Davon Nelloms was in the military serving the army for eight years. His last assignment was in Afghanistan as a member of the 10th Mountain Infantry Division, which has been involved in every war the U.S has ever engaged in. While Nelloms served in project Enduring Freedom from 2013-2014 his soon-to-be wife was pregnant with his son, who was born while Nelloms was in Afghanistan.
“I lost three of my son’s birthdays,” Nelloms shares. “That’s why I left the military, to be there for my family, but I didn’t have a college degree. The very first thing I did was apply to become a garbage man even while I was still in the military. But I was overqualified. It was so hard to get by that I’d drink water and let my family eat.”
Then one of Nelloms’ friends from high school contacted him and asked him what he’s doing. He told Nelloms how much money he was making as a claims adjuster and Nelloms was sold. “He fooled around in school and was no scholar,” Nelloms said. “I knew I could do it too. When he showed me his year-to-date and I saw that he made $70,000, I was like, ‘yeah!”
Nelloms was interested in becoming an independent adjuster who deals with catastrophic storms as a way to provide for his young family. He had to take his licensing exam a couple of times but he passed it. “It was January 8, 2016 that I knew we wouldn’t go hungry anymore,” he recalls.
Nelloms worked as an adjuster for three years, making great money, but working six to seven days a week,12 to 14 hour a shift. “My first year, I made $91,000 a year and I saved,” he says. “I saw hurricanes and monsoons, and I was on rooftops. But the assignments were so long that I didn’t get to spend time with my family. I decided by the time my son was in grade school that I’d have my own business, to have time to spend time with him.”
August 2019 was Nelloms’ last assignment working as a claims adjuster. He then went on to Allstate University’s week-long course in Chicago and another two weeks in Georgia. “They teach you about becoming an agent, running an agency, writing policies and selling policies,” he says. “It was fast and furious, and I opened my agency just like I’d said I would, right when my son started kindergarten. I was happy I’d get to see him more often.”
Nelloms soon learned that making money was easier as an adjuster. Buying leads soon became the game plan for Nelloms and his staff. But he didn’t understand the lead process because they didn’t teach it at Allstate University.
“I ran through a bunch of vendors and didn’t have much success with any of them,” he says. “I wanted to know what was the issue, so I sat down with a former Allstate agent. He told me I need to understand where my leads come from and to tailor my pitch to fit. But some of these leads had become a lead playing Candy Crush. They had no intent to buy.”
When someone from SmartFinancial called and explained that our calls are recorded and of good quality, Nelloms stopped and listened. He started receiving live transfers and internet leads. “SmartFinancial leads seemed like they were better than the others but I was still like, How do I close them? I learned that you just have to dial, dial, dial. You’ve got to keep following up with the lead and talk past their rebuttals. The number of outbound calls your agency makes a big difference.”
After Nelloms instituted rules about turning up outbound calls a few notches and following up on leads, he and his agents started closing business. “We have more consistency, a better idea of our follow-up process and the understanding that not everyone you call will be a buyer.”
10 Golden Tips from Dave Nelloms
1. Work your magic and keep them on the phone and start selling!
2. Dial, dial and dial some more. Only get off the phone if they say they don’t have the money to buy.
3. Resiliency is everything. You have to be a palm tree. A hurricane is the most powerful and it won’t break a palm tree. Those palm trees lean and lean and then pop back up or they fall over completely after giving everything they had to prevent snapping in half. You have to be resilient against what the world throws at you.
4. Be consistent and get your workers to execute what’s in your blueprint. Your plan only works if you apply it consistently day in and day out. You can’t be all over the place with your daily routine. See if your routine works by being consistent with it.
5. Think of the law of averages and the law of numbers. Keep at it and you’ll sell. It just takes trying.
6. Energy transfers. You have to sound like what you want to hear on the other end. If you call someone excited, you’ll sell a policy.
7. Act like the person is your friend and be as transparent as possible.
8. Have ambition and a work ethic. You don’t need a college degree but you can’t fake motivation.
9. Learn how to do your job perfectly to be successful. Don’t become an agent because you want a good job. You’ve got to want to be a successful business owner.
10. With leads, it’s all about your follow-up process and timely one is most important. If someone says to call at 5pm don’t call at 5:05pm. If they said Tuesday don’t call Wednesday. The pipeline process is very important and you have to dial out a lot. Keep calling. If you’re not dialing out constantly, you’re not meeting your potential. In my agency, I require 300 dials per person per day. We meet those goals. The biggest has been a $14,000 day.