Posted by: Ryan Langston - 09.28.2016 - 14:34 pm
A Q&A Session with Agency Owner Harry Smith
What is your professional background?
I was in the banking industry for over 9 years and held various positions ending as a market manager before I left for the insurance industry. I decided to pursue a career in insurance after my wife and I had our first son and I wasn’t seeing him very much as my work was taking most of my time. One of my banking clients was a State Farm Agent so I decided to pursue that opportunity. I spent one year in the training program and then opened my own agency. I realized the model set up by State Farm and how I wanted to run my agency were clashing. Megan Bailey had reached out to me in the early months of becoming a State Farm Agent, and I decided it was time to look into the business model. When I learned that they take the service work out of the equation both of my ears perked up. I wanted to do what I felt I do best, build relationships with clients and help them meet their goals in a way I enjoyed.
How about hobbies? What do you like to do outside of running your business?
I have 3 young boys, ages 1 ½ , 3 ½, and 5 ½ . They keep me busy. We love playing sports and swimming in the pool in the summer and just having fun. We are also very active in our church.
How did you learn about Goosehead Insurance?
Megan called me around months 3-5 of opening my State Farm Agency. I called her back in month 9 because I didn’t feel like State Farm was my business where I made my own decisions. We met at a Starbucks and she presented a model that allowed me to do what I do best: sell.
What stood out to you most about the opportunity with Goosehead?
My ability to produce at a higher level and continue to grow before hitting a plateau. Every agency plateaus, but in the Goosehead business model, I as one person, can out-produce State Farm/captive/traditional agencies with 3-4 employees because I am completely focused on sales. I knew clients wanted options - Goosehead offers the best product portfolio. With the Service Team and entire back office I am able to out-produce all of my competitors.
When did you start training and launch your agency?
I started training in May of 2014. The Goosehead training is very different from the training I experienced when I was at State Farm. It was all about sales and learning the carriers. It was a two-week program in a great environment where I got to sell during training and earn revenue for my business which was great. This business model set me up for success to out-produce my competitors.
How was the transition into Goosehead?
You cannot bring a traditional mindset into the Goosehead business model. You cannot purchase internet leads and do the marketing strategy of Goosehead. With traditional business models you must be in your office in case the phone rings. With Goosehead you are not in your office unless you are quoting a client or selling a policy. You can’t do both effectively. The biggest pill I had to swallow was trusting the Goosehead model and marketing plan. It creates a much better experience and relationship with the client because my clients come from strong relationships with referral partners. When I am recommended by a personal friend to a client, I have a client that will never want to leave me. At State Farm the referral partner marketing didn’t work. I would quote 10 clients and could only sell 1. With Goosehead, I quote 6 leads, and sell 3 easily. If I have 3 leads a day I will meet the goals I set for myself.
What do you think is the biggest value of the Goosehead Agency opportunity?
The freedom. The fee is completely worth it to own a business that I can run how I want and produce what I want without someone breathing down my neck. I don’t need someone telling me what I need to do; I have a family I need to provide for, I know what is required to provide a good life for them. The Service Team, the carrier portfolio, everything about Goosehead made it easy to open a successful business. You can’t find anything better in the insurance industry than Goosehead.
What was your biggest hurdle when starting to build your business?
In my first year something came up every month in my personal life, so I wasn’t in the office for an entire month producing. Things like back surgery, planned vacations, having a child all kept me from reaching the production goals I had for myself. Also, the learning curve of the technology platform. Once I got that down everything became like clockwork. Another big obstacle was working by myself. It was lonelier than I thought. Some of my peers from training have set-up a weekly call where we talk about different successes/obstacles we were facing as business owners. This really helped with the hurdles I was facing.
What’s your favorite aspect of being a Goosehead Agency Owner?
My day is all about creating really great relationships with referral partners where it becomes a true friendship as opposed to just a working relationship. These relationships increase my productivity which increases my financial situation. I get to do something I love and make more money doing it. I also get to talk to someone new every day and really get to know my clients. I have the time to send them congratulation cards at life milestones, like having a baby or their new purchase. Each client is more than just a policy to my business; I get to know them and create a lifelong relationship hopefully.
What is your vision for your company right now?
My day-to-day goal is to have the highest productivity possible while balancing my family life. My 5-year plan is to have 3-5 producers. I want to help my employees realize their dreams and the possibility of what their future could be. My end goal is to have the largest agency possible with many 0’s in my total premium written.
Do you have any advice for someone looking into this opportunity?
I never thought I was going to sell insurance. I wish I had started 10 years ago with Goosehead. It’s a simplistic model that works very well. Goosehead found the key to insurance success - make friends with people who send you business and help their clients in return. It is very simple. I don’t have my foot in 20 different things, I follow the model and enjoy great success in the industry.
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