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So you think you’re in sales? You’re wrong.

Do you have a sales job?  If you answered yes, I am here to tell you that you are wrong.  You have a marketing job. You have no one to sell to without marketing and no matter how good of a salesperson you are, you better be a better marketer than a salesperson.

I wrote an article recently sharing how to hit your numbers every month and figuring that out is the easy part. Where sales people fail, is their inability to continually find people to sell to.  Marketing is where the work is, it’s where the grind is.  I want to share with you what I have learned over the years and how I have found people to sell to contistsnly for over ten years.

My numbers for 2015

My first district manager painted a very clear picture in my first month.  He told me, “Matt, marketing is like fishing.  If you are in a boat and are fishing you can put one line in the water and try and catch a fish.  Or, you can put 6 lines in the water and try and catch 6 fish”. I don’t even fish and this analogy resonated with me.

He told me that if I build 6 systems that all drive me x number of policies per month, I can hit my numbers.  Now it was a matter of finding the systems that worked, systems that I enjoyed working, and systems that I am good at.  There are hundreds of  different ways to market and I feel like at this point I have tried all of them and have landed on a handful that I am an expert at.  I tried many that I didn’t like, and many that just flat out didn’t work for me.  You have to be patient.  Many systems take time to build and do not yield results quickly.


After awhile I learned there were two main kinds of marketing.  Short term, and long term.  In a perfect world, you start out working both, and eventually your long term marketing will build you a sustainable referral network and the business comes to you.


Short term marketing can be tough and you have to be ready for your fair share of rejection but you have to do it when you start or you won’t make any money.

You have to have a feeling of desperation when you short term market. The idea is you find someone to sell to TODAY.

I would go to marketing events with the goal of finding 4 people to quote before I left. Yes you have to be  THAT person who is flat out asking people you have never met for their business. I would walk up to people and after an introduction and some small talk, (what do you do? Where are you from? Have you been to this event before? Tell me about your business….) I would ask the question. “Who is your insurance with?”

I was looking for people who didn’t know. Some people would say, “You know, I’m not sure” They might know their company but not their agent. These are the ones most likely to let me quote their insurance. If they said, “Bob Smith from Allstate, been with him for 18 years”. My chances were pretty slim. Regardless of their answer, I would ask them for an opportunity to save them some money and go from there.

I wouldn’t leave until I found 4 people to quote. After that, you better enjoy the chase because that’s what comes next. I am quietly aggressive in getting back in touch with them and wouldn’t quit until they told me no thank you. Set up a follow up system and work it.

1. Send a thank you email immediately after the event. Do it from your car on your phone from the parking lot.

2. Follow up the next day with a phone call to make sure they got your email. Say something like “sometimes my emails to to people’s junk box so I am just following up”

3. Send another email in 3 days.

4. Follow up with a phone call in 2-3 days.

5. Repeat until you get the info you need to quote them and an/or set an appointment.

As many of my customers could attest, I never stop chasing. I would write polices an entire year after the initial meeting.  I remember in my first year I had a woman agree to let me quote her and I told her I would follow up with her to get the necessary information. I called her EVERY day for a month until she told me she didn’t appreciate me calling her EVERY day. The way I saw it, she gave the OK to give her a quote and wanted to see what I could do for her.

That is short term marketing. Finding people to quote TODAY. If you find 4 people to quote every day for a month, you’ll be chasing 80-100 people and that will keep you busy.


The holy grail for salespeople is to become a referral based business. To be well known as the expert in your field and to have a slew of people refer you business regularly.

This takes years. You have to build trust with the right people who are consistently in front of potential clients for you. For me, aligning with mortgage brokers is a natural fit. They have to have insurance in place to close a loan. When the insurance part of the process comes up for them, I want them to think of me and refer me to their client.

When I started marketing mortgage brokers, I had no idea what I was doing.  I was the guy, dropping by offices and introducing myself.  “Hi, I’m Matt.  I can give you great rates and great service so send me your referrals”.  Ugh.  I just felt like a fraud.  Why would these people send me anything because I dropped by their office and gave them my card and a donut? The problem was, I really had nothing of VALUE to offer them.

It took me awhile but I realized that I needed to GIVE them something of value.  Something that would help them in their business.  The absolute most valuable thing you can offer them, is a quality referral.  It doesn’t even have to be for a potential client, although that is best.  It can be someone else that would be a good referral source for them.  It could be someone to help them with their daily operations. Maybe they are looking for a new employee, or a new accountant, or a new internet provider.  You have to ask them the question, “Who are you looking to meet?”

One you have been marketing for awhile and have met dozens of professionals, you have a valuable asset in just knowing these people.  You can start connecting these people with each other when the need arises.  Once you have GIVEN something of value to someone else, that is where the magic happens.  They will automatically feel the need to reciprocate.  They will automatically start thinking of ways to give something to you.  It’s human nature and it works.

Another long term marketing strategy is find a way to be around multiple referral sources a one time. I went to the basement of a church, every Thursday morning at 7:30 for 8 months because a group of real estate and mortgage professionals met there to network.  I wouldn’t leave there without 3 business cards and after that I would set an appointment with them to meet with them so I can learn more about THEIR business.

What if I had 5 mortgage brokers who were sending me business every month? You put the work in on the front end, so you don’t have to down the road. That is long term marketing. It’s building trusting relationships with people who want to help you. I still get so excited when I get a referral. It really is the ultimate compliment of a job well done.

So there you go.  These are the steps I took to build my business.  It takes a long time and you have to have thick skin, a lot of patience and you have to be willing to put in the work.  Eventually, you will be aligned with people that you trust and people that are willing to help you the same way you want to help them.

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