On today’s ‘The Get Savvy’ podcast, we have with us ‘The Mayor’ Heath Shearon. Heath Shearon was dubbed ‘The Mayor’ by his colleagues because he would frequently speak or be involved in conferences and seem to know everyone. So when Heath started his podcast “Insurance Town,” he dawned the monicker ‘The Mayor of Insurance Town’ and it seemed to stick.
The Mayor is a second-generation insurance professional with almost 20 years experience in the sales and marketing industry. However, that’s not all. He is a podcast host, agency owner, marketing rep, and producer. His passion for the insurance industry and helping people tell their stories is one of the most significant factors for his success.
Currently, he is a performance coach at Agency Performance Partners (APP). He’s currently working on a commercial project that he considers a passion project. “APPX commercial” is a six-month comprehensive course with multiple sections on prospecting, cold calling, and client experience, among other essential courses. The course is more geared towards external producers, the aggressive salespeople hunting for leads, and those who are proactive in nature.
Even though business practices have changed over time, Heath believes that seasoning new producers with old-school techniques is still essential, like knowing how to successfully cold call clients. However, his course also integrates more modern techniques, such as how to get a Virtual Professional to help you organize and take care of all the nitty-gritty details. So that at the same time, the agent can go out and execute those sales instead of being caught doing time-consuming day-to-day tasks.
When asked what he thinks people don’t consider or think about too much regarding growing their agency and training producers. The Mayor thinks agents, producers, or CSRs aren’t proactive enough. It’s more than just sending out emails or texts; there are better ways to connect or stay connected with clients. It’s always been about building relationships; as time goes by, there are newer and better ways to do this.
Heath shares how there wasn’t any source of information to help you build a relationship with your clients in the past. There was door-to-door service and beepers with zero help to break the ice when cold calling. Agents would have to deal with doors being physically slammed in their faces and work around the constant disappointment of not closing a sale.
However, now you can research your carriers, read about their interests online, and get to know them before the first meeting to help secure that sales pitch. It’s about spending those extra two minutes proactive and getting that call instead of waiting hours for things to happen.
APP has a subscription model, where for a payment of $240, you have access to hundreds of hours of training. For training, CSRs, Sales team, Time Management – alongside The Mayor’s commercial course dropped on the 15th of July 2022. It’s helpful for any agency starting up or an agency that needs to train new staff. He suggests that having Virtual Professionals go through these courses is incredibly beneficial. It helps them better understand behind the scenes how everything operates.
In his opinion on the does and don’t with Virtual Professionals, The Mayor says he gets highly annoyed when people differentiate between in-office staff versus Virtual Professionals. It’s detrimental to the process and the professionals when they aren’t treated as if they aren’t part of the company’s core. Just because there is a distance between the office and the Virtual Professional does not mean they aren’t part of the team.
He insists on always having a plan for your virtual professionals and not expecting them to know everything from the get-go. Like any other in-office staff, the key is to train and communicate. With proactivity comes accountability, and with accountability, the employees feel they have a say in the company’s proceedings. Creating that feedback loop is essential to ensure they feel involved but incentivizes them to do better because of the involvement.
Heath notes that there are more issues with cultures than with the task. Agencies have to learn and plan for integration for Virtual Professionals, just as they do for other in-office employees. People get lost in the word “Virtual” and assume there isn’t a person sitting behind the screen. Making sure the Virtual Professional is a part of the team is the basic process of getting the best out of your employees.