Brian Busam was studying electrical engineering at SUNY New Paltz and waiting tables when a customer told him he’d be a good insurance agent. She was working part-time as an agent herself and said she could get Busam an interview. He immediately changed his major to business after he got the job working at State Farm.
After graduation, Busam stayed with the State Farm agent he was working for as a college student. When the agent retired, Busam stayed on with the new owner until he opened his own office in Connecticut.
“I incorporated what I learned over the years into how I run my own office, but it’s been 10 years and things are different now,” he says. “We didn’t have internet leads when I started working in insurance, but when I opened my office, that’s exactly what I began doing and have been doing now for 14 years.”
Busam began buying data leads and warm transfer calls for his full-service agency, which also offers financial planning. It took him trial and error to see which companies had the best quality of leads and customer service. With SmartFinancial he learned that he had an account manager he could talk to any time.
“I've been using SmartFinancial for a while now,” he says. “The quality of leads is pretty good, so I'm happy. Our close rate with data leads is maybe 3% and 38-40% for live transfers. Overall, we do a good job.”
Busam’s strategy is such that he bids to get as many live lead transfers as possible because they are usually of better quality. Not only that but the lead is on the phone right away, making it much easier to close a sale.
“For morale, the live calls are good for the team because data leads entail lots of quoting, and you often get nowhere. It can be demoralizing if it weren’t for the calls we get. Live transfer leads know you’re trying to help them out. At least it’s usually a good conversation.”
Busam’s team doesn’t just hope for success, they follow a process that’s firmly in place. They try to quote live transfers immediately over the phone. With data leads, too, they try to work them as soon as they come in. “We call, text and email the quotes, especially when it’s a good rate,” explains Busam.
Mainly, Busam buys auto and home leads. However, his team writes a ton of life insurance but only because they educate their leads and clients about its importance. Busam also doesn’t buy health leads even though he sells health insurance. The answer to why is simple: P&C brings in the most revenue for his office.
In the future, Busam plans on hiring more agents and wants his team to be busy but not inundated. When he hires two or three more people, he plans to buy even more leads and live transfers!
6 Golden Insurance Sales Tips From Brian Busam of State Farm
- It takes savviness to sell an insurance policy, and you can’t make it about price. When crappy things happen, that’s when insurance is important. Explain that.
- Sell on better coverage, by educating people. People want to know they will be taken care of after an accident.
- If you’re new, buy a bunch of data leads, work on quoting so you know how to quote and get good at selling your team, your office and what your company provides.
- Find out what’s important to the lead. Talk to them in a way that’s not so rigid. Pretend like you’re going to a bar and having a drink. Just enjoy the conversation, and make it enjoyable for the other person.
- Ask questions. Do they have bad coverage, bad customer service? Educate them on what you can provide.
- Be prepared for unrealistic expectations, like if they think they have full coverage at a cheap price and they don’t. People assume things about their coverage, so educate them to win them over.