It was just lunch, or so he thought. When Zachary Campbell sat down to have lunch at a café inside the local gym when the gym owner approached. The owner asked Campbell how things were going and where he was working. “Then he said ‘Would you be interested in a job in insurance?’”
That gym owner was also the owner of RMD Patti Insurance Agency, where Campbell is now a producer. It wasn’t an immediate sell, says Campbell. “I said I didn’t know anything about it and never worked in it before. I thought about it for a while, then I got back to him. We had a couple of meetings and then they offered me a job.”
That was nearly two years ago. Now the 28-year-old agent is delivering results for his agency, located in Richmond, Indiana. In fact, his results are consistent enough for Campbell to have been awarded Agent of the Month five times in 2015 and Agent of the Year that same year.
Despite such success, Campbell says he and other young agents face a pretty hefty challenge. Campbell, who himself is the youngest agent in his office, says his generation has to overcome some common stereotypes — one of which he says it has earned. “I’ll be the first to admit it; my generation is lazy. They want handouts and don’t want to work for anything.”
He uses a local fast-food restaurant as an example. He says the owner was having difficulty keeping employees, losing three or four per week. Campbell says that’s his generation’s laziness. While he says the insurance industry tends to attract people who are self-motivating like he is, he says of his own agency: “I think they were kind of glad to find me.”
A generation’s laziness, perceived or real, is a tough image to counter when you’re one of many young agents who are poised to replace older agents approaching retirement. He says because he is young, many of his customers, particularly those in his commercial line of business, don’t trust that he knows what to do. “They want to see how long I’m going to stay in the business,” Campbell says. “’Well, he’s been here two years — let’s see if he’s still in it in 10 years.’ Being young can be tough sometimes, especially with the older generation.”
Another challenge Campbell faced was his geography. Richmond, he says, has a population of approximately 35,000 people, which he says makes it tough to find new clients. It’s a town that has seen its share of loss — the population that once was nearly 70,000 residents dwindled after Campbell says manufacturing went overseas.
Business has grown exceptionally well so far, he says. He credits that to the time he puts in and out of the office. His clients, he says, won’t come to him, and he knows that he, like most agents, needs to come out from behind the desk and build name recognition. “You have to get face-to-face with them.” He attends local events regularly and introduces himself.
It must be working. So far in 2016, Campbell is on track to exceed his annual office goal. He says that’s due in part to the fact that he added a commercial producer’s license.