The Insurance Dudes

Growth and Mentorship Navigation with Brandan Keegan PART 2

October 30, 2023 The Insurance Dudes: Craig Pretzinger & Jason Feltman Episode 643
The Insurance Dudes
Growth and Mentorship Navigation with Brandan Keegan PART 2
Show Notes Transcript

Another day, another playbook!! This time we have the legendary Brendan Keegan, CEO of Merchant Fleet, with us to discuss the landscape of insurance and leadership!

We start with Brendan discussing the challenges of managing large vehicle fleets, offering a unique perspective on the risks and strategies to mitigate them. We also get into the challenges of managing large vehicle fleets, and Brandan offers a unique perspective on the risks involved and the strategies to mitigate them.

The conversation delves into the impact of remote work on professional development and underscores the competitive advantage of being present in the office, as well as the power of hard work, innovation, and adaptability as key components of a successful career.

📻 Tune in for a Fascinating episode with the Idudes and Brandan Keegan. 

Keep listening to become a Pro Insurance Dude!


The Insurance Dudes are on a mission to find the best insurance agentsaround the country to find out how they are creating some of the top agencies. But they do not stop there, they also bring professionals from other industries for insights that can help agents take their agencies to the next level. 

The Insurance Dudes focus on your agency’s four pillars: Hiring, Training, Marketing and Motivation! We have to keep the sword sharp if we want our agencies to thrive. 

Insurance Dudes are leaders in their home, at their office and in their community. This podcast will keep you on track with like minded high performing agents while keeping entertained!

About Jason and Craig:

Both agents themselves, they both have scaled to around $10 million in premium.  After searching for years for a system to create predictability in their agencies, they developed the Telefunnel after their interviews with so many agents and business leaders.  

Taking several years, tons of trial and error, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on lead spend, they’ve optimized their agencies and teams to write tons of premium, consistently, and nearly on autopilot!

LEARN MORE BY Registering for TUESDAY’s LIVE CALL With The Insurance Dudes!


Bio of Brendan P. Keegan

He is the Chairman, CEO, and President of Merchants Fleet, a fleet management company that provides services to businesses of all sizes. Merchants Fleet helps businesses to manage their vehicle fleets, including acquisition, financing, maintenance, and disposal.

Keegan has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, and he has held leadership positions at companies such as Electronic Data Systems (EDS), HP Enterprise Services, and Worldwide TechServices. In these roles, he has led teams to develop and deliver innovative technology solutions to customers around the world.

Overall, Keegan is a highly successful and respected leader in the technology and fleet management industries. He is known for his innovative approach to business and his ability to lead teams to achieve success.


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Craig Pretzinger & Jason Feltman
The Insurance Dudes

Unknown:

Yeah, one of the things I always say is, you know, building something complex is pretty easy. Building something simple is very hard. You know, simplifying, like if you if you're, if you if you are, you know, responsible for insurance claims at your company, and you got to develop a process for how we're going to do it, building this complex process is pretty easy, right? But saying, Wait, I want to simplify this. So anybody can come in and work in the back end of my business and, and I can, I can use this as a rotating job and bring, you know, young people in and then they can step up, that's actually much harder. If you have to put a lot more thought into it. You have to put more governance into it, you got to put more guardrails, and it's like, wow, this is really hard.

Craig Pretzinger:

Insurance dudes are on a mission to escape being handcuffed by our agency.

Jason Feltman:

Now, by uncovering the secrets to creating a predictable, consistent, and profitable agency sales. I am Craig Pretzinger. I am Jason Feldman. We are agents. We are insurances.

Unknown:

We get the top salesperson in the organization. Right? They fail more than anybody. Yeah, they'll tell you Oh, yeah, you know, I closed 10 deals, I pursued 100. Right, and I closed and then there's somebody else that's like, wow, I only pursued 20. And you wonder why, you know, you know, you know, Michael Jordan talks about you know, I X number of game winners, but here's how many I took. But those are people that got to to greatness. But, you know, like, like, if the three of us said, Hey, let's go skiing for a weekend. And we all say, hey, let's really push ourselves, I want to be a better skier. Well, if I never pushed myself, never fall, never go down a Black Diamond, because I just don't want to fall and I don't, then I'm probably not really getting better. Right? Right. Which is, by the way, if I say I don't want to be better, that's fine. But if I say no, I actually want to become an expert skier I want to become, I want to be able to be as good as my kids. Now, as they're getting older, well, then you're gonna have to sign up for I might, you know, probably gonna fall a couple times, today, I'm gonna try to do to do better, I'm gonna go on some tougher, I'm going to challenge myself a little bit more. But, you know, sometimes we're just protective of ourselves. But, you know, in companies, you know, I look to leader and say, Are you creating a culture that allows failure, and if you are in your talk about it, then you start to pull away fear. And I will tell you, if you're able to do that you will grow faster, because employees have so many unbelievable ideas, like just crazy good ideas, but they won't bring them forward. If the feeling is if it works. That's great. And if it's not, I could I could lose my job, I could get in trouble. That's going to take me off the promotion list, whatever, then, you know, you're going to have a big percent not bring those ideas forward. Yep. A lot of businesses are a fear based organization. Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. That is not healthy. No, it's not. And what it does is it breeds it, then. You know, and then next thing, you know, you'll hear things like, yeah, you know, we tried that a few years ago, I wouldn't even bring it up. Okay, well, yeah. Well, if you tried it a few years ago, well, you know, what, let's take the business I'm in. Well, we tried that a few years ago. Well, if you tried telematics 10 years ago, it probably didn't work. If you tried electric fleets. Five years ago, there weren't as many chargers. So but if you said we're just not going to try this electrification thing, we tried it before, it didn't work, well. 10 years, 10 years, you're gonna be left behind. You know, it's like Blockbuster not thinking streaming was going to catch on insane. Like, how did they not catch that? Like, then?

Jason Feltman:

Eventually, right,

Unknown:

we had little late. Yeah, I saw the, like, I saw this meme. And it was a it was a guy in a very old, like, one of the first cars like a Model T or Model A, or whatever it was, and he's on there. And then there's a guy look like looking up at him pointing and he says, Yeah, but where are you going to go and fill that thing up with gas? You can't do it, like with a horse where you can just stop and let the horse you know, I'm spilling my water. Yep. But, uh, yeah, funny. It's like, you got to just be ahead of it. Yeah, I mean, just, you know, let's think back. I don't know, three years ago, when there was an email, you know, you know, you know, in our we used to have, I know, I know, some of your listeners don't know that. But we had little floppy drives and little three and a half inch drives and we saved our stuff on that. And we walked around, you know, here's an iPhone that has more storage on probably any computer I had till what 2000, right, like more than the whole office building all put together. You know, it's crazy. But if you had this mental model of hey, well, that's not going to work. Because you weren't saying up with with with technology. Technology is a great disrupter in our society, you know, in enabler that allows us to do things and then business is going to pass you by, you know, other companies are going to gonna pass you by. So yeah, so you have people that are raised in this environment where they're where they're indoctrinated into self doubt, there, they go to work in a fear based place. Like, how do you break them? Like you're the leader? Now, it's your role to break that cycle? Yeah, you know, it really starts with just changing your mindset. And, and, you know, again, I go back to that saying, Have the courage to fail faith to succeed, it's, it's, you know, finding, you know, where are you comfortable, everyone has some space in their life, where they are very comfortable. You know, for for somebody could be video gaming, it's like, Hey, I'm a risk taker, when I'm video gaming. For another person, it could be a casino, like, oh, all of a sudden, there is buttoned down person in the office, and they never take a risk, they go to a casino, and they take a risk, you know, another person, it could be a hobby, you know, they're they're been down at the office, they don't take risks, and they're skydiver. So it's like, everyone's got it in. It's how do you bring that person out? How do you bring that person out to more dimensions of your of your life? And, and I think that's where it's it's finding that fearlessness inside all of us, we all have it, we were born with it. It's just channeling it. And sometimes, if you're in an organization that really is fear based, sometimes the answer is, you know, I probably need to go someplace else. Yeah. And that's okay. That's okay to say, if I want to get to where I want to go, if I want to, you know, be in a more open minded, this isn't going to work here. That is perfectly okay. How about the altar, the other side, you're the leader, they come and work at you, you have the right place, but now this person has really been beat down because of the way that it works. How do you help them? Yeah, that's where you know, you know, patiently coaching them out, mentoring them, leading them, you know, giving examples, like tangible examples of progress of other companies where it's worked. What I love now is, so many colleges and universities have these things called like micro credentials, you can go online $500 $800, sometimes it's even less sometimes it's freeware, where you can take, you can take a program on design thinking you can take one on innovative thinking. And, by the way, I've done a number of these. And what I find at the end of them when they're done well is that was pretty simple stuff. That wasn't rocket science, like, and you sit there and go, wait, I just did that for six hours. And the only things I took away were a, b, and c, but what if you step back, don't be disappointed that they only taught you three things, what you should realize is, I only have to do these three things to be more innovative, I only have to do these three things to communicate better, or, you know, whatever you happen to be to be focused on. And, and, you know, I try to take one of those every year, and I try to move it around. And, you know, a couple years ago, I took one on innovation and I'm like, Yeah, you know, it's, it's, it's it, I think we all think of the big innovations, we think of the Tesla's of the world, the Apple iPods of the world. And sure, those are big innovations, and those get the headlines. But I mean, there's literally innovations around every single corner. Like if you opened up your pantry, there's innovations in food, if you opened up your garage, and innovations in your garage door opener and how it works. And, you know, hey, how can I get this on an app now? Wireless technology that are everywhere, you just have to say, Where am I going to? Where am I going to bring my my innovative self my fearless self out to play? And how am I going to make my mark on the world?

Jason Feltman:

Yeah, it's funny, too. Because like, I think when you're young, you get taught about invention a lot. So everybody's trying to come up with like, the new idea, the new thing, where it's like, innovation is really where things happen. Like, like most of like, even the automobile was like a was an innovation in a sense where it you know, it took multiple, you know, the gas steam engine and like put it with wheels. And then like, it wasn't, it was more in even Ford Ford. I mean, the cars were around, he just came out with a way that, hey, we can actually make these mass produced them. So it's like innovation is really where it's at. It's just taking a couple common ideas, sticking them together, and presenting it. Yeah. And I think that like, I love what you said about the simplicity factor too, because I love what Leonardo da Vinci said were like Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And it truly is like, even in my life. And last year, Greg can attest to this too, like like a lot of the stuff that we're doing anyway, in our business and stuff like that. It just got real complex. And when you're you're in a complex state It's really hard to be, to have any kind of creativity, it's kind of hard to, to have any kind of like growth within that, and really peeling it away. Going down to simplicity makes things easy, it makes you be able to explore, like, to your point, if you did the class, you learn three different things, I mean, the three things are gonna have, you're gonna have, you know, 1000s of thoughts about those three things and really be able to grow on them, where if it was 1000, things you'd forget, most of them. And

Unknown:

one of the things I always say is, you know, building something complex is pretty easy. Building something simple is very hard. You know, simplifying, like if you if you're, if you if you are, you know, responsible for insurance claims that your company and you got to develop a process for how we're going to do it, building this complex process is pretty easy, right? But saying, Wait, I want to simplify this. So anybody can come in and work in the back end of my business and, and I can, I can use this as a rotating job and bring, you know, young people in and then they can step up, that's actually much harder. If you have to put a lot more thought into it. You have to put more governance into it, you got to put more guardrails, and it's like, wow, this is really hard. But just having a beat, leaving it complex, is easy. And, and I think that's where, you know, I look at people who have had repeatable success, you know, in different industries, repeatable success over a long period of time. Generally speaking, they've been pretty adrift. They've been willing to change. They've been innovative. But if you if you say to him, What makes you great, they're going to tell you something like, Hey, I do these, you know, Kobe Bryant, you know, I get up early, I go to the gym, I outwork my competition. It's like, you're like, that's the secret? Yeah, he would tell you. Yes, it is. Yes. And your your you think it's, you know, some elaborate plan he's got? And it's not. It's just things done? Well, activity and consistency, right. Yeah, yeah, consistency is another big part. You know, we talked about simplicity, you know, you then you need consistency with it. And you talked about, you know, four that he brought with the assembly line, the assembly line, you know, made the vehicle easier, produce faster, produce less expensive produce, but a consistent product, because people were doing repetitive things, which allowed them to become more as it was simpler, it allowed them to become more consistent and perform at a higher level.

Jason Feltman:

Yep. Gosh, I want to bring this back full circle. So with that concept of simplicity and, and in leadership, and you've had a successful career of not only your, your life, or your your jobs, but also like your life, your kids, you're still married, what has been the part of the 1%? What is allowed all of that to work, especially with the ambitious career that you've had?

Unknown:

Yeah, what I tell you is I, when I was I can tell you, I was 20 years old, I got given an executive coach, and executive coach sat me down and said, Brendan, you know, I got this 360 report on you. And here's what I can tell you, he tells me all these things, and he said, you know, we really need to work on your EQ. And at the time, I was, like, you know, what's EQ said emotional intelligence. And he said, you know, it appears that you've got the IQ to get where you want to go, it appears, you've got the drive, and you're personable, and I'm sitting there 28 thinking, like, hey, this guy's nailing it, I'm the man. And then all of a sudden, all of a sudden, he hits me with, I don't see you having a great career until you can in Concord EQ, because it depends between where you're at, and where you want to go. Is, is, you know, like, I was a very aggressive leader, like, Hey, we're gonna go take the hill, you know, and it was like, take the hill, though, at whatever cost. And, and, you know, I was more focused on my team's goals than maybe the company's goals at the time, you know, just different things that come with a little bit of, of youth and ambition. And, and I can tell you, I think what's helped me over the last, say, 20 years is, is EQ realizing that, you know, hey, what happens today isn't going to define me. Today's failure isn't going to define me today, success isn't going to define me either. You know, and I think we've had people that had a big success in their career. And, you know, they became all that and they read their plus press clippings, and maybe got, you know, a big head and stuff. And, you know, as you're raising kids, you realize your kids, your kids are going to have wins and losses and, and successes and failures, and how do you build them so that they're theirs? Because as a parent, and I started, I coached sports for 10 years, I saw all these parents that really wanted to come take their kids challenges on it's like, what do your kids advocate for themselves? There's nothing stronger than somebody advocating but so for me, I would tell you that you know, I really, I've said this 1000 I wish I had that in secutor coach's name. So I could write him a thank you once a year. But somebody catching me at a young age saying, you know, you've got all the IQ yet all the potential, right as a lot of people do. But you got to work on your EQ if you really want to, like endure for the long term. And as a parent, man, it's way more EQ than IQ. Right? It's just way more EQ, like, we all have the IQ to, you know, tell the kids what's right and wrong. But yeah, we have the EQ to, like, help them navigate situations that like you didn't know, you're gonna have to navigate. And, you know, and when do you let something slide and go, I'm not gonna get on him for everything, you know? And when when do you not? And to me, that's not that's not IQ, that, that, that that's EQ and so I think, you know, it's, if you want to have a long successful career is a good marriage, a good parent, good community person, you know, having that balance, and I think EQ really, really, at least for me, has been something I've worked at, I say work at is that you never stop working on it. Because it's a practice. It is like, you know, like, again, I mentioned earlier, social media has brought in a whole new revelation of, of, you know, how do you handle that? How do you handle like, not being invited, all your friends are at a party, and you're sitting there going? Well, it looks like they're having fun, you know, and you go, Hey, no, bro funeral. Yeah, you know, just how do you how do you handle that? And I think EQ is the is a great differentiator if you have high aspirations.

Jason Feltman:

Yeah, 100% I'd love to piggyback off that, too, with identity. So you talked about, like, having the successes and the non successes and, and, you know, like, how have you dealt with that throughout your career as being you know, your identity, as being a leader as being a CEO, and then your identity is coming home and being the father that's supposed, you know, having that EQ and be able to withhold? Because there's like, two, I feel like, it's two different roles, right? When you're at work, you're on it. And when you're like, at home, you gotta listen. Like the the more you can shut up, and just listen to everybody in the household. Like, the better job you do, you know?

Unknown:

Yeah, I gotta tell you, you know, I think I learned more about I've learned more about my kids, driving them to sports, when they've got their kids in, when they got their friends in the car than anything. Like I love driving. Because like, sometimes I'd be like, they're in the backseat, you know, you're driving down the road, you're like, damn, they have no real idea that I'm actually in this vehicle with them. Yeah, certainly, you're not listening, right? You're talking about their coach, you're talking about their school, they're talking about what they're going to do, what they're not going to do. And, and I just think those are precious moments. Like, if you take it in, if you really don't participate, right, just take it in. Yeah, it's like fly on the wall, you get to see the real stuff, right? Like, seeing them interact with their friends, like little humans with and, you know, especially like teens, when they start saying they're, like, insightful stuff and the way they behave, it's so interesting. Yeah. Because it's different, right? It's, you don't see that when you're just with them. Now. It's pretty, it's pretty interesting. So for those of you with young kids, including Jason, like more of that, it's it is pretty fascinating, like as they as they get older. And this is everyone listening knows this but and they get older quick, you know, they're quick, it's it's just you know, it you know, it's it's, it's cherish like every moment you have with them. And yeah, it's something no matter how big your job no matter how busy you are, you're never too busy for your family. You're just never never too busy for your fans. So just make that decision. My son Kenzo is taking a gap year he's in a van driving around the country doing climate like climbing, you know, doing mountain climbing Yeah, and so we're by ourselves now it's friggin weird to have the two of the animals died like we have one dog and my wife and I and it's just bizarre you know, it's like so quiet so I immediately you know, the same thing so

Jason Feltman:

now she gets to be annoyed with you because you're around all the time.

Unknown:

Well see the thing is she does but then she tells me to go away and then I can do what I want so so it all works out. Well, we didn't even we didn't talk too much on on the floods so before we wrap up, why don't you talk about the flood factor just give us give us that that the details and the juiciness on it? Yeah, so it's one it's a it's really written for anybody. You know, I've gotten lots of stories in there from from high school kid that wanted to play division one lacrosse got recruited to play at Rutgers and tells his story to to Zac Brown at McLaren racing, who talks about how he came in when McLaren was at ninth in and you know, the worst day Ben and McLaren history bringing them up to fourth, and then tons of stories in between of just, you know, common people that overcame their fears or overcame organizational fears and, and got that got their themselves, their their friends their company to a different level and then through their I give very, I believe is very pragmatic practical advice of how to do it. And you know, I have a few stories in there on myself, but I tried to bring stories just that people can relate to, again, from from a young lacrosse player to you know, the CEO of an iconic company. And it's it's a short read, it's it's pretty easy read. And, and it's, it's really meant it's not targeted at one particular age group or audience or level. It's a, you know, it's harder to write that way but really targeted for, you know, an 18 year old or a 50 year old, you know, somebody wants to be better, somebody who's maybe stuck saying like, what do I how do I get past this? And somebody that just really is an emerging leader as well, like, Okay, I'm an emerging leader. I know I gotta learn some things. What do I do? So pretty simple, straightforward, and and hopefully a fun read as well. Awesome. Love. You can find it on Amazon. We'll, we'll throw the link in the show notes. So hopefully, that'll get some people over there grabbing that book. You can get it. There's a hardcover. There's a Kindle version. And you can do it Jason.

Jason Feltman:

Audio. I love it.

Unknown:

Did you read it? Did I read it? Yeah. Did you read the

Jason Feltman:

audio? Oh, no,

Unknown:

I did not know. I didn't know. I know. You read the book. He wrote. I was like, That's okay. I didn't realize he was this unintelligent. Well, perfect. Hey, thank you so much, Brendan Brendan, for coming on the show. It was awesome. Little, little technical stuff at the beginning, but I'm glad that it worked out and it was awesome, man. All right. Hey, you guys are great. Thanks for doing this. I enjoy your audience and I enjoy your show. Thanks so much. Thank you so much. Thank you

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