Host: Tim Martin
Guest: Ron Jones
Episode 030: Let’s Go Fishing
January 31, 2018
Welcome to Success is Voluntary, a podcast devoted to helping you become the salesperson you were always meant to be, where it’s all about helping you learn the techniques and tools that will enable you to win in the increasingly competitive world of voluntary benefits. Welcome your host, a guy who has hired and trained over 2,000 voluntary benefit salespeople in his career, Tim Martin. Success is Voluntary, selling voluntary benefits.
Tim Martin: Yes, my name is Tim Martin, and you are listening to episode number 030 of Success is Voluntary. I couldn’t be more excited for today. As I was getting ready to relaunch Success is Voluntary, I realized I had interviewed two people and I had not gotten the chance to release those interviews. The first was Anthony Iannarino, which I released as the first podcast of 2018.
The second interview was with my friend Ron Jones. Ron and I have been friends for a long time now, and we have done numerous award trips together. At one point, Ron helped me to focus my recruiting efforts and added a lot of value to my life. Yesterday’s podcast was focused on recruiting, so if you are a sales manager I would highly recommend you listen. If you are not in leadership, I think you should listen anyway.
The concepts Ron and I talk about are apropos to prospecting and customer acquisition. Who knows? Someday you might go into sales leadership. This program might be foundational to your success. I will warn you in advance that for some reason the audio quality of the call was not up to the high standards I have set for Success is Voluntary. I apologize for that. The good news is, in spite of a couple of glitches, the content is very clear, so let’s do this, shall we? Good afternoon, Ron. Thanks so much for coming on. How are you today?
Ron Jones: I’m doing great! Thank you for asking, Tim.
Tim: In the open, I told them a little bit about you, but I always let the guest kind of give a little bit more about their background. I don’t like to build it up too much, so, Ron, tell us a little bit about how you got started in the insurance industry and how you got to where you are now. Just give us a little glimpse into your journey.
Ron: Sure. spent about nine and a half years as a counselor/therapist. I worked with people coming out of penitentiary trying to help them get back into society. It was a very good career. However, I struggled paying my bills, so I then went into the aviation industry and was an operations manager at a major airport and then became a station manager. I did that for a few years, and in that process… It paid the bills; it was just that I didn’t have that freedom of time.
I had an opportunity to meet a gentleman who I went to church with. He was in the insurance industry. The one thing I had noticed about him was not only was he there for his boys when they were involved in soccer and football and basketball and those other activities, but he was there to help the coach out. He was there to take the kids out for pizza afterward and pay for it. It seemed like that was with ease. So he was always there. I had the opportunity to visit with him, and the rest was kind of history.
That was in November of 2004, so in January 2005 I embarked on this great career as an insurance agent and went from there. I was an associate for about eight months and then got into the management program after about eight months. Then, I had an opportunity to move back to Texas and take a district.
I then moved into the regional role and did that for about four years before moving to the territory office where I was able to coach and mentor a number of state operations and regional operations and help them with their recruiting efforts, mainly. Then I had the opportunity to get back out into the field, so it has been a really great pleasure for me to start utilizing the tools I had used in coaching and mentoring regions and helping them with their business and to actually put those into action. In a nutshell, that’s kind of it.
Tim: Yeah. That sounds really fascinating, the opportunity to go all over the country, really, and get to see what the best people were doing and see the mistakes people were making. I’m sure that’s really helping you at this point and really is one of those things that is a great opportunity.
Ron: You know, Tim, it really has been. You can talk about the mistakes some of them make, and some of them do, but the incredible thing was the incredible talent that’s out there. Yes, I’ve been able to go into those operations and really see what they do very well, so what I’ve done this time, being back in the field as a recruiter, is to be able to take all of those things I learned from those recruiting coordinators to help get back at it in the field.
Tim: Well, you and I have known each other a long time now, and I know before you did that you were a heck of a recruiter, so that’s why I’m so excited to have you on today. You were a great recruiter before you learned all of those things, so I’m excited to get a chance to talk to you. Let’s talk a little bit about recruiting and sourcing of agents. What’s your philosophy on recruiting an insurance agent or a 100-percent sales-commission person in the first place? Talk a little bit about your philosophy on that.
Ron: Sure. There is a speaker. He’s also well-known. He has written several books. His name is Chris Widener. Chris Widener defines recruiting as it’s almost like the difference between fishing and hunting. The way he puts that is hunters usually track their prey and then, really, they kill them. Chris talks about, as far as recruiting is concerned, how it’s more about fishing.
Think about that for a second. You’re sitting on the bank and you’re relaxing and you’re having fun drinking your favorite beverage. I’m not saying we do that while recruiting, but you’re just having fun doing what you’re doing. You’re casting your line out, and there are different ways you fish. That’s the way he sees recruiting, and that’s kind of the philosophy I’ve taken. It’s more of fishing instead of hunting.
I’ve kind of used three basic rules of fishing that every fisherman uses, which is they go with a fishing buddy. You don’t just stick your hook in the lake just to be doing it. You’re putting the right bait on. You’re going to fish in the right place. Then, you’re using the right type of bait. Then, of course, it’s the presentation of that bait.
Utilizing that philosophy with the founders of an insurance company several years ago, and some people listening to this will recognize this name because from a recruiting perspective he’s been one of the recruiting gurus in the insurance industry, which is Art Williams of A.L. Williams & Associates. He says recruiting is the lifeblood of our business.
When you look at this from an insurance industry, it’s truly the lifeline of our business because the insurance industry is a tough business and it’s not easy to survive in, Tim, as you and I both know, so if you get an associate and you recruit somebody and you recruit an agent and they’re a top-notch agent, who are the ones we want to recruit, and we get them into this business and they survive in this business, what are they going to do?
They’re going to go out there and start building a clientele. They’re going to start opening up accounts. Then, they’re going to have to start servicing those accounts. Once they start servicing the accounts, now they’re taking care of the other issues that go along with having an account and all of those things. As time goes on, they’re doing more servicing and taking care of the accounts they’ve opened up and opening up less accounts.
We’re continually having to recruit to make sure… That’s just the nature of our business. Also, when you get a top-notch associate or an agent who comes into our business, within the first year they’re not only getting their advance commissions but they’re getting a residual income. After they’ve been in the business for 12 months, in the thirteenth month they’re receiving renewals. On top of receiving the renewals, some insurance companies even have stock bonuses and stuff like that, so now they’re getting accustomed to their income.
We’re always going to have to look for new blood in our business, not just because of the people who are leaving the business but also because of the people who are staying in our business, and that’s the most important thing.
Tim: You bet! I say this business is built on attrition. You’re in a constant state of attrition and part of that is people leaving, but part of it is exactly what you talked about (people becoming less and less productive for new cases, for new accounts, and for new sales). They do. Especially in the insurance industry, they get very comfortable relatively quickly, and when we recruit them we sell them on that opportunity. We explain to them how that’s such a beautiful part about this business. Then, we get mad when they actually do it. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Ron: That’s true. We want them to be in the business. We want them to stay in the business, and it is a tough business, so a lot of them are going to leave, but it does come back to, again, there’s no way we can get away from the recruiting side of what we do.
Tim: That’s great. Let me ask you this, Ron. What kind of candidates are a good fit for commission sales and how do you interview them? What does a good 100-percent commission salesperson look like?
Ron: There are basically three types of candidates who are actual viable candidates we’re going to be talking to and looking at as to coming into our industry. I like to think of it as the ABCs of recruiting. I’ll start with A and go backward here in just a second. Starting with the A type of candidate, those are going to be the nominations or the referrals from existing associates you already have, because they’re successful in this business. They’re making money. They’re excited, so they want to bring their friends and they want to bring their family into the business.
Also, there are licensed agents. They would fit into the A category because they already have experience and they know about our industry and they’re easy to train. Those type of candidates, when you go back and look at it from a recruiting standpoint of fishing, deserve and they’re looking to bite off of specialized bait. They’re not going to be easy to catch because, typically, those nominations or those referrals and/or licensed agents are already employed, which is a good thing. You want to recruit those people.
That’s why they’re an A lead, but they’re harder to get. They’re not going to just come up and take your bait hook, line, and sinker. It’s going to be a special technique and a special way, so when you’re interviewing those candidates you need to interview them individually, because you’re taking that special care to do that.
Then you have a B candidate. A B candidate would come from your center of influence or an observation, like a waiter or a sales clerk. Like, if you’re going and looking at your favorite shirt and you go into a specialty store and the person who is waiting on you and helping you gives excellent service. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be a good candidate for what we do, but at least we know they’re service-minded.
We may want to say, “We’re always looking for good, quality people who understand the importance of service. I don’t know if you’re interested in doing what we do. However, let me send you my electronic business card. It has a little video on it, and it will tell you a little bit more about what I do. Then, I’ll get back in contact with you sometime in the near future. Is that okay?” Then, we do, and we follow up on that. Those can be decent candidates as well.
Then, we have the C leads. You hate to refer to people as leads. However, you have to have a system in place, and that’s just kind of the category of how it kind of falls. That’s really the way it is. Those candidates are Internet and social media type of candidates you’re looking for.
Tim: From a job board or something like that, like CareerBuilder or Monster or something like that is what you’re talking about when you say Internet. Right?
Ron: That’s what I’m talking about. There have been some recruiters… I haven’t utilized this that much. However, there are some who even search on Craigslist and put postings on Craigslist and stuff like that. The important thing is everybody wants to feel special, so you do want to make sure everybody feels special, but sometimes for sake of time… You only have so many hours in the day, and if you’re wanting to recruit in volume, and there is a thing about quantity and quality and all of that kind of stuff, and we can talk about that at some point, because I think that’s for a whole other show…
Tim: There’s a huge debate on that, and I know where you and I both land on that, so we’re very much in alignment, but we don’t need to get into that today.
Ron: The thing about it is, though, on these C candidates and because there is a way to make them feel special, but you also, for sake of time and the amount of time that is ended up spending with them, you have to see those C leads on a group basis. Tim, if you could help me with another way of doing it, I’m open ears to it, but I don’t see any other way except for doing them in a group-type setting where you’re doing an informational meeting.
Tim: Yeah. I totally agree. You know that. You and I have spent hours talking about this in the past, that it is something I believe in (doing a group informational session). It’s really not an interview. It’s more of an opportunity to explain what your opportunity is to them and then having them back one on one if they’re interested in what your opportunity holds for them. We’ve been talking about group interview versus an individual. Like I said, that could also be its own show. We’ve talked about it for hours. Tell me how you schedule candidates for an interview in the first place.
Ron: That is an interesting question. I think of numbers as being magical. Jim Rohn (God rest his soul) is one of my heroes. He’s one of my mentors from afar. Jim Rohn called it the law of averages. He talked about in baseball how it’s a batting average, and if you do something often enough, the ratio will appear, and once it starts it tends to continue.
I think that’s really powerful. When you really think about what Jim was saying, he said, “Often enough a ratio will appear, and once it starts it seems to continue.” When you think about that, if you schedule 12 candidates and 6 show up, that’s a 50 percent ratio. Right?
Tim: And pretty typical, by the way, especially in metropolitan areas. It’s about 50 percent.
Ron: If you schedule 50 candidates in a week and 10 show up, that’s a 20-percent rate. That’s not what we’re looking for. However, that does happen on occasion. If you do 10 interviews and you get 1 associate, that’s a 10-percent average. Here’s where the magic comes in. If you schedule 12 people and 6 people show up, how did the 6 people who didn’t show up know the other 6 were going to show up and vice versa?
Tim: They don’t. Right?
Ron: It’s magical. I mean, it really is. When you think about that, there’s a power in numbers. If we knew the answer to that, we’d both be really rich. There’s just no way… It’s the way the universe works. It just kind of happens. Again, Jim Rohn says… We really don’t need to spend a whole lot of time on it, because Jim Rohn says, “I don’t want to take that course because there’s no solution to it.” It truly is just magical.
I think the more important thing for the listeners on this call who are doing recruiting is how many candidates do you need to see to get an associate or an agent? You have to figure that ratio out. As a recruiter, you must know what your no-show ratio is and how many people you must schedule to get 1 to show up. Like you said, in a metropolitan area it’s typically…
That has to do with your administration and that kind of stuff as well, but for some people it takes scheduling 3 or 4 people to get 1 person to show up. Then, they also need to know what their second interview no-show ratio is. Once you’ve seen that candidate the first time and you schedule them for the second interview, you need to know what that ratio is.
Tim: You mean people don’t make their second interview sometimes?
Ron: I like the way you asked that question a little bit sarcastically. I do. Here’s the reason why. Not meaning any disrespect to anyone, but the fact of the matter is sometimes (you have to take this holistically the way I’m saying it) you don’t want them to show up for that second interview because that first interview was truly designed…
Like I said, you and I have spent many hours over the course of our friendship talking about this, but in that first interview, regardless of if it’s individually or in a group basis, it’s still to give them information. They’re making a decision in their minds if this is the right direction they want to go. This is not for everybody. In fact, it’s not for most people, but I can’t see why anybody else would want to do anything else, but if everybody did this then we wouldn’t be here because we’d all be robots.
When you have people, all you can do is put your passion into every first interview you do. Then, as you’re putting your passion into it, you’re telling them your story and you’re telling them about your company and all of those things, and they’re making a determination in their minds if they can do this. You don’t assume. You go ahead and set that appointment for them to come back for that second interview. Then, when they come back…
Here’s the way I refer to it, and I tell them this in my first interview. Again, we could have another show on doing actual interviews, and I would really love to do that, but in that first interview one of the things I let them know up front is I let them know the process of what we’re going to do.
I tell them, “Today is all about information.” I tell them, “You’re probably going to know more about me and my company today than you’re ever going to want to know, but here’s one thing I can promise you. In that second interview, it’s all about you, and in that second interview I’m going to be asking you a lot of questions and they’re about you.” The first interview… Are they interested in us? The second interview… Am I interested in them?
Tim: Absolutely. I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Ron: Just because they come to a second interview, a second interview doesn’t mean they’re automatically a shoe-in. We’re not going to stick a mirror under their nose and say, “It fogged. You’re in.” No. That’s not the way it works. The way it works is you want to recruit quality recruits, and the way you do that… In the first interview you’re going to get an idea but not really. You’re just basing it on appearances, but in that second interview is when you get to know them a little bit. Then, you’re going, “Ah! Okay. Is this the type of person I want?”
Here’s the interesting thing about that going back to the ratios for just one second. You have that first interview. You have the second interview. You know what your ratios are. I hate to put it in a negative way, but it’s based on no-shows. Then, you have to know how many interviews it takes to get a contract that will bring somebody on.
Tim: Then you’re done. Right? Once they come on board with you, they all get into production and write business. They’re still with us five years later. Right? Or are there some more ratios coming?
Ron: Actually, there are more ratios. Thank you for the segue. I appreciate that. Then, you need to know how many of them are actually getting into production. You want to know not only how many of them get into production but how much production are they writing? You want to keep up with that. You want to keep up with it after 90 days, after six months, after a year, and, really, for the rest of their career.
Those ratios go on and on and on. You and I both, when we’ve been on conventions and on trips with people we’ve recruited… You know, they come up and hug your neck and say how much they appreciate that you’ve brought them into this business. Let me tell you a really quick story about that.
I was in Costa Rica with a group of associates who I had recruited and my team. One night we were all sitting around drinking our favorite beverage. At the time, I smoked cigars. (I quit all of that stuff now. At least, the cigar part.) We were all sitting around talking about how much we appreciate each other. We were making toasts and everything.
One associated I had recruited stands up and gives me a toast. He said, “Ron, I don’t know if you remember this or not, but within the interviewing process you said, ‘Thomas, one of these days we can be sitting on a tropical island someplace drinking our favorite drink and smoking our favorite tobacco, reminiscing about how we got here.’ I’m toasting to you because here we are.”
Tim: Today is that day.
Ron: When my wife and I were walking back to our room, she said, “Ron, that was really nice about what Tom said.” She knows me, obviously, because we’re married. She said, “Ron, did you really remember telling Thomas that?” I said, “Absolutely I did. There’s not a shadow of a doubt. Yes, I remembered that.” She kind of looked at me. I said, “The reason why is because I used to tell everybody that in the second interview.”
Tim: Because you meant it.
Ron: I do mean it. I did mean it, and I do, but I thought it was kind of funny because I really didn’t remember, because I tell that to everybody.
Tim: Of course!
Ron: Anyway, let’s go back to the ratios here for just a second. I’ve referenced Jim Rohn a couple of times, and I could go on and on through my interview with you and talk about that, but I just want to tell you a quick little story about how Jim utilized ratios. Even before Jim started speaking, which he did so eloquently, he started out with a network or multilevel marketing company. He used to set up what they called overviews. He would call his friends and family, and he would invite them to these overviews.
He said he always got the excuses like, “Jim, what is it now?” or “No,” making some kind of excuse and everything, so Jim finally came up with something he said. What he would say was, “Hey! Do you know what? I’ve come up with a ratio. This ratio is amazing. For every 10 people who come to my overview, I get 3 people who sign up. The reason why I’m calling you is I want you to come be one of the 7.”
Tim: I love that! That is awesome!
Ron: Isn’t that great? I didn’t tell my administrative assistant that story because…
Tim: You’re afraid she’d use it! Well, obviously, if we’re going to talk about ratios and the law of numbers and the law of averages…there are a lot of big numbers…it means you have to have some inventory. You have to have some people to talk to. What are some ways you can source candidates? How can you find these people in the first place to sit down with you?
Ron: That’s a great question, Tim. Basically, going back to the ABCs, one of the best ways we have found to source is, of course, through the Internet by utilizing CareerBuilder, Monster, ZipRecruiter, Craigslist, and many, many others, but those are C leads. In my office now, I have a full-time administrator. I have a three-quarter time administrative assistant. They both have their duties. Here’s the interesting thing. They spend 80 percent of their time on sourcing off of C leads. When you think about that, that’s a lot of work, and I spend a lot of money for C leads.
We do that, and it goes back to… It’s just a numbers game. We have to remember it is in the law of numbers and the more people you see, depending on what stage you’re in as far as what you have as far as the ability to get your candidates and everything, but typically you really do have to utilize every single thing you possibly can.
We’re going to spend that amount of time, and of course, we are looking for the B and A leads as well, but it’s really about building your pipeline. In the insurance industry and any commission sales industry, it’s all about building your pipeline of most importance. It’s not just in recruiting, but in your sales. That’s another way we are utilizing to getting a high retention of recruits, putting them through a system where they’re building their pipeline.
All I did was I took what I did from recruiting and I moved it into the lead management side of what I’m doing to help them to understand building your pipeline and doing follow-up on those. That’s what we’re doing, because if I have somebody in an activity center or call center making calls for leads, it’s the same thing I’m doing with my administrator and my administrative assistant. Making those calls is the same thing. It’s just building your pipeline.
Tim: That is a healthy investment you’re making into your business, obviously. We joked about the quantity versus quality, and I said I know where you come down, but why don’t you explain to my audience why you come down on the quantity side versus quality. When we say that, we’re not saying to just take anybody who can fog a mirror. That’s not what we’re saying.
What we’re saying is… I tell people all of the time, if you looked at my resume and my background when I first started in this industry and you were a quality guy only (all you want are the sure thing, those people you felt had the best chance for success), you wouldn’t have interviewed me, let alone hired me. Let’s talk about that a little bit.
Ron: Going back to what Art Williams said, and he’s another one of my recruiting heroes, Art says there never has been nor will there ever be a test that determines the heart of a man or a woman.
Tim: That’s good.
Ron: When you’re recruiting, and I believe with every fiber of my recruiting being, everyone and I mean everyone deserves the respect to hear what my company does and my company’s story and to hear a little bit about me. Hopefully, it resonates with them. In the opening, when you asked me about how I came into this industry, that was the thing that was appealing to me.
I was a counselor. Then, I worked in the aviation industry. Then, I got into the insurance industry. The reason I got into it was because I wanted that freedom of time. I wanted to be able to spend good, quality time with my family. Commission sales have been really good to me and you, too, Tim.
It is still a really good industry to be in, and everyone, at least, deserves the opportunity to know what the difference between profit and wages are. Really, that’s what commission sales are. That’s what true insurance sales really is. You’re working for profits. You’re not working for a wage. We can spend our whole lives doing that, so who am I to determine who can do this and who can’t? I’m just not that guy, and I’m not going to do it.
Tim: Let me stop you for just a second there. One of the things, when I’m working with agents and trying to get them to nominate people, they will say sometimes is, “I don’t know anybody who I think would be good at insurance or good at commission sales.” I get kind of indignant when they say that. As politely as I can, I just say, “What makes you so special? You made it. You were successful. I was successful.”
Ron, you were successful. What makes us so special? The answer is nothing other than just the grace of God and hard work. I mean, the bottom line is, if you can do it and I can do it, so can anybody, but they have to have the right heart and they have to have the right work ethic. I get all of that, but what makes you so special? You’re right. Who are you to determine whether somebody has it in them or not?
Ron: Right. You hit on a really good point. The point is, if you’re studying with a person who has integrity and who has a positive mental attitude and has great communication skills… They’re skillful in public interaction. They’re service-minded. They have a great work ethic. Really, what’s also important to that is if they’re coachable. If they have all of that… If they have integrity, a good work ethic, and they’re coachable, we can teach them those other things. If they have those things, you’re right. Who are we to say they can’t do it?
Truly, if we have people who are questioning that, then we have to have coaching moments with them to say, “Are you really in the right industry? Because if you’re questioning that at this point… This is supposed to be a great business. This is supposed to be one of those things where not only do we have passion for what we do but we have compassion for other people.”
Tim: I like that. That’s good. That’s good stuff right there. Obviously, a lot of people listening to this are sales managers. We have a lot of agents as well, but we have a bunch of sales managers who actually listen to this, so what would you say are some of the effective tools you use for recruiting?
Ron: Another great question. Let’s take this a little bit backward from what we were doing a moment ago. We were talking about the A leads, B leads, and C leads. Let’s take it from C. Let’s go with C and work our way forward. C candidates… As far as utilizing the effective tools for recruiting, a great way is through the Internet and social media. We have resume searches out there. We have auto-emails. We have drip campaigns. We have social media like Facebook and LinkedIn. We have all of those things, but if we have the tools…
As you know, Tim, I’ve been coaching and mentoring recruiters for a number of years now, and that reminds me of when I first went to work for the company I worked for where I actually became an employee and my task was to actually coach and mentor them. I remember going to a regional manager. I took the tools to him. I helped him install these great systems or what I thought were great systems. Truly, they were, but at the time, it wasn’t like every recruiter had these tools back then.
Because you and I came up in this industry where we were part of the pioneering of some of these tools we use today, so I went to this regional office, and I helped him to install everything. I talked to his administrator and helped her along the way. I stayed for about a week. A couple of weeks later, I’m at the airport and I’m getting ready to fly out. I’ll never forget. It was a Monday afternoon. I got this phone call, and it’s from this regional manager I had been working with.
His comment to me was, “Ron, those systems you helped me to set up are crap.” I was taken aback. I was like, “What?” I said, “Did you just tell me the systems I just spent a week helping you get installed are crap?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Okay. Tell me what’s going on to make you think this.” He said, “I had 9 appointments scheduled today, and I had 9 no-shows. I had a 100-percent no-show rate.” Keep in mind it’s a Monday afternoon.
Tim: So all of those were set on Friday. All of those appointments were set on Friday, so they had all weekend to think about it.
Ron: Yep. You and I have been doing this a long time, so we know we don’t typically schedule appointments on Mondays, especially through Internet. Now, if you have an A or B lead, yes you can. It doesn’t make a difference, because the show rate of those are very high anyway, but for the others… What’s the one day of the week most people call in sick for their job? It’s on Monday. Right? It’s the same thing with an interview. That was the first thing I pointed out, but my next question to him was the important part to this.
I said, “Let me ask you a question. How comfortable are you with your administrator’s phone skills?” He said, “What does that have to do with it?” Tim, you can’t make this stuff up. I say to him, “Well, it has everything to do with it. How did you set these appointments up?” He said, “Well, of course, the system you helped me set up has an auto-scheduler, so they automatically set the appointment.”
I said, “Listen. The systems are only going to be as good as the activity and the follow-up that goes with it. Every single person who sets an appointment, your administrator needs to call them.” Then, I went through what they say with them. The systems are only going to be as good as the person who is doing it, so, of course, you want to make personal contact with them after you’ve emailed them.
You set them up for a group interview. Again, you follow up with another email saying whatever it is you’re going to do, like, “Thank you for setting the appointment with me. I’m looking forward to seeing you.” Then, the day before the interview… If you set it on a Monday for Wednesday, call them on Tuesday and remind them about that appointment. I think it’s really important we have the systems in place, but we can’t lose the personal touch that goes along with it. That’s on a C lead.
Then, you have your B leads, which are personal observation. Those are going to be salespeople and wait staff and people like that. Again, you want to make those personal contacts. Once you’ve made that initial contact or your administrator has made that initial contact, you want to continue to follow up with them. It’s about as many contacts as you can possibly make.
Then, of course, those A leads… It’s making, of course, that initial contact. Always follow up with emails. As you follow through, again, the more personal contact you make with an individual the more opportunities you have for a show and for them to show up for the opportunity.
Tim: Ron, I think I’m a pretty good recruiter, and I’ve learned some stuff today. I’m having a great time with you, but we’re kind of running short on time, so let’s wrap this thing up. What are some of your final thoughts about being a sales manager and recruiting in general?
Ron: First of all, I think we have to live, “To thine own self be true.” You know, it kind of makes me think of a time before I was a counselor. I had just gotten out of college, and I couldn’t find a counseling position, so I was looking for anything I could find. I answered an ad in the paper, and it was for selling siding on houses. I went through their training, and I learned all about the sales kit and how you present it. You do all that kind of stuff.
I had been in that position for about six weeks, and I hadn’t made one sale. This is sad but true. I had been there, and I hadn’t made a sale. I think I had one sale that kind of fell through, so, really, I didn’t make any sales. About six weeks into it, a sales manager called me into his office, and he said, “Ron, come on in. Bring your sales kit with you.”
I walked in, and I sat down in his office, and the first thing he said to me was, “Ron, you’re one of the nicest guys I think I’ve ever met.” I said, “Well, thank you.” He said, “Ron, that’s not a compliment.” I looked at him and said, “Are you firing me from a 100-percent commission position?”
Tim: You were getting fired from a 100-percent commission position. That’s awesome!
Ron: It really is true. He said, “Ron, you’re wasting our leads.” The reason why I share that story with you is because when you asked me the question I said, “To thine own self be true.” The thing about it is it’s about what you’re selling. We are selling a product. In the insurance industry we’re selling a product that helps people.
Tim: It changes their life! It can change their life.
Ron: It does. Not only does it change the policyholder’s life, but it also changes the lives of those associates who are selling it, whatever those products are. It makes their life so much better. When I make that statement and say, “To thine own self be true,” that’s what I’m talking about. I’m talking about you being able to understand what you have, to be able to have that financial freedom to be able to do those things, like when we first started this interview and you asked me what got me into this business, which is part of the end here, which is to understand we’re a great, great industry, and we’re changing people’s lives.
Tim: That’s awesome. I know when you’re looking for somebody you’re not just looking for a contract. You’re looking for somebody you can believe in. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Ron: Yes, that’s correct.
Tim: Awesome. Well, Ron, again, I thank you so much for coming on. You’re somebody who I’ve had countless hours of discussion about recruiting. I can’t think of anybody I’d rather have on to talk about recruiting than you. Ron, you and I, like I said, have known each other a long time. I know you have a passion for life. You’re a grandpa. I see pictures on Facebook of your grandkids and your wife all of the time, and I’ve been to your house, and I really feel like I know you as a person.
How do you want to be remembered? We only get one shot on this rock, and that ride is up sooner than we think it’s going to be, so when it’s all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
Ron: That is a really, really deep and great question, and I really appreciate you asking it to me because I think what I would really like for people, when… I hate to put it this way, but when they’re digging the grave to take me to the cemetery and people are coming by to make their last viewing of me, I would like to think people would say that I really did have passion for life and I lived life.
I always tell people, “I want to live for today, but I want to plan for my future.” I want my grandkids to be proud of me, but even then, I would like for them to look and say, “Do you know what? He had passion for life, but he was also compassionate. He truly loved people.” I want to be known not just for having passion but I want to be known for having compassion for everybody I’m in touch with.
Tim: Boy! It doesn’t get much better than that! Thanks a lot, Ron. We’ll talk to you soon!
Ron: Thank you, Tim. I really appreciate our time together. Thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me and listening to me about recruiting.
Tim: I’ll talk to you soon. Bye!
Remember, everything is voluntary, including success. Take it in your hands now. Head over to www.successisvoluntary.com, and stay up to date with all the latest tips, news, and techniques in the world of selling voluntary benefits.
Tim: Wasn’t Ron phenomenal? I hope you learned as much from Ron as I did. Well, that’s it for this week. Please do me a favor and forward this podcast to everyone you know. If you are really feeling generous, please take a second and rate it on iTunes.
You’ll want to join me back here next week when we talk to Jackie Kohorst. Jackie is a phenomenal sales leader who has overcome many obstacles and shown great grit. I think you’ll find her story very inspiring. Until then, make sure you volunteer for success.