Paula Sullivan has built a 20-year career based on her passionate belief in the value of what she does — learn her secrets to success.
Thanks to our unique commitment to quality, agent support, and value-driven service, Precise has been able to build strong, long-term relationships with leaders and innovators throughout the insurance industry. In our Precise Spotlight series, we want to showcase some of these outstanding partners for our readers. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or an up-and-coming agent, we hope that their wealth of experience and sustained successes will guide you as you work to realize your own business goals.
For our latest installment, we spoke with Paula Sullivan. For the past several decades, Paula has been guided by her strong belief that everybody needs life insurance. Speaking from her office at Futurity First Seattle, she makes her passion for this line of work clear and offers some helpful advice for newer agents looking to help their clients find the financial security they need.
Precise Leads: Can you tell us a little bit about your background — where you are from originally, how you got into insurance, and your career path up to this point?
Paula Sullivan: I’m originally from the Bay Area, but I live in Puyallup, Washington, just south of Seattle. When I graduated from San Jose State in 1980, I thought I’d go into pharmaceuticals because I studied biology, but I ended up moving in a completely different direction.
Around that time, I met a man who sold life insurance. He was actually 90 at the time, but he had such energy and enthusiasm for his work that I couldn’t help but think that I wanted to be like him as I got older. I’ve since followed his same career path and am living that dream where I have passion for what I do. Let’s just say I’m turning 65 in April and It continues to be an extremely motivating profession.
PL: What were you doing before you started with Precise six months ago, and what prompted you to come to us?
PS: Before Precise, I bought my leads from the Independent Marketing Organization (IMO) that handled my agency’s mailings. Then I started working for another firm that also relied heavily on mailings, but I noticed that they weren’t getting the same results as they did in the past. I figured that the old ways weren’t working as well as they used to, so I decided to do something different and explore other avenues. I knew that potential prospects usually search online for products these days, so I decided to give internet leads a try and see how they’d work. I eventually found Precise Leads where I began working with my Account Manager, Michelle Tackett. Their leads produced results right away, more so than the other Internet lead generators I tried.
PL: So it was the quality of the leads that motivated you to stay with Precise? Can you tell us about any success stories you’ve had because of Precise?
PS: Absolutely. Precise works the best for me. Believe it or not, the fourth lead I got from Precise led to two life insurance sales and an annuity sale. I made $2,500 from that one lead. In fact, I’ve since figured out that I earn $3 to $4 in sales for every dollar I spend with Precise Leads. By the end of the year, I’ll a have a solid grasp on how much I’ve made from Precise because my company is tracking the lead source for every sale.
PL: Any advice to agents considering purchasing leads?
PS: It’s the same advice I give to agents with traditional leads and referrals: you have to have patience and the right attitude. I track everything. I know that if I make 50 calls in a day, I’ll make two appointments. Sometimes, I’ll get 30 leads and not make a single sale. That’s OK. Those sales will come eventually, and they’ll probably come in bunches.
As that great book Go for No! taught me, you’ll get so many no’s before you get a yes. I don’t get disappointed when prospects turn me down. I get excited because I realize that I’m closer to converting someone. It’s a numbers game and it’s a mindset. That initial no is just the first step on the road to a sale. I like to compare sales to mining: there are plenty of diamonds in there, but you need to keep digging before you can find a good one.
I also call my leads at different times of the day from different phone numbers. That process works well for me but even if I don’t make contact during that first round of phone calls, I put them in a binder and I go back to them. You really have to work it.
PL: Do you have any other advice for newer agents who are just starting out?
PS: It’s simple: the customer matters most. My goal is not just to help my clients with insurance; I want to build a relationship with them so that they want to do business with me. When I get them on the phone, I try to get to know them and make them laugh. There are agents out there who get started and focus only on the commission, but if people sense that you’re only in it for the commissions, you won’t be successful, and you’ll burn out quickly. But if you convey a genuine interest in helping people, you’ll be successful. You need to come across as a helper.
Most of all, you need to have a passion for the business and you have to believe in what you’re doing. You need to own life insurance yourself and know that everybody needs it. Again, if you’re only in it for the money, you aren’t going to make it. You will make good money if you do it for the right reasons.