How I went From CSR To Producer and You Can Too

My Insurance career launched with State Farm right out of college.  It was never my intent to stay in Insurance I was supposed to go and be a copywriter with the Richardson Group, so I thought.  Little did I realize in college that I wasn’t that great of a copywriter and although I never dreamed I would be boring enough to like Insurance I ended up falling in love with it.  I’ve always told all my  co-workers that I don’t think anyone grows up saying they want to be in the Insurance Industry and yet here we all end up.
Anyways, I needed a part-time job in college and State Farm offered one to me in “marketing”.  Once I started I realized that marketing really meant telemarketing.  Once I  graduated I tried to pursue my advertising career but the jobs were far and few in between in 2002 and I wasn’t that talented which seemed to be a problem for some reason.  I had recently married my new hubby and he wanted me to start bringing in an income, so I ended up going to work for a captive American National Insurance agency.
A year later, I’m knocked up, and my boss closed the agency and let me go.  I know so far this story doesn’t sound like a “I Love Insurance” story, but give me just a few more minutes to finish!  After, 2 full days of job hunting which in the Insurance profession especially when your wet behind the ears with low income expectations  and an Insurance license is standard to find a position that quick.  I went to work for an American National Insurance agent who went Independent once he hired me.  We  actually had to feel out the Independent Insurance  market together and learn to become successful as a team.  He wanted to focus on his Financial Services side and gave me the power to sell and service the Independent Insurance side.
I had no idea at the time he did me a huge favor because I was able to learn how to be an Independent Insurance agent, without a quota hanging over my head, since technically I was just a CSR and he was the Agent.  I spent two years at his office before moving on to the next chapter in my career of truly being a sales agent.  It was extremely scary because I didn’t see myself as in sales at the time I thought I was just offering service to customers.  However, the agent I was working for truly left to market the business and funnel leads my way, and I just quoted and sealed the deal, which meant I was inside sales, without the commission part!
When I checked the mail one day fate decided to send me a letter notifying me that I qualified for a new position for a brand new Department that Datcu was starting in 2007. After an ample amount of self-doubt and I went for the position and started the job that May.  In this position I had the opportunity to go from making $ 25,000 a year to $ 100,000 a year in as little as five years! (Where else can you do that outside of insurance?)
I’m extremely motivated when it comes to setting and meeting goals but was scared that I wasn’t a sales person, but a service person.  Here is the part that every Customer Service person needs to hear!  If you’re great at Customer service you’ll be great at Sales! The only difference is having a quota hanging over your head and the opportunity to make more money.
I ended up being a natural which resulting in meeting every goal I set for myself.  My employer at the Credit Union was extremely supportive and I had a great mentor with the Insurance Agency we partnered through to help guide me to think more like a sales person.  In this particular position it was my job to encourage my teller and personal service representatives to send over members of the credit union to quote.  Once I got the lead I would just quote as many as humanly possible and as quickly as I could, which ultimately ended up in more sold policies.  I just had to sell forty policies a month to reach my employer’s quota however I gave myself a goal of sixty policies a month because I wanted another car and a second baby!  At this point in my career my daughter was already two years old so the baby itch had come with a vengeance.  My career at the Datcu lasted for about nine year and I capped out at $140,000  before I needed another opportunity to grow.
Last year I decided to take a leap of faith and give outside sales a whirl.  Honestly, I had no idea I was in inside sales before I left the Credit Union.  I did fall on my face and had an extremely rough year last year with my first attempt in Outside sales. The employer that I left to work for was small and not willing to give me the time to learn like I needed in order to become successful.  Luckily, after being let go for not reaching quota, which was a first for me in my career, I found Greenway Insurance and the most patient employer ever to give me a chance.  I started working for him in September 2016 and again had to learn how to generate my own leads, as well, and quote and sell the policies.  Luckily, he has a very seasoned staff of Producers that are more than willing to help me with the formula to success on outside sales.  Also, Andy Priesman, my boss hired an outside consultant for us in December that gave us a plan to utilize in order to become more productive and make more money.  I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but due to starting over again my income was cut in half, because I have to grow a new book of business from scratch, so I’m extremely motivated to get back to $100,000 income as quickly as possible!  I’m happy to say that I’m well on my way and outside sales commission pays a much higher percentage due to the fact that the leads aren’t all generated for you like inside sales.   Although, I’m only about six months in with Greenway I have huge ambitions for the future and my employer has given me much needed guidance and creative independence to blossom!
In February I was one of his top producing agents and I’m hoping to keep that up for the rest of 2017 and get back to the income I’m used to by 2019. If you’re great at the service side of insurance, you can do it too!

About Sarah Muniz

Insurance adviser at Greenway Insurance

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