip. Chip works in a major southeast city. He has been a final expense mentorship client of mine for the past five months and he has had some excellent results since he’s started. We’re going to discuss how the process has been since he’s come aboard, kind of, really reveal what the final expense industry is like from an actual producing agent so that hopefully you, the listener, will learn how the final expense business works, what it’s like, what the pros are, what the cons are– really just to get an insider’s look to see, you know, just how much success really happens in this business.
Now Chip, just to tease a few of his stats, he’s just had such an incredible start, his average case size is $912 in annual premium, which is absolutely astounding. The average agent closes around a $600 annual premium, and we’re going to talk to him about how he’s been able to get larger case size. He also has– two out of three people he actually sits with, he closes, so he’s got about a 67% close deal to appointment ratio, and his total return on investment– for every dollar that he’s invested in lead campaign, he’s brought in $13 in premium which, again, all these stats I mentioned are absolutely astounding, so I think the conversation we’re going to have is going to be very beneficial for– whether you’re a new agent and you’re looking for tips and ways to improve your game, or whether you’re experienced and you want to know what Chip has done to be successful. So I’m going to ask Chip to introduce himself and thank you for being on the call.
CC: Well, David, thank you a lot for inviting me to talk to you a little bit about my successes. Again, my name is Chip and I do live and work in a major U.S. city in the southeast United States. Basically, my background is– everybody comes to this business from a different background, different perspective– I spent the last twenty years before I started this in medical sales. I’ve sold to doctors, to CEOs, to clinics and I’ve been very successful in those twenty years, so that’s helped me, I think, in terms of the sales aspect, but you don’t have to have a sales background to make this business work– I really believe that. I’ve had my insurance licenses since 2009, I just started really using them over the last eight to ten months and before I worked with David, I actually was with a captive life insurance company, one of the biggies, for about six months and found out, quickly, that that’s not what I wanted to do. So since I’ve been doing a lot of reading, a lot of research, and talking to a lot of people about who’s successful and why.
DD: And what peaked your interest in final expense after your experience at the captive agency? What caused you to look elsewhere and why did you feel like you decided to go the final expense route? As may or may not our listeners know, working in a captive agency where you sell the top 5%, or more of a white-collar, is much different from the final expense prospects that we see.
CC: Well, what got me interested was, first off, with the captive company, you’re just that– you’re captive. You have to sell the produce that they offer. Occasionally, if they can’t meet the needs of the client, then you can go outside of the company and they usually have a brokerage that you’ll be able to go through that. I just found that even though I was dealing with more white-collar people, it was OK, but it just– I just didn’t– it wasn’t enjoyable. This is the last thing I’m going to be before I retire and I want to enjoy it and so being captive was OK, there was a lot of support there, but it just didn’t click for me– I didn’t really like it. And so what made me gravitate towards final expense was one, I really know I’m helping people that really, truly want help and just don’t know where to turn, and so with final expense, obviously, they’re very, very concerned about if they pass, or when they pass away, that they don’t leave their families with these big bills, and so they’re really, really focusing on just being able to help them out when they do pass. And so basically, in this industry, I enjoy helping people. The clientele is much, much different, as we’ll get into later on, but I just find it very rewarding and to be quite honest with you, the pay is very good too.
DD: So, kind of building on your decision to go into final expense, of course that’s usually, like you, a lot of agents see other agents as far as their success with it, they see that it’s a little different, it’s more focused than more of a captive situation and a lot of people like that because it’s a simple business model– it’s not easy, but it’s straight-forward. You sell to a group of people that, typically, are under-served and you sell the, like you said, something that they really appreciate and are in desire of. Now typically agents, they decide on the business, and their next decision is where do I go to learn the business? Because, as in anything, you have to learn the specifics on how to sell the product, but not only how to sell, but what carriers to offer, how to basically work the system. Why did you choose the Final Expense Mentor program over what else was available to you, Chip?
CC: OK. I just wanted to tack on to the last question, the one other thing is that this process, versus a captive agency, is this is more of a one-and-done deal. You meet them for the first time, they’re interested, they’re in, show them what they can do with this, close them and you’re out the door. I like that. Other agencies and captive where you do more white-collar, you could be working on a project for two or three months and be thrown back and forth between the agents and the insurance company and the client and so I just didn’t want that. So bottom line is– let’s be straight-forward; you have a product, you have a client that needs that product, present that product and you show the client why they need this product and then bam, they buy it. That’s how simple it is.
But getting back to your original question here. David, I saw a lot of different people and I talked to a lot of different people, but your name kept popping up over and over again as someone who’s been very successful in final expense and I read more about you and then, of course, we traded emails for a while there and then we chatted on the phone this past summer and you were straight up with me. You said, “Chip, this is nothing like you’ve ever done before, so understand that it’s a good business, you can make a lot of money, you can be very successful, it can be very rewarding, but it’s not your normal insurance sale.” So going in, you were very straight up with me on that and I appreciated that.
The other thing about what I liked about your approach was that you were a consultant. You basically were putting prospects at ease. You know, he was saying, “This isn’t rocket science, but I want to fully explain what this product can do for you so I will help you out.” And so I liked that. The fact is that you’re more of a consultant than a sales person and that’s what I’ve been my entire career. And so that, itself, is also something that I think was very important and what drew me to you and so after we got to talking, we, of course, you know, I went on some ride-along with you, but we’ll talk about that later. I thought that you were the real deal and I know right now I made the right call.
DD: Great. So yeah– and you mentioned the ride-alongs. It’s kind of interesting, to say the least, when we started our relationship together. Of course, when I bring a new agent on, my first thing I encourage them to do is pick a time, you know, within the next week or two, and I want you to ride with me so you can see that on the form and it’s totally another thing to actually see it in person and in my opinion, that’s where all the learning really occurs. In my opinion, I think our ride-along was– I wouldn’t say demoralizing, but why don’t you go ahead and tell everyone how the first couple of days ride-alongs were and what your initial thoughts were.
CC: Well when I was with a captive agency, you know, we were a coat and tie to all our meetings. Well, of course, in final expense you don’t do that. You wear, you know, slacks and a polo, things like that, it’s very casual because obviously you don’t want to intimidate or maybe they think you’re putting them down because you dress very nicely and they’re probably not. But when I went down to ride with you, I remember going out in a part of town that you no longer work with, but the first person we saw weighed 350 pounds was basically a paranoid schizophrenic– he told us he was. And looking at him and, you know, you get to talking conversational, he was talking to himself. And thinking, I looked over at you, I said, “David, what did you get me into?”
Anyway, but it was an interesting meeting because it was like an extreme situation– this is not the norm, it’s extreme. And when I asked, I said, “Is this a normal person you meet?” And you, of course, said, “No, it’s not.” So actually I was kind of glad to see that because it kind of prepared me for the wild swing of types of people that you do meet. As I said, this business isn’t for everybody.
CC: But I think if you can master it and be realistic, that you can make a darn good living with this business and be happy and knowing that you’re making a difference. I know that sounds philosophical there, but it’s true. You like to make money, but you like to also make a difference. But getting back to seeing the first gentleman, I was thinking to myself, “Maybe if I just get back in my car, and just drive back and not worry about it.” But of course, you know, we kept going and we got to talk to some people that, you know, were somewhat interested. Talked with people that actually let you walk in the door because they know what they want.
Obviously, that’s rare, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it was a good mix of one extreme to the other. So we basically spent four total days in the field in two separate trips. I learned a lot, and at the end of that fourth day I really realized that, yeah, I can do this, it’s something I can be successful at. And so the rest is history.
DD: Right, yeah, and that’s what’s so important, I think, about doing the ride-alongs, is just seeing it first-hand. Because, and you know from your personal experience coming from a white-collar scenario where people you deal with are tenured professionals, they’re degreed, they’re in a different lifestyle and socio-economic position, you know, a lot of people don’t realize the mass market out there and how bluntly it is they’re different from us. And it’s good if you’re going to commit to a career, number one, to see truthfully how it is because, like you said, this isn’t right for everybody.
You know, the people we deal with are a lot different than your typical Joe Schmoe, you know, but it’s a reality that you have to see and, I think, experience to respect, but also to know for a fact, to decide for yourself if this is something you can do for the long run. And, you know, because if all you do is read on the forum or read some sort of marketer’s disposition of this market it’s all rainbows and sunshine. You know, if you just do ‘this’ you get ‘that’ and you’re filthy rich. You know, there’s a lot of hard work to it, there’s a lot hard work behind who you see and how you talk to them and the market you target. And there’s the actual reality of employing or putting to work your system of doing business, so it was good.
I’m glad, in a way, it wasn’t one of a couple of my best days in the field. In fact, it was a rougher time for me, personally, but I was glad to see that you could see what, you know, the business is like, you know, the ups and the downs so that you could get the full perspective of what really to expect in the field. So that’s why I like doing the ride-alongs because you get to see it and nothing replaces first-hand experience.
CC:I just wanted to say words can’t describe what you see out there. You can read it all day long, but until you actually meet these people in person– and it’s not to be mean to them, but it’s just different lifestyles and different ways of doing things and truly, you’ve got to experience it to really fully understand what you’re talking about.
DD: Right. Yeah, absolutely. Most of the people we would deal with at work and maybe our peers at work and a corporate environment who’ve never been in sales, their jaws would drop relaying the stories that we’ve experienced. Yeah, you know, they would probably just be in shock and awe, really the daily experiences that we see out in the field, so I definitely, definitely agree with you on that.
So moving on, of course, in the final expense business, the way that FE, final expense, is different, most final expense, to succeed, most final expense agents to succeed, they need to have leads. Leads are really the number one concern most agents have when they get into the business. What leads do you use? How much do you get? Who do they attract? So on and so forth. And that’s definitely a vital role that we employ in the mentorship program.
Now Chip and I and my agents, we have a proprietary lead program. You know, my agents, when I bring them on, I talk about the importance– it can really be a major break thing in this business. It’s very important to find the right lead vendor that’s going to, you know, provide quality at a price that will allow you to have margins of profit that will sustain you. So without giving away too much specifics, Chip, tell us how the final expense leads work for you and how they played an impact on your business.
CC: OK. Well basically, I place an order for a lead. I will then, in the next couple of days, I will get an email back stating that you’ve got X amount of leads. Having those leads and getting the name, address, and the phone number, most times you get male/female, and a lot of times you’ll get the age– I went and looked at them and, of course, in my area, sort them based on zip codes, so I kind of, you know, make a case of leads and kind of map out strategies for them. I call them and I’m going to say, probably a good 50-60% are legitimate. You’re always going to get junk. So you’ve got to understand that there’s going to be a certain amount of fall-off initially, and that’s just the way that business is .
So with that being said, it’s still a good 50% of those leads that you make contact with and their interested in meeting you. Now, of course, from that, you’re going to get situations to where there’s even no-shows– they not there when you come, or whatever, change their minds– so that kind of whittles it down a little more. But the speed in which I get the leads, the fact that they’re pretty high quality, and that if you meet somebody, they’re interested in buying something– they know they have a need– and so I guess when I started out, from an FE business perspective, direct marketing leads take weeks and weeks and they’re very expensive to get started because you’ve got to throw a lot of business out there, a lot of cards out there.
Tele-leads you don’t have to do that and this is a nice way to have, if you don’t have a huge marketing budget up front, and in this business you’ve got to have money for marketing. You’ve got to or you’re not going to succeed. So choose– this is not a referral business by nature – this is a pure lead-driven business and you’ve got to understand that. In other parts of the insurance industry it’s not necessarily this way, but in this it is. So I guess, personally, without these good final expense leads, it’d be really hard to generate some decent income to make it in this business so I am just, basically– to me as a new FE person, this is the way you’ve got to do it.
DD: Right and the leads make such a– really make such a huge impact on your success and, you know, that’s why I’m taking careful selection and time to find a lead vendor that actually provides quality leads that, when you call them, they know what to expect, most of the time are interested in life insurance– not always, because, you know, there’s always the deadbeats that waste your time. But more importantly, it’s getting a program that helps you stay consistent because the number one problem most agents have in this business is having people to talk to and not just people to talk to, I mean, you can just door knock doors doing that, but having people that are actually interested in life insurance to talk to and you need something that’s consistent, you need something that’s affordable, that will put you in front of the kind of people that want to do business, that are interested in having peace of mind and protecting their loved ones from the burdens of final expenses, and that’s what we try to do for our agents.
It’s so important in the beginning, too, to get something where you don’t have to throw down $2,000/$3,000 and not even get your first lead back and know if it’s a good area to target or not, which is what a lot of the other carriers and marketing organizations will require you to do. So in my opinion I think that, yeah, it’s important to have something that’s financially doable but actually does well to get you the business and people to see.
Moving on. So let’s talk about your first full week in the field. So at this point you’ve rode along with me, you’ve studied some material I’d given you, you’d learned, to some extent, your carriers that you started with, and now you’ve got your leads in hand. You’re just about to set the appointments and run the appointments. So just give us an overall- -maybe for the guys that are just getting started or, again, are wanting to see what it’s like for that first week. What was your first week’s experience like in the field working final expense?
CC: Well if you remember, the fly or fight first week, you came up to visit in which I said, I think it was about five appointments I booked for that day and they were– I did sell one policy. It was to the first person I actually visited, but that day, if you remember, we had a wide range of people that we visited. So it was definitely an eye-opener. But again, you know, I had you with me so I had the support there. Went out on my own, I’m a very confident person, but, you know, you get nervous because it’s the first time you’re by yourself. This is still a new business to you and so it’s tough. I was able to make my appointments and I made as many as possible that I ended up being late for everybody.
So I thought a good nice lady to and they sat down and she actually pulled out a Lincoln Heritage policy, I’ll never forget that. She said, “Can you beat this price?” And I looked at it and I did my calculations and I was able to do it but it was a no-brainer for her because it was a significant difference in the premiums. But, you know, it was the first time I really talked to somebody on my own, by myself and then I did a replacement at the same time. So that was definitely a good first experience.
During the week, I think if I remember right, I think wrote three to four policies that week and, again, I was just starting out so I made my own appointments, I don’t have an appointment setter. Even now I don’t have an appointment setter, I’ve always made appointments in my sales career myself and nobody feels that that appointment is as important as you do. It’s your business. You don’t make that appointment, you don’t sell, you don’t eat. And so I like doing my own appointments. I know you use an appointment setter, I can certainly appreciate that you do, but I felt that that was just, for me, personally, I just– I liked that better because I can also feel a client out, too, before I meet them, so I kind of understand where they’re coming from. I stumbled a little bit at times during some of the appointment but, of course, the other people didn’t know that I was talking, you know, didn’t know what I was going to say, so did really well catching myself on a couple of things. I wrote about three more policies that week and did about $8,618 that first month. So the first week was really successful and my first month of December I did about $8,000 in annual premium which blew me away, to be quite honest with you. It adds up really fast and so after that I looked at my wife and I said, “This is going to work.” So that’s where I am. I am with it now.
DD: Right. And, you know, like we mentioned in the beginning, you now have a average, you know, one of the things that experienced agents are probably very, very interested to hear about is how did you get an over $900 annual premium average. I mean, you know, most of us agents, including myself, is much lower. You know, we do a lot of singles and the occasional double and triple, you know, we write a lot of the $30, $40, $50 premiums and then get the large ones that drive the average up. But, you know, you’ve done fine in the business and…
CC: In terms of my average, you know, case size, so to speak, I’ll be honest with you, I have sprinkled in there some pretty large premium cases that were, you know, a couple thousand dollars a year deals, so that’s probably skewed my average up a little bit. I’d probably say without those, I would still be in the $750 range probably, give or take a little bit on that. Bottom line is I had some portion of, you know, big sales, but the key is keep your pipeline full, keep talking to people. If you’re not talking to people, you’re not selling.
And also the area where I’m at is, most of the time, is fairly healthy. It’s going to sound like an oxymoron, it’s an affluent final expense area. It’s kind of like an oxymoron, but it’s kind of true. These people kind of know what they want. Everybody’s kind of, as you will tell people, they are on– 99% of them are fixed incomes, disability, social security, disability, small pensions, things like that. So money is always an issue with them, so that, to me, for the most part, they know what they want, they basically set the money aside to do it and they did it. So I’m really very fortunate in that respect.
DD: OK, so moving on here, part of the mentorship program, of course, is that I’m available to help you with product placement, carrier selection, as you’ve probably discovered and most agents who’ve been in it as long as you have, you can’t have one carrier to write everything to the best of your ability. You have to carry a quiver of arrows with different arrows for different situations. If you could, Chip, describe how I helped you over the phone, as far as tougher cases and how it was important to your business success and sealing deals.
CC: Well I think, initially, you had the right approach is when anybody in this business doesn’t want to feel from they’re drinking from a fire hose. There’s a lot of stuff coming at them and you have a philosophy of, you know, basically, let’s start with two carriers, you get a plan, and those two carriers can probably do 80% of the business out there. And you learn those carriers backwards and forth and sideways and you go into a house and you start talking to people, you’re already getting an idea from what they’re telling you from the health perspective which company’s going to be better for them. So that’s always a nice thing to have in your back pocket.
So in terms of sales persistence, from your perspective, you were always available to me on a phone call or a text and so I was very grateful for that and you really helped me understand this type of, you know, insurance sale– how to approach it, what not to say and what not to say. So that’s been very, very important to me and the fact that you sent me initially some good information from you and try to understand it, see the flow of things, and so your little scenarios you gave me helped me learned a lot.
You started me out with two carriers, Five Star and Settlers, and we got appointed with them and I learned their apps as best I could and I said, “Based upon what I’m hearing in health questions and the answers, guide me to which one of those two would be the best,” and after I could get comfortable with that then you started adding more juice. So I think that you did the right thing with anybody– start off slowly, don’t give them too much because they can be overwhelmed and then get discouraged and then that’s not, obviously, the right attitude to have. But you basically said let’s move along slowly and steady and this worked out great for me, at least. I appreciated what you did.
You also sent me an awesome spread sheet telling me, you know, the conditions of people and, based upon that, you know, which carrier works the best and so that was a huge thing to have then. That cheat sheet– I still use it today because it’s always just a good practice because there may be something that I’ve not come across or a combination of issues that I, you know, a diabetic that had a stroke, or a diabetic that’s got neuropathy, or somebody that’s had a stroke and has lupus. So there’s a lot of things that you can combine in order to narrow it down to you have actually the company you want to use.
DD: And the one thing I’ll say about you, Chip, is that you have been exemplary of your usage of my ability to help you out. The one thing that, in my opinion, that makes a relationship great, or any relationship within any of my agents, is that when you’re in the home, you can pick the phone up and call me directly. Now I may be running an appointment, myself, but generally speaking, I get back to the phone or the text pretty quickly and I know, I can’t remember specific cases, I know there’s been a few where, you know, we’ve been able to get the right carrier and the right product to give the customer the best priced one with the best benefits.
You know, you’re exemplary of what agents should do with their upline, you know, you should have an active relationship with the person that’s above you. Because, you know, your upline, any upline, makes a cut off your business, and you need to make sure that you hold them to the fire and you’re making them earn their cut of the business but, at the same time, it also helps you develop your game, too, as well.
A lot of times, you’ll get into an appointment and you may not think there’s an opportunity and you’ll just turn around and walk away, but when you keep an active connection with an upline, they may see an opportunity where you see none and, case and point, one of those deals actually was a referral from another agent of mine. You know, he didn’t realize it was a pretty big universal life product opportunity and we ended up, of course, mutually working on it together and that thing turned into what was, about, a $275-$300 a month deal that he walked on out. It’s important to have that connection and I think you’ve done and continue to do a real good job because I’ve got to earn, in my opinion, earn my cut of the business, but also that helps you, you know, run a profitable business.
So continuing here, what I did– I think we did a total of two ride-alongs. We did one early in the beginning and then I think about six to eight weeks later. You may have touched on this a little bit, but how did you feel the ride-alongs were– and let me clarify for the audience, I all of my agents, if it makes geographical sense, to come ride along with me. Really big advantage, in my opinion, is I like to ride along with my agents in their territories. Just like seeing an agent with experience run appointments, as far as being illuminating, as far as being teachable or learnable from, it’s just as beneficial, in my opinion even more beneficial, to have your upline ride along with you so he can, like a doctor, diagnose problems, maybe show opportunities where you didn’t see any before because, you know, you’re on your home turf, you know, you’re in action and having that help can make a big difference. So I’m curious to see what your thoughts are on the ride-alongs and, specifically, how it helped develop you.
CC: Yeah, well I thought they were incredibly valuable and the fact that you did– you sat there– one thing I like about what you did is you sat there during the presentation, I was talking, and you were, you know, just nodding your head or whatever, but you weren’t saying anything, even when I got stuck, you kind of just sat back there and saw how I would recover and to me, I felt very confident in the fact that you were there, but also from the fact that yeah, I stumbled a little bit but I can get out of that stumble and move forward and so that helps with your confidence in front of people and as I said, you don’t have to and the people that you’re going to deal with, you’ve got to understand that too, you’ve gotta be going into this knowing that you’re going to see things that you probably have never seen before.
You’re going to be in houses that you never thought you’d have ever walked into and that is their way of life and so, to them, it’s normal. To you it may not be and the key is to keep a poker-face on when you walk in there and see– I walked into a house and there was about twenty-five cats there and I had never seen that many cats in a room and so you’ve got to —
DD: Crazy cat lady!
CC: Yes! I thought that and when I got out, of course, I looked like a cat because of all the cat hair on me, but the bottom line is you’ve got to have confidence in yourself and knowing that to them you are the expert, you’re telling them what they need to do. Now whether they’re going to take that advice is another thing, but the fact is they’re relying on you to explain to them what they need and that’s a big key there.
So our ride-along is you basically, and then after each appointment we sat down, we kind of did a debrief on it, you know– what I could have done different or, you know, other things that you may have observed, but for the most part, it was incredibly valuable because I’m in an environment that I’m going to be in and you’re sitting there and you’re helping me with positive enforcement and it helps me learn and it helps me grow as an agent so that, to me, is incredibly valuable and you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to have your upline ride with you to see and make sure– because they are a participant observer; they can kind of look at it from a different perspective and give you pointers that will help you and that’s the key– or tell you things that you shouldn’t say, things like makes it positive all the way around and I know it takes a some time out of your territory, but in reality, you know, that’s part of what you do, is you’re a mentor and so part of mentoring is looking at somebody in their environment and being able to help them out with that.
DD: Right. Now as we kind of detailed in the beginning, you have completed the mentorship program which basically meant you met a specific premium quota and I– with all my agents, I bring them on at a sub-contract or sub-street contract level and the reason is, and as one of the agents, now that you’ve hit the quota, you’ve been moved to street level and you’ve closed, you know, well over fifty policies, you’ve had a variety, like you said, of experiences in the final expense industry, in the world that we deal with and the people that we see. If you were speaking maybe to somebody listening to this that was thinking about entering this field, can you give them– and I know you really have over the entirety of this call– but can you summarize, more or less, what a real-world view of this business is like and what they can expect and, specifically, what’s good about it and then what’s, you know, what’s bad about it.
CC: OK. Well bottom line is is it’s a great opportunity to make really great money, setting your own hours and being your own boss, and I know that sounds a bit cliche, but it’s really true. And the other thing that I liked which you told me to do was, you know, the old adage of K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid? You know, basically just this is not a rocket science, you don’t want to get too technical because you’re going to lose your clients. That part of it is the business that is easy to learn when you really make a commitment to it, you can pick it up. And again, as I said before, I like setting my own appointments– some people want to do appointment-setters, that’s fine, too, but I just feel I have a vested interest in making each appointment because I’m going to be the one selling it.
But getting in terms of your good and the bad, well, as I said, the good part is, you know, you’re your own boss and really you only report to one other person and that’s your spouse, and you’ll be able to set your own appointments on your own schedule. There may be a time during the week, like a lot of the really high-volume, like you guys, they work two/three days a week, that’s it. And they spend time doing other things and so Dave said in the past that this is one of those businesses where you can make a very, very, very good living working two or three days a week. Now the average person is going to see this, “Oh I can work two or three days a week!” That’s once you’re really going strong and you know what you’re doing. Initially I worked five days a week, sometimes six, not eight to ten hours a day, per say, but I do, you know, spend a lot of time making sure that I get the appointments booked and sometimes that requires a little bit extra work, but I like the one-and-done part of the sale.
Pretty much you go in, you write an app, and you walk out, either with a check or with the EFG information and you’re done with that and so that, to me, is huge. I like the ability, being an independent, being able to pick and choose the insurance company I want to work with. I tell clients that I don’t work for any insurance companies, I work for you. I’m on your side, I’m going to get you the best deal I possibly can. I have ten companies that I work with and based upon your health, I’m able to steer you to a company that will give you the base amount that you want at a low level premium, and that’s the key– low level premium. Most of the time, they’re not used to that. If they’ve got AARP or something like that, well every five years their premiums go up, plus the term policy is going to terminate anyway and, again, the fact is is that if at a certain point a company isn’t working out, I dump them and I get another company. So there’s a lot of flexibility there; you’re not beholden to one company.
If you’re a captive agent, you don’t have a choice. And as I said, again, great commissions. Street level is amazing and you pay your dues, but then once you go to street level, it’s a whole different ball game, so you basically you’re like in the minor leagues when you first start off and then you go into the majors, if you like sports analogies. But you’re ready to go. You get a big contract and you move forward. But even doing that, you’re still available to me any time I need you and so that’s a huge perk also. So even though I’m on my own, I’m not really on my own, I have support and that’s a huge thing. Now obviously with this, there’s going to be some bad or you wouldn’t believe me when I’m talking.
SO bottom line is is that you’ve got to deal with people who are lacking in manners, not all, personal hygiene, and common sense. Now that sounds sad but it’s true and you’ve got to– you’ve just got to understand that you’re dealing with somebody that you may have to say something five times for them to get it or you may have to say it a different way. I’m a big believer of using analogies and things like that, in terms of using examples, that kind of thing, in order for them to understand what we’re doing. You have to have patience and I’ll be honest with you– I’m ADD so I’m going and going and it bugs the heck out of me when I get a no-show. But then again I say, “OK,” now what I’m doing if I get a no-show I go, “OK, it’s a chance to call them to make another appointment.” So I always use the time as effectively as I possibly can. There are people that you’ll call and they’ll say, “I never left that message,” and you listen to the recorded message that they left but, again, that’s just people in general.
You have to have a thick skin because some people are really rude. They’re being rude but don’t take it personally because they’re rude to everybody so it’s one of those things. So just take it with a grain of salt and just have a thick skin and it may take some time to spend some money on some leads and apps before you actually start to gain some commissions and don’t get discouraged because there’ve been days where I went to five appointments and I didn’t get any, and then the next day I’ll write three apps and it’s my week. So it’s up and down, you never know the next call, the next door knock, what it’s going to do for you– it could be huge.
I went into a house one time… I mean it was horrible. I was afraid to sit down, it was that bad. I walked out with $100 a month insurance policy. So don’t, you know the old adage, don’t judge a book by it’s cover? It’s true. Because sometimes I’ve went into houses that are really nice, I walked out with nothing. So it’s just like the old Forrest Gump thing, you know, life’s a box of chocolates. These things are like that– you never know what you’re going to get until you walk into that house and start talking to these people. So that’s a thing that’s also a good thing, too, because it’s never dull. But getting back to the spending money on final expense leads, if you don’t spend money on leads, you’re not going to be in this business very long and that’s the key. You can’t be in this business and be under-funded. If you are, you might as well be looking for something else because you’re not going to make it. And that’s pretty much it for the bad.
DD: Yeah and I think you hit on some good golden nuggets there. I mean number one– you always have to have money set up for your leads, that’s critical, that’s number one in my opinion– the right leads, of course, but at least have somebody to talk to because that’s the way that we write business and then yeah, number two, there is an up and down to this business. That’s one thing I can tell you with utmost honesty that I still struggle with and I think all agents do to various degrees but, you know, you cannot judge your success in this business on a daily basis. Of course you have to run each appointment and you have to do everything you can, everything in your power to sell an appointment, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to. You want to lose it the right way, but you may lose the right way on five of your appointments, you know, or three on them and then the other two no-show.
But you have to continually force yourself and habitualize looking at a longer-term perspective, you know, on a weekly or even a monthly basis of your performance because while the results are random in the short-term, the law of large numbers tends to produce a more consistent income and, you know, you have to just train yourself to think like that. So it’s good that you recognize that, you know, every agent has frustrations when it comes to getting out there and working but if you keep to it, you work your system as you planned it typically it seems to work.
Lastly, a couple questions here and we’ll be good to go– and Chip I really appreciate your time, of course.
CC: My pleasure.
DD: If you would, summarize the top three beneficial reasons to do the Final Expense mentorship program, overall.
CC: David Duford. David Duford. David Duford. There, that’s it.
DD: Of course.
CC: But in all seriousness, it is because having somebody– and you have a track record in being successful in all of the different that you’ve worked with, initially starting out and being independent now, so as I’ve said, you don’t go to people who write books and never do anything and try to be successful. You go to people who walk the walk and talk the talk and you do that.
You’ve been a successful– you emulate people, like yourself, that know what they’re doing. Your support is second to none. I can pretty much pick up the phone and either text you or call you just about any time I want and you either are going to be there or you’ll be right back to me and give me the answers that I need and that’s huge. So you’ve been successful, you have the support and the training information that you sent me in terms of reading up on things and kind of going through scenarios and riding and things like that– and a script for both phone call appointments, making the appointments, and also when you’re in there in front of a person so that’s huge too. So basically who you are, your track record, your support is fantastic, and bottom line is your training material that you gave me has been great, it’s really helped out a lot.
DD: Very good and I’m glad to hear that and of course I have to ask at the end here, what can I do better? I always– constant improvement is important to me and I always want to look at ways to make my programs better for my agents; what can I do better, in your opinion, now that you’ve completed the mentorship program?
CC: Well, you know, this is going to sound sappy, but I can’t think of anything specifically right now. Your, you know, in terms of support you’re pretty much always there so I can’t tell people enough how important that is because just starting off and your new, even if you’ve been in it six months, you’re always going to come across things that you’re like, “I’ve never seen that before! I’ll give David a call and he probably has,” and if he hasn’t he at least works with you to help you, you know, solve the problem. So at this point in time, not really anything. You’re one person so, you know, you’re stretched thin as it is, but as I say, the biggest thing is the support– that’s what makes or breaks you in this business is having the support of people who know what they’re doing and are willing to help you out.
DD: Great. Well I really did ask that questions, I wasn’t trying to set it up for a real nice response. I’ll let the audience know I actually am concerned if there is anything I can do better.
CC: But you always tell me that about your feedback.
DD: Oh yeah, I’m big on it. It’s very important because in my experience or my position, my agents are– I have to be responsible for you and your success and I can’t make you go work, but I can do everything up to that point. You have to carry the water, but I– it’s my responsibility and, I think, my duty to employ, or to empower you to do everything that you can or to prepare you for battle, for lack of a better description.
DD: So that’s where a good upline comes in and that’s what their dedication should be to. So in closing, I just want to, again, thank you for your time, Chip. Hopefully this conversation has been illuminating for the people that are listening on the phone call right now. I will add that it’s been a pleasure to work and continue to work with Chip. He’s a gentleman and a friend and especially to have taken time out of his busy day to do this just out of the goodness of his heart. Thanks for that Chip and if you find interest in this program and would like to investigate further the mentorship program, please visit my website. It is www.FEAgentMentor.com. There you can read some of my blog and articles about my personal production as well as just some insights in the industry. You can listen to my Truth About Final Expense Industry recording, lots of information there for a guy who’s looked around and isn’t sure about where to plant his flag and find his home. Lots of good information there. But in the mean time I just want to thank you again Chip and thanks everybody for listening.
CC: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.