Miles Risha didn’t plan on an insurance career. From 2009-2013, he worked for the department of defense on a navy contract to protect the oil reserves in Jacksonville, Florida. He ensured safe fuel distribution across the East Coast.
From 2013-2019, he worked as a photographer, mainly taking photos of cars and posting them on dealerships websites. He worked with nine dealerships per day for seven years, until two years ago, the market slowed down.
“It was at the end of 2019 that I began working on getting my insurance licenses,” he says. “I got laid off, and my cousin is a successful Farmers agent in Wyoming, so I thought I’d try. I got my life insurance license first and then in 2020 I got my property and casualty license. When COVID shut everything down, I was glad the insurance industry was not affected. I now bind policies using Zoom and DocuSign.”
Risha officially became an agency owner in May 2021. He’d had some experience selling life insurance with other agencies but was new to selling P&C products with Farmers. His book of business has quickly grown so that he plans to hire some new producers to focus on P&C alone, hopefully six by the end of 2021.
Risha was new to buying leads when he first began, but upon graduating from Farmers University in October 2020, he learned from other people's mistakes. He even witnessed other agents who bought leads from several vendors in the same month only to end up with a $7000-$10,000 bill.
“I started with SmartFinancial with three live leads a day and five data leads a day for one-and-a-half, two months. I realized I liked the live leads so much that I pumped it up to five a day and kept data leads to five a day. I plan to eventually bring it up to 15 live calls a day and 20 to 25 data leads a day. I’d like my producers to sell at least two policies a day so the cost works out.”
What Risha loves about SmartFinancial’s live calls is that you can get quotes out right away. “Nearly every single person we talk to we quote. Every now and again we get someone who doesn’t want a Farmers quote, but usually we quote all of them.”
Risha understands that you can’t sell insurance policies unless you’re constantly quoting people. He’s also had some success with data leads and says that he quotes at least a couple in a batch of 10. His close ratio fluctuates between 25 and 32%. Farmers requires that its agents sell 20% or better so he’s doing what he needs to do to keep selling.
Risha works off a script his SmartFinancial account manager gave him. The most important tip he’s taken to heart is to leave your agency branding at the end, not at the beginning of the phone call or else you may lose the customer. “I have three people answering phones and we each do things a little differently but we follow the basic script to help verify and keep the shopper on the phone.”
He has a process in place too. With data leads, he calls immediately and sends an email. If they don’t make contact, he calls twice, emails once and sends a text. “After the first day, if we still haven’t made contact, we probably won’t hear from them,” he says. “If I try a client six times, I feel I’ve given them enough opportunities to respond.”
Working with SmartFinancial has allowed Risha to grow a solid book of business. He’s determined to pick up the pace and has a three-year plan to have an officer manager running the agency so that he can open another location in five years.
Golden Tips from Miles Risha
1. When it comes to buying insurance leads, don’t buy more than you can afford. If your pit feeling says it is more than you want to spend, don’t do it. Baby step your lead services until you are where you want to be.
2. Don’t be pushy and don’t oversell. I’ve gotten so many customers just from being nice. I may send them a text or email but I’m not pushy. People tell us they love us and the family style atmosphere that we bring to Farmers. It’s important to have that rapport. It’s better than being a numbers guy who’s just trying to make money at the end of the day. Stand out by being helpful.
3. Get your standard order of procedure in place. Make sure you’re keeping up with leads and leads that need to be refunded. Keep track of which are no longer useful. I’m a spreadsheet guy. I use Excel all day long. Every lead I get goes into that spreadsheet, with all their information and the product they want. I keep track of money coming in and your money going out.