Ben Martin attended Tufts University as a pre-med student. After graduating, he lived in New York City and took classes in NYU’s film program. His showbiz career started as a Production Assistant on the set of the Barbra Streisand film “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” He had big plans to become a writer and producer, so in 1997, he moved to Los Angeles and landed an agent and his scripts were showcased to all the major production companies of the time: Castle Rock, Miramax and MTV Films, just to name a few. Unfortunately, he never sold anything so he began working as a financial consultant for all of the major studios like Walt Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony and 20th Century Fox. He also got his MBA from Loyola Marymount with a focus on entrepreneurial organization.
“I took an insurance licensing test when I moved to California and passed but it only became a side hustle. When rates in consulting began to drop and finding work became challenging, I knew I had to find another way to make a living. I hated working in corporate America, and I liked dealing with people, not red tape, so I started selling security systems and armed patrol services door to door in high end areas of Los Angeles like Brentwood, Beverly Hills and Encino.”
Martin excelled at sales and earned many awards and vacations to the Bahamas and Las Vegas, but the company he worked for was bought out, and commissions were cut by 70%. Martin left and began selling gold and other precious metals for a couple of years. In the gold business, you start out as an opener for the closers. Martin started out using the “boneyard” leads, aged leads that no one’s ever closed. He had to prove himself by closing several of those leads to get into the call queues, which he succeeded in doing. Over time, he honed his phone skills and learned how to build trust and close over the phone.
In February 2022, Martin stumbled onto an Indeed ad for an insurance sales job. He connected with both owners of Anchor Financial Group and began selling individual and group life and health insurance as well as annuities and medicare assets. He also began working in wealth management and retirement planning.
“I’m an independent agent at Anchor Financial, so I am able to give customers more options for each situation and budget,” Martin explains.
To find new prospects, Martin had to pay for his own leads, but he knows how essential they are in having success while growing a book of business. When he first started selling insurance, he tried a lead vendor that was recommended to him, but the aged leads were as bad as the boneyard leads he used when he was selling precious metals.
“I wasted many months and spent about $1,000 on aged, bad leads until I came to SmartFinancial,” he says. “When I switched, I started having tremendous success right off the bat. My account manager tells me they’ve never seen anything lower than my CPA of $30!”
Martin now buys leads strictly from SmartFinancial, specifically warm transfer calls. He also trains all the new producers at the agency with leads and gives them feedback on the calls they make. Many of them open for Martin, and Martin closes the deals.
“People are scared of spending thousands of dollars on leads, but they are not tapping into their potential unless they are buying leads,” Martin says.
As for his career goals, Martin plans to get a securities license. He then wants to open his own agency to bring in high-end clientele for retirement planning and other financial services.
“I’ll always keep the insurance as part of the business model. It’s always good to fall back on too, when the economy slows down.”
4 Golden Sales Tips From Ben Martin
- It’s important to remember that selling insurance is 0% about you and 100% about the client. Keep that in mind and you’ll sell more policies.
- Get yourself disciplined. I work every day from 6 or 7 am until 8 to 9 pm, Monday through Sunday. If you think this is going to be a 40 hour work week, it’s not going to happen for you. You have to put in the time and sweat. Down the line you can do 40 hours a week.
- Start out with SmartFinancial data leads until you’re comfortable. After you close five to 10 deals, switch to the warm transfers which are much easier to sell because callers are more ready to buy.
- If you’re struggling, find someone in your organization that is succeeding, and just do what they do. Once you learn what they do, make it your own process.