Amy Burman has been an exclusive Allstate insurance agent for 30 years. She has a five million dollar book of business after purchasing her father’s book of business 27 years ago. She’s doubled it since she started.
“I worked with my father for three years before I bought his book of business. He worked for 26 years for Allstate, and I’m a graduate of Louisiana State University, with a degree in finance and PR, which helps alot with the business.”
Burman’s agency is in Atlanta, Georgia, where she grew up. Her grandfather was a mayor in the suburbs of Atlanta and owned land, so she’s been a local since she was born. “Our roots are pretty deep,” she says. “We’ve built family relationships for over 58 years. Many of my clients wouldn’t think about leaving.” That works out perfectly, because Amy’s son has a masters degree from University of Georgia in risk management; He has plans to take over the agency one day.
“Insurance today is completely different than when I started out,” Burman explains. “It used to be based on relationship building. You wrote the entire family’s insurance: the kids when they began driving or after people married. You wrote all of their policies, and then their kids’ policies, generation after generation. No questions about CPAs and attorneys. We knew their whole family history, when kids were sick, when they graduated or had a baby. We sold policies based on life events. We were great financial managers.”
About eight years ago, Burman started seeing a turn: Millennials were purchasing and connecting with products differently, including insurance. They no longer were interested in building relationships, and price became more important. Burman’s agency was no longer growing generationally, and the attrition ratio was growing with clients passing away.
“We knew we had to change a business plan to attract new customers,” Burman says. “I had to relearn all I learned in college, because the kids don’t purchase insurance the same way anymore.”
She struggled for five or six years to see growth in the agency, but on the advice of a pricey consultant Burman began looking into buying leads and marketing differently in the whole state of Georgia, beyond her immediate community.
Burman’s insurance-lead budget started with anywhere between $2,400 and $3,000 a month. “I saw that people outside of my five-mile radius wanted to buy from me,” she says. “People don’t really care where you are as long as you meet their needs and counsel them.”
Burman started off with bulk leads and used a lead manager to work 10,000 leads. Her staff had to call and sift through the pile to find the nuggets. They made 100 calls a day just to get four or five quotes out, which didn’t turn out to be as efficient as she’d hoped.
The consultant finally referred Burman to SmartFinancial, where she was paired with an account manager who is invested in her success. “He stayed with my office manager one weekend to help us make our goal,” she explains. “I don’t feel like he’s just taking my money, and he takes my calls 24/7 – a rarity! He also spends my money like it’s his money. If I’m not doing great, he’ll redo the filters, and I’ll get the right type of leads. He finetunes constantly.”
Burman says SmartFinancial’s live transfer calls, exclusive and shared leads are the best money she’s ever spent because she doesn’t look at insurance leads as a one-and-done deal. “If I can’t write a policy because of an accident, I’ll call a year and a half later.”
Burman lets her staff work organically with the lead manager on calling leads that didn’t work out the previous month. “Also, if we’re short on our goals month’s end,” Burman says, “I call my account manager to change parameters and pay more per lead to get better quality leads.”
It’s hard for a large book of business to get to the Emerging Level at Allstate because an agency needs a lot of new business to account for attrition. Luckily, Burman thinks her agency will be at the pro level this year. Next year, she hopes to be at the elite level!
4 Golden Tips on Selling Insurance From Amy Burman
- Don’t go small. Don’t buy a lot of little leads. If you want success with leads, you have to push your comfort level, take a risk and purchase better quality leads that are more likely to close. If you buy shared leads, it’s like the penny slots. Exclusive and live transfers stand to have a greater payout.
- You have to spend money to make money. Buy the max amount of quality leads that you can close.
- You have to trust your lead vendor’s account manager (AM) and have a relationship with them. SmartFinancial has a good philosophy with their lead managers. You have to work and communicate with them as if they are your employee base. My AM is an integral part of my company, not just someone I pay every month.
- Have an incredibly thorough follow-up system. SmartFinancial makes it easy because the leads stay on the dashboard, and you can see what you closed and what you didn’t. For the ones you didn’t close, you need a follow-up system. Train your staff with these tools to help you.