Recently I spent time with David Duford, an independent insurance agent who has built an amazing following through his focus on education. The primary outlet he has focused on is YouTube and has more than 600 videos with excellent engagement.
This interview was especially interesting for me because David and I have such a similar back ground. As entrepreneurs we tend to feel isolated, but it’s amazing how all that can change when you focus on providing value to others…ultimately building a very unique community.
Those reading David’s answer will likely find themselves shaking their head and thinking, “I didn’t realize everyone else goes through the same struggles”.
Let’s dive in a learn more from the interview.
What is your elevator speech on your professional career: who are you, what have you done and how does that translate into value for your customers?
“Since 2011, I’ve helped more than 3,000 seniors with their life insurance coverage, shopping the best insurance carriers to find the highest quality, most competitively-priced life insurance options available in order to cover their final expenses and burial expense concerns.”
Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What’s your personality, hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeve? Tell us about YOU.
“Despite selling life insurance, I am a natural introvert. I hate giving group presentations and at one point was scared to use the phone to order a pizza. I love training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as much as humanly possible, and am a proud father of four children, and happily married to the love of my life since 2008.”
What is something about you that most people don’t know that would surprise them?
“I operate as a successful YouTube Creator, where I have over 5,200 subscribers who seek out my thoughts and advice on selling insurance successfully.”
What are two examples of how you consistently work outside of your comfort zone and how has that impacted your personal and professional growth?
“Despite fearing group presentations, I decided to implement a seminar marketing strategy in my insurance business, where I give educational seminars to groups of five to 30. This allowed me to overcome my innate fear of giving group presentations and see that it wasn’t that much of a big deal.”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Describe two that most impacted your success?
“After a six-year hiatus, meeting my father as a teenager was an enormous inflection point towards personal growth. I witnessed his pride in his national chemical business, teaching me that I could see success like his in my own life.”
Discuss one of the lowest points in your life personally or professionally and how it helped you get where you are today?
“After a year selling life insurance, I hit rock-bottom professionally. After a prolonged cold spell in writing new business – primarily by my own doing – I was forced to quit the business and get a job working for someone else. Over the next year I got back into insurance sales and never looked back. This negative experience taught me the importance of following a system, and that despite my frustrations with selling life insurance as an entrepreneur, it wasn’t nearly as bad as working for someone else in a job I hated.”
All entrepreneurs have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges.
“When I saw I had $97 in my checking account, and a wife left completely disappointed by my bad decisions as a new insurance agent, I really felt bad about myself and lost confidence in my ability to succeed in the insurance business. Luckily, my experience working for someone else after leaving the insurance business reminded me of the sheer advantages of working for myself – the independence, choosing whom and how I want to work – and helped me realign my focus back into insurance sales.”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place
“When I quit the business, I was burned out on my market of prospects, and frustrated with the sales process. I spent a lot of time with folks I didn’t care for, who would seemingly do dumb things, counter to my ability to succeed. However, I realized that no business model in insurance sales is perfect, and that a mature insurance salesperson with mind over matter accepts both the good and the bad. This acceptance allowed me to reinvigorate myself, and stay consistent in the business once I jumped back in.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
“Trust, but the cut the cards.”
What are your “3 Lessons I Learned from My Most Memorable Failure”?
“1) All successful people in life have failed
way more than they’ve succeeded. So, if you’re failing, know you’re among
humanity’s greatest, and keep fighting until you win.
“2) Every adversity has the seed of opportunity. Napoleon Hill taught how important the right frame of mind is to have when looking at difficulties.
“3) Have faith. All entrepreneurs take a leap of faith and will have their beliefs tested.”
What unfiltered advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs or business owners looking to catch their big opportunity?
“Take a longer perspective of your business. Don’t just think day-to-day; think year-to-year. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your business.”W
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“Weekly task and schedule-building for the following week, down to the half-hour of each working day. This gives focus and confidence in following through with my goals, both short- and long-term.”
What are you currently working on now?
“I am building my insurance training business where agents work to learn from me on how to sell final expense life insurance. You can learn more at DavidDuford.com.
“I am also constructing a web-based presence where I help senior citizens with their final expense life insurance. You can go to BuyLifeInsuranceForBurial.com to learn more.”P