Building a Growth Agency That Supports the Lifestyle of Your Dreams
What’s more important than insurance? Well, LIFE. And, this podcast guest has figured out how to build an agency that grows like a machine – year after year – and supports the lifestyle of his dreams. You may recognize Anson from a recent cover of Rough Notes where he’s pictured in the agency’s tye-died VW bus. Discover:
- How he set up a branch agency 1200 miles from home – and gets both of them to operate almost automatically. (Hint: he’s been based in Indiana for more than 20 years…but fell in love with Colorado. A story you’ve got to hear!)
- How he adds FUN to the insurance experience – and why that’s been so important to his consistent growth. (And, why it makes it sooooo easy to stand out from the ‘vanilla’ crowd of insurance agents.)
- Why he put naked pictures of his mom and dad on a billboard next to the road (and, what they thought about it!).
If you’re in the mood for an upbeat and optimistic take on what insurance is today – from a daily practitioner – don’t miss this conversation with Anson Ross Thompson, CIC, CRM.
What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.
One More Thing! What do you think? How will you and your peers use this to grow your agency or brokerage? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, subscribe to get updates delivered to you and *please share this if you found it informative.
Michael Jans: Anson Ross Thompson thank you so much for joining us, how are you today?
Anson Ross Thompson: I am fantastic Michael, how are you?
Michael: I’m doing very good, thank you. Having survived our first monsoon of the season, doing quite well here and Cave Creek. You are in Indiana today and I wouldn’t necessarily know that because you also have a branch, so to speak, in Colorado and that’s part of the story that we’re going to be getting to, but let’s start at the very beginning. Can you introduce yourself and give us a little thumbnail on who Anson Ross Thompson is?
Anson: I hail from Beautiful Parker City, Indiana, a town of 1300 people. My father was an independent insurance agency owner there in our small town. I graduated in Ball State University, the Harvard of Muncie, back in 91 with an undergraduate degree in insurance. I went back and got a graduate degree in information and communication sciences. At that time I was contemplating going in to work for a consulting company, but with the insurance degree and looking at my father’s agency as a foundation, I decided I would go work with him. I went in, I think first year I made $15,000 with a masters degree in Beautiful Parker City, Indiana, but the cost of living was such that that was okay for my wife and I. I got married about the same time.
For the first couple of three years, I muddled through personal insurance but really found commercial insurance was where I wanted to spend my time. In 1995 my father came into the agency and he said I’m going to retire. I was 25 years old, I had no money. He said, “No problem, we’ll do a contract.” I said, “Okay.” I started buying the agency, January 1st in 1996. About that time I found a young man that wanted to sell personal insurance from the area and so Ron Shoemaker, who is still with me today, came into the agency and we started growing. My first hire was a CFO, who’s still with me today, I’ve got two 24 shared employees, and over the next 15 years I grew the agency as a solo owner, really expanding the agency from what was really a small home on a firm insurance agency to really more of a commercial insurance agency.
We were a heavy commercial, we did a little bit of benefit, we did a little bit of personal insurance, but where my talents– I found talents really working with commercial business owners. Fast forward to about seven years ago, I had mutual divorce a couple of years prior to that and I had met a young lady, Jenny Dils Durr, and she had an agency similar size to mine and we decided to put our agencies together. We did that. They were basically mirrors of each other, it was kind of weird. By that time Jenny had, second generation as well, her father, Jerry Dils had started RMD-Patti in Richmond, Indiana and she had done what I did.
She started from scratch in Indianapolis office and after a few years, she and I put our agencies together. When Jenny and I connected we were tired of people always saying, “Someday I’m going to do this, someday I’m going to do that.” so we named our company Someday Is Today Doing This and That- The Thompson Group. That’s our LLC. Over the past few years, we have continued to grow, we have our offices in Indiana and still Beautiful Parker City, Indiana and also Indianapolis, Indiana, we have two locations here. That’s really where the bricks and mortar are for our company. Why was Indiana successful? I would say that the team that we put together, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I know how to find good people to do things a lot better than I. I early on in my career knew that I could sell, I could write- I’m a writer, and I could speak occasionally. Those were my only skill set. If I had to do applications, it was not going to be good. If I had to do a lot of customer service, it was not good, so I along with Jenny build-up this great customer service team. Backing up about 12 years ago, I had a young man join my company when he was 15 years old.
Anson: That young man today is 27, he is the manager of my company. He graduated from Ball State University with an elementary education degree. He has been the one that has allowed Jenny and I to really spread our wings. As the operations manager, he does all the contract review for the carriers. That was how we got Indiana successful and so that takes us up about, I got to say January of 2016.
Michael: You’re about to jump into Colorado, am I right? I’m going to pause you if you are?
Anson: That’s fine. After you.
Michael: [laughs] At this point, now, let’s say we’ve gone to 2016, and you got involved then, 20 years prior to that. At that point, the agency really had transformed, because as I recall, it was a small, mostly personalized agency, when you took it over?
Anson: Yes, correct. It was probably 80% personal, 10% commercial and maybe 10% benefit. We were a pretty small shop.
Michael: Yes, all right. Now, fairly significant transformation. My notes say, correct me if I’m wrong, 70% commercial? Is that right?
Michael: Then what? Is 15% personal and 15% benefits?
Anson: Benefits, correct.
Michael: Okay. In terms of how you got from A to B, where what used to be 80% personal is now shrunk down into– The pie is a lot bigger, but the personal lines is now only 15%. What I’m curious about is how did you do that, that you think is different than what other people do or maybe just better than what other people do?
Anson: Great question. After I was in the agency for just a short time, Westfield Insurance had a young agents perpetuation program, it was an eight-week program. Up to that point, I had been really just playing in personal line, and it was there I learned commercial insurance at Westfield. I came back from Westfield, and this would’ve been, again, before I started buying the company but I just started calling on business owners. One of the things I don’t have is called reluctance. I don’t mind prospecting, to this day, I still make prospecting calls.
I think it’s part of what separates our agency from most others. I think most agency owners wait for the phone to ring, we’re very aggressive. We go out after accounts, we’re not sitting on our hands, we’re actually making those dials.
Michael: Anson, how do you choose who to dial?
Anson: A good question. I think it comes down to, who is our best target verticals? Right now, we know that we’ve got a pretty hot product from technology. I think it starts with the carriers, we look at the carriers and what their appetite is. Also, if we’ve written, let’s say, an excavation contractor, I might go after it. It’s really an organic thing if you will. First, we look at the carriers, what can they do and then let’s say I get referred to again, a restaurant. Well, a restaurant owner is going to know other restaurant owners. Really, it was just really picking up that phone and then referral based. We’ve since expanded that model, which I’ll talk about that later.
Michael: Okay, all right.
Anson: A lot of it is just picking up the phone and the personal lines just continue to grow. Today we don’t really market personal insurance, we grow personal insurance through our commercial clients by doing the business owners and obviously, any other referrals.
Michael: What year did you take over?
Michael: 96, when you started to purchase it from your dad. How big was the team when you took over?
Anson: How big was the revenue at that time?
Michael: Your team, your-
Anson: The team? There was about four of us at the time, it was myself, the other fellow at sales and a couple of customer service agents.
Michael: The team now is?
Anson: I think we’re right at 20 people right now.
Michael: At least in terms of personnel, it’s 500% growth. Is a lot of that growth- are they producers with CSR supporting them?
Anson: Yes, we have, I believe as of today, we have seven producers and then 13 support staff. Our support staff could be anywhere from operations, financial, claims, customer service, quality control, marketing, and processing. We try to find the best people in the country. One of the unique things about our agency is a lot of our staff work from home, from various places. We’ve got employees in Norfolk, Kentucky, Lacy, Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana, Indianapolis.
We have found that by using technology and letting people work from home, they are a lot more effective. It is not for everybody, but we’re one of those unique businesses that have people calculated, we pick the people based upon their skill set, and then carve out a very specific thing for them to do within the agency.
Michael: Let’s pause on that. Let’s talk about that for a moment. Clearly, there is a trend in the workforce in general for remote workers. I had a lot of experience with it myself when I was the CEO of Agency Revolution. We had people from Maine to Vietnam, but it wasn’t always like that. I do recall it was a good 5, 6 years ago when a very young, talented guy that was working for me that I had invested a year of training, development, and coaching, approached me and he said, “Hey, my wife is pregnant, she really wants to move back to Washington State.” I was like, “No, how can that happen?”
It was after some discussions with Maggie and with the management team, we said, “Well, let’s see how remote works” and boom, that was the beginning of a total transformation of the company. Such that, as people left Bend, Oregon, which is a small town, they stayed with the company. We ended up with people literally all over the United States and, of course, Vietnam. What I’m curious about for you is, first of all, was there a little whipping and gnashing of teeth about whether or not to do it? How did you decide that it was a risk worth taking? Then my third part of it is going to be, how do you manage it so it works well?
Anson: I tell you I’ll start with, how did we get into it about 10 years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun. I’m going to say 10 years ago, I had a CSA, customer service agent that was leaving and at the same time my underwriter from the non-guarantee, who lived about two hours away, they had done a reduction, of course, and I had loved working with it. I didn’t really think it wasn’t going to be possible to drive two hours a day.
Our first estab was probably 10 or plus years ago and I saw the foundation of how it could work. If you think back, the internet speed back then compared to today, there’s no comparison. We put on the training wheels about 10 years ago, but as time evolved and we began hiring different people with these different skill sets, we might hire somebody who lived been in Bloomington, Indiana. Well, that’s about an hour and a half to our Indianapolis office.
By that time, knowing our system and the capabilities, we had graduated to applied systems report, we’re using terminal service. I haven’t had an office myself for a number of years, I only work remotely. I knew it was possible to get our people working remotely. Bloomington I would say, it is the newest one or it is the latest in relation. That was the one that got us back into doing the work from home.
Our newest employee, we had three candidates, two from a small town and one from La Fontaine, Indiana. La Fontaine, Indiana is an hour and a half from Indianapolis office, from our Indianapolis office. We actually interviewed her via Zoom, we did not do an in-person interview. Her skill set was so outstanding that we hired her. Now, she was driving for a limited time to do training down at Indi, but ultimately she will be working from home full-time.
That was the first question. The second question you asked was?
Michael: Yes. I was just spitballing questions out there, and I have no doubt lost track of them. My first question is, how did you get into it and was it an emotional or psychological challenge that you had to overcome? Now, I’m curious about the ongoing management of it. How do you set it up so that it works well? I know that one of my anxieties was that it was initial and it was not overly intelligent which was how do I know that so-and-so is going to really be getting their work done because when I walk through the office, and I was fundamentally remote myself. I’ve been pretty remote for a good 20 years. I was like, “Okay, I can see Josh has his head down.” What does that mean? “He’s got his head down in the cubicle so he must be working.” For us and for me, the real breakthrough was realizing that having remote workers will require me to be a better manager. In other words, I need to communicate clearly what the expectations are. Then set up some system of accountability and cadence of communication so that I can monitor their progress. I’ve got metrics that make it a lot easier. How do you manage the ongoing day to day operations of somebody that’s two hours or more away?
Anson: I look at Dakota. My operations manager, first and foremost, it’s his responsibility to make sure that the work is getting down. Going back to the Bloomington Indiana employee. Well, somebody, a friend of mine insurance agency said, “How do you know if she’s doing the work?” I said, “Because she’s doing marketing and if the market is not getting done, I’ll know it.” I think that if you utilize applied systems reports and know what clients’ accounts are. We compare ourselves to the top 25% of all agencies. As we continue to grow, we’re constantly making sure that the number of clients in the books of business are able to be serviced by the staff. That’s why we hired the most recent employee as we noticed we’re getting on the cusp of that. How do we manage it? I think you asked was I concerned about it? No. I was never concerned about it because I like you had been working remotely forever. I think if you hire people with work ethic, which is basically what we find in the Midwest, they’re going to do the job and if they don’t do the job I don’t mind firing them. It’s a disservice to keep somebody in your company that’s not– But we have not had to do that yet. We have not had to fire an employee working from home at this point.
Michael: When you say top 25%, are you using Reagan Best Practices as your benchmark?
Anson: Yes. We ordered something online. I think it’s an independent insurance agency offering rates to the top. We have this spreadsheet, and we constantly are looking at that as a dashboard.
Michael: Got it. Okay. I’ll encourage our listeners to listen to the podcast that I had with Reagan, with Tom Reagan. I think he did an outstanding job. Congratulations on that. I have another question about remote. You have how many physical offices now?
Anson: We have two in Indiana and two in Denver, Colorado.
Michael: Real physical offices, bricks, and mortar, where clients can come and employees work? Is that right?
Anson: That is correct. Most of the labor is in Indiana, in the Midwest. There’s a couple of reasons we did that. First of all, that’s where we started. The cost of labor in Indiana versus Colorado was a little bit different. We knew it would be a competitive advantage if we could continue to build up a service team in Indiana, almost like a service center, and then grow through sales in Denver. We have four employees in Denver and it’s all sales. There’s no service that really occurs in Denver. All the service goes back to the Indianapolis location.
Michael: They have a physical office, those four, right?
Anson: Yes. We have one in Stapleton and one downtown.
Michael: I’m going to ask you a question for which the answer might be more opinion or insight than a digital yes or no. What I’m curious about is, how important do you think physical offices are for the independent insurance agency of today because you’ve got a lot of remotes. To some extent, do you think we need physical offices sometimes for employees, for some employees or every now and then for the entire team to get together or do you think it’s important for customers or people should go back and listen to the interview that I did with the CEO and founder of the Insurance Lounge, in that case, the physical office is so transformative that it’s a fundamental part of the advertising and marketing strategy. Where do you come down on that?
Anson: I don’t think in the future that we are going to need bricks and mortar offices. Knowing how we’re growing and how the industry is changing, I can see the day where we would not physical offices.
Michael: Got it. Okay.
Anson: That I’m going to say at a minimum, 10 years out. I could see the day where they’re just not as important. When my father had the agency, people would stop by and he unveils. Now, everything is about charming. I’ve said to our operations manager it won’t be too long before these offices- we lose the need for those over time.
Michael: Okay. I’m going to put the earlier part of our conversation. I’m going to take it off pause. All right? We’ve got this guy Anson Ross Thomas In Indiana and things are going really well. 500% growth and you’ve opened up another branch and you’re thinking, “Hey, maybe we should find another branch, another physical location. Why don’t we go to Colorado?” From Indiana to Colorado. I suppose somebody might ask where’s the strategic underpinning on that decision. Tell us what your thinking was when you made that decision?
Anson: Well, I had gone out to Denver with my kids on vacation and had really never been out and spent any time in the mountains. After a week with my kids, I came back and told my partner, “Let’s go out do a CRM update”. Both Jenny and I are both Certified Risk Managers. We have a wonderful FWA thanks to both.
Anson: Yes. I took her out there. We did three days in Denver and I took her to Boulder, Colorado, which is one of our favorite places in the world. I rented a carriage house and let her drink the Coole. After that, I was trying to figure out a way to get back to Denver because I loved it. I had no idea we were going to open an agency there and I contracted with basically, the big eye of Colorado. I did a five-hour sales program for them. They hired me to come out. Because coming from Indiana I had now become an expert in Colorado that’s what I figured out. I had some success with the big eye out there. Worked on a couple other opportunities that quite frankly, I was working with some educational colleges about doing some sales work with them and I couldn’t come to terms. I went to Jenny, my partner, and I said, “Let me go out, one week a month and see what I can find out there.”
Her response was, “Okay, you have one year. You have to find an agency to buy.” The reason we made that decision was basically, the growth that we saw in the Denver market, it’s unlike anything we’d ever seen before. Indianapolis is a very, very good solid market. Muncie, Indiana, Parker City, all these areas we do business, but once we get to Denver, something is going on. I went out there in January of 16.
I knew basically, two people; one of them was the person that hired me to do the sales training and the other one was a referral from her, an accountant that I had basically, leased office space from for a year. I got the office and I called Bob, my new friend, and I said, “Okay, I’m in town. What do you recommend?” He said there’s going to be a meeting tomorrow. I want you to show up. So I go to this meeting, seven o’clock in the morning. There’s about 25 people there, and that day I got five business cards. From those five business cards within four months I found the agency to buy.
We closed on the agency March of 17 and now have a pretty good operation going on in Colorado to the point where Jenny and I get on a plane every week. We have a downtown condo, in downtown Denver. We have a home in downtown Indianapolis. We spend our time going back and forth every week. Our clients really don’t mind because when they call us, we answer the phone. They never know really where we are but– And then we have this amazing stuff behind us. That’s why we did Denver. If you’ve not been to Denver, ladies and gentlemen, I highly recommend you make a trip because it is like living in the future out there.
Michael: Let me see if I’m hearing you right. You went to Denver at least ostensibly because you saw that it might be a growth market, but there might have been a really strong personal motivation, is that you dug the mountains.
Anson: It was the mountains, the hiking, it was-
Michael: [jokingly] Come on Anson let’s tell the truth to each other. [laughs]
Anson: Let me say this Michael, what happened was I watched my father retire in Florida. My mom and he retired at 55 and they went down, they shared down there. When the opportunity of Denver came up I thought that’s where I want to spend the rest of my life, but I don’t want to wait till I’m 50 or 60 or 70. What was I? 45, 46 years old, pulled the trigger to go up there and really start my, I don’t want to say retirement because I never have plans of retiring, but I knew that’s where I wanted to spend a lot of time not working like Madina. It was a life, I hate to say lifestyle decision because I’m living in both cities, but that’s what was the driver.
Michael: The Colorado office is doing well?
Anson: Yes, sir.
Michael: Okay. I suppose you might give me the same answer, why do you think Colorado is doing so well, especially with you having so little experience there? You had zero network, you knew two people.
Anson: I would say there’s a couple of things that happened. First of all, I’m equally as networked in Denver, Colorado, if not more so, than back in the Indianapolis Muncie area. As of today. How did I do it?
Michael: Yes, how did that happen?
Anson: I began going to very specific organizations once called Colorado Trusted Advisors, that’s a group of about now 75 to 100 people between New Mexico and Colorado. Actually, I run one of the groups now.
Michael: What is that?
Anson: Colorado Trusted Advisors is a group of trusted advisors that really stand together once a month and get really deep with each other. I’ve got an employee benefits guy in there, I’ve got a financial advisor in there, people would hear that and say well it sounds like DNI. It’s DNI but it’s DNI on steroids, it is very high in professionals that I partner with. After that, I was invited to another group kind of similar but different. Bankers, attorneys, and I had defined meetings that occurred the third week of the month because that was the only week I was going to be in town.
All of my networking was occurring the second– Sorry. The third Tuesday of every month, I’m a part of a peer group. That was another step that I took, but as soon as I got out there I found I’d done some pin great work in Indian Mastermind, that’s what you might call it, besiege type work. When I went out there, I knew that was the first thing I needed to do was to find a group like that because if people could see our company and how we worked, eventually it would be an amazing referral source, and I need to figure out this market. So I got involved with a group called The Alternative Board or TAB, and that meets four hours, the third Tuesday of every month from seven to eleven. I have a coach that I got with that, that was very instrumental in connecting me throughout the city of Denver. Without Bob Dodge, I would not be where I am. He is my coach, he’s my mentor, he’s my friend, he’s done so much for our company. He is one of the reasons we found the agency to buy.
Michael: He’s a business coach? An executive coach?
Anson: He’s an executive coach, he owns a franchise out in Denver. I have CTA, TA Board and the third one was Star. Star is the third Friday of every month and in both CTA and Star, the leadership groups came to me after about a year and asked me to lead both of those groups. Not because I’m good at that, but I think they wanted some humor, they wanted some energy and they plucked me out. Here I am in year two leading two of the networking groups that I’m a part of and having a time of my life.
I think by getting into a leadership position so quickly, it did show our firm a little bit different, it opened some opportunity. Since that time I’ve gotten a Rotary really and an advocate for Rotary, I think Rotarians are a special group of people and that’s been key as well. Then since we’ve started going back and forth every week now I’ve got some standing meetings. The first week of the month as well, but from a networking standpoint, that’s one of the things I teach. How do you travel 187 miles and quickly get into a community? It is one of my teachings. I have a pretty good plan for that.
Michael: I’m going to ask you to describe how you perceive your job. You’re the agency principal but that’s not a job. Are you a producer?
Anson: I am a producer and on purpose, I am contracting my book. My main role in the agency today is sales management but I still have a book of business, but as I said I’m trying to contract out a little bit because I really want to really focus on the sales management aspect of the agency. Any new business that I bring in I code to another producer, trying to get themselves sustaining, I’ve gotten one producer yet to go and I think I can get her in this year self-sustaining. All new business that comes in the agency, although I might find it, I do bring in a junior associate if you will, and they work with me, account with me. They’re really the lead agent on that, but I’m just helping them. My role today is to help our young professionals grow personally and professionally, that is my main job today.
Michael: In the early years of your success, is it a safe assumption that your success was because of your production capability, your personal production capability?
Anson: Yes, for many years I was the number one producer in the company and head very good and then realized that I could do so much. That if I trained other people how to do what I did, it might be a little bit better gig and that’s what happened.
Michael: When did you begin to make that transition?
Anson: I’m going to say about three years ago, I started that management. Just so you know we have monthly sales meetings, no longer do I even include myself in the production report. We have a set number we go after every month. We are as of right now through May, we were 93% to go and I’d used a goal that’s pretty strong. I’m pretty happy with results and that’s not again, not including any of my production, that’s the team’s production.
Michael: I know that you’ve done some fun things with marketing over the years, share with us some of the things that you think you do that help your agency stand out from the crowd.
Anson: Something we just did last week and this will, probably, be shocking to some. We ordered a thousand agency condoms. They’re the conquering grade, #protect. Those are drop-off pieces, and we have guitar pics on one side, have a logo on the other side as we pick our clients. Probably the most creative thing we’ve ever done was, a few years ago, I had my parents both in their 70s pose naked for a marketing campaign called Naked Insurance.
I put them on billboards, you can get on our website, you still see a reminisce of my parents naked. They were obviously, not naked, they were covered by a model, and we made a pretty big splash with that back in the day. I’ve always been an advocate of having– I think to walk into a business and drop off a business card, it’s just– That’s what people do to me. I give business cards, they throw them away, but if you drop off something and say hey, who’s in charge of this and who is Mark, can get Mark this pic, can get Mark this whatever this is? Can you get Mark a bag of rocks?
Michael: Bag of rocks?
Anson: Bag of rocks.
Michael: My notes from a previous conversation said you dropped off a bag of rocks, so there’s usually some tagline connection to it. The guitar pick is, we pick great clients or something like that. The naked, presumably is, are you going naked or something along those lines? The rocks?
Anson: Yes, the rocks. I buy commercial real estate, and as a young man I had just bought my first piece of real estate, which was a used storage building. I had took an old warehouse converted it, and at the time I had an extra pile of rocks that they had for gravel, when I got the wise idea to take little ziplock baggies, fill them up with rocks, and then I had stickers made that basically said, “We rock.” I put this and little bit of information about it, about our company, as I can.
I wanted to be branded, but I don’t want them to really know who we are and what we do because when my producer drops the bag of rocks off and they call and say, “Mark, I wasn’t the one that dropped off the bag of rocks.” They are more than willing to have a conversation about, what in the hell do you do? You are in just a four year difference, we give away such things as [unintelligible 00:40:50], we try to be out there a little bit different on marketing as they saw on our vehicle. Our corporate vehicle is a 1970 VW bus wrapped in tie-dye, that’s used for corporate events in the community. We do a lot of that type of stuff as well.
Michael: All right. That’s a good segue to the next part of our conversation. You’ve had a couple of successful agencies, Indiana and Colorado, and you’ve transitioned yourself from being a personal commercialized producer. Now, fundamentally, you’re a sales trainer for your team. You’ve got a vision now to share that broader in the industry, right?
Anson: Yes, I do. It’s true. I range in that.
Michael: Kind of little feedback.
Anson: Little feedback, yes. [crosstalk]
Michael: My electronics are getting excited about this one so let me hear.
Anson: Okay. Here we go, here we go.
Michael: Here we go
Anson: I envisioned that in the insurance industry, although there are great training programs out there, and there are people doing some great training, I don’t think as an industry we’ve done a good job of getting young people excited about the insurance industry. What I am going to do is, I just bought a home in Morrison, Colorado, which is up in the mountains and I’m going to use that mountain home, connect it with a BnB to start a training company for young and or tired insurance people. I’m going to work and tutor, I’m going to teach insurance.
I’m going to teach, obviously, Sandler Training. I’m going to take a lot of the Sandler Basics that I learned in terms of how to make a cold call, how to track your prospectings, how does an effective meeting work, how do you get into a community and start from scratch and build up a network very quickly. I’ve got a curriculum that I’m working on, it’s not complete, I plan on launching it about June of next year. My initial plan is to do a three-day boot camps for young or tired insurance agents, just getting them really excited about the opportunities, thinking and working a little bit different in our industry.
I think the way we do it is a good model, I have all the templates. I’ve created so much content over the years, I’ve got nine books in Amazon, I’ve got a lot of content out there. It’s just now a matter of collecting that and putting it to a form that can be digestible and agency owners from around the country can send them to me. The question I always get is, “Why would they do that knowing you could hire them?” Obviously, if an agency owner sends a student or an agent to me I would not hire them.
I would have an agreement that that’s not my intent. My intent is to train and really change the industry. I want people to hear the word insurance and go, “It’s what Ken does and Ken does really well.” I’m trying to change that whole perception.
Michael: Got it, okay. You had mentioned that you have nine books on Amazon?
Michael: Okay. Are they about insurance? You had mentioned that to me the last time we talked, but I never pursued what the content was.
Anson: The content is basically, it’s really big on personal and professional development, thinking differently. I’m the guy that gets up every morning roughly at five o’clock in the morning, I write daily, I’ve got nearly over a thousand blogs, you can find my stuff on LinkedIn. At the end of each year I take the best 75 to 80 blogs. They could be on everything from the importance of being on time, to thinking about something a little bit differently, challenging the idea that you have to have an office, challenging the idea that you have to have email come to your phone.
I’d like to challenge the ideas that most people are using in living. I like to always say, “I do not work, I live.” I’m trying to help other people stop saying, “I go to work and we just simply live.” That’s the focus of my books.
Michael: Has your writing- has it been an integral part of business, has it been beneficial to business, or is it more of a personal expression?
Anson: It’s both. It’s therapy for me, but I can’t tell you the number of, whether it be agency owners or clients that do read my stuff on a regular basis, continually share that and then they also– I know for a fact, that as I’m prospecting and I meet new people I will ask them, “Hey, I do this daily blog, do you want to– You can see and remove it at any time.” I’ve got quite a few people that daily get my stuff. It’s nothing more than just a reminder of that’s that crazy insurance guy from Colorado.
Michael: The crazy guy from Indiana or Colorado or wherever he’s from. These books are they kindle books?
Anson: Some of them are in Kindle, I think the last one, I didn’t go through that final step. If you go to Amazon, you can see them all. The first one was called Marketing with Naked 70 year Olds, that was about the marketing program we did and then a lot other stories. The Lost Art of Talking is one of my books, The Search for Personal Fulfillment. I can’t say the last title, it’s Enjoy the F’ing Journey but you have to go check that out.
Michael: [laughs] All right. If somebody jumped on Amazon and looked up Anson Ross Thompson, they are going to find your books?
Michael: Okay. Well, Anson, it’s been pleasure and fascinating talking to you about both your success and the way you’ve approached and created your own adventure and your own journey. If listeners, perhaps if they have any questions, but I suppose also if they want to find out about your sales training, how can people reach you?
Anson: The best way I would say right now, is thethompsongorup.net our website, thethompsongroup.net. I’m on social media, Twitter, I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook. If you search for me you will find me. If you want a good overview of what we are doing and how we are doing it, I think our website is a good place to start. You can obviously email me from that site, if you have YouTube [inaudible 00:47:25].
Michael: Is it thethompsongroup.net?
Anson: Correct, thethompsongroup.net.
Michael: Is it Thompson with a P or without a P?
Anson: With a P.
Michael: With a P, okay, very good. Anson, it’s been a pleasure sharing some time with you and I appreciate you sharing your perspective with the industry. Thanks so much.
Anson: Thanks for having me on, I really appreciate it.