Gary Vee Does Insurance

Gary V Insurance
We recently ventured to the Big Apple for an incredible podcast session at Vayner Media world headquarters with the one and only Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee). Bradley Flowers and Scott Howell, aka The Insurance Guys, led the interview, and Andy Priesman of Cover Desk and Todd Sorrel of ePayPolicy added some commentary around the impact of InsurTech across the industry.

With the focus around personal branding, innovation, and strategy, this 40-minute podcast is a must for all the independent agents out there. Here are just some of our takeaways from the in-depth discussion.

The insurance agent of the future (not to mention every day, right now) should be high tech and high touch. That combination is a win/win strategy.

What do we mean by high touch? High touch means engaging in human to human interaction that builds trust. Since you’re selling a product that protects people, it’s important to genuinely like people. (Of course you do, but if you have anyone in your agency who doesn’t like people, perhaps this is not the field for them.)

You should give without strings/expectations. Gary Vee pointed out the difference between authentic selflessness vs. selfish selflessness. Selfish selflessness is verboten in Gary’s world, and ought to be in yours.

A practical application of high touch is to follow up after binding a policy. Not with any agenda – just to check in. Mention something personal you remember about your customer: ask about a pet, a hobby, a family member. Show you’re not just there to make the sale and move on.

I think of branding as residing in both realms. It is the linchpin between high touch and high tech. And it is essential. Note that branding is a key theme in my post about seeking inspiration outside of the industry. When you are marketing something you’re not in control of, you are not in control. While this part of the discussion centered mainly on captive agents, it’s still a truism of all branding. If you don’t control your brand, it will be controlled for you.

Now here’s something I suspect many of you have either never considered –or have spent hours worrying about. Or, you may already be doing it. If so, that’s awesome. Per branding maestro Gary Vee, one way everyone should be putting themselves out there is by creating content. For those who are not comfortable doing a vlog, do a podcast, or write articles for LinkedIn. This is not optional. If you’re not differentiating your brand through content, you’re becoming irrelevant.

Inevitably, the conversation turned to high tech and its profound influence on our industry.  Gary Vee pointed out that Amazon is entering the insurance market in a big way. They’ve hired more insurance actuaries than any other company. Should you be afraid? Gary says no. He said Amazon entering the industry should not be scary — unless you’re not willing to put in the work.
What else? Imagine customers asking Alexa or Siri for an insurance agent. Will Alexa or Siri pick you?

Next, the subject of buying insurance online came up. Just like we at ePayPolicy advocate that customers should be able to pay for insurance however it’s most convenient for them, Gary Vee says we should let consumers buy insurance online if they want to. It’s all about being customer centric.

Finally, the topic turned to outsourcing. Gary’s all in favor of outsourcing functions that are not your core competencies. This goes for administrative functions like payroll and virtual support (nod to here to Cover Desk). It goes for payment processing. It could also involve seeking outside expertise and tech channels to build your brand through social media.  If these are not core competencies that you possess within your agency, by all means seek out experts to help you build and manage your brand.

In summary: Insurtech is exploding. We’re witnessing a true revolution. These tools are there to make your life easier and your office more efficient. But never forget you’re  selling to people. When you put your customers’ needs first, when you seek to delight them and spread love instead of fear, everyone wins.

These are the highlights that jumped out at us. Be sure to tune in to the podcast for the full interview. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the spirited discussion and valuable business insights.

Finding Inspiration for Your Agency Outside Insurance

People have looked for inspiration for their business since … forever. It’s what drives creativity, injects motivation across members and most importantly improves the customer experience. In today’s world of content marketing and social media,  there are some amazing individuals sharing their ideas and philosophies across a variety of mediums, all you have to do now is know where to look.

In this post we’re going to highlight three innovators outside the insurance industry that have helped redefine brand management, marketing, and entrepreneurship and explain why you need to take a moment and listen to their podcast or at least click around their websites.

Don Miller, Founder of Story Brand

Let’s start with Don Miller. His company is aptly named StoryBrand. Don’s premise is simple: “Clarify your message and grow your business.” Yep. Don’s a branding guy. I know, “branding” can be time-consuming and feels like something only huge consumer companies spend time on. But it’s really fundamental to every business – including your agency. Branding occurs at every customer touchpoint. It’s the connection you make that pulls customers to you instead of the competition. It’s the sense of caring customers get when they interact with you. And brand messaging is a powerful part of building and maintaining that impression and that connection over time.

So back to StoryBrand. What do they help their clients do? They help them “confidently create websites, emails, and whatever else you need, without spending a fortune on another consultant or agency.” See where I’m going with this? Don Miller is an expert at framing your message so that customers listen, and your agency grows. I tend to believe that companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Pantene, Intel, and Prime Lending wouldn’t be clients if he didn’t offer them something of value.

You can tap into the same advice the big guys are getting from StoryBrand for as little as … FREE.  Like any smart marketer, Don Miller offers free resources like the 6-video series “Avoid the Marketing Money Pit” and even a “5-Minute Marketing Makeover.” There’s also an interactive online tool that lets you develop your own brand script. You can also subscribe to his podcast, where he interviews guests and dispenses marketing advice.

Bottom line: Words matter. Whether you’ve never thought about how to tell your agency’s story, or if you’ve struggled with crafting messages that connect and direct customer action, check him out.

Seth Godin, Founder of the altMBA, blogger, entrepreneur & author

Seth Godin is another favorite of mine. This former dot com exec is considered by many the godfather of modern marketing. Seth has 30 years of creative experience under his belt, and is still going strong. The word “prolific” barely scratches the surface. I’m talking about 18 best-selling books, 7,000 blog posts, 8 online courses, 1 marketing workshop, and 3,000,000 people attending 1,000 speeches. Oh yes, you can even join 1,900 graduates and get an “alt-MBA” online in 30 days.
This amazing marketer is an entrepreneur, an author, a speaker, but most of all, a teacher. He motivates and inspires people by “ focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership to the spread of ideas and changing everything.”

So what game-changing strategy can Seth Godin teach you? It may start with a message as simple as:

“If marketing is everything that an organization does that changes perceptions, then leadership is the most important marketing tool. Doing the right thing is at least as important as knowing what the right thing is.”


“People are irrational and they usually make decisions that have nothing to do with facts. And yet we spend most of our time improving our facts and very little concerned with the rest.”

This latter quote is from a short article entitled “How to Run a Useless Conference.” Yet, I think you can quickly see how this concept can be applied to selling insurance by improving customer experience.

Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO VaynerMedia

And speaking of prolific sources, my final recommended external expert is Gary Vaynerchuk, aka Gary Vee. Gary is the chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients.

If you’re forward-focused and want to know where technology is heading, Gary Vee has some predictions. He’s been spot-on in the past. For example, in the late ‘90s, he identified the internet as a “land-grab opportunity” and transitioned his father’s local liquor store into one of the first wine e-commerce platforms, growing the family business from $3M to $60M over a 5-year period.

Gary is an entrepreneur, CEO, investor, vlogger, and public speaker. He’s another evangelist of “brand over sales.” But he can also teach you about leadership strategy and scaling your business. He’s huge on “patience” and “humility” as business virtues.

Like Miller and Godin, Gary Vee is a multi-platform content producer. He does podcasts, audiocasts, documentary videos and live events. Now, if the idea of a daylong immersive consulting workshop on paid media, influencer media, digital strategy, content production, personal branding, and platform strategy makes your head spin, I understand. That’s not your natural habitat. But it’s definitely Gary Vees. And he makes it all sound so common-sense and doable.

To get a taste of his style, I recommend you check out The #AskGaryVee Show on YouTube. You’ll see this high-energy, extremely charismatic business whizz in action. With 310 episodes to choose from, you could easily find yourself fully immersed and finally taking that deep dive into personal branding, digital strategy, etc…

If any of these outside-the-industry luminaries piqued your interest take some time and listen to what they have to say. I’ll be interested to hear what you think, and how you’re able to incorporate the wisdom of Don Miller, Seth Godin and/or Gary Vee into your agency’s practices.