Mastering Cohort Management: Insights from Insurance Pro Kari Glennon


Join us as we dive deep into the inspiring journey of insurance industry veteran, Kari Glennon. Brent and Kari discuss her background and experiences in the insurance industry, as well as some of the key challenges and successes she has witnessed.

Brent (00:00):

On today's Agent Leader podcast, I have a fantastic discussion with Kari Glennon, someone who not only understands the insurance industry at a very deep level, but I'm proud to call her a teammate on the Sitkins group. And we talk about all kinds of things, her background, her history, most importantly, some of the key challenges and some of the key successes that she's seen and witnessed in the insurance industry. Enjoy this episode. Welcome to the Agent Leader podcast. My name is Brent Kelly. Thanks so much for joining me on this episode. Glad to have you with me. And if you're watch on video with us, I have a very special guest today. I'm a very, very excited about this guest for a couple different reasons. Well probably even more than a couple, but two reasons in particular. Number one, she is someone who provides tremendous value to the insurance industry, and she's had multiple roles and positions and experiences that I know that she'll share today that will add great value to you, the agent leader podcast audience. And number two, I'm proud to say that she's part of the Kins team and she's been with us now for, gosh, Kari, we're talking about 90 days so far, but it feels like longer in a good way because you've already done and accomplished so much with us. So my guest today is Kari Glennon. She is a senior consultant with the Sitkins Group. Kari, welcome to the Agent Leader podcast.

Kari (01:27):

Thanks, Brent. I appreciate it. Exciting to be here.

Brent (01:31):

Yeah. Well, I'm going to ask Kari some similar questions that I've asked guests. And my guess is is I'll ask some different questions as well. And I really want you, the audience to get to know, not just Kari, which I think is important. I want you to get to know Kari because she's a great talent. And by the way, one thing that I love about Kari and getting to really know her well, the last 90, a hundred, 120 days is we were bringing you on board. Kari is not just that you provide great value to the industry, which I have mentioned, but you're a great human being that cares about the industry at a very deep level. So it'll be exciting to get your thoughts and your takes on that perspective and just knowing you're a great human being. So here's what I want to do, Kari, I want to start off, I'm going to leave this very open to you. This is your time to tell the world who am I, what do I do, and why does it matter to you? And you can propose that in any way you want. But I would love, Kari, if you could give background all the way from your industry experience, and then of course how you got to Sitkins. So I'll turn it over to you. Yeah.

Kari (02:31):

Okay, thanks Brent. And hello. I will start with my first actual foray into insurance happened because I was in sales and became a sales trainer. I was running a training division within a sales organization, and the first thing I asked when I got into that position is what's our highest margin product that we sell? And lo and behold, it was an insurance product and we had less than a 1% sell-through rate on that particular item. And I thought, wow, that's crazy. So I asked to meet with the marketing representative for that particular product, and she and I got together, her name was Rebecca, and she was thrilled. And I said, I'm training people and if we train them on why this is a good product for not only our organization from a margin perspective, but is it good for the client? And of course, lo and behold, for organizations who were looking for that peace of mind and that extra support that they needed.


So together, she and I created a training program and we increased the sales of that product by over 2000%. So when you have nowhere to go, but up 2000% is probably not as hard to do as it sounds from a numbers perspective. But it didn't take long. And the insurance company came knocking on my door. And so I was happy in my role. I was new in my role, and I did a good stiff arm to them for quite some time. But two years later, I flew to their headquarters to meet with their president, and we had a great conversation and I made the leap into insurance right then, and that was to the carrier side actually. So I was hired into the carrier side to be a director of product development. So that was very good territory for learning the basics for really building my chops of understanding insurance products themselves.


Because as you all know, in the insurance industry, we're packaging air, right? There's nothing tangible to it. It's trust and it's your word and what are your deliverables and do you have service level agreements, et cetera. So I would build products, and we had a team of actuaries who would check our work, which not the liveliest group of folks, but certainly I learned a lot. So I turned out spending a lot of time on the road with our producers because I had, being somebody who built the products, they needed somebody who was an expert in them. So I spent a lot of time on the road presenting alongside them and quickly learned that I'm doing a lot of talking at these presentations, and those producers are walking away with all that commission. So it didn't take me long to realize like, huh, I wonder how long I'll keep my marketeer hat on and take it off and put on my sales cap.


So eventually that happened. I moved to the broker side, but in between, I was consulting and my family and I had moved from the Seattle, Seattle proper up to Bellingham for a multitude of career reasons and whatnot. So my family and I were in Bellingham, new city. I had a very young family. I had one kiddo in elementary school and two little babies, and I was enjoying consulting. I loved my connection with my clients. I was doing a lot of sales and marketing consulting to the intangibles industry, so software and banking, and you can imagine in Seattle software is where it's at. So a lot of Microsoft consulting. But after moving to a new city, I didn't know anybody. And there I was in my home office and I didn't have a network of people to go and have coffee with or just talk like this, or even I couldn't just hop over to the Microsoft campus or to the consulting firm's office. And it was little isolating. And so I decided I was going back into corporate America, and I found an organization locally that was recruiting, and I sent my resume to them thinking, well, maybe they'll find an organization that needs a consultant and I can meet new companies and learn new things. And I really did want to go back into the insurance world. I know that sounds to those of us who are in insurance, you get it. But for those who aren't in it, really from Microsoft to insurance, that's not very sexy. You say

Brent (07:32):

All the time. Once you get in, it's really hard to get back out, so it's not totally

Kari (07:36):

Really hard to get out. That's true.

Brent (07:38):

Go ahead. Sorry about that. Didn't mean to.

Kari (07:41):

No, it's fine. I turned my resume into this company and literally within two hours they called me and I call it the 2-2-2 scenario. So two hours later, they called me. Two days later I was in their office interviewing with them, and two weeks later, I had had three interviews with a company called the Unity Group, and I was being asked to come to work for them and being handed an offer. And the Unity Group was the largest independent agency north of Seattle until we sold. And I went in as the head of sales and marketing, and we didn't know one another. We didn't know what we didn't know is what I would say. And one year after being there, I was invited to become a partner, and I was super excited. And the one thing they did ask is that I take off my property and casualty hat and learn benefits. And so that was very new and interesting for me, having had a P&C background.


So I was a fledgling in the EB industry, and it was fantastic learning ground for me. I was mired in benefits right in the midst of a lot of change because Obamacare is what they used to call it. And then they turned that into PPACA, and now we know it as ACA, the Affordable Care Act. So there were three different names and there was so much change. It was great learning ground. So from them, I'm lucky enough to now be fluent, fluent in property casualty, fluent in employee benefits, fluent in life insurance, fluent in captives, personal lines. The one thing I've never been licensed in and known is 401k or financial products, but I do a mean opening to cross sell to my counterparts, so I can certainly get 'em in the door. So yeah, it was a wonderful experience running an agency, running a team, growing a team, building compensation plans, being shoulder to shoulder with producers at the table, selling with them, growing our employee benefits book of business.


And so eventually, although we had an internal perpetuation plan, there came a time where we just knew we had a lot of stock retiring at the top, and there were three of us that called us the three young bucks. We were the three young ones under the age of 40 who they didn't think it was proper to ask us to go secure a seven figure note for them to get out of the business, right? Because we didn't have bench strength, we were their bench strength. So the decision was made to perpetuate externally, which we did. We perpetuated to a large national, and I became part of that sales management team in the northwest. So we oversaw Oregon, Alaska, Washington, and northern Idaho, and it was a great experience. I worked with a team of, we called them at the time, unvalidated producers, so brand new trying to learn and get started.


I did a lot of projects with perpetuating books of business for retirees and marrying them with new folks as well as some more senior folks. So it was a great experience. We achieved a lot of goals when I was in the Northwest, and it was clear that it was time for me to not just be on a sales team that I was sales leadership team, but to be the sales leader. So I accepted the role as Chief Sales Officer for the organization down in the Los Angeles area. And while I was there, we rolled Orange County into that territory as well. So that was quite an experience. As you can imagine, while Seattle has obviously some very, very large organizations, a metropolis like LA has as many and then a lot more, and a very big team. At the peak, there were 112 producers between the LA campus and Orange County campus when they rolled together. So no sales, middle management in between the CSO and those folks. So when you've got that many people, it can be a crazy maker if you don't really have your ducks in a row.

Brent (12:13):

Yeah. So the audience heard this. I know we've had many discussions around this, but you said you had 112 producers, is that right at your peak? And there was no middle person, it was you and 112, and I've said this in this podcast, and Kari, you've heard this in some of the programs that said, Hey, I love producers. I know you do too, but it's often nailing jello to a tree. So

Kari (12:38):

I love that term.

Brent (12:39):

You had a lot of Jello to a tree. So anyway, kudos. I just want to make sure the audience understood that there was some big responsibility, and you also had some great success, but I'm sure we'll talk about, but I didn't mean to cut you off again, Kari, please continue.

Kari (12:52):

No, no. Well, I had great, the president of our region was very, very hands-on, so he was a great partner with that team, and you are right. We had a lot of great successes. I learned a ton. Of course, when you're juggling that many folks and you have priorities, right, you're pulled in a lot of directions. But some of the things that really stuck with me that came out of that, so I'm now a big fan of something that I created when I was there called cohort management. So really taking a look at your categories of producers that you have or creating categories and recognizing how you can best help a producer where they are in their career based on their skillset, their experience, the size of their book, their goals, et cetera. So what is it that they need and how can you serve them?


Because there are some people who, let's say they have a two plus million dollars book of business. Their needs are going to be very different than somebody who has, let's say, a $400,000 book of business and they're looking to double or triple that book in the next two to three years. Or a brand new producer that I called my builders, my builder producers who are just building the foundation for their career and just beginning to build their book. So that was a real help because when you've got that many folks, you're the most popular girl at the dance. I mean, it was like having a revolving door at my office. You're constantly talking to people, so you have to be real deliberate with your time. I would say my time with that national agency as well, I became a huge fan of specialization. In fact, as I have an article coming out in Rough Notes very soon, and the topic is specialization because as we know, buyers today really want to work with somebody who they believe has good knowledge of their industry, they understand the pains, they understand the things they're going through, the challenges that their particular industry holds, and how their producer can help them with that beyond just the standard, right price and placement.


Those are table stakes, but it goes beyond that. It goes to the business acumen that folks have about specific industries and what they bring to the table with their connections and their knowledge. So yeah, I was lucky enough in my time, both in the northwest and down in California to build some specialty practices as well as to take some on and run those from the regions I was in. I'm a huge advocate of that and would recommend that to any producer these days.

Brent (15:53):


Kari (15:55):


Brent (15:55):

Ahead. Yeah, I guess just so you know, and I told Kari, I said, it's going to have a cup of coffee, but Kari likes tea, so you're probably he drinking tea

Kari (16:05):

Right now, right? Tea? I am Earl Gray. Earl Gray.

Brent (16:07):

I'm a coffee, you're a tea. Now, I want you to continue kind of the journey there, but I'm taking notes here. I don't mean to cut you off. I want to go back to some of these things that you brought up and we can go a little bit deeper with the audience, but continue your journey.

Kari (16:22):

Well, what I didn't mention is when I did take the position as the chief sales officer, I didn't move. I didn't move my family, so I was commuting. So I was in LA for a week, and then I would be in my home office for a week and back and forth and back and forth, and so lived my life very much on the road and was, again, it was for me. I have family down there. It was like old home week visiting with a lot of old friends and family, and I had a lot of contacts. So it was wonderful from a career perspective, growth perspective, reconnecting with old contacts and colleagues. But during Covid, it was a pretty big challenge. So I made the decision to move on. One of the things that Roger and I had spoken about for years was how cool would it be if we ever got to work together?


So my first introduction to Sitkins was actually when I started with the Unity Group. So I worked at the Unity Group, and the president said to me, we picked Sitkins as our sales training partner. We run their sales methodology, and that's what we've taught you, but you didn't pick it. Now that you're our sales leader, you get to decide. And so we have a joke. And so I reached out and found Roger's biggest competitors, and so I had the short period of time when I was cheating on Roger, that's what we say. So I went and met with competitors, I attended some of their sessions, and when it came right down to it, I made the decision that Unity had gone with the right organization from just the person that Roger is more down to earth. And his program was at the time, really just, it checked all the boxes for the things that we needed as an independent agency.


And I loved his openness to feedback. And our agency was part of the advisory group. So we were on the advisory board, so we would actually get to provide feedback, and it was a really good experience. In fact, with the blessing of my partners while we were still Unity Group, I spent 25% of my time consulting agencies with whom we didn't compete that were members of the Sitkins Network. So I was a sales coach, and I just worked it out with my agency just like a producer would. I had splits, so anything that I made with Sitkins, I split it with my agency just like you would a commission from a sale. So it was good for us because I got to experience a lot of other agencies and learn best practices and bring them back to the agency and help others along the way as well.


So it was really solidified my belief in Sitkins. In fact, so much so that when I did go to my position in lLAa, we brought Sitkins in to our program. And so Roger and another CSO and I locked ourselves in a room for two and a half days basically, and customized the program for what we needed. And it was great, and it's still alive and well to this day as I understand. Well, it's all done virtually now. There's none of this in person, which makes it a lot better for the agency as well. So I've completely kept in touch and worked with sits all along the way. But after leaving my LA position, I did join a regional organization here in the northwest who sold to a large national about six weeks of my arrival date. So yeah, it turned out to be a little bit different than what I had hoped for. So my stop there wasn't long. I learned a lot about myself, about this other agency, and so just not my tribe essentially is how I would chalk it up. Great people, just not my tribe. So I let Roger know that, hey, I'm going to take some time and really find my forever home, and lo and behold, moon and Stars lined up. Here I am.

Brent (21:21):

Here we are now you got to meet me. Gosh darn it. You've

Kari (21:25):

Been great to work with.

Brent (21:27):

Just a couple things on that, and again, I could go through lots of different things, but a few areas I want to hit and go deeper with you on, but to first of all, start off, it's just funny because even in approximately 90 days that, and you've already been very involved. I mean, we're on the ground running and we're talking, there's some new programs, but I'm sure I'm going to ask you about some of those things that you're doing for the Sitkins Group, but it's just thinking about all the experiences you have, and we'll be talking with either a current agency we work with or maybe a prospective agency that's in the works, and I'll be having a conversation with Kari. There's usually something like this, oh yeah, I've done that before, or I've experienced that before, or Here's what I've created for this specific thing before.


And I'm like, okay, let's talk about it. And I'm being a bit kind of joking about some of that, but man, the power of having someone on your team, like Kari, and I'm just a believer in this. It's one of those things, and this is a bit cliche, but it's like as a leader of an organization, I want to surround myself with people that are smarter than me. And that's not to devalue me or anybody on our organization, just we want to keep growing the value to our team. And the impact, Kari, that you've made already has been incredible. And I can't wait to see what's to come because still really early. I do want to ask a couple of questions based on what you said and certainly expand upon this or take it whatever direction you want. But one of the questions I was going to ask you is about frustrations, and maybe you tee this up for me, but you got a discussion about cohort management and one of the frustrations that we see, in fact, you mentioned this on a call, I think you had previous to us going live. What do I do with producers that are like this or like this or this? If you can't see 'em in the video, they're different places, different levels of skills, experience, you name it. So tell me more about cohort management. What does that mean and why is that so important?

Kari (23:29):

Sure. So as a sales leader, I say this often, there's one sales leader and there's many producers. So the time management aspect is so important. We at Sitkins talk about it's your one diminishing asset, so how are you going to spend it? So with cohort management, as you can imagine, let's just use an example of somebody who is, we'll say two to three years, three to five years even away from retirement versus that producer, maybe they have a very nice size book at about 6 50, 7 50, and they all of a sudden that they get that blinding flash of the obvious of, oh my gosh, I can do it right. I can get to a million plus. How am I going to do it? You can imagine that if their leader is going to spend time with them, they each are in very different places in what they need to accomplish to be successful.


And they probably have different requests for support. They have different requests for resources they need, and they probably expect something different from their leader. So feeling like you can be the same thing for every person is not reasonable, but at the same time, you can't be all things to all people. So by really analyzing your entire agency book by producer and taking a look and saying, okay, how many years has this person been in the industry? How big is their book? What is their annual goal that I expect them to achieve from a revenue perspective?


What about Investability? Right? The time piece. How much should I invest in time with this particular group based on where they're at and what are they looking for and what resources can I make sure that are at the ready for them or drive them toward the other pieces? Again, going back to there's one of you and many of them. So those folks that are in that three to five year, two to five year category of getting ready to retire, oh my gosh, there's so much knowledge that that team of people has that our industry is losing, and it's truly it's knowledge that the only way we're going to get it from them is for them to share it, whether it's storytelling, whether it's providing leadership in here's how I would do it. If I could go back in time, here's how I would have done it.


Here's how you can do it. Here are the people to go to, et cetera. Here are resources to look at. So I think as somebody who's looking at cohort management, I think you look at all the levers you can pull from the team that you have, the knowledge base that you have, the resources you have, and you say to yourself, okay, if I have X number of categories, let's say it's four categories of different types of producers, how can I make it my time that I spend with my producers most effective? And how can I use the knowledge base that I have to help my producers who are up and coming and really growing? So cohort management is, I'm just a huge fan, a huge fan of looking at it. And it's not meant to label people. It's meant more to give them what they need, where they are in their career at that time.


You can imagine, can you imagine having people coming into a sales meeting who are three years away from retirement and you've got builders in there, or unvalidated producers, as many call them, and you do an ambush roleplay scenario. Somebody of you from retirement's going to be like, really, I'm going to spend my time doing lowers practice. I could do this with my eyes closed. But these young folks, they really need to practice tripping over their tongue here and getting it out and practicing and getting confident and comfortable. Not that it's not a good thing for them to hear a senior person do it, but a lot of times they've developed bad habits too. So I don't want the young people picking up on those bad habits. So yeah, you really structure it in a way that's meant to target where they're at in their career.

Brent (28:07):

Yeah, I love that. And you're right, I mean, it's one of those is where's the best place right? Leader can pour into them and of course to help them get the most out of where they're at. And I'm laughing here, and obviously Kari, this, we've talked about this and I mentioned this on the podcast, I always joke with people, I get a form of this every day when I get home because I've got five kids who range from college to kindergarten. So obviously the conversations are all a bit different, and you have to be able to adapt to the fact of this person's here and this person's here, and I cannot talk to you the same way, but there's a skill with that and there's challenges with that. But I think to your point in terms of with producers in particular in court management, the important word is it's effective.


How can I be effective and efficient? And I was thinking of something, Kari, I don't know that you've ever heard this story. I know you're a Seattle Seahawks fan, right? Oh yeah. Up there in the northwest. But there was a great story of Jimmy Johnson when he was coaching the cowboys years ago in the nineties and the heyday and winning Super Bowls, and I can't remember how this all came up, but he was talking about how this was in training camp and you've got all these people and they're getting ready to make cuts. So again, it's a little different situation, but they got all these people and they got to cut down to their final roster. And he said someone that came in that was a rookie or knew or whatever, fell asleep in one of the team meetings, and he just kind of basically said, okay, you need to go right, said, just fire, let him go.


You're off the team. And the person said, what would you have done if that was Troy Aikman? And he goes, oh, would you have done the same thing? And he goes, oh, if it was Troy, he goes, I would've came over and been tapped in the back of the head. Hey, Troy, wake up, wake up, wake up. He's a little different. I'm not going to fire Troy right now. He's earned the right. And the part of this is, again, in every situation, I think there are certain non optionals. Now again, I'm joking about the Jimmy Johnson story, but just in general, there are some core things that we all do knowing that there are unique situations, whether it's a new Unvalidated producer or you just call 'em a builder or someone who's there in the middle that's done some things, but they know there's a lot more in them, and there's people that have a different skill to give to the agency where they're at in their careers. So I think that's a fantastic way of looking at it. Lemme ask you this, and this is just leave this an open question. With all of your experience, whether it's specifically in working with agencies or what you've seen in some of your consulting work, what do you think are some of the key or maybe the key frustration out there with agencies today? What are those things to go, I see this frustration and here's some things I've seen agencies do to avoid it or reduce it?

Kari (30:44):

Sure. One word comes up a lot when I talk to agencies and when I was in a large organization, you talk to other regional leaders and sales leaders throughout, but one word that comes up a lot is accountability and spoken about it as in a lack of accountability. I think there's a frustration around that. I've even had, I mean, I've had leaders say, my sales leader doesn't like keeping people accountable. And that's part of it. And I believe culturally think of the word accountability as negative, and it's just not being accountable to something is being reliable, being able to be accountable to something so that people can have predictable outcome. None of us feeling as if we can rely on somebody and then find out that you can't, right? You sort of feel left in the lurch. So I think it's incumbent upon a leader to make sure that your team is aware of your goals, that everybody is rowing in the same direction.


And I'm a big fan of being collaborative about it, being very open and transparent As humans, we know when we're not doing well, we know when we're floundering, and you want help in getting to where you need to be, you need that direction. And I think really of accountability as more about having conversations about direction, setting a course, providing the resources, and having the follow-up conversations that what's working, what's not. And every one-on-one meeting that I have with producers or have had with producers is, what do you need from me? And it's a two-way conversation. It's not just what I as a sales leader needed from them, it's what they also need from me. And accountability is something that we simply have to take the time to have the conversations to do. It doesn't necessarily mean whacking with a stick. It's not negative. It is having that open conversation.


And I think part of it is taking the time, really knowing your people. As sales leaders, I think sometimes sales leaders can make the mistake and assume that everybody is motivated by the same thing. And we often think of producers motivated by money in sales, and I'm not saying that they're not right. I'm sure that's big portion of why they do what they do. However, there's a lot of other things that drive people, whether it can be recognition, it can be power, it can be the ability to give back. It can be freedom of schedule and flexibility of time. There's so many things, but if you don't know your folks, you don't know what's driving them, it's hard to motivate them in a positive conversation to hold them accountable to what they need to do to achieve that goal. So yeah, I am a big fan of making sure that you get to know your folks and you take the time to have those conversations because accountability is a huge frustration out there, but there are ways that you can help your team to become more accountable.

Brent (34:37):

Yeah, Kari, great response. And I mean, as you're saying that, there's so many thoughts and notes, and I want to be cognizant of our time together here. So to me it's like this would be a great topic to go really deep on another episode, which hint, hint, we might just be doing more of those with Kari and taking a specific topic and really unpacking it for you, the audience. But just a couple quick comments I want to make on this. First of all, I think what you're getting to is if we don't really know their why, and we've talked about that before, it is harder to be accountable because we don't know what it is that drives them. And going back to using my kids as a reference, if I only talk to them when they were in trouble or I needed something from them, there'd be a reason they want to stop talking to me.


I mean, that's just common sense. It's like, oh, if dad talks to me, it's probably bad. And sometimes in a sales leader perspective is the only time they talk to the producers is when they need something from them or they're doing something incorrect. Now, maybe that's needed, but we need to have the opposite side there as well, getting to know them. Some of the things want to accomplish why that matters to them. And here's the last thing I want to share. Well, here's a quick plug too. For all the agency leaders and professionals listening, we've created and we're creating a two-way promise report for our agency members. And Kari, to your point is that accountability goes both ways. So if we're going to ask our team to be accountable, what are our responsibilities as a leader? And do we have that written down and documented?


Because sometimes they may take it for granted. So let's talk about what it is. Or maybe we forget as leaders of what we've agreed to, which is important. It does go both ways. And the last thing I want to share is, you mentioned this earlier that the have to versus get to. I think it's true with accountability. Do you have to be accountable or do you get to be accountable? And some of you might be thinking, what do you mean I don't get to be accountable? Well, here's a generic example that came to mind. Kari, you were saying that, and I've used some form of this before, if you were, and again, if someone was to say, listen, what I really want to do next year is for the first time ever, I have this bucket list. I want to run a marathon. So this is the thing, here's why I've always thought about it, and I've let myself down in the past and I haven't done it, but something I've always wanted accomplish before X, whatever it is.


And if you just say that, let's just say here, we're recording this in December and say it's next October, and you just say it. And that's as far as you go. There's no accountability. But what's likely is to happen is you'll never do it. And then what do you have? Frustrations, regrets, I wish I would've done that I should have, could have, would've, versus I've committed to doing it. I know it's really important. I know the impact it'll have on me. I know how I'll feel if I would accomplish something like that. Who are the people and what are the things I can do to build accountability metrics so I don't let myself down? And I think that's a key part of accountability is it's not I have to, you get to be accountable. It's going to get you to do the things and get you the results and the feelings that you've always wanted, that you've let yourself down in the past. And guess what? If you're a human being, that happens. So give yourself guardrails and support. So there's my soapbox, Kari on that. I like

Kari (37:49):

You, Brent.

Brent (37:50):

I want to do a couple things here. And again, I want to be respectful. What hits me is we could talk a lot, which is fun on

Kari (37:57):

Good stuff. Yeah, it's true.

Brent (37:58):

So I definitely want to have you back on, but I have a couple more things I want to hit on before we go. You'd mentioned, obviously all your background and some successes, and we could probably say, Kari, name 10 successes, and you could list 'em all and more. I know you're humble, but what would be one success that you've experienced that really jumps out at you that agency leaders could go, oh, I can resonate with that. And if it involves sittin, that's a plus too, but it doesn't have to.

Kari (38:27):

Okay. Okay. Very good point. So I will say that one of the things we really talk about is that the 80/20 rule, right? The 80/20 rule, and applying it to become successful. I attended a retirement party this week for one of my previous partners. I'll give 'em a plug here. Duncan Kirk, amazing producer, started young in his career in England. He started back at Lloyd's and eventually came to the us. So he's a Brit and we have a long standing relationship. So he retired or is retiring, had his party this week. He was one of the first producers I've worked with who completely embraced 80/20. And one of the things that I am a big fan of, I say that a lot. What I'm a fan of is the A, B, C,Y book analysis. So when you do an A, B, C, Y book analysis, you take a producer's book, top 5% are their top accounts, 5% are a's next, 15% are b's. So that's their top 20%. The rest are c's. And then we tell people they can have a few Y's and their book why's or your little pet projects, your uncle owns a business, your dad's best buddy has a business that you insure, et cetera. But we just say, don't turn those little pets into a petting zoo. They can detract.


Duncan is somebody I worked with who lived it, breathed it, practiced it, and I was able to hire his successor and bring that person in as a builder. He had a mentor. I mean, he couldn't spell insurance when he came to us. And I look at Duncan retiring from a very, very successful career, and I see his understudy, whose name is Greg, killing it, and two, now following this path, the A BCY, the 80/20, the trade down to be able to spend more time in hunting bigger clients. And I will say that during my time in LA, when we introduced sit cans to go along with this same success story, I had a producer who jumped off the cliff, didn't just say, okay, I'm going to trade down a few of my C accounts over the course of a couple of years. He just said, you know what, Kari, I believe in this.


You and Roger were up there and you told us about this. And I get it. And I did the math, and I'm at a point in my life where I can do this, right? I mean, he was single at the time. Now he's married and has a baby. But he was at a point where he was like, I'm on the cusp. I have this huge book, but I know I could free myself up to do more. And this is somebody who now, the year that he did it, he did his first year where he wrote over a million dollars in new revenue that year, and he's done it every year since. And it is amazing to me when you see it in play and you support a producer in doing it, and you give them the tools they need to be successful and to apply the methodology, I find great joy in that. So to see somebody from the very beginning of their career learn to do it, somebody who retired and then somebody who just jumped off the cliff and did it in the middle of their career and they're just growing like crazy. Yeah, I think those feel like really good successes.

Brent (42:24):

Amen. It's just the expression on your face. And again, I go back to the beginning of our conversation, we're so proud to have you on our team and excited to have on your team. And a big part of this, I was talking about the mission to educate and empower and equip agencies. Our biggest joy is to watch agencies and professionals achieve their greatest results. And joy, what's fun? Wow. Did you see what they accomplished? It's so cool. So it's hitting me, Kari, we're going to find more of these moments. I have a few written down and we're going to bring you back on the podcast and we're going to hit a few areas because I know that agency leaders are going to go, I want to hear more about that. And we want to give you more of that, right, that we can on this podcast to get you to think and ultimately help your agency. Just like the situation you mentioned was to gain freedom, which is what a lot of people really want. What does that mean to you? So alright, Kari, one more question, last question. All right. What's coming? Because listened to the podcast, and I've mentioned this. So if the younger version of Kari just starting off on her career came face-to-face with Kari today and said, experienced, wise, talented, Kari, give me one piece of advice to help me, what would it be?

Kari (43:41):

I would tell her to always go with your gut. I can count, I think the number of times where I didn't go with my gut and I look back and said, oh, should have gone with my gut or the times that I have. And I've been very thankful. And just really quickly, I know we're running out of time here. I did some research on this and I think I've heard you, I think speak about this as well, but our limbic system in our brain helps us make decisions is actually lined or it's made up of the same cells that line our gut, our limbic. So it's an actual physical reaction that happens in your body. So when you feel it, you know it that I better go with my gut, go with your gut in all things. I would tell young Carey that professionally, personally, just always go with your gut. So there you go. That's my answer.

Brent (44:41):

I love it. It's great advice. And it is funny because you think about it, go, that doesn't seem very scientific. Well, actually it is, which is amazing to learn. And then secondly, typically if you look back in your history and you go, gosh, when I did go with my gut, it's typically worked out. And when I haven't, there's always that. There's a feeling. And by the way, care, I may have mentioned this before, but I have this, and maybe it's also some form of female extra sense because my wife has it to so many things where early in our marriage I'd be like, oh, just because you feel that, that's whatever. And then she'd be right. So now I'm very much, she'd be like, I don't know, something's off. And I'm like, okay, tell me about it. What is it? And she's right. There's definitely something with going with your gut.


Well, Kari, thanks so much for letting us get to know you better. Yeah, thanks for having me. I know some great value to the listeners out there, and we will definitely have you back. And we're going to tackle some specific things where you can give great value. By the way, if your agency would like to learn more, not just about Kari or what we do at Sitkins, but just as far as getting your agency to become its best version possible, go to sitkins.com to learn more about our programs and our services. We are rolling out our next programs January 9th. I should know the exact date. So there is still time if you're listening to this as this gets released, and we'll have this released in December, but don't wait. Obviously we know we get to Christmas in the first of the year. We're going to have a limited time to get your agency on track to get into our programs and really get you positioned to have an incredible 2024 and beyond. So Kari, thanks again, the listeners. Thanks for listening. We'll talk to you again very soon. Take care.


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