In college, Straith studied communications and broadcasting with an emphasis on TV and radio. He worked in radio for a few years but finally got fed up with the pay. In 2010, he decided he needed a career move, so he answered a classified ad from a local company that was marketing benefits to seniors. At the interview he met the president of the company. They clicked, and the company agreed to pay for Straith’s life and health insurance licensing. However, the unexpected happened.
“My pre-licensing class was a week-long seminar. During the lunch break on the last day of classes, my mother called me and said, ‘There’s no good time to tell you this. Dad decided to stop dialysis.’ I knew the end was coming very soon. I was supposed to finish the class and start my new job the following Monday.” Straith told his boss what was happening, and he was completely understanding. He told Straith to let him know when he’s “ready to go.” Straith’s father died the next day, so he took care of his family responsibilities and took the licensing exam, which he passed. After the funeral was over, Straith called his boss and thanked him for his flexibility.
“‘I’m ready to go,’ I told him,” Straith remembers. “But he said, ‘Hey I’m sorry to tell you this, but I had to give that position to somebody else.’”
Straith was a licensed agent with nowhere to work. He didn’t know how to get started and had no connections, so he joined Primerica but realized quickly that it wasn’t for him. But he did learn a lot about life insurance. “I realized my father’s life insurance afforded me to open an e-trading account. For the next four years I was a successful day trader. But I eventually became bored and restless. I wanted to be more of use to people.”
Straith remembered his flirtation with health and life insurance, but over the course of four years, his license had lapsed. So he went back and took the same class with the same teacher. Since 2014, he’s been licensed again and selling insurance full-time.
For the first four years, Straith exclusively focused on selling life insurance in different capacities: telemarketing, lead generation coop, mortgage protection and final expense. But for the last two years, he’s been exclusively selling health insurance and Medicare products. This year, Straith began working with SmartFinancial to connect with customers. “For two or three months I’ve been getting health live calls, and the quality has been fantastic,” he says. “Of the successful leads, I’ve closed a third of them on the first call and about half needed follow-up.” For tips on how to have the most successful results with prospects, read Straith’s tips below.
Kent Straith’s 4 Golden Tips
1. Do what most people can’t do: Have great conversation. Get the customer to relax. I’m very conversational. I know a little about nearly everything so I can talk to anybody. The more you can talk, the better.
2. Always be respectful of a caller. Say “yes sir,” “no sir.” Always treat them like they came into your shop. You’re not an order taker, so don’t act like someone they are bothering when they ask the same questions as everybody else. Remember that it’s an honor to be speaking to them. Err on the side of being overly polite and appreciative
3. Know where the conversation is going. You need to hit a few points to know which product will be right for the client. You want to be respectful of their time and yours, so don’t let them pour their life story about irrelevant things. Find a happy medium and get the information you need.
4. It helps if you genuinely have a heart for helping other people. Sometimes you even have to push people to buy a better product than they originally wanted. You have to get them to understand why it’s better for them without being overly aggressive.