10 Years and Counting

10 yearsIn this day and age, not many people stay with a company for 10 years or more.  In fact, until now, neither had I.  So you can imagine when I received the notice that February 2014 was my 10 year anniversary with American Family, I was surprised (time flies when you’re having fun) and proud.

I started as an agent in 2004 and accepted a sales manager position three years later.  After six years as a sales manager, I returned to agency the Fall of 2013.  A lot comes to mind looking back on the last 10 years and I’d like to share my experience with  you.

I was first attracted to a career as an American Family Agent because of the opportunity to run my own business.  After many years in a corporate sales position with little control over my time and an ever-increasing gap between effort and reward, I realized I had the entrepreneurial drive to own a business.   In the role of an agent with American Family, not only do I control my time, effort and reward but just as important, I have the ability to provide superior products/claims from the best insurance company in the industry.

Not only was I happier in this new role but each year I received an added bonus of working with like-minded fellow managers, supportive company partners and motivated fellow agents.  Everyone I’ve encountered in the company, American Family Insurance, has the same focus:  Put the client and the Agent first!  The company’s sole purpose is to give the client the best experience possible as it pertains to the purchase & servicing of insurance products.

My time as an agency sales manager (2007-2013) gave me access to the inner workings and executive leadership of the corporation. The time spent working for the corporation was invaluable as it helped me understand who we are, where we are going and how important our clients are to the organization.  I had the opportunity to work alongside a team of talented sales managers (in Indiana and other sales states) as well as lead dozens of agency owners in District 556.

The opportunity to work once again as an agent, assisting current & prospective clients, has been the best part of this career.  Meeting with clients and learning about their families and understanding their story has been a privilege.  Our lives are so busy these days with work/family commitments.  I know that my clients need my agency’s advice and recommendations so they can make the best decision for their families.

I have so much gratitude for those that have helped me get to this point in my career:  My awesome wife, Shawna; my Parents; all the amazing mentors I’ve spent time with; and my past managers that gave me opportunities along the way.  All of these individuals helped me succeed in my efforts to be where I am today professionally (and personally).  I thank them for their support, encouragement, dedication, time and belief in me and the agency.  There’s so much heart and soul that goes into what we do every day and I hope you can feel that when you speak with me and Shannon.

I am optimistic for great things to come at The Patrick D. O’Brien Agency.  And those that know me well can hear my tone when I say, “I am pumped”!  Here’s to 10 more years!!

– Pat O’Brien
POB Agency

ps.  If you’d like to view American Family’s 2013 annual report, you can view it here.

There are 4 Types of Customers. Which One are You?

In a customer facing role we encounter a variety of personalities and communication styles.  People think, react and behave in various ways depending on their personality. We found that although there are many layers to ones personality, we can be grouped into four main types of customer behavior. 

Driver (or Director):  Drivers don’t have time to wait and are easily annoyed by small talk and banter. They don’t want to tell you about their day and are usually identified by their impatient looks, tapping feet, and constant checking of their watch. They want what they want when they want it – and they want it now! In extreme cases they can be intimidating know-it-all’s.  Their goals are very clear. They want the best possible product at the lowest possible price delivered when they want it – which is usually immediately.  Get down to business with these people. Take their order and let them get on with their lives.

Socializers: These customers love people, are quick to smile, and don’t mind spending a few minutes in conversation with you about the weather, sports or life.  They have a strong need to feel part of a group and take an ownership position in anything they do.  They love to be asked their opinion because they like to feel part of the decision-making process.  They like to build relationships and are an excellent referral source.  These people are usually three calls away from getting anything they want. They always know someone who knows someone who knows someone – the classic example of “three degrees of separation.”   It could be the best product at the best price but the Socializer won’t do business with you  if they don’t like you.  Use compliments liberally. Do whatever you have to do to remember the names of these people. 

Ambiables: These customers are not assertive but they are responsive and emotionally expressive.  They are dependent on others, respectful, willing and agreeable.  They are low risk takers and like security.  They like personal assurance, specific guarantees, low risk, and don’t want to hear a lot of options.  They can be over sensitive so when they speak, listen or risk alienating them.  Don’t take advantage of their good nature.  Work jointly with them to seek a common ground.

Analytical: Similar to the Action personality, these people don’t like chit-chat, but unlike all others, these customers are very specific about what they want. These types usually have professions that require accuracy and analysis.  They will explain their problem in a very detailed manner. Sometimes it may seem they’re trying to tell you how to do your job, but they’re not, they just know what they want and don’t want any misunderstandings.  Analyticals read manuals, directions and the fine print. Like the Director type they are unaffected by small talk or the niceties that can accompany a “sales” or business meeting.  They conduct research and analyze all the possibilities before making a decision and they want data.  Give them facts and data and do not make a statement unless you can back it up with pertinent information.

In which customer category do you see yourself?  Do you see yourself in more than one category.  Let us know in the comments. 

If you are an existing customer, contact us if you have not reviewed your policies in the last year.  And, if you are not a customer, we’d love the opportunity to earn your business.  Here are our business hours.

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– S.O.
POB Agency