When he turned 18, Zach Coulter got his real estate license and began selling real estate. He went on to get a degree in Business Management from Manchester University in Indiana. It was only 7 years ago that he got his insurance license. He now sells homes and insurance, often home insurance.
Coulter worked for Farm Bureau for most of his career and eventually took a position in middle management. Farm bureau only had county offices until July 1, 2020, and Coulter was one of the first 9 agents to be given the opportunity to own Farm Bureau branches. So, he and his partner, Kevin Tran, are proud co-owners of the Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Coulter Tran Agency.
“Farm Bureau has a similar model to a State Farm,” Coulter explains. “We strictly sell Farm Bureau products. But we can hire sales people and have lots of resources at hand. We have a sister company that allows us to do subprime loans too.”
Coulter and Tran sell home, auto life, farm and commercial insurance in the entire state of Indiana. In previous years they worked with another lead provider, but just a little over a year and a half ago, they switched to Smartfinancial. Asked what he loves most about SmartFinancial’s services, Coulter says, “Hands-down it’s the customer service from my Account Manager. He gets the job done.”
Coulter especially likes the live transfer calls from SmartFinancial. “Data leads are harder to close. We don’t typically pay for any leads where I have to reach out. I haven’t figured out how to make those fruitful,” he explains. “I prefer the calls. They are more expensive but the quality and closing rate is so much better. I probably close between 15 to 20% with SmartFinancial, which is double the industry average.”
Aside from the support he gets from his Account Manager, Coulter likes the flexibility of the SmartFinancial program. “Generally, I get the calls in spurts: I’ll get calls one week all week, and then I won’t want any calls for a couple of weeks. If I’m trying to put out fires, I’ll just go in the dashboard and pause the calls. End of the month I may build the funnel back up. I’ll spend $600-$1000 on calls, depending on the month. I’m closing at least 15% and am averaging around $200 per commission.”
In addition to leads, Coulter generates his own. He’s still active in real estate too, and that helps with home leads. “If my clients will trust me with their biggest asset, I get a good return on that, and sometimes I sell insurance.”
Zach Coulter’s 5 Golden Tips
1. The biggest thing you can do to increase your chances of making a sale is to be in a situation to quote very quickly when you receive the call. Be proficient in the software you use. Be on the spot and provide the quote quickly. When you can’t, like if you’re in the car, pull over. Take the call and act like you’re at your desk because timeliness is so important. With SmartFinancial live calls, everything’s recorded so just be ready to ask for what you need to give the quote. Go back to the recording afterwards and collect the information and offer a quote as fast as you can. Time is of the essence.
2. If you have long greetings and long wait times send live calls to your cell phone. We have an automated answering service so I use my cell number, because otherwise I’d lose people.
3. There’s no secret wand. Quote with discounts and from there back down the discounts if they don’t qualify. To be competitive you’ve got to show the best price up front because other agents they are talking to are doing it too. Consumers assume your price will end up being higher.
4. Identify your parameters. We are very selective with filtering so that we get the best customer for us. Work with your account manager to set the right filters on leads.
5. Be persistent in following up. Most agents don’t close deals due to lack of follow up. I follow up with a call and an email with quotes attached so there are multiple touches with clients.