Welcome back to another episode of The Insurance Podcast, this time the hosts get a chance to interview the amazing Eric Yaverbaum, an established author and CEO of Ericho Communications.
The conversation revolves around the changing landscape and adaptability of workplace practices with quite the emphasis on fluidity around remote and hybrid working modes.
Eric dives deep as he shares his expertise on building workplace flexibility and teaches his top tricks to attract top talent!
Learn about the transformations workplaces and agencies went through with the shifts and declines in traditional workplace practices.
📻 Tune in to learn how you can bring flexibility in your agency and set your team up for ultimate success with the Insurance Dudes!
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!
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Bio of Eric Yaverbaum
Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of Ericho Communications, boasts over 42 years of experience in the communications and public relations sector. Co-founding Jericho Communications and serving as its President until its 2006 sale, Yaverbaum has cultivated an impressive clientele including Sony, IKEA, Progressive Insurance, and H&M. His influence extends to securing media placements for clients in renowned outlets such as the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Forbes. Yaverbaum is also a bestselling author, notably of "Public Relations for Dummies," and a sought-after TV pundit whose expert commentary has been featured in major publications and news channels.
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Craig Pretzinger & Jason Feltman
The Insurance Dudes
I think it would be a mistake if people weren't getting together, at least periodically, I think it's so important to, you know, you want to have cohesiveness as a as a team, you want to know the people that you're working with, you got to seek people. I'm gonna kind of what the industry is. I think that that's important. So there has to be some sort of regular or semi regular activities where people are getting together.Craig Pretzinger:
Insurance dudes are on a mission to escape be handcuffed by our agencies. How?Jason Feltman:
by uncovering the secrets to creating a predictable, consistent, and profitable agency Sales Machine.Craig Pretzinger:
I am Craig Pretzinger.Jason Feltman:
I am Jason Feldman.Craig Pretzinger:
We are agents.Jason Feltman:
We are insurances. I mean, when you're looking for candidates to come into your office, it's nice to not just look in a 10 mile radius to look, you know, countryEric Yaverbaum:
wide. Oh, yeah. Oh, I mean, you know, people move all over the place. I mean, we were mostly New York City and La centric, you know, some very expensive Santa Monica actually very expensive places to live, you can live anywhere you want, anywhere you want. Didn't know you couldn't you couldn't move to Boise and, or have a farm in Iowa. And still do this. And you don't have to pay the kind of rents, you know, that you pay in the markets that we're in and you still got paid, you know, New York City, you know, salaries. That's awesome. IJason Feltman:
love it. So what are some tips for insurance agents going into this, you know, forward and into this new world? What are we,Eric Yaverbaum:
I think it would be a mistake, if people weren't getting together, at least periodically, I think it's so important to, you know, you want to have cohesiveness as, as a team, you want to know the people that you're working with, you got to seek people, I don't care what the industry is, I think that that's important. So there has to be some sort of regular or semi regular activities where people are getting together. And you know, it doesn't matter what your age is, you better you better up your technology game. Because technology can you know, facilitate efficiency, profitability, you know, greater careers more time with your family time and raise your kids, all the things that we didn't have before, you know, less less time in your car commuting, all that stuff. But I do think, you know, in your industry, that people having FaceTime, like real time to gather is still important. 100%Craig Pretzinger:
Yeah. And in the smart, like, so we're a lot of insurance agency owners are these, you know, five to 10 employees, you know, smaller shop summers, just one person, you know, Soul soul shop. Yeah. So, if they have a location, it's challenging to have people not not in in the office. Oh, yeah. And so what's what is somebody in that situation do? And how do they attract the the top candidates? Are they in trouble now?Eric Yaverbaum:
Um, you know, it's all a matter of perspective. I think so. Look, here's the thing about any industry, people don't work for me, because they love me. I mean, a lot of people do, they like me a lot. You know, I'm now in my industry, you will get mentor. I mean, I write books on a lot of books, on the on the very topics of what we do for a living, I can teach. And I love doing that. And I do think it's incumbent in in a responsibility for me to do that. But it doesn't have to be that there are other ways to do it. It doesn't just have to be now, you know, all that said, you know, we had, I had fancy fancy shmancy offices, I got famous people coming in. It was a whole scene in my office of famous people, powerful people, big corporations, you know, that we had, you know, fruit in the water cooler. Now, it was a whole environment. That's not here. We don't have that anymore. And we are together less. But it is not impossible to do in any industry at all. But I do think there has to be some touch points. You know it in the insurance industry. I do think people will have to come in some days. Not every day.Jason Feltman:
Yeah. Yeah, it is interesting. Like, you could never recreate what you had in that office, right with, like, virtually, but going forward. It's like I think all of us as individuals need to look at like, what ways can we recreate not the same type of thing but like different different experiences, maybe it's more with family, but like we have to be, you know, conscious of creating an environment or multiple environments of experiences otherwise Oh,Eric Yaverbaum:
absolutely. I mean, and you know, so much of it depends on like life stages for everybody. When I was younger, you know, I had kids, I realized kind of, after I had my daughter's like, Oh, damn, I work a lot. How's that going to? Self out? What's the point of being a dad if you can't be a dad. And so you know, this is 30 some odd years ago, we opened up a nursery in the office and unintended consequence of having a nurse I didn't nursery in the office, me and my ex business partner from my first company, we both had kids at the same time, we both didn't want to just leave and see our kids on the weekends. But what we didn't realize an opening a nursery, which isn't easy, but we did it was that there was so many moms out there who would be attracted to a place where they can bring their kid to work, because then it's so awesome. And not, you know, we put their career on the sideline. So I mean, it different time. brick and mortar example, and divided by life stage. So, you know, it does depend a lot on you know, in my career, I've gone from the kid in the room, who doesn't know anything to the old guy in the room, who thinks she knows everything. And everything in between. So I've been, you know, my kids are, you know, they're older now. Life's different. I have a whole different set of priorities. But you know, that's just me. And I also have different generations inside my office. How do you make it attractive to all what, you know, what adjustments can you make? So well, nobody would have said, Hey, Eric. Yeah, you're not going to see your kid that much. We didn't think about it. We just said, Hey, nursery in the office, you know, then New York City came to inspect our nursery was like, Damn, we got a lot to learn.Jason Feltman:
Yeah, that would be crazy. I know. And Calif Well, California, New York, lot of regulation. So yeah, yeah. So what are some of those things that you're seeing these days that the carrot the the attraction that you're offering, your employees? Are you seeing a lot of other people offer that might be different than years ago?Eric Yaverbaum:
Well, you know, when I was younger, in the brick and mortar world, there was something in my ACOs, called Eric school, it was basically one on one mentoring with me would always happen before 9am. So made it less appealing to probably half the people, but the whole, not losing the notion of mentoring, making sure that you have those touch points with as many people as you possibly can, not relying on the group zoom, you know, and thinking that that's, you know, a real life experience and having more activities outside of the office when and if you can, giving the not only giving the best technology that you can possibly get your hands on, but training on that technology so that everybody can use it. And you know, you do, I don't know how it's gonna work, but I'm seriously interested in, you know, artificial intelligence and how that's going to change the workplace. It won't matter what the technology is. I mean, you know, when the computers were new, 40 years ago, email was a new phenomenon is the whole notion, you know, 40 years later that now I don't need paper anymore. It's all you know, it's all on the computer. That's how No, but you need to give people all the tools that you can possibly give them and, you know, like with my employees, I did this with as many people as I possibly could. It was just another touch point, one employee buys a new house, you know, a city person buys a new house and it snows it's like, now what we, you know, we send them a snowblower one employee wants to exercise at home, we send them a riding bike, we tried to give and furnish employees, environments, so that it would be you know, not only attract to them, but so that they could, you know, kind of feel the love of the company.Craig Pretzinger:
You found out something that they were interested in and then go out of your way to support that. That's pretty cool.Eric Yaverbaum:
Oh, it's just it's it's not it wasn't, you know, I'm not trying to buy anybody's affections but it's a kind of a thoughtful,Craig Pretzinger:
you know, like doing something thoughtful for somebody they appreciate. They appreciate it, even. EverythingEric Yaverbaum:
like this is in general about life, certainly as an employer is you make deposits in people's emotional bank accounts, anything, anything that you can do for them as a deposit. Not every day you're going to make deposit some days it's going to be withdrawals. Make as many redeposits as you possibly can, you know, the whole notion of loyalty, loyalty. And longevity, to me is the difference between good and great companies, if you people for a long time. And they're loyal to you. And you know, there's the thing about loyalty to is that people, you know, they gotta be compensated a little bit better than anybody else would compensate them as best you possibly can.Jason Feltman:
Awesome. I would love to ask you a few questions about leadership. Before you go. Sure. Because you've written a lot of books on on leadership, and how would you? How would you, coach, maybe an insurance agent in leadership? And what are some of the things that you would focus on first,Eric Yaverbaum:
um, you know, it's this thing about leadership. And, you know, my biggest book was on leadership. I was a longtime chairman of the Young Presidents Organization in New York City. And one of the things that I found fascinating about leadership. And this was after September 11, there was like 10 of us, we were a Dick Ross out, he was the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, we were his guests in this royal conference room, and, you know, the top of this stock exchange, and it was a dinner. And we went around the table. And each one of us and everybody in that room set for me, you kind of famous, you would know their last name, you got the soap, and you know, their last name is the soap and your shower sort of thing. And we went around the room and everybody said, What did you do? This was on September 11. What do you do I use Dick Ross, who has some crazy story. I mean, he he had the world financial markets on his back if he doesn't get it up and running, and he's telling the story about going in the basement of the stock exchange opening the door and the all the electric cords are dangling in the, you know, the flood that's almost to the ceiling. They got to rehook up the whole stock exchange. Otherwise, the financial markets collapse, the story was fast. So as we went around the room right now, um, but as we went around the room, I realized like everybody had such a different story. Everybody's the way that they and it was that day that I decided to write the first leadership book that I wrote, because I wanted to find out. How do how do successful people do it? What are the common denominators? What's the magic formula? And the magic formula is there isn't one. I asked the same questions to everybody. There's 100 people that I interviewed for that book, I asked the same questions. And I got 100 different answers to every question that I asked. And I and every single person was interesting, every single person was successful, and you would know all of them in that particular book. But they all did it differently. And this is what I say about leadership is that everybody says the buck stops on the leaders desk. The buck starts on the leaders desk. We're the ones who start. If I don't love what I do, by the way, I love what I do. I mean, it's not just you know, that water, you know, a hash. If I don't love what I do, nobody who works from love it at all. It's everything about the way that people feel about the work that we do. It starts with me. And that's the case no matter how small you are, how big you are, positivity, optimism is very contagious. When I was younger, I was known for I did a lot of crisis work. That's what I was known for. And I mean, funnily enough, the fortune 500 It's a really big crisis is hopefully you never heard of any of them, because we handled it accordingly. But, you know, my whole thing about crisis and you know, I train people in this is you walk into a fire with me to this very day, walk right in the middle of it with me, we will all walk out unscathed. 100% of the time, people gotta believe me to even walk into that fire. And, you know, I'm 40 years plus, never got burned once. If your attitude is contagious, you wake up in the morning, you want to do you know what you're doing for a living? It's not you know, I'm not being a cheerleader. I just, I think working for a living with sock. I can't believe that I get paid for what I do. It's I can't believe it. It's like, I love this. And everybody should everybody should love what they do if they don't think something else to do. 100%Jason Feltman:
Yeah, I love that. It's so true. And it's funny. All the conversations, the exit conversations I've had with employees have all been geared in the last two years have all been geared around them now. Being happy and like, why wouldn't they, you know, you're not following what we're we're doing and what we're, we love what we do. And if you don't love what you do, you got to find that man. And usually that conversation leads to them exiting. I haven't had to fire anyone. Because of that.Eric Yaverbaum:
No, I mean, the thing is, it's not like I'm not, you know, I mean, I started a company when I was 22 years old, I had to love. Truth be told, I want to wear sneakers to work, and all I need to do is make sure I had rent and the button and cover the barbell. Everybody had, I mean, realistically, you know, we got bills. So we got to make money somehow, but there is a way to make a living. That isn't work. Right? You know, if you find your passion, and if you find your passion, you're never going to work a day in your life, it's so much better.Jason Feltman:
Love it. Any final words for any insurance dudes out?Craig Pretzinger:
I still have a couple things. Oh, if you don't mind, I guess I jumped the gun, you did just just let me curious just about this. Because there's an adversarial relationship, at least, maybe perceptually, there's an there's an adversarial relationship between the employer and and the, in the employee II, right, because the employee the employee comes in is trying to is trying to get the most amount of money and do the least amount of work to get that, whereas the employer is final final thing is to get the most amount of productivity for the least amount of cost, right? I mean, that's their fiduciary responsibility to the company. So how do you bring those two different opposing views together?Eric Yaverbaum:
You know, I, I've said this, you know, long before anybody was doing anything virtual long before. I mean, I've been saying the same thing for free. I don't care how many hours you put in, in the least, it's all about productivity for me, you get your job done. I don't care, I don't care when you are, I don't care what your hours are, you get your job done. You'll never hear I'm not I'm not a micromanager. I was when I was younger, I'm everything. I'm a type A, you know, my organizational skills, get me you know, time management, all of that. I didn't understand why everybody wasn't like me. And I would go into their offices and think you get anything done in this, the office is a mess. So we did a study this about 25 years ago, of CEOs of the Fortune 1000. And we correlated their organizational skill set to the, to their stock prices. And I knew what I would find is the more organized, you know, the more successful I found the opposite. So, you know, I, you know, I learned to adjust, there's something to be said for, you know, a creative work environment and always have to look like yes, yeah, it was called the messy desk survey. I mean, my desk never has any never had a piece of paper on it ever. But, you know, I was exactly wrong, which is, you know, eye opening, but it's all about productivity and the understanding, I want people who work, I don't even say for me who work with me, you know, I look at us all as peers doesn't matter what our age is. I know, I know, the kids who work for me want to learn things from me, I'm like, I'm definitely gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna make sure that I do that. But the understanding from day one is all you have to do is produce as long as you produce you, you will never hear from me. And look, this wasn't, you know, easier said than done. And, you know, first 20 years, were a challenge. And, you know, I would say about life, you know, the first 50 years were the hardest. I've been pretty good ever since.Craig Pretzinger:
So, okay. Thank you. That's good. And then as a follow up it for for agents like this is this is challenges is agents are smaller, sometimes the cash flows, it's a different situation than a large company, right? So but they still have to make similar decisions. And they they have to be careful with screwing up because it can be detrimental, right by hiring the wrong person could be detrimental to the whole thing. So So I guess, is a better strategy. And especially because a lot of them are sales. It's tough to give somebody a large salary, or the you know, the thinking is, it's tough to give somebody a large salary as a base for sales, because then where's the incentive to write the business? So where do you draw that line? DoEric Yaverbaum:
you? Oh, I think that but you know, I mean, kids who hustle. Yeah, the difference between the intern not new. It doesn't matter what age you are, those who hustle versus those who don't? Like, it's not fair that somebody else has to do your job for you. And if you're if your compensation is directly tied to how much you So you decide, and I'm so amazed that what people can get done in a day, when it's directly tied to their compensation. Thank you. I mean, you know, you want to pay your mortgage and you want to have a nice car or I don't know, whatever your toys of choice our diapers for, for the baby, whatever it is, those who hustle will always make more, and those who don't want. Yeah, for sure. So come to New York City, we'll teach you how to hustle.Craig Pretzinger:
We hustle.Eric Yaverbaum:
Last thing, but I mean, I'm looking at you guys, look at what you're doing, like you have this podcast. Yeah, that's a unique extra that you're doing in your industry. Well appealing, does that make you to potential, you know, employees and even to the people that they sell to? I think this this vehicle, which is a new one? I mean, I didn't used to do podcasts, right? They pack a punch, I can't they do, the influence that podcast will have. And meanwhile, like this interview is an example. This will live on the internet forever, right? I'm not saying I'm the most interesting guest in the world. Interesting guests. So the content that you're putting out there, which also attracts to you?Craig Pretzinger:
Right? Yeah, it's been great. I mean, we started it just because we wanted to use it as a way to learn, right, and then share that knowledge with other agents. And all of a sudden, people started listening besides our mom's. But I mean, you know, it was it was years of doing it. And then it led to businesses and you know, all kinds of stuff. So it's a coolEric Yaverbaum:
thing, too, is is that, you know, in this world, like, you know, I'm a guy who I've been in the news my whole life. I was on national television for a decade. I mean, regularly, I was a political pundit after I left the White House. The what I attracted because of my exposure, it wasn't insignificant. It was, you know, but by, by the way, writing books definitely helped with that exposure. But, you know, there was one of the companies, I'm involved in a lot of entrepreneurial ventures that I had started, I don't know, a decade ago, was Good morning, America's in this was an E commerce company, that I was an investor and a partner and we were good morning, America's Product of the Year, whatever the year was, and I remember thinking like, oh, man, my mom's gonna be impressed by this. The same day that we come. This is on, you know, ABC Good Morning, America, eco Product of the Year. This kid's name was Josh beer. I'll never forget, because I was too busy to do an interview with Josh beer. I mean, I was echo Product of the Year. I didn't need to talk to Josh. They canceled I do an interview with Josh beer. It he blew the article that he wrote, blew out our entire inventory in 24 hours. Good Morning, America. So negligible. Wow. And the notion to see, you know, this is this was a blogger. Before before people really knew what blogging was right. Morning America. I say the same thing about podcasts. And the other thing about podcasts is that I mean, I do a lot of these. And I'm, I'm constantly surprised by feedback that I get from places that I would never think I would hear anything about other than my mom, but he's kind of getting bored of watching me anyway. Yeah.Craig Pretzinger:
Yeah, I don't think love it anymore. Awesome.Jason Feltman:
Eric, you went the distance, your upcoming book. When is that? Is that going to be out this year?Eric Yaverbaum:
I hope so. We're having a few problems in editing.Craig Pretzinger:
Yeah, that's fun. That'sEric Yaverbaum:
the silver linings. It's all about hope. Love it. Super cool. Cool. Cool.Jason Feltman:
What will we be looking out for it? Eric, thanks for coming on.Craig Pretzinger:
Thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you.