Jeff Dentlinger can’t go anywhere without seeing one of his clients. And no matter how often he’s asked this detail about a policy or that info about coverage, he smiles.
“If anything happens, I already know the minute you call me, we’re good. I’m not stressing,” Jeff says. “You’ll hear my voice, calm, saying, ‘we’re going to take care of you.’”
Jeff, a U.S. Army veteran and Iowa native, started with Farm Bureau in 2016 as a sales associate. He shares his journey and his secrets to success.
What Did You Do Before Becoming a Farm Bureau Agent?
“Before I was a Farm Bureau agent, I was in the Army for six years working on Apache attack helicopters, and then training different militaries. Most recently, I worked as a supervisor for an aviation company.
I started with Farm Bureau in 2016 as a sales associate for the previous owner Julie Williams. Then took over the office in 2018 with another agent, Ryan Kock, when Julie retired.”
What Does Your Day-to-Day Look Like?
“My days are never the same, and I enjoy that. Some days I spend my time doing annual SuperChecks, while other days I am out talking to new clients, meeting with farmers or reviewing retirement plans.”
What Has Surprised You Most About the Insurance Industry?
“How much I truly enjoy helping people protect their futures. I didn’t know what to expect or if it was going to be a sales position. Since getting my own clients and knowing you are making a difference, it is completely rewarding. I know this is going to be my lifelong career.”
What Do You Love Most About Being a Farm Bureau Agent?
“Helping clients while getting to know their families. I love knowing I have them completely taken care of and would help them in any way I can.
When you know everything that’s going on with them, you can advise them much better.
You can use examples in their specific life that make sense to them. That’s why we have our yearly reviews, to make sure we always know what’s going on in people’s lives. All the little stuff has to be covered.”
What Has Been the Most Challenging?
“Trying to get clients of all ages to understand the importance of starting retirement savings early and getting the right insurance coverage. I quite literally have clients of all ages. This week alone I had clients from 19 to 72. My oldest is 103!”
What Piece of Advice Would You Offer to Someone Interested in Becoming an Agent?
“This isn’t an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. To be good at it you have to be completely invested in it. You can’t expect the minute 5 o’clock rolls around that you can shut down. That’s not how it is. You’re going to know their kids; you’re going to know their families. When something happens to dad’s old shop, you know what dad’s old shop is.”
Are There Any Tips You Received Along the Way That Helped You as You Were Getting Used to a New Industry?
“Each client is unique with different wants and needs for the future. They might not understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together, so keep trying to find the right fit for them and understand it might not be you or your business.”
What Is the Best Piece of Advice You Received When You Got Started That You Still Think About Today?
“There’s no sales pitch or gimmick. Just talk to the client and see what they are looking for. If you educate them, they will stay.”
What Do You Hope to Achieve in the Coming Year and Beyond?
“I want to ensure each client is available for annual meetings, create an ecosystem that helps my clients, be an All-American Agent each year, and find more clients to help protect their futures. Finally, I want to start a community nonprofit helping build communication between different people.”
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