Are you just a producer who is committed to proven sales tactics? Do wonder if digital marketing is a waste of time? Hearing from accomplished Digital Practioners can go a long way in helping you make sense of emerging sales realities in Insurance — which is why I am posting 7 Interviews with "Insurance Leaders in the Digital Space" each Monday (Jun 16 - July 28).
We continue our series with an Insurance Thought Leader who:
- Is a Proven Sales Guy (Gitomer Certified Advisor)
- Was name one of the Top 12 agents in 2012 by Agent and Broker Magazine
- Serves as a Consultant to several other local agents
- A Regular Contributor to the Digital Insurance Marketing Academy (DIMA)
- Is an expert in taking proven sales principals and applying them to New Mediums
Insurance Thought Leader, Brent Kelly
It’s not every day you get to interview someone you with great savvy in general sales proficiencies and a well-established digital presence. In this conversation with Brent, I got to do just that. I had 7 Questions, we talked about getting kicked in the teeth as a younger producer, wire you should hire a social media director, and his commitment to Flag Day.
It was a lot of fun.
Insurance and the Emerging Digital Space
I have looked forward to picking the brain of Brent Kelly for quite some time. Brent is an invaluable guide in the confusing and sometimes maddening digital landscape for Insurance Professionals.
Brent Kelly is a disciplined Producer who gets it. He teaches proven Sales Principals to Insurance Agents as a Gitomer Certified Advisor and is widely recognized as an industry leader who is maximizing the digital space.
In my interview with Brent Kelly,
I also took this opportunity to ask Brent Kelly some things I’ve really been wanting to ask. I hope you enjoy our conversation and that it gives you a solid start or a shot in the arm as you continue to maximize the digital space with your Insurance Agency.
We talk about:
- The job interview Brent almost did take and how it started everything
- Why asking great questions is paramount
- Why Brent has enrolled in “Automobile University”
- How to persevere through the inevitable resistance
- How a short-term investment in Digital Marketing rendered National Recognition
- “I spent the first couple of years learning from mentors and getting kicked in the teeth.”
- “I focus on spending as much time as possible in front of prospects and clients.”
- “Having an online presence and reputation is no longer optional for high-level salespeople.”
- “No one cares about your products or services unless it helps them. Share don’t sell. Teach don’t lecture.”
- “Most people are either content creators or content consumers.”
Duke Revard: Some of our readers aren’t as familiar with your background. Perhaps you could share some shaping experiences that have contributed to you unique perspective in the Insurance Space?
Brent Kelly: My career in insurance started in 2000, after I graduation from the University of Illinois. I was looking for a sales job focused in the health field, but had no idea what I really wanted to do. My brother worked for an agency in Wisconsin and mentioned that the owner was looking for young talent out of college. I hesitated at first, but agreed to an interview. I got the job and the rest is history. I spent the first couple of years learning from mentors and getting kicked in the teeth. There were many days when I was ready to hang up the towel, but I persisted and have spent 14 years in the insurance sales industry. I have been extremely fortunate to have great mentors, teachers, and family support through my career. My very first experience in the industry was a class called, “Dynamics of Selling” conducted by the National Alliance the very first New Producer Training School. The material made sense to me and I knew that I wanted to learn as much as possible about sales and eventually help others.
Duke Revard: When and how did you find your stride in the digital insurance space? When did things start to click…where you realized “I think I can be really good at this?”
Brent Kelly: I don’t know if there was a specific moment, but about a year after I started my “Insurance Coach” blog in 2011, I started to feel some momentum. Not just with prospects and customers, but with other insurance professionals as well. I was named one of the top 12 agents in 2012 by Agent and Broker Magazine, almost entirely by building up my digital presence.
Duke Revard: What disciplines do you have in place to ensure you are customer-centric; that you have the pulse on what your potential clients and clients really believe and care about?
Brent Kelly: I have become extremely focused on being proactive and maintaining daily disciplines to continue to grow in all areas of my life. First, I focus on spending as much time as possible in front of prospects and clients. That’s where deep relationships are made. This can also be in the form of phone calls, Skype, etc, but I prefer meet in person if possible. I try to listen 80% of the time and take notes, but that is not easy for me as I have a tendency to want to jump into the conversation too quickly. Asking great questions is paramount. You must come in prepared and be “outcome” focused. No one cares about your products or services unless it helps them. Share don’t sell. Teach don’t lecture. Respond in terms of them. Those are key. I am also an avid reader and podcast listener. I truly believe that my car is “Automobile University” and every commute is a chance to learn and prepare. It’s amazing how even one new idea can change your day, week, year, or even career.
Duke Revard: You are a Gitomer Certified Advisor and are proven salesman. How does your online presence support, enhance or undergird your overall sales approach?
Brent Kelly: Having an online presence and reputation is no longer optional for high-level salespeople. People want to know, like, and trust you before they would even consider buying from you so offering value consistently through online channels is a huge advantage. Content marketing really works and I have agents, salespeople, and businesses contact me every week to connect, ask questions, or learn how I can help them. I don’t sell them anything, they already are very familiar with the value I can provide.
Duke Revard: You strike me as fairly disciplined person. How do you make sure that you don’t the right amount of content creation and social media engagement but don’t get lost in the online time-suck? Do you have disciplines in place? How do you allocate your time essentially?
Brent Kelly: This is great and challenging question. I will be honest and tell you that I am still guilty of the time-suck on social media from time-to-time. I have worked very hard over the past year to stay extremely focused with specific goals, tasks, and time-limits at hand. I wrote a blog post about this a while back and stated that most people are either content creators or content consumers. There is not right or wrong, but one is productive and the other is a time-waster. There is nothing wrong with browsing through Facebook, but only if it’s during your “off-time.” Today, I turn off my online connections and phone notifications when I am writing a blog post or creating content. I use time blocks to focus over a 60-90 minute period to avoid being interrupted. I am not perfect, but like any discipline, it’s getting much better with practice.
Duke Revard: When you’re not selling insurance, how do you keep yourself busy?
Brent Kelly: Oh boy, this could get me in trouble. I am naturally quirky, but here I one that most people don’t know (yet). I have a guilty pleasure for a few boy band songs. If “Bye Bye Bye” or “I Want it That Way” comes on, I am very likely to sing along (don’t judge).
Duke Revard: Brent you have emerged as a gifted writer in the Insurance Digital Space? Do you have 2-3 principals that you live by and can pass on to others?
Brent Kelly: Absolutely. Focus on writing to one specific person when creating a blog post or social media update. Think in terms of them. What value are you providing? How are you helping them succeed? Schedule specific times on your calendar for writing/marketing/social media. Stick to them like any other appointment and don’t abuse it. Stay focused.
Check out other Great Content from Brent Kelly