Formerly an Allstate insurance agent, Zach Halewood joined the Mitchell Insurance Agency in March 2020. He has been having great success with insurance leads from SmartFinancial and he enjoys working at an independent agency, where he feels like he has more freedom. Owner, Gary Sides, has handed him the reins in managing leads.
The Mitchell Insurance Agency is working almost exclusively with SmartFinancial. But Halewood remembers his time at an Allstate agency, when he worked with a half dozen or so lead providers.
“It took trial and error to figure out how to use these leads to my advantage,” Halewood explains. “I had to gain experience in setting up target markets that work for me. The quality of leads at SmartFinancial is great, so my success now is dependent on how much effort I put into where I want to get customers.”
He advises newer agents to do some preliminary thinking before buying leads. “Figure out which territories will yield the best business,” he says. After figuring out which area codes you want to do business in, you can choose filters that will bring you shoppers from those areas. For example, the Mitchell Agency is located in South Carolina, but Halewood finds prospects in both North and South Carolina, in targeted areas only, based on his research.
“If you work an entire state, you’ll get more leads,” Halewood says, “but if you put some thought into where you want to get your customers from, you may sell more policies. I’ve had to learn to do it in a way that works for me. It takes some time to get the hang of it, but it’s worth taking the time to figure it out.”
What’s great about working with SmartFinancial is that if you don’t have the experience of making filters work for you, you’ll be working with an account manager who does. Not only are the account managers there to help, but they will make sure that you’re only sharing leads with a couple of other agencies. And when your leads are exclusive, they are really exclusive.
“What I like best about working with SmartFinancial is that the return process is easy. It doesn’t feel like the company is trying to avoid returning leads. They would rather have me be happy with what I get. It’s also nice to not share leads with 3 of 4 agents, which was the case with my previous lead provider. It used to be that unless I was the first one to get in touch with shared leads, I couldn’t get the business, but that’s not the case with SmartFinancial.”
Since April 16th, Halewood sold 12 policies with 6 different customers. His total revenue for May using SmartFinancial leads is roughly $13,000. And that was only the beginning. In Q3 of 2021 he sold $250K in premium from just one SmartFinancial lead, meeting his annual premium goal!
What’s the secret of Halewood’s success? “Well I started out with auto leads, but switched to home leads because I figured a homeowner has to have at least one car," he explains. "I sold multiple policies and got my clients good discounts. You’re getting more than what you’re paying for when you buy home leads.”
The coronavirus is not slowing down Halewood because he has a trusted partner in SmartFinancial. Statistics are showing less quote data being processed across the country, but in Halewood’s experience, there hasn’t been a drop-off.
5 Sales Tips from Zach Halewood of the Mitchell Insurance Agency
1. The most important thing is to put thought into where you want the leads to come from in the states that you’re working in. Your best areas will be higher income areas because those areas will have residents who own homes, businesses and multiple cars. Be specific in where you put your filters.
2. Ask your prospects if they want to meet over video chat. We send out video quotes through Loom, a free service that saves our videos to a cloud account. We usually email the link to a video of the agent giving the quote. I usually also attach a PDF of the quote, in case they don’t want to watch the video.
3. Good communication with the account manager is a good idea. You need to tweak and find what ways work for your agency. I’ve been given lots of leeway to manage my account, like pausing it over the weekends and holidays. Being communicative with your account manager is a good way to get the most for your money.
4. Following up right away is important, even if you buy exclusive leads, which may not remain exclusive for very long. Also, use multiple points of contact. Email and text work with some clients more than others. Find each person’s preference.
5. Get in touch with the leads as soon as they come in. Call within the first 30 seconds of receiving the lead.