When you talk with Alan Flores, it isn’t long before you realize he’s continuously building his business in his head. “I have one big target in mind that, with the referral partnerships, will be easier because instead of going out to find clients directly, I can partner with these bigger agencies. As long as I maintain that relationship, I think it will make me a lot different.”
Just five minutes into a conversation with Flores, the 25-year-old agent and owner of Alan Flores Insurance, an online life insurance agency, you see his vision for the future of his business, which is one of perpetual growth. Flores, who has been a licensed life agent since March 2016, has spent the better part of his first year as an agent growing and maintaining a successful agency.
It’s a career that came along almost as an afterthought. It was certainly not love at first sight for Flores, who was working at Enterprise Rent-a-Car at the time. He says he wasn’t ready to commit to the insurance business. “The first time it was brought up, I thought this is not for me. But the more I thought about it, I realized how helpful it can be for families. Then I looked at my own situation and said, wow, I’m not covered and my family’s not covered. That opened my eyes.”
Perhaps that’s why his wife felt compelled to tell him about what she’d learned from a family friend, who is also an agent. She related the conversation she’d had with the friend, then told Flores she thought it would be a good career for him. “I was like ‘no, no, no’, but she told me more.”
After a bit of convincing on his wife’s part, Flores decided to meet the agent and have a conversation. It took him a while, he admits, but eventually the pieces fell together.
Since March, Flores says he’s had some ups and downs, but it’s been mostly a learning experience. His situation as a new agent trying to grow a business is compounded by the fact that he’s also an independent agent who is doing it all on his own. Still, he says he’s located a community of agents who help each other, and he’s fully committed to building his online agency.
In fact, it was his connections garnered while at Enterprise that helped Flores get up and running. Since he’d handled auto insurance with the company, he’d already built relationships with a number of businesses.
However, he wasn’t prepared for the competition and how “everyone is trying to compete for that one customer that’s out there.” Fewer people are buying life insurance, he says, and he thinks customers simply don’t know how to buy it. “I started seeing every agent essentially doing the same thing — having their offices with State Farm or Allstate. So I decided what I needed to do was, people need an education. People need to understand what their options are.”
Cue the creativity that Flores brings to the job. “I knew I needed to be different than everyone here locally. It seemed if I was going to do online and education, that would be the better route to take rather than compete directly with the State Farms and Allstates.”
So Flores started his business with those former contacts and built from there. Then he decided to target Mexican supermarkets, approaching the owners and inquiring about their benefits. His business growth is based on a divide-and-conquer approach to prospecting. “I set a category, like Mexican supermarkets, and I would focus on that. Then I would do body shops, then glass repair shops. I segmented each market and then just focused on one at a time.”
At first, he says, he made the usual rookie mistakes, such as showing up in an area and attempting to talk with everyone. “I tried that. But the problem is you go in and you haven’t researched.”