Advisorist Podcast – Episode 15: Advisor Recruiting Secrets and how to Sell $91,768,483 in Voluntary Benefit Premiums


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Growing Your Practice: Adam Maggio’s Secrets To Starting From Zero, Recruiting Advisors, And Absolutely Crushing It

In this episode, Adam shoots from the hip about:

  • His philosophy of “data not drama” saved him time and unnecessary stress…and showed him precisely what needed improvement in his business.
  • What Adam focused his time on for the best learning (Hint: it wasn’t attending training!)
  • The Power of…firing your clients?
  • How to flip the script when meeting with vendors…and coming away with more business
  • Adam’s 4 Keys to constant improvement
  • Why social media is so vital today (and a KILLER LinkedIn tip for booking quick appointments!)
  • Why prospective companies won’t be able to refuse “The Mafia Offer”

Aside from Adam’s massive success, he’s committed to giving back, both to fellow advisors as well as the local community itself.

He saw his agency go literally underwater during Hurricane Sandy. But his drive brought him right back to the top.

Adam Maggio, CEO of Enrollmynt, began selling supplemental insurance for AFLAC at age 21. Within 3 years, he had placed 8th in production among over 68,000 reps.

After becoming a District Manager, he was named Rookie Manager Of The Year.

He’s personally enrolled over $5 million in personal benefits premiums.


Note:  This Advisorist Podcast transcript was created in part by computers – Please forgive any grammatical or spelling errors…or sentences that just downright don’t seem to make sense!  Please compare to corresponding audio if clarity is needed.

career remained in that position. One of his biggest claims to fame is personally enrolling over $5 million in voluntary benefit premiums. With over 15 years under his belt, Adam is now passionate about his new platform Enrollmynt. But in today’s interview, you’re going to hear some surprising origin stories and what makes Adams so unique in such an incredible leader in this space. Matt, take it away.

Matt: Thanks so much for being here today.

Adam: Pleasure.

Matt: I’m thankful to have you. What are you grateful for today?

Adam: I’m most grateful to be able to give back to the community of financial advisors and brokers out there. I started off with very little and was able to make a very successful career. So having the opportunity to be brought on by people like you and being able to distribute that message.

Matt: Good to have you. What’s been some of the struggles that you’ve overcome in your life and your career?

Adam: Well, I think a lot of people when they start getting into this type of field you kind of go into it and there’s a lot of blocks. A lot of those blocks are family members and friends and you start to work in that straight commission environment. Money’s not really there so a lot of times it’s just really having that fortitude to believe that something will happen if you just keep pressing on and a lot of times while your friends that are out there maybe getting their first job and making 60 to 70 grand a year and able to party on the weekends and things like that, while you’re sitting back and eating dollar cans of tuna and chopped beef and doing that and just having that just knowing that no matter what happens if you really just keep pressing on, something will happen. In this type of career, it’s a very slow moving thing in the beginning. A lot of it is really getting to that second to third year where you’re not cold prospecting and things like that. So just had that end goal in mind and I knew one day that that would kind of change and sure enough, everyone was getting those minor raises from 70 to 75,000. I was doubling and tripling my income and just keeping it on when things aren’t so bright.

Matt: How were you doing it different and better than your peers?

Adam: I wouldn’t say I was doing it different and better. I just knew I had two options. One was go get a job or two was work for myself. There was just no way I was ever going to get a job and work for somebody and it wasn’t so much money related. I wasn’t the type of person that was willing to clock in and clock out. I had just left the job being a welder. No matter how hard I worked, I really just got paid the same amount and the only way I could make more is really extend those hours then you run at hours eventually. It was just really a matter of study of the obvious. Most people would say I was too dumb to fail but I quickly realized business owners make money, employees don’t. They trade time for money and what better career to get into with a $300 to $400 startup cost and get some company to kind of let you use their marketing and go out there and swing for the fences.

Matt: So you mentioned dollar cans of tuna and beef, that sounds like you’re speaking from personal experience.

Adam: Oh, yeah. Well, you gotta kind of old school style. They didn’t have the zip bags, you’d open that can with the, I don’t know what that is.

Matt: Can opener.

Adam: Can opener. We roll around that thing and be dry and you’d be sucking water down getting it down. Not a lot of flavor, you’d add a couple things to it to try to make it seem like something else. You never forget those days. Sometimes now even that Rib eye at the Morton’s Steakhouse, there’s just not as much as eating that dry can of tuna and remembering that flavor. Go to the supermarket with 20 bucks in your pocket and eat as much as you can.

Matt: So on your way from canned tuna to Rib eye, what was the one piece of business advice you received that served you best?

Adam: Pretty much two things. But one thing was I focused just on making appointments with business owners. I didn’t attend trainings. Anything I could do to get in front of a business owner because I knew that the best way to get trained as adults that we learned on the job. So everyone was attending classes and knew what the color of the brochure was and knew how it worked but they didn’t have someone to sit in front of. So the best advice I got was be in front of a business owner, basically, the entire day or the money hours, and then data not drama. That was really the difference for me. I have a really good mentor, Mark Evans, and he runs many successful businesses. He said, “Look, at the end of the day, everyone gets caught up in the drama, the politics and everything.” Any business can be run on a spreadsheet, Excel, you can look at it and see what’s going on. When I learned that it’s really just about the data and then all this drama out there is with the people who are trying to creating, I focused on pure data. I looked at my business like a math problem. I didn’t care who was doing what and what was going where, I looked at the math problem and I figured out how to fix it. By looking at the data, what you can measure you can manage, right? By looking at that data, I was able to see direct correlations between all the important KPIs in our business and I do it to this day. I managed one of my larger agencies literally with just spreadsheets. I don’t focus on the people, I focus on the spreadsheet and it just tells the truth.

Matt: So what kind of data were you measuring when you first started?

Adam: Your data changes as you grow your business. In the beginning, really, we were marketing directly to business owners. So in the beginning, the first data I was measuring was contacts, right? And then I was measuring contacts to set appointments and then set appointments ran two Yes or No and then set appointments ran to yeses or noes, did we actually close the case and do we actually write the business? You quickly saw that this formula is not sexy or anything like that. It just really worked. One thing I think a lot of people do wrong in the beginning is they even just focus on those appointments. A lot of times, it’s not about the appointments, it’s focusing on how many hours are you actually doing. The data will change. Today, the data is much different than it was years ago, but I think those same sheets that we’ve used to grow the agency, what’s nice is you can take those sheets and give them to anybody. The problem is not everybody believes in it, right?

Matt: What is the biggest difference in data sets from back in the day to today?

Adam: Today, I’m focused way more on revenue than I am on getting any single client I can get my hands on because in the beginning, you want to take whoever you can take on just because you need business and you want to get on the leaderboard. Today, I actually reversed it. I try to isolate who I don’t want to do business with. Every year I fire about the bottom 30% of my clients and by doing that it really elevates the clients that I do want to work with. By doing that, the people that are coming on board, it’s a lot easier to work with them because I’ve put so many roadblocks in front of them about who I’m willing to work with instead of just kind of puke it on the office table in front of an owner. A lot of people will just do anything to get the sale but the reality of it is if there’s an issue with them paying other vendors, there’s probably going to be an issue of paying you. One of the big things that we do now that I think would help tremendously is instead of them asking us for references, we asked them for references. We actually asked them, “Can you name three vendors that you do business with that we could call on?” Because we want to make sure that they’re going to be doing what they said they’re going to do. It’s a little bit of a spin, you’ll close less business, but the quality of the business you’re going to close is going to go up.

Matt: I imagine that’s exciting advice to hear for young advisors that are out there. We’re looking forward to the day where they can fire clients.

Adam: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, if I could do one thing in the beginning different, I would have fired clients. It’s just you don’t have that mindset and you gotta pay the cable bill, you’ll do something you don’t care if they don’t pay the bill or whatever it is. Now, it’s completely different.

Matt: So if your life was a book, what would the title be?

Adam: ‘Well That Didn’t Work’. Yeah. Everyone, especially in this day and age of social media, it’s such a crazy thing. No one broadcast failures and they just seem to think that, “Oh, this person here just seems to hit a home run every time they swing.” Let me tell you, there are a million and one things that I have failed at. Some I’m not proud of, some of costs a lot of money. Every single time I’ve made those mistakes, within three to six months, I would literally would come out and say, “Oh, that’s why that happened.”

Matt: Is there one example that you can think of off the bat of a humongous mistake that taught you one of the biggest lessons?

Adam: Yeah, I had my whole agency wiped out in Hurricane Sandy. I don’t know if you remember back then I was at Central Jersey. Roller coaster was in the water.

Matt: Lower half Manhattan, you’re out of gas for two weeks. That was terrible.

Adam: I lost everything. I mean, literally, I was working for a company, they had flown in, my office was 60 feet covered in water. We were working with small business in the middle of Central Jersey and small businesses didn’t have payroll slots because they didn’t have buildings. So right overnight, literally, I lost basically 75% of my company. I wasn’t able to maintain the numbers and things like that. It taught me a very quick lesson and that was really shifting from a single carrier model to really more of a true multi-carrier model where I wasn’t relying so much on one source of revenue or things like that. It’s funny because what could take 13 years to build can get wiped out on one shot, but within nine months of putting everything back together, I was double where I was at. It’s very easy to rebuild once you’ve done it and I think that gives people confidence. Most people don’t get to that point though.

Matt: The title of your book is ‘Well That Didn’t Work’. What theme song would you use to go with that?

Adam: Juicy. Back in the day in the early 90’s and real big right now on a new artist Sasha Brenda. She’s got a song, Brooklyn Out. It’s about just getting into a new environment and kind of having that happen and what happens to you. For obvious reasons, if you haven’t listened to it yet, I would recommend that. A lot of it for me growing up in a small town, I was doing this all in a very small town, rural area, but really getting into places like Hoboken and Manhattan and things like that. I mean, my eyes blew up. It was just like, okay, now I’m a small fish in a big pond. Let’s roll. So getting in those new environments. I wish I had done that earlier but it’s all good lesson.

Matt: I see you grew up in Forked River, New Jersey.

Adam: Yeah.

Matt: Do you have a favorite local restaurant and if so, what do you order every time?

Adam: Oh, man, it would be boating. So we get off the boat, we get a Corona, we get some clams, maybe some oysters and some cocktail sauce. Up here, I’ve been eating a lot of phos and Vietnamese food now. Definitely the Corona’s in the summer with the clams and the oysters.

Matt: At Advisorist were pretty big on giving and we’re wondering, what’s the last gift you gave someone or gave yourself?

Adam: Believe it or not, in the beginning, it was all about the watches and Escalades and things like that and they’re fun, but I think they kind of actually depressed me. When you have a goal or something like that, you get it you’re like, “Oh, okay, great.” I’ve been focusing a lot on giving back. This year, I was had an opportunity to donate bikes to kids I didn’t know in Ohio. We donated I believe is about 35 to 50 Huffies just so they could get to school. I do a lot with kids with cancer and I’m looking to kind of help some of the younger generation just really start to learn from people that are actually doing stuff rather than some of this stuff. I was the guy that bought like the Zig Ziglar tapes and things like that but I don’t think a lot of people know that and are stuck listening to maybe not the best advice from friends and maybe even family. So I’m focusing a lot more on that. It’s one of the only things that really makes me feel good and it’s just impossible to give the world.

Matt: Speaking of Zig Ziglar, we have some exclusive content here at Advisorist. What’s your favorite Zig Ziglar quote?

Adam: One that I didn’t understand in the beginning and I might screw it up a little bit, but it says something along the lines of, “If you help everyone else get what you want or get what they want, inadvertently you’re going to get what you want.” I didn’t realize that in the beginning because it was all about me, me, me, me, me but once I started building a team, we skyrocketed. Everyone kind of getting what they wanted by a byproduct of that I got much more than I ever thought I was going to get.

Matt: I’ll go a little bit more into that. What was the event you’re speaking about?

Adam: So I was a producer for a company called Aflac, a Fortune 500 company as you can imagine. It was back right when the duck was coming out and those 21 to 23 when I started, I put in 16 to 18 hours a day. I never was scared about being the hardest worker in the room and then I remember sitting at one of the meetings they were at, and I didn’t understand what management was. I thought it was like some college degree I have to have and all this, but someone stood in front of that room and they said something along the lines of, “If you want to build an organization that’ll work when you leave for a month, you need to start recruiting sales people.” I tend to go overboard when I hear a new concept but I gotta tell you, it went from me. So within nine months, we were doing about $1.6 million in sales with about 30 people and then I got to the next year and we grew to about 125 people. I was interviewing roughly about 100 to 150 people a week.

Matt: Wow.

Adam: I did that for seven years straight and ultimately, we grew the second largest organization in the company’s history.

Matt: You seem to keep in touch with your family?

Adam: Yeah, of course.

Matt: Who are you closest to?

Adam: Whoo, that’s a tough one. Mom and dad wouldn’t be too proud. I’m actually very close to my mom and dad. They were both there for me in different ways when things weren’t going so hot. They never ever once kind of gave me the old, “Straight commission, what are you doing with yourself?” They supported me 100%. They just saw how hard I was willing to work so I’m definitely in touch with them. They’ve had their divorce, but they’re two completely separate people who I deeply admire and respect and they didn’t have a lot. Not a lot at all. My mom was working two jobs at one point and things like that so a lot of that was that in her why, how am I going to change this.

Matt: What’s the moment in your life where you felt they were most proud of?

Adam: That’s funny because I’ll tell you to this day, it’s today. I think they felt he was proud of me was when I actually started this and get on a stage. I never went away on vacation. I was young, never been to Florida. We’ve been camping in little places like that. But I won the first company trip to Key West and like, wow, I don’t even know what it feels like or what it’s like there but getting ready for that trip and actually being in Key West. Quite honestly, seeing a bunch of people that are a heck of a lot less talented than you making five tons of money than you, it was like the one thing that just like, “I have this.” Yeah, I’d probably say that’s the first trip because that’s your first one.

Matt: So while we were talking your phone has been blowing up there. What’s the one app on your phone that you can’t live without?

Adam: Uber.

Matt: Yeah?

Adam: 100%.

Matt: Better than Lyft?

Adam: I don’t get too caught up in Lyft. I only use it if I have to definitely more than I drive. 100% simple easy, get in, get out. I believe it’s going to be the future of just any type of travel.

Matt: What if it flies?

Adam: I have an app called JetSmarter.

Matt: I know that app. It will provide you a jet. So you are doing pretty well.

Adam: Doing well.

Matt: That’s great.

Adam: I love it. It’s on demand, pretty much 24/7, you hit a button in your phone and you can go fly private. Certain instances, a lot of times money as we know and being around a major city, you can get to Florida in an hour and 20 to 30 minutes tops. I like to call it an investment although it’s a little bit one of those things where you just want to use it a little bit more than you should. I do still fly first class, obviously, but I love using that app and I use it quite a bit. Every time I’m on the plane, the private one, I’ve always made it because other people on that plane are obviously very successful.

Matt: Pinpointing a target. I can’t think of a better environment. Everyone’s lightheaded, the drinks are flowing, and the deals are probably being made.

Adam: I’ve yet to spend money in areas where I haven’t made it back even though it could seem like a spend that you shouldn’t do.

Matt: I think that’s excellent advice you’re talking about. You have to spend money to make money. That’s something I didn’t even think of with the private jet app. First of all, it’s not so expensive most especially if you’re a business owner. Secondly, the people you’ll meet.

Adam: 100%, yeah.

Matt: How about that? So one of the core values we always talk about is constant and never ending improvement (Can I). What are some of the tactics in that space that are working for you right?

Adam: Boils down to four things for me: Family, Faith, Finances and Fitness. When you’re younger, you focus on the money. I think as you get a little bit older, you realize money is one thing but if you’re not improving consistently in all these areas, something’s going to give. For me for a while was health. I was doing really well, getting seriously overweight, and things like that. That was miserable. So right now, a lot of the things I focus on are really the health side of things, the business side of things and what I mean by that, I have a service that literally makes meals, packaged meals, chips in my house. I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat. I’m eat, go, boom. Healthy food, don’t have to go to the restaurant. For me, that is a number one priority. Business wise, believe it or not, I attend conferences outside of my industry. By doing that, it’s helped grow my personal business a lot more than it would be if I was attending conferences inside my industry.

Matt: For example, what’s one these?

Adam: The marketing conference was huge. Go out and you learn a little bit about direct response marketing and then you see a void in your current industry and that. There’s people marketing within your industry, but really understanding the subject from people that are doing it is a big, big thing for me. So I’ve done that. I’ve joined a lot of high end masterminds, getting around people that are doing you know, $10 million to $100 million in sales.

Matt: It’s crazy that you’re in masterminds.

Adam: Sat next to someone that’s doing $100 million in sales and owns the plane and doesn’t rent it through the JetSmart. You just learned that these are just normal everyday people, they just pushed hard long enough and they got into something that they were able to really just use their talents and grow.

Matt: Any other secret sauce methods that you have that are working in today’s economy?

Adam: I’m big on social for a lot of reasons. LinkedIn for this crowd is huge. I don’t think people understand the impact of it. If you understand a lot about marketing, you understand that everybody’s going to look your name up. The way that Google works, there’s only a certain amount of spots on the first page and a lot of those spots are not owned but a lot of those spots are going to be your Facebook Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter accounts because of how much value they have. One of the big things for me is I took a lot of time to deeply understand Social Media. Gary Vaynerchuk, I’m sure you know who he is, he was Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. You see everybody just pitching, right? I do the complete opposite, give value, give value, give value. When I give value, people naturally come to me and the larger you grow your audience when you put that value out there that works around the clock. If you do have a member’s area, what I would suggest is we could talk about the technique on LinkedIn, it’s just very basic, but it works very, very well. When you’re on LinkedIn, they give you the ability to see who just viewed your profile. If you are putting something out there, a content that’s going to draw somebody in is your ideal client and you know they just viewed your profile, I literally shoot them a message and say, “Hey, I saw your view my profile. You have eight minutes to get on the phone and see if we’re a fit.” And, 80% of those people are still online like yeah, “Yeah, of course.” It’s not like they perceived whether or not you’re the expert or the subject matter expert and they see that video. Especially now, there’s no difference really between sitting and talking to someone or them watching video. I’ll go out places and people are like, “Hey, I watched your video,” and they feel like they know you already.

Matt: In show business, we learned in soap operas is the fans were pretty obsessive. Reason is, you’re literally in their living room in terms of what their brain can comprehend. You’re in their living room every day. You feel like family to them which is why celebrities feel so familiar to us.

Adam: Absolutely.

Matt: You think that they’re friends from the show that live down your hall. That same thing is happening with the YouTube-ization effect. Why kids are watching YouTube instead of produced shows because it feels like they’re hanging out. So you’re saying that the videos you’ve made have come back around people say, “I know you’ve been in my living room.”

Adam: 100%.

Matt: Another core value here at Advisorist is what we call Drop the Honey. It’s how we make every interaction, every business deal, and every negotiation sweeter. What are some of the ways you drop honey?

Adam: I call it the Mafia Offer. It’s something where you’re literally removing all their risk. I mean, there’s a million and one ways you can position it but for instance in my business, we provide a service that’s a no cost to the employer. I don’t go in there saying there’s no cost to the employer. I go in there and I give them how much it would cost to have this done and then I’ll pull them off the Mafia Offer and say, “Look, if you can get this going in the next three weeks with us and allow us to do all the work, we’ll drop it down to zero dollars (with visual presentation) but that’s only if you make a decision today.” If they still hesitate I say, “Look, I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you $1,000 if we don’t perform.” So what you’re doing is you’re just making that irresistible offer and every industry is a little bit different. You got to get creative with it but you have to eliminate every single objection that’s in their head that is already there. I call it the pillow talk. What’s keeping this person up at night? If you can get in their head where they’re already at and tell them their problems, you don’t have to sell because they know. If it’s an HR manager, it’s one thing. If it’s a CFO, it’s another thing. It’s a big, big thing.

Matt: Any hacks? I know you’re talking about physical fitness before, is there anything that is a universal business hack or a physical hack that is something that pollinates a whole lot?

Adam: I say, create your schedule and honor your schedule. That’s really the number one thing. Most people will schedule an appointment with a doctor and keep that appointment but if they schedule an appointment for prospecting, they tend to, “Oh, I got something else to do.” They’ll keep an appointment with some perfect stranger, but they won’t keep it with themselves and I think that goes into all facets. Every day when I look at what I’m going to do, it’s already in there and those appointments myself are more important than the appointments with the doctor or with the dentist because I have to keep them. That’s what really keeps it on track. Whether you’re scheduling your meals, whether you’re scheduling your money making activities, time you can dedicate to your family is important, schedule that all in and honor that schedule and grade yourself at the end of the week because we’re not all perfect. But every single time I’ve mentored somebody and they’ve been having issues, the first thing I tell them to do is open up their schedule. There’s two to three things that happen. One is nothing in it or two, there’s stuff in it but it’s the wrong stuff or three, they didn’t grade themselves. If you’re not honest with yourself, who the hell are you going to be honest with? It’s a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people but there’s really no secrets. I mean, it’s fundamentals. It’s always going to win.

Matt: My favorite question to ask is, tragedy strikes, heaven forbid, but you lose everything. All you have left is your laptop, $500, your insurance license, and 30 days. How do you reboot your business? How do you reboot your life?

Adam: Probably seven to seven I’d be knocking on doors of business owners for about seven at night to two in the morning. I’d be using Social Media and planning the Social Media and I’ll do that for 30 days straight. In 30 days you will have more appointments than you can possibly have. That’s all you need, a Starbucks and literally live out your car if you need to do.

Matt: It’s soapbox time, anything you want to get out there to the world? Let them know.

Adam: If there is one thing I can say, I hate to say since it’s so cliché, but if I can do it, you can do it. I’m literally, no I’m not special. It’s not like I reinvented the wheel. It’s not like I came from this Ivy League School. I had probably every disadvantage that you could have. Certainly there’s people in a hell of a lot worse spot and there’s a lot of people that are in a lot worse spot than people right now that are complaining. It’s just be grateful for the opportunity to really get up, walk on your own two feet, and be able to create a business out of thin air. There’s a lot of places out there and countries, people don’t have the ability to do this stuff. So if you have the ability and you don’t do it, shame on you.

Matt: Thanks so much for your time.

Adam: Absolutely. I appreciate everything.

Matt: Nice to meet you. We’ll see you back next season.

Adam: You got it. Have a good one.

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Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah is the founder and CEO of Advisorist® and is a 23-time award winning financial marketer, a TED speaker and philanthropist. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNN, and Worth. His work has generated over $2 million insurance leads and helped advisors in over 51 countries generate over $300 million in sales commissions. He is the author of the best selling book, SHIFT.

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