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5 Lessons I Learned From a McDonald’s Employee

By Brent Kelly

I rarely frequent fast food restaurants, but on one particular Saturday morning, I took my kids for breakfast at a local McDonalds. Besides their awesome and underrated coffee, I found something even better.

There was an employee I noticed who was in charge of sweeping the floor, cleaning up trays, and other typical unappreciated jobs. I would assume he makes minimum wage and gets little to no benefits. However, you would never know that by watching him.

In twenty minutes, he struck up countless conversations, engaged the customers, and put smiles on their faces. It was awesome. As I sat there listening to him talk to other customers, I couldn’t help but think; How come most salespeople don’t do this?

No, he wasn’t selling anything. He wasn’t making a commission. He just genuinely cared about the people in the restaurant. It wasn’t fake, rehearsed, or manipulative. It was simply from the heart.

I learned more in 20 minutes watching...

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Do I Still Need to Carry Business Cards?

By Brent Kelly

Are Business Cards Still Relevant Today? Is There a Better Way?

Networking and business cards. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.

If I have learned anything from my 15 years of business networking, it’s that you can collect a ridiculous amount of business cards in an hour.

I have a drawer full of hundreds of business cards from people whom I have connected with in the past. Many of these cards have not been touched or looked at in many years. In fact, many were not even addressed the days following the networking event.

Why?

Besides the fact that I did a terrible job of following up, there was no real connection made, no engagement, and no valuable reason to follow-up.

Great networking has never been about a business card, it’s always been about a connection.

I used to keep track of how many business cards I collected and how many business cards I gave out. The more cards obtained and given, the greater level of success I felt I...

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What’s the One Word that Motivates You Each Day?

motivation Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

If you had to pick one word that gets you out of bed each day and motivates you to attain success, what word would it be?

My business partner asked me this question recently and I had never really thought about it in great depth.

There are many words that came to mind for me and some of these will probably relate to you as well. Words like purpose, family, achievement, success, security, goals, and legacy came to mind.

Those are all true in some capacity, but didn’t get to the heart of why I wake up each day with a plan of action.

My word is challenge.

All of those words I described above are a challenge. I’m challenged to become a man who lives out his faith through action, to become a dad who is a spiritual, emotional, and a physical provider to his family, and be a man who achieves in business by empowering others.

The list could go on and on, but the it all comes back to challenge. Every day presents new challenges, which thus provides new...

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Build Your Confidence & Build Your Image

confidence Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

You want others to believe in you, your company, your product or service, and the value you provide. However, the most important question to ask yourself is, “Do you believe in you?”

Do You Breed Confidence in Others?

How others perceive you is in direct correlation to how you view and carry yourself.
You must project your self-image in a way that breeds confidence in others.

Have you ever met someone who looks sloppy, give a wimpy handshake, or can’t look you in the eye? They portray little to no confidence in themselves and therefore portray minimal confidence in the product or service they represent.

I am sure you have heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Although that made a great Head and Shoulders commercial, it is also true.

Whether fair or not, people make quick judgments and those judgments are difficult to alter.

How you think about yourself translates directly into how you act and...

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One Reason Why You Must Adapt to Changing Technology

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that none of us can imagine what new technologies will be available in the next 20 years.

I found a clip on YouTube recently, and it absolutely blew me away. Not even 20 years ago, some of the “smartest people” on television didn’t know anything about the internet. I am not making fun of them, because in 1994, none of us really did.

In 1994, a new technology was surfacing that most of had no clue about. Today, we use the internet for just about everything and businesses would be crippled without it.

What’s my point?

The point is that new technologies are being developed right now that will completely change how we do business in 20 years. We don’t know exactly what they will be, but I guarantee you the face of business will change again in 20 years.
How do I know? Think about the changes made from 1934 to 1954 to 1974 to 1994. Does the automobile or television come to mind?

With that...

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4 Ways Insurance Agents Can Help Their Underwriters Write More Business

partnerships underwriters Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

The relationship between insurance agent and underwriter is critical.

Both parties are vital to each other’s success, yet often times, the agent/underwriter relationship is strained. Why?

There could be countless reasons, but ultimately many agents feel that their underwriters make their lives more difficult by asking for additional information, not providing a competitive price, or just plain make it a challenge to make sales.

Although it may seem that some underwriters don’t want to write business or overanalyze basic risks, they have a tough job to do. They want to write business, but equally important, they want to write profitable business.

No, underwriters are not all the same and some are better than others, but if you want to be a successful agent, establishing a positive relationship with your underwriter is critical.

I asked one of my company marketing representatives to ask her team of underwriters a basic...

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Is the Independent Agent Doomed?

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Over 50% of People Now Shop For Insurance Online, Is the Independent Agent Doomed?

A recent article found that over 50% of people looking to obtain auto insurance quotes now go online to shop. This trend will probably continue as insurance buyers are looking for convenience and competitive pricing.  Large companies like Geico, Progressive, and Allstate are spending millions of advertising dollars to get these customers.

Does this mean the local independent agent is doomed? 

Quite the contrary in my opinion. I think this presents one of the greatest opportunities independent agents have had in a long time.  What do I mean?  Let me back up and point out a couple of things relating to that article first.

1) The article stated that 54% of consumers turn to the internet for a quote, but most still purchase through an agent or call center.

2) Customers still highly value customer service and typically will still only move to a new company...

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Overcoming the “Too Young” Objection in Insurance Sales

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Being a young insurance agent can seem downright overwhelming at times.

I started in the insurance business right out of college at the ripe old age of 22. I had superb initial training, wonderful mentors, learned as much as I could as quickly as possible, and then was sent straight to the wolves. I was ready to take on the world, but scared to death all at the same time.  If you are new in this business, you may know the feeling.

My first boss made a true and important statement to me in my first year. He said, “This business is really tough until you start getting some gray hairs, but it will be worth it in the long run.”

Looking back at this statement 13 years later, I have realized several important truths.

  1. This business is very tough
  2. If you persevere, it is also worth it
  3. I didn’t expect to get gray hairs so quickly


If you are young agent (or maybe just look young), I have some great news. Although you may still...

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Why I Am So Passionate About Cyber Liability and Data Breach

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

In 2013, I focused a large portion of marketing, research, networking, etc. on cyber liability and data breach issues.

Why? There are many reasons why this topic is so important so let me explain.

1) Cyber liability and data breach will not just be trendy catch phrases in the coming years, but there will be organizations crippled because of a cyber liability loss.
The amount of data breaches and cyber liability claims continue to rise.  Large companies with good risk managers are already aware of this, but who is looking out for small and medium-sized business owners?

Most business owners and organizations are unaware how susceptible they are with cyber liability.  Business owners work way too hard to have everything taken from them.  I feel a calling to educate, advise, and help all entities understand their cyber exposures and work with them to provide solutions.

2) Cyber liability is complicated and it will take...

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Does My Subcontractor Need to Carry Workers Compensation in Illinois?

Uncategorized Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

Over the past few years, one of the biggest frustrations from both general contractors and subcontractors in the state of Illinois has been the issue of workers compensation.

General contractors can use subcontractors for many different jobs and projects.  The subcontractors they use can range from million dollar corporations to a one-man electrical contractor.

Insurance companies in Illinois have and will include subcontractors costs as payroll if those subcontractors do not show proof of workers compensation insurance.  It doesn’t matter if they have 100 employees or no employees.

For the larger subcontractors this is not an issue.  They have employees and thus carry workers compensation insurance that will satisfy this requirement.  The problem arises for the small one-man subcontractor who has never carried workers compensation insurance and is now being told they must obtain this coverage.

Why is this so important?

If you are using...

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