Sumedh Basani is one of those success stories that you would never expect. Having been homeless and nearly every obstacle against him, he managed to start his own business with almost no money and empower an entire industry. His leadership program and back-end financial platform have taken the quiet insurance industry by storm. Now a dominant force in agency consultation and business coaching, Sumedh has opened up about his methods to success and how to grow an insurance agency.
In this exclusive interview, we ask Sumedh the tips and tricks to get to the top with as little time, energy, and experience as possible. If you are interested in a career in the financial services space and want to learn more stick around!
Why should you join the financial services industry?
The financial services industry is arguably the biggest industry in the world. The sheer influence and presence it has in today's modern world is amazing and worth admiring. This industry provides jobs, security, and a literal financial framework for the entire globe. That being said, it is an industry where you can create massive financial growth and career growth unlike any other. The industry of financial services is one where you are rewarded handsomely for helping people, which is something that isn't found in most commission-based industries. The freedom, flexibility and functional day-to-day knowledge provided by the industry is something I have not experienced anywhere. Lastly the level of discipline that grows in you as you make strides in the business are truly the biggest thing anyone can wish for in life.
Who makes a good fit for the financial services industry?
Many insurance agencies believe in "throwing paint against the wall and seeing if it sticks," which is a polite way of saying that they will literally hire anyone and see who makes it. The reality is over 90% of people that join the financial services industry don't make it, which is a massive turnover rate. This number is not the products, industry's or customers' fault, but rather the result of mass recruiting methods practiced by nearly everyone in the industry. The truth is not everyone is built to work in the financial services industry, and the people that are must have a large list of qualities. When I hire somebody into my organization, I look for three main values, Attitude, Aptitude, And Altitude. First and foremost an individual must have a positive attitude and strong work ethic in the financial services industry. Negativity, laziness, and a lack of discipline are killers in this industry. Second, they must possess the potential to be proficient in product/underwriting knowledge, client education, and overall consultation process. An ability to understand the client combined with a strong intelligence of the products will allow agents to truly serve their client's needs. Finally, financial services is not a short term fix, it's a long term solution, for both agents and clients. It takes time to learn the products, understands how to market them, finds potential clients, work with them, place them with products, and keep them on the books. This is an industry where it takes years for agents to gain a strong understanding of everything. When I hire someone, I also look for their "WHY", as in the reason or need to be successful. This industry demands discipline, and if someone does not have a motivating factor or innate drive they will fail.
How does one move up and truly build an agency in this career space?
This idea of "building an agency" comes only after you have mastered the agent role itself. Too often I see agents attempt to jump ahead and build agencies instead of working as a licensed agent in the field for an extended period of time. Teaching, mentoring, and coaching agents what agency owners do, and you can never teach if you have never learned. Short cuts get you cut short, and doing things too fast often leads to failure. My advice would be to work as an agent for a few years and demonstrate your ability to produce consistent business. Insurance carriers and agencies look for individuals with a healthy book of clients and experience in the industry. Good agencies will provide leadership and management positions that will allow you to contract agents and build your deal without taking away from them, but rather adding. Following a system and having a process will allow you to onboard and train agents with ease. Overall, production is the main factor that determines your position in the insurance space, and having a strong foundation as an agency will allow you to do so and move up quickly.
What other tips and tricks can you provide a new agent that aims to be the best?
Main thing I tell people is to trust the process. This is essentially a business you are running and you must be open to any advice, criticism, and failures that come your way. Learn from your mistakes and be coordinated with your team, clients, and organization. Focus on being consistent with your production and truly bringing value to your clients. If you bring value to your clients you will not only gain their business, but the business of their friends, family, and coworkers. These referrals will allow you to scale your business very fast and ultimately open up more business for your business.
Key Takeaways: Sumedh had gone over many things during this interview and we have listed his main points to take away below.
· Discipline is your best friend
· Focus on the clients needs rather than yours
· Trust the process and do not take shortcuts
· Production is what insurance carriers look for, so maximize this and the rest will come.