Insurance sales is a highly competitive and rewarding job field. It offers insurance agents the chance to earn a substantial income by selling insurance policies to individuals and businesses. All they need to learn is how to generate quality leads and convert them into sales. Of course, this is no easy task for an amateur.
Nato Guajardo understands this all too well. It takes a certain kind of mindset and mentality to excel in an insurance career. Not everyone possesses these traits, but Nato certainly does. Sitting in his quiet office, with a marketing award perched just over his shoulder, you wouldn’t know there’s a bustling agency with 8 employees just on the other side of his closed door. You can tell for all intents and purposes, Nato has made it. He’s scaled his book of business to an impressive $4 million in premiums in just a few years.
Nato owns and operates an insurance agency called Guajardo Insurance Agency, which he founded with his wife, Angelica. After building this successful insurance agency, several insurance agents from around the country have wanted to learn his secrets of lead aggregation and conversions.
Nato initially taught people for free, but then eventually started charging them because it took up too much of his time. Now he teaches courses to insurance agents on how to grow and scale their agencies through automation and other kinds of systems.
“Insurance agents need to stay updated on the latest lead generation strategies and technology,” said Nato. “A lot of agents are still using spreadsheets instead of CRM, and that is a mistake. My job is to keep them informed on how to succeed in the current state of the insurance industry.”
It took Nato a long time to figure out his true calling in life and then build a success out of it. When he graduated from high school, he joined the United States Navy as a way to pay for college. Nato studied information technology and worked for eight years as an IT expert after leaving the military. He got to spend his time-solving problems for other people, which was what interested him the most about the field.
“The only downside to working in IT was the mediocre pay,” said Nato. “But when I saw the sales guy in my company was getting paid four times as much as I was, that’s when I thought about working in sales instead of IT. So, I switched roles in the company and joined the sales department. But the company went bankrupt before I could excel in it.”
While Nato was looking for work, he had a friend and former co-worker who joined Liberty Mutual as an insurance sales agent. His friend showed him a $22,000 commission check that he had received. This motivated Nato to apply at Liberty Mutual immediately. About a month later, he was hired into the company.
At 36 years old, Nato rebuilt himself into a new insurance career. At the same time, he met his future wife and business partner. Three years later, Nato was let go from Liberty Mutual due to a lack of sales.
Teetering at the age of 40, a regular person would have packed it in and gone back to IT. The perfect job for someone who isn’t a “natural born salesman.” Instead Nato did something that shocked everyone at the agency (including his soon- to-be Fiance). He decided to open his own insurance agency.
“The silence of the phone NOT ringing was deafening.” - recalls Nato, slightly shaking his head while staring at the phone placed on his desk, as though he’s been snapped back to those early days of 2017 all over again.
What turned it all around, in Nato’s words was, “A whole lot of perseverance, and some dumbluck.”
He knew his previous employer’s Nation wide success was built on the back of a steady flow of quality leads coming in the door. What he didn’t realize was the cost of the leads, and how many of them were flat out garbage.
“You’d buy 10 exclusive leads for $30 a pop from one of the big lead brokers,” explains Nato, “then once you called them you’d quickly realize, they weren’t exclusive at all.”
With no money coming in the door, spending $300 on a batch of burnt-out leads wasn’t sustainable.
He started attending conferences and buying courses seeing if he could figure out how to generate leads for himself online. Everyone talked a big game, but after implementing their processes he realized they were all in the business of TEACHING lead gen, not DOING it.
“I figured out that my previous company purchased leads, and the quality of those leads got worse and worse every year,” said Nato. “An agent cannot succeed unless they obtain quality leads on their own. So, I started attending lots of different seminars and started becoming friends with lead generation experts in the insurance industry. They taught me the best ways in which to generate quality leads.”
After spending over 6 figures testing different funnels, Nato perfected how to generate leads not only for his insurance agency but also Home buyer leads for his referral partner who was a Loan Officer.
Before long, his referral partner was closing so many deals from his lead gen funnel, that Nato was suddenly getting several binder requests every single week. Then the light bulb went off. He could use this to land referral partners, plug them into this lead gen system and have them pay for all the leads. So the only time he would speak to the leads is when they were handed to him, ready to close, with a nice bow on top. It was perfect!
Nato began reaching out to as many referral partners as possible. But instead of begging at their door with coffee and donuts, he wanted to set them up with their own lead gen system.
“None of them said no,” recounted Nato, “how could they? I didn’t have coffee and donuts anymore. I had something they truly wanted. I flipped the script.”
His meteoric rise from desperate agent to thriving agency didn’t go unnoticed. Especially by those insurance agents whose referral partners were being stolen from right under their noses.
Agents started asking how he did it. He wasn’t willing to share his strategies at first, and who can blame him? After barely keeping the lights on for an entire year, he was now rolling in it.
However, they eventually wore him down and he reluctantly started showing them what he was doing. A few agents turned into a few more, and to date he has 704 (and counting) insurance agents that trust him to help them build their book of business.
Nato’s grateful for those first few agents ‘kicking down his door’.
“Honestly, showing aspiring agents how to go from struggling to thriving, and giving established agency owners a way to work less through automation - while still scaling - is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of.” - says Nato.
Today, he has over 25 referral partners, and gets nearly 100 binder requests every single month. Easily clearing $150K/month in premiums. All without spending a penny of his own on marketing.
“What a ride. It’s crazy to think this is all a result of coming across an ad on Facebook from a guy posting screenshots of cheap leads” he says, looking fondly out his office window while reflecting on his journey. Then a wry smile comes across his face, “I bet we could show him a thing or two about generating leads online these days.”