Chris Cowlin graduated from UC Davis and worked in the trust and brokerage business for most of his life. He was recruited to Nationwide in 1992 as a director in Nationwide’s Financial Services business.
Ten years ago, Cowlin retired from Nationwide, but wasn’t finished with the insurance business. He bought a small agency in Columbus. A few months later he bought another larger one. About 90% of the policies he sells are for Allstate and Hagerty, but he also brokers through Hartford, Chubb and American Modern for unusual situations.
Until COVID-19, Cowlin found most of his leads by talking with people at car shows. His pickup truck holds the car show kit: a large tent, a bar, bar stools and bowls of peanuts. “People used to sit and talk,” Cowlin says.
But now, car shows are shut down. He’s had to find another way to meet prospects. After talking with other agents, Cowlin realized traditional advertising wasn’t going to be cost-effective. Instead, he decided to try purchased leads. He started buying home and auto transfer calls from SmartFinancial and has had solid success.
“My Account Manager, Rikki, was really sharp,” Cowlin says. “He told us what to do and how to do it. We followed his instructions and now we’re having one of the best months in a year.”
Chris Cowlin’s Four Golden Tips for New Agents
1. Establish a rapport quickly and don’t be pushy. Pushy turns people off in a hurry.
2. Before you give a quote, let the prospect know they may like it, they may not and within limits, coverage and price can be adjusted.
3. With live transfers, look at the information they’ve given in the dashboard while you’re talking. Don’t make them sit and wait for a quote. After verifying the information, ask them, “May I have your permission to call you back in 20 minutes with your quote?” Say it slowly.
4. Explain everything. Most people have no idea how insurance works. We spend most of our time explaining coverage and why a cheap quote is cheap; something has taken away. Allstate is competitive but not cheap. People who don’t care about their coverage won’t buy from us, they aren’t our market. Our customer understands you get what you pay for and local personal service is important to them.