#032: Jackie Kohorst-Payne: Grit + Professionalism Always Wins

Are You Stubborn Enough

Have you ever meet someone that you instantly knew was a true professional and that you were really going to enjoy collaborating with? Someone you knew was going to make you better? I first meet Jackie in early 2016. Her story of grit, determination and triumph inspired me then, and it continues to inspire me today!

Not only is Jackie inspiring, she is a world class professional and leader. In today’s episode Jackie breaks down where they VB industry started, how it got to where it is now, and where it is headed. I know I have never heard anyone outline the ever changing world of VB with the detail and insight that Jackie gives us in this interview.

Things I Learned From Jackie

  • Why she sought out a full-commission sales position.
  • How advertising sales set her up for success in VB.
  • The biggest changes she has seen in the industry in the last 15 years.
    • The interest in the marketplace for VB
    • Technology
  • How changes in compensation structures have driven brokers and carriers into the VB space.
  • The landscape is more competitive than ever before, and why that is a GOOD thing.
  • Why technology changes are scary for traditional VB carriers.
  • Why online enrollment is attractive to even small groups and why we MUST adapt now.
  • Why technology isn’t enough.
  • Why one-on-one enrollment will never stop being important.
  • Why millennials are more interested in one-on-one enrollments that their older peers.
  • HR professionals often don’t understand their benefit packages.
  • The lessons she learned from being absent from her business for 6+ months.
  • Where she needs to spend her day-to-day energy to best drive her business forward.
  • What needed to happen to re-boot the business.
  • Why brokers think what the VB agent does looks easy.
  • How hard it is for a broker to go in-house with VB.
  • What a blessing it is to get to reinvent yourself.
  • The excitement of knowing that you can rebuild and use the lessons you have learned along the way.
  • How Angela Duckworth’s book Grit crystalized many of Jackie’s life lessons.
  • The lesson of having to work hard to stay competitive.
  • How natural aptitude can get in the way of success.
  • No matter how difficult, she never says it can’t be done.
  • Why does there have to be a box to think outside of?
  • Believing there is always a way to be successful if you put your heart and soul into it.
  • Hard work and passion have contributed to her success much more than ability or aptitude.
  • Why David Maister’s book Managing The Professional Service Team was foundational to her success in advertising and VB
  • Why clients choose the professional service firm they do.
  • Why firms keep their professional services firm.
  • There is more than one way to give customer service.
  • How does the client want you to deliver customer service?

Books We Talked About

Click on either book to find out more


What Keeps Her Motivated

  • She loves solving problems
  • She likes that the marketplace is constantly changing
  • She is excited that product and rates don’t win the business

Jackie’s Advice To New Agents

  • Read
  • Talk to successful people
  • Ask people smarter than yourself
  • Look for the wider path
  • The worst plan, beautifully executed, will provide success.
  • Why answering emails is a path to disaster…
  • Managing customer expectations

Thank You For Listening

I really appreciate you listening to the podcast and would love it if you would be so kind as to rate the podcast on iTunes.  To do that, all you have to do is go to http://successisvoluntary.com/iTunes and follow the instructions.  It will take you less than 30 seconds and would be a huge help to me as it will keep the podcast towards the top of the business charts in iTunes which will help new people discover it.

I look forward to seeing you back here next week, in the meantime, don’t forget that everything you do in this business is voluntary.  Including success!!!

Tim Martin

Author: Tim Martin

Tim has spent the last 22 years in the VB sales world. During that time he has recruited and trained over 2,000 agents to get people to do what they should, but wouldn't do if we didn't come along. In addition to his leadership rolls at the two largest VB carriers on the planet, Tim has worked with outside organizations through consulting and sales coaching. His energetic and humorous key note addresses have also inspired and electrified audiences throughout the United States. Currently Tim is also working on his first book "Success Is Voluntary." Tim and the lovely Dizzy D reside in Peoria, Arizona. They have been married for 29 years and are the proud parent of two gorgeous grown young women, Brittny 27 and Victoria 25.

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