Tina Jackson’s history in the insurance business reaches back to Jackson’s mother, who is a proctor for the New York State Department of Financial Services and has her license in life, health and property and casualty lines. In 2017, Jackson got her license to sell insurance and passed the series 6 and 63. She worked in banking, as a branch manager, mainly focusing on commercial lending and the underwriting of loans and personal loans. She wrote $3 million a year in auto loans alone. She then decided to leave banking.
“When I left the corporate world, I went to State Farm,” Jackson says. “And then I got the chance to work for myself so I opened my Farmers agency three years ago. I like being in the captain’s chair. Working for a direct supervisor was difficult for me, so when this opportunity came up with Farmers, I was thrilled. I kind of do my own thing.”
Jackson sells every type of insurance available. The only products she doesn’t sell herself are life, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplements. “I give all of that to my mom to sell. I don’t ask her about updates or anything. But she’s doing well.”
Jackson’s main focus these days is selling commercial insurance. “It's the most rewarding product to sell,” she says. “And it’s very challenging.” She’s found her niche, too, with business people who do not fit the cookie-cutter risk pool like restaurant owners or handymen.
“I like to work with the underdog,” she says. “I help those who are having difficulty finding someone who will write their insurance. Basically, I write business that nobody else wants. When other agents get these calls, they don’t want it. They don’t want to work that hard. I find a place for them.”
She’s met some people with unusual careers, too. Only yesterday, she got 12 flight instructors looking for workers compensation. She’s insured a paintball business and written drones.
“I’ve done some crazy stuff,” she says. “Right now, I’m writing the Polar Express, the Santa train ride, which stops at different railway stations, like the elf house and Santa's wonderland with reindeer. There’s cookies, milk and they feed reindeer.”
When asked which product is more challenging to sell than others, Jackson says that nothing is truly difficult to sell. She says it’s easy for her because she’s an independent agent. “I have lots of options now. If Farmers won’t write the business, I can place the customer with an outside insurer. The most challenging part is finding customers when they want to have the conversation about buying insurance.”
And that’s where SmartFinancial comes in. Jackson has been buying live transfer calls for commercial insurance in the entire state of New York. “I’m getting lots of business in the five boroughs in New York City. I usually get about three calls a day, and I’m closing a lot. I think I’ve closed over 20% !”
The biggest lesson she’s learned is that even though a lead may not buy the product she’s selling, she may have other opportunities. For instance, if she’s selling commercial insurance she may end up selling home and auto.
“The leads I buy usually end up being multi-policy deals,” she says. “I’m totally in the black with SmartFinancial. I don’t have to wait two years to see a profit from these leads.”
Tina Jackson’s 5 Golden Tips New Insurance Agents
1. Find a company that stands behind what they say. I’ve used multiple lead companies and account reps assigned to me. When you have a problem, they say it’s not their fault and won’t give you credit. SmartFinancial stands behind what they say. My account manager calls me every week. He asks how it’s going.
2. Do your research, don’t spend money just because you find low-priced leads. You get what you pay for, and you have to work the lead.
3. You can’t reject a lead because it’s not what you want to write. It’s more difficult for captive agents, who only have an appetite for certain risks. I’m fortunate because I am an Independent agent and I’ll place every business I get.
4. Keep working the lead even if they say no. I always ask if I can call at renewal, as soon as they say yes I have permission to call next year. I paid for the customer, I own the customer. You never know when the customer’s needs will change. I ex-date everybody.
5. When I was working data leads, I was getting 15 leads a day. I closed 35 policies a month, about 10% closing ratio. You have to sell volume by committing to it and buying a lot of leads. You have to have a system in place to work them all properly. The day you don’t follow up, you get behind and start losing money.