For 25 years, Christa Dillon worked in digital marketing and print advertising. She lived in Hawaii for 9 years, working for GTE, which merged with Bell Atlantic and eventually became Verizon. In 2005, the company sold off their Canada and Hawaii division to another company, but Dillon didn’t like the new culture and the changes that came with the sale.
When Dillon’s former supervisor told her he had a position if she was willing to move to the mainland, she and her fiance moved to Denver, where she managed Verizon’s digital marketing for Colorado for 14 years.
“We merged again with another company, and again. I didn’t like the change and uncertainty as we kept merging,” she remembers. “After 18 years, I finally left the company for good and made a big change. I began preplanning for final expense packages with Service Corporation international.”
At SCI, Dillion became Director of Sales, which came with big responsibilities and one too many late-night seminars. When she met an Allstate agent who seemed happy with her career, she began thinking about making yet another change.
“For my role at SCI, I had gotten my life insurance license, which got me interested in insurance, so I started talking to agent recruiters.”
Dillion went through the rigorous recruitment process with Farmers Insurance but in the end began working for Allstate. During the training, she met people from around the country and learned that Allstate has its own lead portal. She was already excited after buying an established agency. And now she had an extra boost from Allstate to help her sell P&C products and financial services, like life insurance, annuities and 401K plans.
Dillion began using Allstate’s leads, but didn’t have very much luck with them. More than anything, she found that they were mostly recycled, resold leads. She spoke with a few established agents, who said that she was better off working directly with vendors. They told her to try them out and see which vendor she liked best.
“I tried SmartFinancial first and I got an account manager who is amazing,” Dillon says. “My account manager really works with me and tries to hone in on better quality leads. He tells me where to put my bid. We listen to calls together. He’s just so thorough in giving me suggestions that I’ve let him train my producers.”
September first marks the one year anniversary of Dillion’s agency opening. SmartFinancial is honored to be a part of its success.
4 Golden Tips for New Insurance Agents from Christa Dillon
1. Don’t sign long term contracts and try to find a good vendor with an account maanger who will work with you and train your people.
2. Especially with Allstate, you have strict requirements. Be willing to pay more for quality leads for the types of leads that will work for your carrier(s).
3. Be willing to change filters to see what works. Invest time in tweaking your account.
4. Make sure your vendor offers good customer service. I could do the digital advertising myself, but it’s all about customer service for me.