Get Savvy has welcomed a special guest for today’s podcast, her name is Brittany Bergum. Brittany is a well-known local agent in south-central Wisconsin. Her personal journey is embedded with terrific lessons for personal and career growth. At the age of 14 Brittany fell into the world of sales and discovered that she is able to create connections with people. In her first job she sold pillows through tele-marketing. Quickly, she fell in love with sales and got involved more and more with it. She now runs an insurance agency by the name of The Guardian Insurance Group LLC. The agency is family-owned and operated; Brittany took over the agency from her older brother who decided to pursue another opportunity.
What makes Brittany Bergum’s journey into sales and then into insurance agency so incredible is how she persistently adapted and grew with each challenge she faced. Most often the hurdles we face in our growth are ones that push our personal limits and boundaries. Introspection and reflection allows us to look inwardly and figure out what our strengths and weaknesses are. Brittany does not possess any esoteric skills that makes her unique or not-relatable to any of us out there sharing some of the same opportunities in life. No, what makes Brittany a powerhouse, is actually how she understands that she has struggles in every-day life just like any person and in order to grow she has to create processes that would overcome or make those struggles manageable.
While Brittany was in retail sales, she had two kids by that time but most of her nights and weekends were also spent dealing with customers. The sales responsibility interfered with her personal life commitments and so she often found herself compromising on the attention she had to give to her kids. Being forced to choose between kids and what puts food on the kids’ table is one of the most uncomfortable decisions that parents have to go through. Brittany acknowledged this crossroad in her life and didn’t let it deter her resolve, drive and responsibilities. Instead, she further ventured and dared into the insurance industry by working with her brother who owned a farmer’s agency. Initially she took on some of her brother’s clients and realised she could manage working this full time from anywhere while staying with her kids. Further along in her life, Brittany had her third child, the responsibilities kept growing but so did the challenges and problems. She had gone through a divorce by the time her third was in this world and eventually she was diagnosed with ADHD.
With everything as it was Brittany Bergum wanted a bigger income to support her family and fuel her future career growth. She then discussed the option of buying-out her brother’s business as he eventually wanted to step away completely. Even for someone as driven and energetic as Brittany, operating at 100% productivity for every aspect of a business is impossible. Naturally everyone burns out and can become inefficient because over-capacity is never practically manageable and sustainable. Running an insurance agency or any business, you need to learn how to keep your work-capacity and limits in check. Brittany tells us how she was able to keep that balance and eventually work around her ADHD.
The first thing she tells us is how she implemented a smart and simple process of getting things done in a timely fashion – providing output within deadlines. Work up the process and figure out how to make the process more time-efficient since sales is all about getting the result in time. In this day and age, multitasking is becoming more and more commonplace in work however it is also overhyped in its implementation. People with ADHD can be slightly more efficient in getting multiple tasks done as compared to a single task. David R Carothers, partner at Savvital also has ADHD and this is what he usually says “give me 18 planes to land I’ll make sure everyone lands on time perfectly, but give me one and I’ll have too much time.” However the combination of ADHD and multitasking can also be a recipe for disaster especially if managing time and priorities is a challenge for you. The biggest problem that people struggle with is the implementation despite having the ambition, vision and great ideas.
This is exactly what Brittany says she faces and so she tells us that she manages her ADHD by doing the single most important thing; creating processes and checklists. If you can learn how to automate tasks that otherwise require you to be a multitasking wizard you can be more efficient and productive. Manually going through the same repetitive processes gets in the way of accelerating the work that actually earns the bread.
Sales is the biggest example for showcasing the importance of getting work done and generating results by creating process steps – taken right from Brittany’s playbook. Often-time in insurance, the clients are always fishing for quotes and not actually looking to buy insurance from you or coming over to your agency. You put all the time and effort
in getting so much research done for a potential client. Even though you quoted out so many different possibilities and it made so much sense for the client to switch to you, they don’t really do it. By the end of it you are frustrated and feel like the prospect has just been yanking your chain. Here’s how Brittany focuses on the process of getting those clients onboard and filtering out those ones that aren’t really serious.
The first step she says is to figure out what exactly it is that the client requires and to communicate to the client about their buying intent. If by the end of a conversation with a new prospect, they don’t know that they’re expected to buy from you, then it’s not really on them, it’s on you. You have to do your pitch properly to figure out and clarify their true intent of coming to you. This process is to qualify your clients and filter out the ones just fishing for quotes.
Oftentimes, insurance agents will be hesitant to directly make the client commit and get them onboard. They will try to escape from this method and instead follow-up with a soft consultative style approach. This gives prospects more room to play-about with whatever you or your agency is offering without necessarily exposing their true intent. The prospects then give the usual “I’ll call you back soon” ghosting treatment because they actually never were interested in the first place. Brittany has faced this issue before and she gives an analogy of a doctor’s appointment to explain the process that can help agents be more straight-up and direct with their prospects. She says that a doctor is the expert who never has to come to the client instead the patients approach the doctor. The doctor never changes their diagnoses based on what the patient likes or dislikes. They already know that they are doing their best and that’s about it. Sucks a suck but at least your prospect knows exactly what you are offering. This is not a 100% success formula to getting clients onboarded on each meeting or call. No, just like everything else Brittany does, this is a process that helps qualify your clients and right at the start establishes a direct relationship of what they can expect from you. Prospects may still not like or go with what you are offering; rejections are part of the process but the ones that stick will surely make it easier for you to work with.
“Greatness, Determination, Vision, and Patience” is Brittany’s daily mantra. But she has shown that it’s not these attributes alone that gets her where she is now. It’s actually the practical processes that you can implement to channel these attributes into your daily life and your growth.