Jarret Bolfer worked in the auto industry for 10 years and had such great success in car sales that he became the finance director at his lot only four years after beginning his auto career. “I hit as high as I could go,” he says. And he did so in a unique position where he was sent to various affiliate stores to overhaul finance departments that were struggling.
“I was the fixer,” he explains. “In our area we had eight or nine stores and several in other cities. For example, I was approached to work for our Hyundai store, which had seen a drop in gross profits. I hit the ground running, instituting new practices with the sales staff to set realistic expectations. In three months, we went from an $800 unit average up to a $1500 unit average. And then they sent me to another location that was struggling.”
As you can imagine putting out fires full-time can be draining. And Bolfer wanted to settle down somewhere. He didn’t want to work backwards and go back to sales or become a general manager however. Besides, he was excelling at his job and the company wanted to keep him in his position.
When Farmers approached Bolfer in 2019 on LinkedIn, he was intrigued. “I went in and learned about different programs for onboarding agents. I had a second interview and decided it’s what I wanted to do.”
It took him a few months to prepare for the licensing exam while working up to 80 hours a week at the shop. But he needed to get licensed before starting the training program. While training, he had to get his Life and Health license to convert to a full-time agent.
Bolfer immediately found success when he began the Farmers Reserve program in October 2019. “My district manager said the goal was to sell 20 policies. I surpassed the target goal by 2 or 3.” And that gave him confidence. Since those days, Bolfer has only grown to love his new career of selling insurance but he no longer puts in 80-hour weeks and has nearly cut his work-time in half.
“I have a three-year-old daughter,” he says. “I never saw her when I was at my last job. Now, I set my own hours and only work weekends by appointment. In the beginning I was putting in 50 or 55 hours a week, but that was of my own volition. Now that I have my own agency, I work no more than 45 hours a week. I spend time with my family instead.”
Bolfer has a staff of one customer service representative and one producer. So far partnering with SmartFinancial has been helpful in creating a pipeline of prospects and they work together on each one.
“When a lead comes in, we upload it into Agency MVP, our CRM. My customer service representative will then call and get the lead on the line and verify their information. My producer or I will quote the client. If the CSR doesn’t get the lead on the phone, we have a follow-up procedure in place. We make 15 attempts at contacting the client before we push that lead to an ex-date, which means that we contact at renewal.”
In addition to SmartFinancial, Bolfer owes much of his success to an efficient CRM. “Agency MVP tells us exactly where to put our energy based on algorithms that analyze important factors,” he explains. “They even rank leads according to how often they look at the quote we emailed them.” Sound like magic? It’s just technology. And a good CRM will streamline the follow-up process as a whole.
Data leads have a lower intent rate than live calls, but they are still valuable. Bolfer proves that there’s a gold mine in the pile you buy as long as you identify a process that works for you and your office.
“Last week we made $27,000 in premiums week and about $7,000 were from internet leads. The month before we made $23,000, mostly from internet leads. In December we made $13,000 and $8000 from SmartFinancial internet leads worked over three days!”
10 Golden Tips from Jarrett Bolfer
1. You have to have a good process with your leads. And stick to that process.
2. Buy at least 7 to 10 leads a day per licensed producing staff member. The hope is that you close realistically 5%. I buy 100 leads a week.
3. Buy good quality leads. The return process is important If I ever have an issue at SmartFinancial, my account manager is very responsive. She’s been great.
4. Be patient with Internet leads, which help you build up your pipeline. You will close eventually, not necessarily right away.
5. Take live-transfer calls from time to time. The calls are expensive but you’ll have greater success with them.
6. Build a good relationship with your account manager.
7. Continue contacting the lead until they say yes or no.
8. Never throw out a lead. You need to have multiple touches before you dismiss the lead, which means you pipeline it. Continue to work that lead down the line. Data is extremely valuable. Don’t ever let that data go. You paid a lot of money. Don’t waste it.
9. Offer everything you sell to each lead. I’ve sold most of my life insurance policies from data leads for auto. Agency MVP automatically alerts you to reach out and market other lines for you. Get referrals. Get the full value of the lead.
10. Stay positive. That’s the biggest thing. I’m in lots of Facebook groups. Too many agents get bogged down with the negative. No job is 100% positive but you have to stay positive. A good attitude will make a huge difference in how you market the leads.