Rhiley Bamber earned a degree in Eastern Medicine then became a massage therapist. After she met her husband, she worked for a home-based makeup company, while helping to train over 1,000 women so they could start their own businesses. After Bamber divorced, she wasn’t sure what to do next.
When she began asking friends and family how she could make a good income, they reminded Bamber that she had a sales and marketing background from selling cosmetics. With that in mind, she reached out to a woman with whom she’d attended high school. It turned out that her former classmate was working for Farmers Insurance, assisting agents in Minnesota. She told Bamber, “I think I have the best thing for you. You can have your own business!”
Bamber drove one and a half hours for an interview with Farmers. After she was accepted, she was told she had a year to meet the educational and sales goals for the Farmers Protege Program.
“I did the research and decided that Farmers was a good fit for me,” Bamber remembers. “Except it didn’t take me a year. I drove one and a half hours every day and finished my requirements in six months while going through a divorce and selling then buying a home. I graduated Jan 2023, and opened my agency in March.”
There was a small hitch though: Bamber couldn’t operate out of her new office until April, so she and her staff of two producers worked out of the district office for three months. Training her producers was easy enough, however; One agent was going through the Protege Program and the other sold $27,000 in premium four days before her folio was due to close.
“I was trained with leads in my Protege Program,” says Bamber. “My boss bought us leads, so I started my agency by buying them here too. I began buying SmartFinancial data leads, and I just started with the live transfers. We buy roughly four a day, three days a week. We’re testing to see if we do better with live transfers than data leads for auto, commercial auto and workers comp. So far, we’re doing pretty good!”
What Bamber loves the most about working with SmartFinancial is her account manager, who is always there to help. “With other vendors, nobody checks in with me,” says Bamber. “The only time I hear from them is if I contact them and, even then, they don’t respond. All I have to do with my SmartFinancial account manager is email him, and he gets right back to me. He knows that if I’m not making money, I'm not going to spend my money. He stays in constant contact by finding out how many policies we sold since we last spoke. If we need to make changes, he fine tunes our settings.”
As Bamber’s agency continues to grow, she plans to hire two more producers. Down the line, she’d like to have a second agency. In the meantime, the goal is to turn her agency into a one-stop shop, where people can buy all their insurance products in one place.
5 Golden Tips From Rhiley Bamber of Farmers Insurance
- Have a process in place when using leads. Work leads persistently because one-call closes are uncommon. Make constant contact for several days, then two weeks out and then one month out. Make good use of the money you’re spending on leads by being thorough.
- With lead vendors, keep a record of your ROI and keep in good contact with your account manager to make the most of the services they offer.
- Create an uplifting atmosphere for your employees and clients. Creating a positive culture is important. Treat clients like human beings, not numbers.
- Create short-term and long-term goals for yourself and employees.
- Community engagement is huge. Set yourself apart from other insurance agents working your territory.