Success can come at any career stage. Yet it comes as somewhat of a surprise that Jason Fisher’s success came now, when he’s still in his twenties and just four years into his career. With an eye toward modernizing the life sales process and a focus on an unusual specialization, Fisher has taken his entire business online.
Fisher is owner of BestLifeRates.org and his flagship website, waterwayfinancialgroup.com, both part of a two-year-old business that specializes in high risk and hard-to-place life insurance. It’s quite a surprising niche for Fisher, a millennial with just four years of experience in the life insurance industry.
Still, Fisher has found a way to leverage that experience and his knowledge of how the consumer is buying into a new venture that’s growing by the day. His independent agency works with over 50 A-rated or better companies. And while his fledgling business is still working through its growing pains, Fisher is seeing an increase in organic business: prospects that come to him via his website and not through lists or referrals.
It’s a far cry from his start in insurance, at one of the largest life insurance companies in the country, New York Life. There, Fisher says he was a “classically trained” agent — well educated and given the opportunity to learn and be mentored by some of the top agents in the industry. “I had a fine experience at New York Life. In fact, I would still champion anyone for starting there. It’s where I grew and learned the business.”
Overall, he was happy at the agency. But something was missing. He wanted to scale his business, but he was facing clear limitations. Even some of the top agents, he says, were hitting their limits in terms of commissions. Plus, Fisher felt the marketing he was doing wasn’t quite meeting his needs. There was the ability to create an online presence, he says, but the tools available to him at the time weren’t meshing with his marketing ideas. “The way you market as a captive agent in most insurance companies is your standard meet-and-greets and networking and door-to-door sales and cold calling — just your traditional, old-school style of marketing.”
It was a combination of that fact and what he was seeing in online forums that convinced Fisher to look beyond the traditional insurance business model. Agents online were discussing online business successes outside the typical agency model. Intrigue led to inquiry led to idea and then to Fisher starting his business.
The digital divide
For Fisher, the move was intentional and necessary. While his company did have an online presence and online marketing capabilities, Fisher wanted to do more. In fact, he wanted to do nearly all of his business online or over the phone. “I’m 28 now. At the time I started my business, I was 26. I do all my purchasing online. I make my payments online. The way I looked at it from a marketing and sales standpoint is an online platform is a way where your doors are open 24 hours a day. Someone can reach out to you at any time of day.”
So Fisher and a partner established their business in June 2013. He and his partner, who left the business recently, started marketing locally. Together they created over 150 YouTube videos. “It was kind of fun to have people calling and say ‘I saw you on YouTube, and I’m calling to inquire about X, Y, or Z.’”
That approach worked for a while, but like all marketing strategies, the results started to drop off, he says. Still, business came, but in unexpected ways. “We did okay locally, but we got more calls outside our city than we did inside. So we decided to market farther and farther out. We started going through all of South Carolina.”
Now, Fisher is licensed in 22 states. Not bad for a one-man business. That wider scope, he says, is where the real opportunities lie. “You can do inbound marketing locally through newspaper ads or billboards, but online you can increase your scope. You can go outside the city you live in, outside the state you live in. Suddenly, your market is bigger. Your hours of operation are near constant. From a marketing and sales perspective, your prospect range is now huge.”
His reasoning is simple: “If I’m such a small fish and I’m only going to get two percent of the people I talk to, why not increase that number exponentially?”
Too much too soon