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  • Writer's picturemckenzie.rabenn

First Year Agent Achieves Prestigious Award

Chairman's Circle is awarded to only 2% of agents. Being in his first year was not going to stop Joe Breen from achieving this incredible accomplishment.

On The Grid: How did you set your agency up for success from Day One?

Joe Breen: I prepared really well so when the doors were open on Day One, I could start writing business. This meant I spent months prior to opening hiring a team, getting them licensed, having a marketing plan in place, making sure the office was set up and put together, and all third parties solidified.

OTG: How has your mindset shifted around life premium from team member to agent?

JB: As a team member, I sold myself short. I spent money out of my own wallet. I thought, well this is all I can afford so this is probably all the customer can afford too. And, I was quick to rush these sales as a team member.

Now as an agent I’m having deeper conversations. I show customers all of their options and then step back and let them decide and spend money out of their own wallet. As an agent I’m comfortable being more patient with these types of decisions because I’m confident they’ll stick around because of the relationship we’ve formed.

OTG: What strategies have you used for customer acquisition?

JB: The biggest thing for our agency is referrals from centers of influence such as real estate agents and CPAs. I consider myself a second arm of their business. I am proactive in building these relationships. I think I’ve been to every Caribou in the Twin Cities. Sometimes these conversations go nowhere but more often than not what starts as a business relationship turns into a friendship.

I also use internet leads as another strategy for customer acquisition. I don’t believe an agency can rely only on this strategy, but the fact of the matter is that it does generate names and numbers for our office. It can be one part of a business’s customer acquisition strategy.

Google Marketing is also an important part of our marketing strategy. Google is King and if your PPC is not working, change it.

OTG: As a former agent aspirant, what advice would you give to others in this role looking to start an agency?

JB: As you round off your time as an aspirant, consider trying on other roles in the office besides sales. As an agent you’ll wear a lot of hats and it’s important to understand how to service claims and customers and onboard and train new team members in addition to generating sales.

Further, make sure you and your loved ones understand the commitment of agency. It’s not a 9-5 job like you’re working now. Being an agent is a lifestyle and you have to treat it as such.

Along this line, financially prepare yourself. You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck as a team member. When you open your doors, you don’t want to have a limit on what you can spend on marketing and your team. Invest in the business as much as you can.

Finally, fine tune your leadership skills. When your name is officially on the door, it’s time to rise to the occasion, wear the hat, and set the “thermostat” for your office. You will be the tone setter for your agency. Come in early. Stay late. And lead by example. You can’t ask your staff to do what you’re not willing to do also.

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