#SitkinsIsTheSolution

Success Leaves Clues - Interview With Matt Fairbanks

podcast Jun 17, 2021
Sales Leader Matt Fairbanks

Success leaves clues, and sales leader Matt Fairbanks drops lots of clues you can pick up on in this episode of The Agent Leader. Matt talks over the mindset shift needed to excel past his million dollar "plateau", and living with purpose through his career so far at EHD.

Listen in to learn how to stop lying to yourself as a producer - if you think you practiced enough, if you think your pipeline is full enough, if you think you asked for referrals enough, did you really do that? Or are you lying to yourself?


As Matt famously puts it, "If you think you're telling yourself a hundred percent truth, that's the first lie you told yourself."

 

Brent Kelly:

Welcome to The Agent Leader Podcast. My name is Brent Kelly, your host. Thanks so much for joining me on another episode. And today we have a very, very special guest, a good friend of The Sitkins Group team, an incredible producer and leader out there in the marketplace, Matt Fairbanks from EHD Insurance will be joining me today and we'll get to Matt in just a second. But I also want to make sure that I, as always, reaffirm the purpose of the podcast, The Agent Leader Podcast is to help you the agent leader gain clarity, build consistency and make a commitment to become your best version possible. And also just a few reminders, if you are interested in learning more about some of the Sitkins programs and things that we're doing out in the marketplace, please visit our website at sitkins.com/programs.

Brent Kelly:

And so with that, I want to dive in and get right into our very special guest. I promised to the listeners, Matt, that we would be having more guests on the podcast. I've had a few in the past, and I've had many conversations with Roger Sitkins, but again, really honored to bring in Matt Fairbanks and Matt's got many titles, but probably dearest to my heart, Matt is the fact that you're also a father of five kids. And so we'll start with that one, but Matt is a benefits producer specialized employee benefits. He's also a sales leader and a shareholder with EHD insurance in Pennsylvania. So Matt, just without any further ado, welcome to The Agent Leader Podcast. So glad to have you with me today.

Matt Fairbanks:

Thanks so much, Brent. I'm actually really excited to be part of the podcast today and I guess just a little over two years involved with the Sitkins Network. So again, thanks for having me on today.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. And I'll let you kind of talk a little bit about just briefly your story and some of the things that you're doing. I think people would be very interested in hearing that. But yeah, as Matt mentioned, just so you know, we got involved together as EHD is a private client group with the Sitkins Group, and we started work with EHD in 2019 and actually did a private producer camps. That's when I first met Matt, was back in 2019. Matt also participated in our Elite 50 sales mastery group. So glad to have him in that. And also it seems to be almost a regular contributor to Rough Notes magazines now, if you're not a Rough Notes subscriber. EHD has been in there a couple of times, and the most recent one was specifically on employee benefits and a great writeup on the entire team, certainly featuring Matt. So Matt, could you just maybe give an overall background, I gave you again a very high level review of your title and positions, but maybe just how you got involved in the insurance business and your roles at EHD.

Matt Fairbanks:

Yeah, like most people, I obviously decided at birth I wanted to be in insurance and just followed that dream. Now, obviously like most I fell into it through a variety of different ways and had worked on the carrier side and then started my consulting career with a smaller firm in Central Pennsylvania through some unfortunate/fortunate events, they obviously turned out very fortunate. I was partnered up with EHD close to 12 years ago to start my career really as a producer and came to EHD specifically as a benefits producer, where my career took off and actually was put under some constraints I think that have led maybe to my success, and I think we'll talk about that a little bit as we move through. But focus on self-funded clients here in Central Pennsylvania and have really had the opportunity to grow at EHD, and you've mentioned some of that. I've taken on some additional roles and leadership opportunities and then about two years ago, being invited to be a shareholder here at EHD, which is really, I think the ultimate goal for many producers.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. Well, yeah. Being a shareholder partner, being part of that, it says a lot obviously for so many reasons, especially with a firm like EHD and what you guys represent to the marketplace, if you could Matt again, and whatever specifics you want to provide but as you came in, I think people are listening and going, "Okay, well, this Matt guy seems like a nice guy, but what have his results been?" Can you share a little bit, I know you're not a bragging guy but if you could maybe show them about just outside of your benefits position, but what is your book look like? Who do you work with? That kind of stuff.

Matt Fairbanks:

Yeah. So my book is projected this year to finish a little over a million and a half dollars. I'm having a great year this year, have actually met my sales goal. It's May 21st and met my company sales goal for the year, which is great. But like most people now I'm trying to see what I can really do. It's a good spot to be in, and did I ever think that I would be sitting on a million and a half dollar book of business? No, it wasn't easy to get there.

Matt Fairbanks:

And along the way there was several plateaus. I think one of the greatest achievements is, I was hovering right around that million dollar mark two years ago when I met you guys, and had to really take a hard look at myself and figure out what is it that I want to be in? And where do I want to go? Because million-dollar has always seemed to be that apex of producers, "Oh, you want to be a million dollar producer," but he throws it out there. But once you get that, you got to figure out what you want to do next.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. It's like, "I'm here. I made it." What I'd like for you to share with the audience Matt, because I certainly appreciate getting to know you, just the way that you think about things and just the solution mindset you have and like any great producer that we work with, it's just the mindset of the best version possible, you've heard us talk about it or just that winning mindset. And so I guess as you said, "Well, I plateaued around a million." I know that a lot of people listen and go, "Well, I would like to plateau there."

Brent Kelly:

Or at least to get to that point to plateau, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on, A - how were you able to get to that level? To get to that million dollar mark, what was your mindset? And then a follow up question to that and this is probably a long answer you're going to need for some of this, but how did it get to the million? And then when you plateaued there, what was the thing that got you say, "You know what? I'm not done yet. I got more in the tank to fulfill."

Matt Fairbanks:

Sure. It's a great question. It's something I've reflected on a lot. Unfortunately, Brent I will give you some kudos there, you and I've had a lot of personal conversation around this. One of the first things that really helped me to gain any level of success in this is, I was constrained when I was hired at EHD. I was recruited by what is now our executive VP of employee benefits. And he was very strict in allowing me to work on certain size groups, and we have a lot of conversation around picking your minimum thresholds, which you want to work on, but when you are a beginning producer or even if you're at that 300,000, or you're a non-validated producer, you want to take and write anything that comes in the door. A win is a win, and it's really hard to turn away those opportunities or give them to someone else.

Matt Fairbanks:

So when you talk about mindset, you have to have a mindset shift that, okay, if I focus on these opportunities in the long run, it's going to be the right solution. It's really hard. We're not a society that likes to think of the long-term, but the other part that was really hard for me on a mindset was, we as EHD weren't going to walk away from those opportunities. And I had to be okay with the fact that other people were going to work on those and other people were going to have success in writing those and that wasn't going to be revenue that was counted for me. And that's really hard when you are trying to wrap your arms around every bit of revenue. So the mind shift of, "It's okay. It's okay that other people are going to work on that. It's okay for the greater good of the organization for EHD, and it's okay that I'm going to go work on these bigger opportunities and I'm going to have more success in the long run on that."

Matt Fairbanks:

But that really had to be pushed on me by leadership in hindsight, I was actually joking about that the other day that I had to give an opportunity to somebody else and the person who I referred to on that, she said, "It seems to have worked out for you." And it was very funny that she said that, but it's true. You have to be willing to see other people succeed and it is really great, even when you don’t see your book grow in spite of that.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, just a couple of thoughts on this and then I want to ask a follow-up question, because as you were saying that I think one thing that I do want to make sure that I get to after my point here is that, how many clients do you have? Because this holds true on what you're trying to do, I said like, "Okay, I see what he's talking about." But you're so right and obviously every agency is and looks a little different in how they're constructed, and EHD is considered a large certainly agent in the insurance world today. And so, there's a lot of perspective to this but the bottom line is this, what I love about this as part of the culture was, we're worth more than this as producers in essence, right? That we have greater value and the challenge like you said is that, when you're trying to grow your book and like, "I don't really care. I want to get some business in the door."

Brent Kelly:

But that focus to say, listen, no, long term, this is going to be the best way. This is a career that's going to serve you and you've got to be laser focused on the right type of accounts that you want to get. And one of the things that you guys were already doing to a degree before we met, as you mentioned, was having some kind of a minimum account size. And I think that's a big step for a lot of agencies you work with is where we've never even thought about that, we've never even addressed it. But what that means, I think in many cases is, A, and you tell me if I'm wrong, get you focused on building the right pipeline and, B, eliminate some of the excuses that you get for just being busy doing things, is there some truth to that?

Matt Fairbanks:

Well, there's a lot of truth to that. And talking about that plateau to moving forward that's been applied a lot more. I'll answer your question, I have 32 accounts, so a million and a half dollar book with 32 accounts, which is a pretty good average account balance. So changing the mindset and developing the pipeline when you're able to do that, you don't really want to focus on small accounts when you're able to do that. You want to continue to focus on those types of accounts. One of the mindset shifts that occurred two years ago when we met with you guys, with you and Roger, was using those clients to find new clients. Obviously we talk about referral and referral explosion and those types of things but being confident, having that mindset to saying, there's a reason that these people are working with me. There's a reason that they've trusted me, being confident to ask them the question.

Matt Fairbanks:

And those types of companies work and have relationships with similar sized companies or larger companies and asking them who I should be talking to, was a huge piece for me building that pipeline. So going back to your pipeline question, yeah, the focus is absolutely there. One of the other pieces on that too, is looking at those companies and who they do business with and being confident to walk out to them and say, "Hey, who do you know at these other companies?" So as I'm building my pipeline using that laser focus on, "Who should I be talking to? Do you know anybody here? Who should I call?" And that's really the part of moving forward. I'm not sure if you asked this question, but it totally popped into my mind Brent, while you're asking your questions. The other piece about building that pipeline and moving forward, I had an eye opening experience. I was meeting with a guy who bills himself as a producer coach.

Matt Fairbanks:

And I was trying to do the 80, 20 analysis. So, 80% of your revenue coming from 20%, Pareto’s Principle, 80% of revenue coming from 20% of your clients and I couldn't figure out how to trade down my accounts and I felt really, really silly that I couldn't do it. And of course, I'm joking and I'm talking about you and I took my view to you and you left, because you had never really done a book analysis with me. We had talked about it, but you hadn't looked at it. And that was a real eye-opening experience. You talked about a mindset shift and you looked at me and it took you three times to say it before I got it. But you're like, "You've got time. You've got time. You've got time." And I realized what you were saying is, you can manage a block of 30 clients because you obviously have very solid relationships there.

Matt Fairbanks:

And you've got time to do the prospecting, and time to do the other things of identifying who it is that they work with? Who are their business partners that they could introduce you to? And really getting away from the, "I just got to do everything for these 30 clients," and realized, no, they trust you. They trust you, set up the schedule and work with them. But then also use that as an opportunity and spend some time. Get back in the, our circle and revenue producing activities to make sure you're asking those questions and meeting those next people. I've also, even prior to Sitkins, was a huge proponent of using my service team to their fullest abilities, and I have an amazing, amazing group of people that work with me.

Matt Fairbanks:

They don't work for me. They work with me on my clients and they have some super strong relationships, and even in some cases, I worry stronger relationship than I do with some of the people at these organizations. And again, not a worry, I joke I'm just competitive and the clients have no problem calling them and they deal with so much of the day to day activity that I don't have to worry about. And they report it back to me and they bring me in when they need help, and that is really helping me to grow my business.

Brent Kelly:

So hopefully the listeners out there are taking some notes of what Matt is saying, because obviously this is tangible, real stuff that Matt's gone through. And again, you were doing a lot of the things that we talk about before we got together, and I think you just accelerated after and just you made some more and more of those shifts. What hit me, I think we've talked about this before Matt, is the fact that the higher that you continue to go up, the harder those trade-offs and trade downs are, right? Because there's more to give up, and at some point too, you look at it, we have our best producers. They look at the 80, 20 all the time and find little ways to tweak it.

Brent Kelly:

But we also look at some point, could you get to some form of balanced book of business and you have really come a long way to being pretty close to that. Some of the producers I have are going, "You know what? This is a pretty good book." You don't have a lot more trade downs because you've been so intentional for so long on it. One thing that I do want to note too, and this is just for the audience to think about, is that a few episodes prior to this, Roger and I were doing a four-part series and one thing that he noticed is, "You know what I've realized, Brent, is that whether it's an agency or producer. The ones that succeed, they decided. They made a decision, "You know what? This is what I'm going to do. This is who I'm going to be."

Brent Kelly:

And through what you said there, Matt, and you've made a variety of decisions but you also had the future in mind of what you were going to design, and you did that. And so hopefully everyone listening hears that and does that. The last thing I'll say is this, this is something that struck me, this is from an entire group of your sales team at EHD. When we were talking about trade downs, there are a lot of people in your group that got a little antsy, at least that's what I saw like, "What are you talking about? I'm not giving up my business." And one of the things you look at, is that if you look at, we talked about A, B and C clients, right? In the top 5% are your A, the next 15 are B, and then the bottom 80 are your C's for most agencies. You look at it and go, "Well, really, A accounts are about an average five times the size of B accounts. B accounts are about eight times the size of C accounts." So there's a 40 to one ratio from A to C.

Brent Kelly:

And so you start looking at books of business, as we were telling your group, "Hey, listen, go replace some of your C accounts with an A or B, then release them. You don't ever have to lose revenue. Just be intentional, eventually they'll get to a book like Matt Fairbanks." But that's what I was thinking on that. So thanks for sharing that.

Brent Kelly:

I think a lot of people would ask me, well, what kind of things does someone like Matt do, day in, day out or week in, week out when it comes to skills or tools or resources that have helped you been a high level producer. Helped you get up to a million now and a million and a half with a handful, aka 31, you said 31, right Matt?

Matt Fairbanks:

32.

Brent Kelly:

32, I'm sorry. 32 I figured you traded one more down. 32 clients. So what are some of the skills you developed and are developing along that way?

Matt Fairbanks:

Yeah, so a lot of the focus that I've placed in, I don't think I've recognized I was doing this until a couple of years ago. But we talk about specialization in being a producer and we always had the mindset, or I always had the mindset. Employees are employees, it doesn't matter where you work or what you do, employees are employees. That's actually not the case when you get to the corporate level. Yes, every employer has employees, but you really have to carve out a niche for yourself. And so for me, I've focused almost exclusively in the self-funded environment. I think of my 32 clients, only two are not self-funded. And that is something where then I consistently have to work on, my skillset and being the most knowledgeable in that area. The other thing, as it pertains to that, and I definitely used to be the producer that was so confident in what I did.

Matt Fairbanks:

I can wing any meeting and any presentation. And as far as skills go, Brent, I practiced more in the last two years than I think I did in all of high school sports. It is something that I really work on and it's even practicing talking. If people walk by my office, they may think I'm crazy but even before making a prospect call I have a little talk with myself literally in a dialogue And what am I going to say here? If they pick up the phone, what is the conversation I'm going to have? Going into client meetings, future ideal client meetings, preparing what I'm going to say. Even as simple as a breakfast meeting, I had this morning with a prospect and I had prepared some materials, which I never would have done prior to a breakfast meeting, but I prepared something to have to give him.

Matt Fairbanks:

And I prepare what my conversation was going to be with that individual. So that's something that I had never done before. So it was just a constant, really honing of my skills and a lot, a lot of practice. Which really what I've been working on over the last two years, just making sure that when I tell my story, I'm very confident in that and I think a lot of that also comes with the fact that I wasn't really sure why I did what I did.

Matt Fairbanks:

I sold insurance and that trivializes what we do. And I realize now I do what I do because I know I am helping people, but I also fully understand why I'm doing it for my personal reasons. And I'm not going to get into all of those today, but I really worked through that and then had a lot of thought in trying to figure out why am I in this business? Why did I choose this as a profession? Or why did it choose me? But why did I continue in this profession? And so, when you get that level of clarity. When you know why you're doing what you're doing, you really want to just continue to learn and be better about it. It is... I go back to mindset, but it was a complete shift. You want your skills to be the best if this is really what you've chosen to do for the rest of your life.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. I hope the audience is taking some notes on this because there's so many golden nuggets that you've dropped there, Matt. We always say success leaves clues, right? And you're dropping some clues that hopefully people are listening to and writing down. And certainly I won't go into the specifics and I would remember every specific anyway, but you mentioned your why, and going back to mindset but why do you do what you do? And we do an exercise in our producer camp called Seven Levels Deep that I borrowed from a book called Millionaire Success Habits by Dean Graziosi. And you were, I think, Matt, you might've been the first or second person that I did that exercise with live. And you can share what you want on it but I'll just say this, I never know what the outcome's going to be. You just have a conversation about going deeper into your purpose and I would just say that was pretty impactful, seemed to be with you when you do that.

Matt Fairbanks:

It absolutely was Brent, again, getting to the real heart of the matter, why do you want to be in this business? Why do you want to help people in this business? And it is a full understanding that you're not just selling insurance. You really are helping people and being confident in what you do. I've never really struggled with confidence, but it gave me a whole new level and not arrogance, but a whole new level of confidence that these relationships I'm developing with people are very personal. And that is really what helps with that success. It's those deep relationships that allow you to connect on another level where you do become more than a trusted advisor. I would say the majority of my clients are also friends, it's just you have to get to that level to have high levels of success.

Brent Kelly:

I appreciate you sharing that, because there's such a deeper level of meaning and you've got some people listening, whether agency leaders, producers whatever that are going, "Well, I just want to get out of survival mode first or get where I'm more comfortable." Certainly understand that. But at a certain point, I think it really goes back into, you got to a million and then it's like, "Yeah, but there's more." Is that because Matt’s some greedy guy, I want more money. No, it's you're living a purpose. And I think that's, and I don't mean that to be cliche, there's just a deeper meaning there of what you do and the impact you have and the relationships that you have.

Brent Kelly:

And that's something that, why do you wake up? Because I'm out to fulfill that and it's not just about the money, it's a good outcome. That's a good result.

Matt Fairbanks:

It is.

Brent Kelly:

Yes. I always joke when I say that, it's like, I don't know many producers are like, "Hey, you know what? I appreciate this commission check, but I'm really going to give it all back. I just did it for my deeper purpose." No, most people still take the money too, it's okay.

Matt Fairbanks:

There's definitely a finite level of altruism in this business. I will add one other thing about my skill set that was helpful. You mentioned earlier, I'm part of the elite producer program and we talk about the collection of many minds and how it can lead to better outcomes, and I did take a lot from that. So as far as honing my skills and figuring out why I do what I do, I did have a conversation with a very successful producer in that camp. And I would say, if you're honing your skills, don't be afraid to talk to other people about what they do and how they hone their skills in their level of success and how they target things, because one of the big things I took from that individual was how to get away from having insurance conversations and moving to having business conversations.

Matt Fairbanks:

And then as we talked about book growth and development, he helped me see the path towards new challenges. And when I say that, it's not a game but sometimes it is a little bit of a game. And when you identify those top targets or dream targets and you make that your game, you've achieved a level of success where you can be a little bit more exclusive, and you're like, "I'm going to make it my mission this year that these are the three groups I want to write and I'm going to do everything I can." And having that target and that focus has truly been helpful for me because I'm like, "These are the people that I want as my clients and as my partners."

Brent Kelly:

As you said that, it's just funny. I think like anything, when you use the word focus, when I get focused on something, I hear something it's like, "Oh yeah, there it is again." But the two words that I continue to see with agencies and producers that are having high levels of success is they simplify and they focus, simplify, focus, simplify, focus, and it's just rinse and repeat. I've got one other question I want to get to Matt is, and you talked about being a specialist and we've done other podcasts on that. But you’re a trusted advisor in the relationships, you become indispensable and a big part of that is by saying, "Hey, listen I've got a certain specific niche that I'm going to go after. I want to know more about this than anybody else. So I can ask even better questions and provide more value."

Brent Kelly:

That's why you get compensated more, is because it's becomes really hard for you to be replaced. And that requires a deep level of focus. And so again, I just want to applaud you and hopefully people are listening to that on the podcast and taking some good notes. You already mentioned this a little bit with the Elite 50 program. And again, you're involved in other things as well but I'm just a huge believer, I know you are as well that we really are the average of the people that we hang out with, and so find yourself in good company. So just when it comes to whether it's people or resources, what has been most impactful for you, Matt, of who you've surrounded yourself or what within your environment?

Matt Fairbanks:

Yeah, that's a great question. First and foremost, I have an amazing support system both personally and professionally here, obviously you can't do this stuff without a great support system at home because sometimes this business can drain on you, that's very helpful. As far as network goes, I’m involved in some leadership programs, but ultimately the people I surround myself with are, and it's been tough in a virtual environment, but I'm a very, very social person. And what I find is that you can have conversations with lots of people about lots of things, but really what you're trying to do. And again, this does go back and I'll even say his name on here, Jeff Jones. How to have business conversations with people? So no matter what environment I'm in, wherever I'm surrounding myself, it's really about turning the tables and getting people to talk about themselves.

Matt Fairbanks:

Who doesn't like to talk about themselves, but the people that I am interacting with, we're really getting into the conversations of what's going on with you? What's going on with you personally? What's going on with you and your business? What are your struggles? And that's really getting to that deeper level and that led to so many, so many other interactions for me. We're involved in a bunch of different programs here connected with agency programs, especially for those that are still independently owned. And I have developed a network through that of reaching out to other agencies to get information from them. And then we talk about Sitkins, and I will give you your props as well. Brent, you have been able to introduce me to other people in the benefits side of the house and benefits insurance, where we've just been able to connect and commiserate about the struggles of what we're doing.

Matt Fairbanks:

So when you have those people and I say commiserate, sometimes it's often positive and here's how we can be successful in ways we can work on things together, but it is really seeking out those people that can understand you and are willing to have those conversations. And if they're not and we joke about it, if they're not willing to have those conversations, if they're not thinking about what I do in that same light. The insurance guy always gets bashed, then I recognize that it's time to move up. You say surround yourself with those other good people. You do get a little bit selective in making sure you're with those positive people that want to see you succeed.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. What I love about it is just talking about an awareness level to that as well. And I wrote down, as you were saying that Matt, and we talked about this in one of our camps that I was involved in. Because we've got a lot of young producers as well, and some young hungry producers but it's always interesting to me. We'll sit at the end of our camps and we'll do some Q&A. Now I know that sometimes you get a hard cutoff when people got to go, that happens. But it's not shocking to me that people that are really hungry for growth, hang on and start asking questions and chatting with whether it's Roger, myself, or probably even more importantly, some of their successful peers. And how did you do that? What did that look like?

Brent Kelly:

How did that impact you? Right. And they're just listening and learning and what I wrote down is successful people, and this isn't a hundred percent. There are some successful jerks out there. You're not one of them, Matt. But then successful people want to help hungry people and I mean hungry for growth and personally, professionally is that, if you're a younger producer listen to this or an inexperienced producer or a young agency leader out there in the marketplace. There are other successful people who, if you reach out to them or join something like with our network or anything else like that, that wants to help you. And so part of that is you just got to have the hunger and the desire to want to learn. And if you're doing that, people will see that. You can see it on people like, "You know what? This person wants to be coached. This person wants to get better. I'll share whatever I can, and other people will share what they have."

Brent Kelly:

And I think everything you said with a great, whether it's mentor or coach, whatever, someone that can help you rise you up to higher limits is, they'll both encourage you and you use the word commiserate. But there's some of that, right? Certainly during the last year we've been doing our virtual programs.

Brent Kelly:

Sometimes people want to get on there to go, "Am I the only one?" Because they get very lonely and it's like, "No, you're not." But it gets lonely, but to encourage you, but the same token, they're going to challenge you. They're going to call you out when you're like, "Well, you know, I really can't." Like why? And so I think those things are so, so impactful. So thanks for sharing that, Matt.

Brent Kelly:

One last thing I said, we'd keep this to about 25 minutes and we're over 30 minutes. I can't imagine we're having a great conversation. But one more question, I guess not even a question, just a thought from you. If there's a young producer out there, they don't have to be young. A struggling producer, a plateaued producer, maybe that's even a better example. What would be one piece of advice if you could give any that you would tell them?

Matt Fairbanks:

Yeah. So, and Brent you've known me a while now. But the best thing that I've ever taken for many of our trainings and it hit home for me is, "Don't lie to yourself." Okay. And I know you're not surprised to hear me say that, but don't lie to yourself when it comes to so many things. So that's my one thing is, "Don't lie to myself." But as I approach a prospect, as I approach what I'm doing, as I approach my pipeline and my pipeline is okay, is my pipeline really okay? And so I will use my quote because Rogers steals it from me enough, but it is really…

Brent Kelly:

It's a great quote. So I'm excited for this, go for it.

Matt Fairbanks:

But I was asked in one of our sessions for my thoughts, and I said, "If you think you're telling yourself a hundred percent truth, that's the first lie you told yourself." And there's a lot to break down in that but ultimately we love to lie to ourselves. We love to do it. It makes us feel good. And that's what I can say to any young producer, if you think you practiced enough. If you think your pipeline is full enough. If you think you asked for referrals enough, did you really do that? Or are you lying to yourself? And I do reflect on that often as I'm approaching any new prospect or any new topic, it's like, "Am I as prepared for this meeting as I can be?" And until I really feel the answer is yes. I don't lie to myself.

Brent Kelly:

Well, I'm glad you brought that up, because I was going to ask anyway and just for more clarification to the listeners, this wasn't one of our Elite 50 in-person sessions about a year or so ago. And we were getting to the very end, right? And we asked every producer, "Hey, what's your one thing?" And that was it, and I will tell you kudos to Matt, because everyone's got some great thoughts, but when Matt said that everyone just looked around at each other and their selves and they're like-

Matt Fairbanks:

Maybe some chuckling.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, there's the chucking because it's one of those hard truths and again, I got a bunch of it. The minute that you think that you're being a hundred percent honest, that's your first lie.

Brent Kelly:

And one of the words that I often hear and I got this from Tony Robbins is he said, so often as human beings we love to use softeners, where we can always justify, "Well, it's not really that bad." I'm doing pretty good here. And it's all these little things that we tell ourselves and I so appreciate you sharing that because I think of all the many things on prose and wisdom that you shared today, Matt, and again I really appreciate your time for doing this with me, is I think that's one that if you're going to write anything down, write that down and think about that and just ask yourself, "Am I really being honest on these certain things that I just mentioned?"

Brent Kelly:

So, Hey Matt, thanks again. I really appreciate your time, thanks for being here. And again, just a couple of quick reminders. If you're interested in learning more about any of our programs and we mentioned a few of them today in particular our producer program. If you go to sitkins.com/programs, you'll see all the different aspects that you can work and partner with Sitkins and determine what's a great fit for you and your agency. So with that, I wish you and your agency all the best in your success. Thanks for listening.

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