After 20 years in the insurance industry, Dan Pumper knows just how important a strong support system is.
“When I first started, it was just me,” he says. “I now have a team of seven.” That team is vital as Dan balances his existing clients, new customers and all the ups and downs life throws their way.
Let’s jump into what motivates the Faribault, Minnesota agent, a typical day in (and out) of the office and his best advice for fellow agents.
Tell Us About Your Role. How Long Have You Been in the Field and How Has It Changed in That Time?
“My role as an agent is to help clients protect their livelihoods and futures. I have been doing this for 20 years and it has changed over time. When I first started, it was just me. I now have a team of seven. We have always kept a very high level of customer service with our clients.
In this role, you have to be willing to get told “no” a lot. It doesn’t mean that it is ‘no’ forever — it is just ‘no’ for now. Just remember a 15% closing ratio is standard in the industry. The other thing that you need to manage as an agent is diffusing difficult situations.”
What Does a Typical Day Look Like for You?
“I usually have three appointments scheduled, usually two super checks with existing customers and one new prospect. Then I also fill in my time with taking pictures, talking with walk-in business and working on refining quotes. The agent-level role consists of being able to talk to lots of different people. Hearing their stories and helping them protect their families if something bad happened.”
Are There Any Common Misconceptions About What You Do?
“People somehow still think what we do is the same as another agent in town or the same as online insurance sales, when in fact there is a lot of difference. You have to have a good agent, a good company and a good adjuster. If one of them is bad, find a new place to do business. If someone died in your family tomorrow, would you want to be able to go meet with a local agent to take care of the situation or call an 800 number?”
What Do You Love Most About Your Job?
“Helping people and hearing their family’s story. I go to the office every day, and a lot of days I work on things that I didn’t know about when I woke up. It is a great job and I love the ability to help people.”
What Is the Most Challenging?
“Managing the stress. When you care as much as I do about your clients, it’s hard to not take it personally when people leave.
We had 12 tornados touch down in my county three years ago. It was the most challenging time in my life. I personally delivered all the checks. Listening to peoples’ struggles was very draining but, in the end, it was very rewarding to help so many people.”
What Are You Most Excited to Do Job-wise In the Coming Year?
“Go on the Super All-American trip with my buddy, Paul. It will be his first one. I am really trying to slow down and enjoy the moment. You only get one family and set of friends, so make the most of every day.”
What's the Most Common Question You Get from Clients?
“What do you recommend? What have you experienced with your other customers? If it was you in this situation, what would you do?”
What's the Best Piece of Advice You Can Give to Potential Agents?
“Don’t give up. Have a great support network from your family, friends and especially your colleagues. This is a profession that you have to commit your life to. There is a lifestyle shift that you have to be able to do. There is no more 9 to 5. It’s on all the time and you have to manage it to the best of your abilities. Don’t get me wrong, you still can take weekends off and vacations yearly — but more than likely you do all that while still answering emails and phone calls for your insurance practice.”
What About a Piece of Advice for Current Agents?
“Are you on top or at least the upper tiers of the contract? If not, why? And who can you hire to help get you there? Hiring the correct people that help you make more means that there is room to grow.
Don’t try to be everything to everybody. Work on the parts of the business that you’re good at or enjoy doing, and then hire to your weakness. Be proud to represent who you are and be the best hero you can be in your story.”
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