What Should Be the #1 Priority of Insurance Agents - Featuring Brent Kelly

Brent Kelly

I was checking out insurance podcasts on a typically humid Florida afternoon when I came across the Agent Leader Podcast hosted by Brent Kelly.

The episodes looked pretty interesting, with subject lines like:

  • How the 30-Second Rule Will Transform Your Leadership
  • The 3 Reasons Why Many New Insurance Agents Fail
  • The One Question your Insurance Agency Must Answer

And then I came across one episode that made my ears perk up.

It was titled “The #1 Reason People Buy From You.”

Before I get to the punch line: if you’re reading this, you probably already know that New Horizons is big on relationships.

That’s what sets us all apart from our competitors.

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard Brent Kelly, insurance speaker, trainer, and coach with over 15 years of hands-on insurance experience say:

Brent Kelly

“The #1 reason people bought insurance from me is because they liked me, and they connected with me. That was it.”

It sounds too simple to be true, and if you’re like me, you want to know the who-what-why-when-where-how of everything.

I reached out to Brent, and he was gracious enough to talk with me about this in the hopes that these ideas will help you to get more clients (and retain them) in the right way.

For starters, the main objection to Brent’s big idea is that persuasion seems to be a huge part of sales. If you can successfully persuade someone to buy, whether that’s based on a competitive price or a need for the product, you have it made.

But Brent explains that that’s not the case at all. He argues that the connection you have with your clients is more important than any master sales technique.

He explains, “You have to be able to communicate with your clients, and part of that is carrying on a conversation that they actually enjoy.”

Smooth small talk skills seems like the answer here, but Brent believes that’s just scratching the surface.

He explains the 3 big prerequisites you need to accomplish before you ever even speak to a potential buyer:

  1. Have confidence in yourself and the products you’re selling.
  2. Be authentic.
  3. Be prepared.

If you walk up to someone’s door and you aren’t confident, your prospects definitely won’t have confidence in you, either.

This personally reminded me of a story that a barbar once told me. If he cut someone’s hair and continuously said things like, “yeah, perfect” while nodding his head and just looking confident in what he was doing, his clients were remarkably happier with the final cut.

When he just did business as usual, the opposite was true — some clients even wanted their money back.

There’s a lot to be said about the confidence you have.

As far as being authentic goes, Brent explains that it will take time for you to develop authenticity.

As you continue to do roleplaying exercises and develop confidence, you’ll find it easier to be yourself rather than just going through the motions that you’ve been taught.

Finally, being prepared doesn’t mean having perfect product knowledge and reciting a script you’ve memorized. Brent says it simply: “Don’t just show up and talk.”

He recalled one day after basketball practice when his coach asked him to shoot 100 free throw shots before leaving. It took some time, but he finally made it to 98, 99, 100.

He was ready to leave when his coach stopped him and said, “Were those 100 game shots or 100 practice shots?”

Of course, we all know how that story ended.

But there’s something to be said about practicing for the real thing rather than just going through the motions.

Brent explains that you need to do actual mock appointments and real practice trials before just throwing yourself out there. You don’t just want to show up and hope that things will fall into place as you go.

All of this spurred a slightly weird, but still important question:

What do you do if you’re an introvert?

Brent says not to worry. He explains, “I know many successful agents that are introverted. Being a great communicator is about listening and asking the right questions. Extroverts can often have more trouble with communicating than introverts — they need to know when to be quiet.”

In essence, play to your strengths. If you’re an introvert, be a confident one, and let your clients drive the conversation.

People love to talk about themselves, and you want them to open up. In many cases, your introversion can be the perfect tool to connection.

So, I know what your next question is, because it was mine, too.

What are some ways you can actually connect with your clients?

I expected Brent to say something like, “Find something that interests them” or “call them on their birthday,” but he threw me for a loop.

He said, “Value people.”

While I shouldn’t have been surprised — since everything he had said up to this point seemed so obviously simple as if we’ve all been over thinking this entire thing — it still left me somewhat speechless.

He went on, “Look at your conversations and see it as an opportunity to value someone. Ask yourself: Does my message add value?”

It’s infectious — someone who is authentic and genuinely cares for people — that’s someone that clients trust, that clients are loyal to, and that clients will buy from time and time again.

One of the reasons we recently introduced the Client Needs Assessment (CNA) to you is because clients don’t like it when you try to sell something new each time you see them. It’s much better to lay it all out on the table up front.

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And Brent really drives this home: “Stop always asking for something. Start giving.”

And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be anything extreme. Brent says it can be someone as simple as a smile.

Another way to connect with clients is through video.

Sounds weird, I know, but check this out:

This is a video Brent sent me via email. He does this with clients as a way to personally connect with them. He advises to use their actual name in the video so that they know you’re talking with them — not sending them a video that goes out to everyone.

The service is called BombBomb, and it starts at $39/month.

Brent believes that this kind of personalized service is a key part of connecting digitally. He says that in a few years, the majority of content consumed on the web will be video.

Which brings us to the next point — have a website.

Brent explains, “It doesn’t have to look perfect — mine isn’t perfect. But it gets the job done. After all, your prospects are buying you.”

Your website is a place to show clients who you are and why they should trust you as their insurance agent.

Finally, Brent explains that having mentors in your life is really important. Sounds great, but how do you find mentors?

Brent’s simple answer: “Books and colleagues.”

Just start searching for things. YouTube, podcasts, and audiobooks are great places to start. Brent advises that you turn your car into an educational vehicle. “Play audiobooks every time you get in the car. It turns your driving time into a productive time.”

Some of Brent’s mentors are Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn,  Jeffrey Gitomer, and John Maxwell.

If you’re interested in having a mentor but don’t know where to start, Brent offers personalized growth plans for agents like you. You can reach out to him here if you’re interested.

All of this seems like a lot to take in.

After all, you still have to know all the technical things about the products. However, Brent recalled a Stanford University study, and I’d like to close with the statistic:

“13% of your business success is attributed to product knowledge. The other 87% is attributed to connecting with people.”

Good selling!


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