#SitkinsIsTheSolution

Niche to Succeed with Barbara Galgiani

podcast May 19, 2022
 

Brent Kelly:

Welcome to the Agent Leader Podcast. My name is Brent Kelly, your host. Thanks so much for joining me on today's episode. If you are a producer or agency leader, or someone who just really wants to grow themselves in their business, oh, I got a great guest today. I got a great guest today, but I'm going to introduce her in just a second. One of our favorite people that's in of our Elite 50 sales mastery programs and just a great producer. I'll introduce Barb. I'll give a little hint there just in a second, but as always, I want to make sure that I talk about the purpose of the Agent Leader Podcast, which is to help you, the agency leader, to help you gain clarity, build consistency, and make a commitment to become your best version possible.

Brent Kelly:

Also, as a subtle reminder, our book, Best Version Possible, which if you're watching on video, is right over my shoulder here, is available. Just go to our website, sitkins.com/bvp for Best Version Possible, and it'll be in the show notes as well.

Brent Kelly:

Also, I want to make sure I make a note of our sponsor of the Agent Leader Podcast, Rough Notes, who is publishers of the insurance industry's leading magazine and technical insurance content. Rough Notes magazine profile successful agencies plus keen insights from respected experts on a host of must-know topics. Also, they have Rough Notes Advantage, Rough Notes Advantage Plus, and it provides the tools to help your agency grow, providing authoritative information on complex coverage issues. So glad to have Rough Notes. Go to roughnotes.com to learn more about what they do for agencies and their programs. With that, Barb, are you ready to have a great conversation?

Barbara Galgiani:

I am ready. Good to see you this morning.

Brent Kelly:

Good to see you, too. So glad to have Barb with us. Barb is a high level producer with LP Insurance out in the west coast, the left coast. It's good morning to Barb right now. Barb is part of our Elite 50 sales mastery program. Barb, if you could, just give an overall background of your experience, what you do, why you do it, whatever it is you want to share with the Agent Leader Podcast.

Barbara Galgiani:

I'll be happy to do that. I started my career with an insurance company in an entry level position, and with the company that I was with, they had a fantastic educational program. So, from my first day of work, I think I took the internal classes and then some of the American Institute classes.

Barbara Galgiani:

Several years later, I moved on to the brokerage side of things. I'm a little different than some of the other producers that you've interviewed in that my first job at an agency was as a customer service rep. I was a CSR. One of my positions was CSR for the president of the brokerage that focused in recreational marine insurance, the whole agency did.

Barbara Galgiani:

That's kind of where my background came in from. Great place to learn. I learned so much. He was very encouraging about additional education insurance education, so I completed my CIC there, and then started on my CPCU, but then I decided that I wanted to go into sales. The environment just wasn't conducive to that, so I moved on to another agency where I started there with a zero book. By the time I left some 20 years later, I was the largest producer within that agency.

Barbara Galgiani:

Then I was at that point, I was in my not quite mid-fifties, and I thought to myself, do I want to end my career where I'm at? I never made it to that magical goal I always wanted to get to, and I knew I wasn't going to be able to get there where I was. So, after kicking it around back and forth with my husband and thinking it through, I ultimately made the move to LP insurance services. I've been with LP now for a little over three years and very happy, very, very happy that I made the move.

Brent Kelly:

Wonderful. As you're sitting here talking, I'm sitting here listening to myself, cause I feel like I've known you and seen you in all our sales mastery and I'm like, I said Barb. I didn't even say your last name, but Barb Galgiani. I want to make sure I have her full name there. That was a big mistake. I'm a rookie podcaster here apparently.

Brent Kelly:

I do want to ask a couple things on just your background.

Barbara Galgiani:

Sure.

Brent Kelly:

Obviously, in getting to know you, one thing that I just always appreciated is there's always more, and what's next, and what can I do? You mentioned a magical number that you were striving to attain. If you would, it's up to you. Would you want to tell the audience about your magical number and what that means to you?

Barbara Galgiani:

Yes. So, I always wanted to be a million dollar producer. In the world that I was in, the million was really the top ceiling. Nobody ever went above that number. At the time, it was very much a stretch goal. Ultimately, I got to the million. As I joke with the president of our company when he first spoke with me, I decided I only had a certain number of years of hustle left in me to really go out and prospect and hustle hard, and so I set another goal. I would like to double where I got to before I'm ready to retire. I don't plan to retire for at least 10 more years, so I have a little bit of time to accomplish that, but ultimately that's what I want to do.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. I know when we first talked, you kind of mentioned that, too, about here's my goal, what I want to do, and this is exactly how. You've got a plan of action. I love the vision behind that.

Brent Kelly:

Maybe you're going to get into this, but for those of you that are watching on the video, Barb loves to change her backgrounds. She does a great job. Reason why I'm going to ask this question is cause I know you also have a niche and things that you work in. I think the background behind you, and I will just share it for those who can't see it. It's a marina with boats. Barb, tell me about your background. Tell the audience about your niche and how you got into that.

Barbara Galgiani:

I'd be happy to do that. So, my niche, I have a twofold niche. One is recreational marine, which actually means I do not insure individual boats. That's not my target. There are far better, more efficient brokerages for that type of business. I will insure marinas, boat manufacturers, a little bit of boat dealerships and boatyards. In the last couple of years, I've expanded to also include commercial marine. Those would be dock construction companies. It might be one of my clients does heavy work within the ports along the west coast, so very complex accounts with a lot of moving parts to them.

Brent Kelly:

How did you get into that? How did you start that path?

Barbara Galgiani:

I first got into it when I was a CSR at a prior employer, prior agency. That agency focused on marinas, boatyards, that sort of thing, so I learned a lot about them. During that time, I ended up spending time with the chamber of commerce along in the waterways and our areas. I'm now very active within the Marine Recreation Association. I'm on their board of directors. It's a way for me to keep dialed into that niche, not only with my future ideal clients in that group, but also the issues that they're facing so that I can speak intelligently about them and come up, hopefully, with solutions for them that make sense.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. We talk about this all the time. Obviously you're part of our Sales Mastery, Elite 50. Looking through that, 90% of those producers have a defined niche that they specialize in some sort or another. Success leaves clues, right? We continue talking to producers of just owning a certain part of the marketplace.

Brent Kelly:

Now, I know Barb, as much success as you had and that magical number and beyond, you've also had some challenges. I'd like to just ask you, what's been one of your top challenges that you've faced and maybe you continue to face, and what are you doing or what have you done to overcome it?

Barbara Galgiani:

Well, thinking that through, I think that the unstated challenge initially for me was the HPT, the high performance team. I have had a long time account manager, Sharon. She and I have been together for somewhere over 15 years. Neither of us quite remembers exactly how far that is, or how long ago that goes in the past, but we needed to broaden our team. After spending more time with the mastery group, I realized that the first thing that I really needed to do was to get my HPT, my high performance team, on the same page that I was as far as what I needed to do with my time and what tasks they needed to do. It's something that is an ongoing, I don't want to call it a struggle because that sounds like it's broken and it certainly is not broken, but it's something that we meet weekly.

Barbara Galgiani:

I think because of my service background, I tend to say go ahead, give me that problem. I'll take it on run. I'm SAKU, source of all knowledge in the universe. I'm the smartest person in the room, all of that. Occasionally, my account managers will have to say to me, "I'll take that. I can handle that," or, "Why don't I do this first and then report back to you?" That's probably been one of the bigger challenges that I've had is work working that out.

Barbara Galgiani:

Like a lot of producers and a lot of agencies, we have openings in our firm because we have grown so much and we're expanding so much. We currently are trying to fill another account manager position on my team.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. Well, and you guys are having a lot of growth. I know you're assuming a big part of that as well. I think it's interesting as you said that, we talk about Best Version Possible and it's such a mindset, but it really is a process. We looked at it. The first phase, first step of the process is alignment, and alignment is all about the HPTs and just understanding that same goal, different roles. What does that really mean? Barb, not surprisingly, this is one of the biggest challenges that so many of our producers face. You said it's not that it's always broken, it's just there's always areas to get better. I think what makes you and many other producers so successful is that you care so much, which can also sometimes, you're like, "Cause I care so much, I'll just take it. I can handle. I could do it." It's hard to ever get that true freedom to do the things that you do at the highest level, right?

Barbara Galgiani:

You are so right. You're so right. We'll sometimes say in our team meetings that a client's perception is their reality. We have to deal with how they're seeing something, what their reality is. They could be completely wrong, but we would never say you're completely wrong. We need to understand why they see something the way it is. It's that way with our team, too. If somebody on my team feels like maybe I was short with them, and maybe I was because I was on my way to a proposal meeting and I found an error in it, so I may have come across as short, but what matters to them, their reality is that I was mean to them, or I was a grouch, or I was whatever. I have to be aware of that. That's a driving force.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. I'm glad you shared that, too. I'm doing several account manager programs this week and my background isn't there either, but I think it's the understanding of communication and what it means and these little deposits and levels of appreciation. In fact, we got to the end, Barb, this is very fresh in my mind so you're the first to hear this. Not that this is going to be a shocking thing to you, but we got to the end and we boil it down to the one thing, right? Across the board, and we had 60 account managers, I would say 50 of them was communication, just higher level communication, just a better understanding of what's expected, why, and just levels of appreciation. It's just amazing those little things go a long way, so I appreciate you sharing that.

Brent Kelly:

All right. I want to get to the ... We talked about the challenge. Let's talk about success. You've had success, obviously, in different ways in building a book of business, but what do you believe has been your greatest success, and what are you doing to replicate it?

Barbara Galgiani:

My greatest success was hitting that big goal. Now my next step is that I want to double that goal. I want to go out on very much a high note, perhaps even decide that I'm not ready to retire and I want to keep on fighting the good fight when I get to that point.

Brent Kelly:

Right. I had to chuckle because I don't know if you've heard this before. Roger said this and I can't think of the person's name, but it was someone he'd worked with with years. Roger Sitkins, our CEO, who obviously is very well part of the elite 50 with Barb, as well. He said he talked to someone, he goes, "Well, what's the biggest sell you ever made?" He kind of stopped for a second. He said, "Well, I don't know. I haven't made it yet."

Barbara Galgiani:

I love that.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. I was just thinking of you as you said that. It's like, "What's your greatest success?" "I don't know. I'll let you know when I get there."

Barbara Galgiani:

Yeah.

Brent Kelly:

That's just how you perceive things. To kind of piggyback on that, and again, you have done, obviously even prior to Sitkins and with Sitkins and some of the training and all the different groups you're involved in, what has been maybe your biggest takeaway or something you've taken from, whether it's a teaching, a training, or networking event that you've had, that's been able to help you enable you to grow your business or develop at higher levels?

Barbara Galgiani:

Professionally in business, and I'm not just saying this because you're interviewing me on your podcast, the most important thing that I did in my career was back in, I don't know, probably 2000, 2001, something like that, I enrolled in what Sitkins used to offer as their bootcamp. I went through that series, which is very similar to what you're doing in the ProFit. That created just incredible structure. That continued to play a role, even though I did not participate in any of the Sitkins programs after that, it, again, created the foundation and that sort of kept my driving force.

Barbara Galgiani:

Now with Elite 50, it's sort of like you have said and Roger has said, you have to get so good at the basics that you're cutting edge. It is just so true. The two most important things when I think about the Elite 50 that I go over are things that I'm sure you cover in some of your other groups. One is the importance of the 80/20, or as our friend Jeff Jones says, the 20/80 rule. Focusing on that top 20% and striving to not only retain it, but to replicate it. I now go through my accounts twice a year and I look at my 80/20 breakdown. Sometimes it'll help me catch something. I'll look at an account and I'll say, wow, I'm surprised the revenues not more. Then I'll realize that we're missing some lines. Somehow we ended up not insuring everything. It will help me to refocus on that.

Barbara Galgiani:

The other significant item and the one that I struggle with the most on a daily basis is the green zone, red zone. That is having my sales revenue producing time, and only doing those activities in those times. If I was being honest, I would say I'm maybe on it 50% of the weeks at that. I still have a long way to go, but I know once I master that, I'm going to get to my next sales goal. There's no doubt about that.

Brent Kelly:

Wow. I know that you will master it and then you'll figure out how to master at a higher level. That's the way that you think. I'm smiling for a number of reasons. It's just interesting to hear your perspective on it, but in our camp that we're running right now, which is the producer fit camp, which again is very similar to the bootcamp years ago. In fact, I always get a chuckle when I have a perspective. I've been with Sitkins for five years. I'll be at an event or somewhere and someone will bring a book. This was from 1998, or 2001, or whatever it is. I'm like, wow. We both joke, Roger says this all the time as well, the 10 Commandments haven't changed. There has been changes in technology and how it's delivered and the way we do things, absolutely, but the basics really don't. We see that all the time.

Brent Kelly:

Just before I hopped on this podcast, we have some comments sections in our current program that we're running. The two last comments, guess what they were based around? 80/20 and green zone. It's just so funny you said that. It's literally about ... "I'm really rethinking. This 80/20 thing could really be something," someone wrote on there. Someone else is like, "I'm realize now I'm just not spending enough time in the green zone." These things that you just continue to master are so, so important.

Brent Kelly:

Barb, I want to ask you one last question. It's one of my favorite questions. It is my favorite question, and it's a mentorship question. It's the idea that if we could go back and talk to our younger selves and give ourselves one piece of advice to help us grow and develop and succeed in this thing called insurance, in your career of an insurance producer, what would it be? Let's just pretend that we're going back, I don't care how many years we go back, and the younger Barb is looking up at you today and saying, "Hey Barb, could you give me one piece of advice?" What would you tell your younger version of yourself?

Barbara Galgiani:

I would talk to specifically the CSR version of myself, because I think there are a number of ... We don't use the term CSR anymore. We use the term account manager, sort of the same thing. I would talk specifically to some of the account managers out there, like I was at that time. I would tell them if you think that you want to pursue a sales career, by all means, absolutely, absolutely do it. I love what I do for a living. I love starting my day which of my customers am I going to talk to?

Barbara Galgiani:

The advice I would give that younger self is don't worry about fitting in. Back in the day when we were all in an office environment, if anything, you want to be a part of the office pack. You don't want to stand out from your other coworkers, but if you are going to pursue a career going into sales, that's pretty much exactly what you need to do. I think I would've been a bit more aggressive early on in pursuing my goals and what I wanted to accomplish. It's very possible had I done that, I might have stayed with the agency that I first learned about marine insurance with. Maybe I should have been a little bit more aggressive, but moving on to the next firm certainly forced me to because I had no ink. I had to get that book going.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. I love that. Again, I'm always fascinated by the responses to that question. Here's the reality of that in most cases, there are certainly some people that are very growth minded and want to do all these kinds of things, but unfortunately the majority of people don't think that way. When you try to advance, do things maybe that are different or higher levels, most people try to pull you back to where they're at. I love this idea, hey, no, this is the path I'm going to chart. By the way, I love the advice of just be you and go out and don't worry about fitting in. Believe in yourself and take charge. Fantastic.

Brent Kelly:

I just want to thank you. Is there any final words, things you'd like to say to the Agent Leader Podcast before we depart here?

Barbara Galgiani:

Love the podcast. I enjoy listening to it. I bragged to you before we got started, but I just wanted to say it out loud. I like to change my backgrounds. They're always meaningful. My marina background was a BOR that I got this week. I was very excited because it's somebody that I've been chasing for, gosh, at least a year, maybe a little longer. That was definitely a home run.

Brent Kelly:

Ah, well, congratulations. Not surprising. Success leaves clues. Barb is a success. Her marina in her background is success. Again, if you want to reach out to Barb, again, Barb Galgiani, LP insurance. A fantastic person. Thanks so much for being part of the podcast. Thanks so much for being part of our programs. To the Agency Leader audience, wish you all the best in your success. Thanks for listening.

 

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

Transform Your Agency Into the Best Version Possible

Watch Now