Success Story With Anthony Garibay

Fran Majidi May 29, 2024

Anthony Garibay began working at an insurance agency at the age of 16, wholly by accident. He went to a job interview and ended up in the wrong office, where he told the insurance agency owner that he was looking for a job. Garibay was hired and stayed with the agent for three years, before getting licensed and branching out on his own.

Garibay continued selling insurance while a student at Aurora University and then University of Illinois. He was studying biochemistry and got into pharmacy school but then switched to engineering. 

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” Garibay remembers. “I picked those majors because I was good at math and science, but I opened my own insurance agency and sold policies on the side. I had classes in the morning and I worked on selling insurance from 2pm until 11pm. I used a phonebook to make calls until 8pm, and I’d do the quotes until 11pm.”

Turns out that Garibay was pretty good at selling insurance because by the time he was done with engineering school, he was making more as an insurance agent than he would as an engineer. “So I just stuck with it, and I’ve been selling insurance now for 18 years,” he says. 

Technically a Farmers agent, Garibay can go to different carriers if Farmers can’t or doesn’t want to write the policy. “Agents don’t try to get more places to write business, when they should be constantly looking,” he says. “I go through wholesalers or direct appointments if Farmers won’t write a policy.”

Garibay’s agencies are in seven states but his primary agency is in California, where he takes as many commercial and home live-transfer calls as he can. “I mainly focus on California because I’ve been doing well here in commercial calls for the past five years,” he explains. “I have made 50% every year above what I’ve spent in commercial live transfer calls. I don’t sell auto because it has a high turnover and it’s never been a strength. I have a market for homes and a really strong market for commercial insurance.”

As for finding customers, Garibay can’t start calling people from a phone book anymore, due to TCPA laws but that’s fine by him, “Buying leads is much better than cold calling,” he explains. “I started using leads about five years in, when I could finally afford to buy them. The agency was making 100K but I only paid myself 30K a year, with the focus on growing by buying leads.”

During those lean years, Garibay had no employees, so he took all the calls. “I tried different marketing strategies but, really, I’ve built my agencies on leads, and I’ve worked with SmartFinancial for 10 years” he says. He understands, however, why some people swear off buying them. 

“The biggest pain point people have with buying leads is that they are not taking the calls themselves. They have staff take the calls, and they aren’t closing. I prioritize the calls and I take most of them. I only give leads to my staff for smaller accounts or something that’s easy, like home insurance, retail or a beauty salon insurance.” 

I have made 50% every year above what I’ve spent in commercial live transfer calls. 

He also adds the importance of being fast to act after receiving a call. “If you’re not quick to pick up or call back within a few minutes, you’ve lost an opportunity,” he says. “You have to capture a prospect’s attention right away. If you’re in a hurry, start the quote and call them back.” 

4 Golden Sales Tips From Anthony Garibay

  1. I recommend that owners of most agencies with under four million in premiums take live-transfer calls or appoint someone really strong in the market to take the calls, whether it’s auto or commercial. 
  2. If you can help someone right away with a good price, they will move forward.
  3. People will pay more if they know what they’re paying for and it’s coverage they need.
  4. Make money, not lose money, by charging a broker fee. If the customer wants a policy for a few months for contract work, charge a $100 broker fee, because it’s inconvenient and  takes a long time to write. For specialty accounts, I charge a broker fee because no one else can quote it. If I’m saving them a lot of money, like 30K in costs, I charge a 5K broker fee.