why culture should be the foundation of automation

Meet Christian Moore. 7th of our (now) 14 pilot agencies! Learn why REAL Insurance isn’t a startup, how long it takes Christian to hire someone (hint: at least a year), and whether you’re truly ready for automation.

Get the latest on indie agents’ fight for data ownership:

Who is Christian Moore?

Starting out by recruiting and training new agents, implementing better technology, acquisition, and utilizing the markets available through the the independent channel, I helped take a personal lines department from $200K in premium to over $3 Million in new, annual production in less than four years.

In Jan 2018, started my own agency. We are the first and only insurance agency in Central Kentucky specifically designed to give back to the community we operate in. With a portion of all revenue going back into the Lexington/Central Kentucky community, we are making our clients into something more; we are inviting them to be partners for a better Lexington.

Our mission: seeking to inspire the business community in Lexington, KY to be REAL. 

Connect with Christian on Linkedin.

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Syd Roe 0:00

It’s kinda like I don’t know where to go from here like after we talk about mortality keto diets, puberty, and skydiving, it’s like where do we where do you get into like a podcast from there? Well, dude, I mean, I just want to know a little bit more about who Chris Gilmore is. And actually, you know, it’s funny before I record my microphone. Before I started recording, I was thinking about how we met and it was so random like we don’t know if you remember this, but we sat next to each other at

Christian Moore 0:35

Vegas.

Syd Roe 0:36

Yeah, Kelly was it Kelly Donahue Perot’s thing? Yeah. Which I don’t even know if I was. We had sponsored it. That’s why we were there. So I wasn’t even like technically supposed to be there.

Christian Moore 0:50

I’m not even a member or like one of her clients. One of her clients said, Hey, man, you want to be my plus round one. So I was like Justin Sloane’s date demo days in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Syd Roe 1:06

Hey, you know, at some point, you gotta let the wife know that you’ve got a conference wife like that’s Justin Sloane for you like it’s mine. So he’s a

Christian Moore 1:17

good looking dude. And he’s tied in with parody. So you know, so that’s, uh,

Christian Moore 1:23

you could go way worse than Justin Sloane.

Syd Roe 1:25

Yeah, well, I’m parody. So he’s a good guy, too. So that’s a fire combo. But yeah, we were like sitting at this table. And we didn’t even do the typical like, oh, whether you know where you’re from, blah, blah, blah. We got like, within five minutes into automation, and you were telling me this was like two years ago. So you’re telling me like, how you were building?

Christian Moore 1:46

Yeah, there’s a conversation really around that kind of culture, right?

Syd Roe 1:50

culture. Yes. Yes. You were talking about at an agent, the agent which and your whole philosophy behind that which I want to get into. I can see you started to like, really bring that to life, which is awesome. Um, but yeah, you were just such a heady agent. Like, I don’t know how else to describe it. You just, you’re, you’re clearly a thinker like you are. You don’t just do you don’t just go through the motions, right? You’re like, wait, why do the motions work this way? And can we maybe think about redoing the motions and maybe we automate the motions and like, you just, it’s awesome? I loved I just I love that we met so randomly, and we got into I just I got to know a little bit of you, you know, so quickly, so I’m gonna get off my soapbox, give me give the audience like as if we were back at back in Vegas back in this. You know, Kelly Donohue Perot dinner. Give them a sense of who Christian Morgan is like, how’d you get into insurance? Why insurance because you’re a scratch agent. So you are I mean, you’ve, you’ve been through the wringer like Yeah, hi.

Christian Moore 3:00

Yeah, I would actually say that I’m not a scratch agent. So this is actually a concept I’ve been thinking of. Yeah. So there’s a difference. So scratch means nothing, right? You start with nothing. There, the scratch agents out, there are my heroes, the people who actually started with nothing who started in their basements or kitchens or, you know, just, you know, took a loan out and, you know, decided to do this thing. I would say that I’m a startup, you know, so we wouldn’t say that Neon is a scratch company, right? They’re a startup company, because it required funding to do that. Right. I would also say there’s maybe a little bit more intentionality behind the startup than a scratch. And so, but I started with, you know, I had I brought in to investors, who gave me access to capital, and who also gave me access to financial management as well as you know, CEO mentorship. So, you know, very different than your typical scratch situation. You know, these guys who are building from scratch, they, you know, they wear every single hat. And you know, it’s all on them. a startup has a little bit more support and a little bit more structure from the very beginning. I didn’t necessarily make that delineation when I first started. But um, anyway, and that’s kind of a soapbox thing. I’m not sure it necessarily matters. I think I really just kind of want to honor the people who aren’t, you know, our agency has done kind of incredible things in terms of production, right? And that’s by design. But you know, I, you know, I talk to these other scratch agents, and they say, Well, how are you doing that? And I was like, Well, I’m not a scratch agent. You’re a scratch agent. You’re my hero. The way we did things was more like a startup mentality. So we’re just we did a we created a business plan. We followed the business plan, we’re doing what we’re supposed to have been doing. But I don’t think it’s fair to compare us to a scratch agent to the scratch agent just because they can’t you know, they didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to use towards investing in Team and in data and in tech, and desks and chairs, pencils. Yeah, pins. So, you know, we were in a different plane. So I really want to honor the scratch agent out there who, who really started from nothing. We’re a start up. So I like to make that difference.

Syd Roe 5:22

Oh, yeah, no, I, I really appreciate you. This is what I mean. I said this at the beginning of the call, you are just such a heady agent like I love it. And let me ask because, you know, neon and be atomic has been a huge learning curve. For me. I feel like I’ve learned more in the last, you know, 90 for however many days we’ve been going here for days than I have in, you know, two years. And a lot of it is, at least in the beginning stages has been you know, getting that first round of investment funding. And we had a lot of decisions to make, like, where do we get the money. And I had not ever really thought about the, you know, the importance of where you get your money. Because of the long term effects, right? If you get it from somebody who doesn’t truly believe in the mission of the business, they’re just looking for a short term kick back. It’s all about the money. And that puts a ton of pressure on the team to you know, maybe make some decisions for the business and for the industry that aren’t really beneficial to the people that we’re serving, but more to the people who invested in us. So how was it when you decided to go the startup route and look for some investment funding? Talk to me about your thought process there? Like why these two people and what has that journey been like with them over the last few years.

Christian Moore 7:00

Yeah, just to be, you know, totally transparent, you know, we didn’t, I didn’t have, I wasn’t in a financial position to be able to leave where I was. And I was making a six figure income there. And it was a top producer at a, you know, a big company. So it was kind of a, it was kind of just problem solving took me to that place where if I was going to do this, then x needed to happen and X was I needed to be able to guarantee my income and it couldn’t go down from where it was, we homeschool our children. We needed to you know, invest in our health and those types of things. And, and I couldn’t really take a step back, so I had to guarantee my own income. And the only way I could think to do that was to find people who would be willing to pay me what I was making. And so I was in a honestly i was i was actually just in like a kind of like this entrepreneurial Bible study kind of thing with these couple of guys. There’s one guy here in central Kentucky, who’s just he’s an older dude, he’s been doing it for a long time. say, Oh, he’s You know, 60 that’s not old but yeah, old older than me. Yeah. And but you know he you know, his dad was the president. Thanks. It was kind of like a rich dad poor dad situation, right? So this guy had been taught how to think for you know, his entire life and his dad before him and his dad story was super incredible started in the mailroom became the president of largest bank in Kentucky that ended up being bought by Chase. So he came from outside of the insurance industry. he’s a he’s actually in commercial real estate. He’s just a developer, my other partner similar. He was kind of a similar dude, he bought a home and he was in college and then had a few guys live with him and then bought another one and now he owns, you know, a lot of them as well. And so both of them came from commercial real estate. Insurance just made sense to them. But one day, they just kind of looked across the table at me and said, Dude, if you want to do this, we’ll find it. And so, it was and honestly what’s really crazy is I’ve kind of gone into this situation. I will wasn’t I wasn’t as interested in trying to figure out, I wasn’t trying to talk about insurance, I wasn’t trying to talk about my, you know, excellence in sales, I was just trying to figure out how to be a better businessman and, you know, more impactful in my community. And so that relationship kind of came about organically. And then, you know, we get to the place where, because of, you know, because of all of the nuances of this, it took us about 10 months to figure it out. And that required me to do so I’m actually going to answer your first question and second question together. That required me to do something that I probably wouldn’t have done if I could have just gone and got a bank loan it and I had to wait. And I’m super good at waiting, let me tell you. And so um, I started trying to figure out you know, like, well, let’s do plans right now came from State Farm. One thing that State Farm did a really good job of teaching us how to create business plan, so I scrapped all my old business plans, like let’s start from the beginning. And I think what I want to do, I’m going to start with writing Tensions, okay, what are the right intentions, I want to impact my community for generations Well, in order to do that, I have to exist for generations. Right? If I what I create has to exist for generations. So I started from the, from the concept of I will not be bought, and I have to be able to create something that can be a legacy. And so, you know, I started with that long term vision. And then I was like, Okay, well, intentions are great, but they’re worthless without processes. So I need excellent processes or without exit processes. And then I was like, Oh, he was like, ah, I might be able to spell something here. I’m corny. Let’s try it. And so I was like, well every salesperson is any great salesperson knows to be the best you have the best product have to have the best product so I wrote down awesome products. So r EA and then looked at then I was like, Man, you know, this is a recipe for success for any organization in any industry. You start with right intentions, follow up with excellent processes and have awesome products, right. That doesn’t apply to insurance in the US. But what really changed what really makes us different is our Y, right? And so I really I spent, you know, months and months and months figuring out, you know why we’re going to exist. And so with this whole concept of making an impact in the community for generations, it was through generosity. And so we were going to exist to give not to make, right and so the L of real stands for life changing generosity. And so there, there’s where the name of my agency real insurance came about. It doesn’t mean that we’re real and everyone else’s fake, though I don’t mind that narrative. But it but what it does mean is it means that we have a culture of generosity and everything we do. Mm hmm. And so and so what I always tell people is I started my and this is where our conversation began is. I spent nine months developing a cultural strategy. And then two hours on a business plan. And the cultural strategy, I hired people to that and then made my business plan that Really good. So I have I’ve come up with this statement. So we’re gonna say it here. I don’t know if I’ve said it on the airwaves before, but I believe that culture is the foundation for automation.

Syd Roe 12:14

I love that. Well, and I think first of all, I just have to really quick because this was on my mind, and I was I was on mute. So I like didn’t get to say something before, before you kept going. But I love that your kids are homeschooled. That’s so random. But I was actually homeschooled. I don’t know if we ever Oh, yeah, And it’s, um, it was those were days that I look back on very fondly. I yeah, I love I just I feel like I don’t need as many people anymore who homeschool their kids so whenever I do, I’m like, that’s awesome. Come to the sun.

Christian Moore 12:30

Yes, that’s true. That’s true. So anyways, but so.

Syd Roe 12:34

Okay, so culture is the founder. nation of technology. Guy, tell me a little bit more about what that means for someone coming into your agency. So you’re saying you’re looking for the right fit person before. It’s not about whether they’re tech savvy or whether they have the it’s more about mindset. It’s more about personality. It’s more about, like, what do you mean by culture is the foundation of technology?

Christian Moore 13:26

Yeah. So I think that tech,

Christian Moore 13:30

the way I consider tech is that it’s like a magnifying glass. And the more that you automate, the more it exposes you to your clientele for them to see who exactly you are. And so the more that they can basically you know, it creates it’s like, it’s like an elevator into your business right? So they just come in and they just along for the ride so they get to get pretty deep into who you are and why you exist. You know, especially if you’re using, you know, automation for communication, if you are, you know, using, if you’re using targeted media and outlets and you know, on the on different social forms, you’re going to be seen for who you are. And so the culture in the organization needs to matter, most importantly to the employees, right? So for me, everything that I’ve done that everything I’m doing is about my team. If you ever see any posts that I post on Facebook or social media, I have one goal, and it is to make my team proud. I am honestly not posting to try and get clients to, to come to us. What I want clients to see is I want clients to see these people love each other. What I want clients to see is these people are doing good things and are all of one mind. What I really want is I want that state farm team member who I’m a friend with on Facebook, or that Liberty Mutual agent homophone with on Facebook. I went into See these posts and saying, Man, my boss never says these types of things about me in a public forum. They, they’re not nearly as transparent as this guy Christian tends to be. So everything that I’m doing is always constantly pointing back to the culture of our agency. And so then it goes back to. So a lot of times we think there’s two experiences, right? There’s the client experience. And if you follow me on the edge, and I just said that, I just ask the question, does your team member experience match your client experience? So maybe what’s first presupposing that is that you’re giving a great client experience, which we can get into in a little bit more when we talk about neon? But then the question is, are we giving a great team member experience? And so when you think about culture and hiring to culture, I know grant bought most probably one of the other people that I hear talking about this the most besides me, and I think we align on this but basically, in my in my hiring, I really can Hiring, like, like, basically the goal is marriage, right? It’s kinda like dating. So I was gonna say, my next my next keynote, I wanted to say like how to date your employees. But I don’t think that quite point across.

Syd Roe 16:15

Yeah, there might be a phrasing issue there. I see where you’re going with it.

Christian Moore 16:20

I need to figure out my phrase. Yeah. There’s an HR nightmare there. Yeah. Like Christian told me to date my employees wife. No, but so the. So but the idea is this. So think about this. You’re going to spend more time with the people in your office, typically, then you do your own family. And I’m going to decide that and you know what, we’re really awesome. We do for one hour interviews. We’re so awesome. In four hours. Most people only do two interviews. We do four. Are you kidding me? Four hours. Let’s say they’re two hour interviews every time eight hours. You’re gonna decide to marry somebody in eight hours because you saw a piece of paper that they wrote about themselves. And, and how they and how they talked in a roomful of people. That’s how we’re deciding to hire people in our industry. So I spend, one is in order to be able to say that type of thing. And to push people towards this is you have to actually know what’s happening. And you have to have vision and you have to have your finger on the pulse of your vision and where you are as an agency owner. And I know that in six months, I need six more people, right? So I’m hiring. Well, I tell people right now I’m hiring. I’m hiring for a year from now. And what I’m doing is I’m seeking to find people in a place where I don’t want people looking for jobs. I’m not, I’m not going out on indeed and posting resumes and looking for resumes. I’m looking for somebody who is doing a really good job where they are, and I’m looking for the opportunity to date them for 316 Nine months before we ever get them into an interview. And so for example, my newest team member, she came on from State Farm. And she said, Hey, I’m getting ready to get an insurance, what do you think? And I said, Hey, just tap me as a resource. And then she did when she needed help. And so for the next year, I coached her while she was at a State Farm office. And at the end of the day, I was actually trying to help her make that State Farm office better and maybe and if she would have loved her life, she maybe never would have come my way. And that would have been great. Because at the very end of the day, I was just helping somebody. But at the end, they didn’t have a great culture where she was, and she ended up leaving, and she messaged me and said, Hey, I, hey, I left and I said, you got ready to come work for me. She said, Yep. So but what did I gain? I found out I know that she can take criticism. I know that I know how she thinks and processes when she’s failing. I know her attitude, in a lack of success, and I know her attitude and She’s being successful. And I was able to see that over the course of a year. So when I was ready to hire, I didn’t have to interview her. All I did is bring her in and let my team leader and I said, Hey, guys, what do you think? My team interviewed her? And they all said, thumbs up. I said, Okay, done. Wow. Right. So, so my interview process for my CSR, which I hate the word CSR, we call them CES client experience managers.

Christian Moore 19:25

was a year. And it cost me nothing. Except for you know, coffee with my team.

Syd Roe 19:31

Yeah, yeah. That’s a huge investment. I mean, that that’s, that’s what I’m thinking right off the bat is, you know, to an agency owner who’s listening, that’s a huge investment of movie didn’t cost you financial resources, but just in the amount of time, like, let’s just say that you got six to nine months in and maybe have you ever had this happen where, you know, you reach out to someone, you start getting to know them, and then you realize, Oh, you know, great person, just Not a great fit for my agency. Yeah, at that point. Yeah. I mean, how do you and I guess? What do you what are you looking for in somebody? Like when you when you’re kind of getting to know them? And are there things that you look for? Or is it just kind of this vibe that you get where it’s okay, yeah, I’m really starting to dig this person. Are there specific things like you said, ability to take criticism? And when you know that where that line is where it’s like, Oh, okay. This isn’t going to be a good fit.

Christian Moore 20:33

No, that’s really good. Yeah. So first is to answer your question about the investment. One is it doesn’t it didn’t seem like that much because it was just a Facebook message here or there or a quick phone call with somebody while I was driving. Right? There’s just the opportunity to be relational and if you know, in to get to know somebody, but let’s say that that did feel like a lot of time. How much more time and money would I have spent if she was a bad fit? And I’m gonna have to fire her maybe, you know, or you know, spend a lot of time coaching her and in trying to get her to the place where I wanted to be, you know, I see, I see that time is time well spent. And if she didn’t fit in man, I just saved my company, a lot of resources and in time and employee hours training and dealing heartache, you know, all that kind of stuff, right? So anyway, I see it as a good use of time, in terms of what I’m looking for the very first thing to get through the door is and this is why having a defined y is so important. And it’s, I tell people, the story of how reo came about like I just did. And ideally, there was a listener to this podcast and they said, Oh, that the L. That’s amazing life changing generosity. And so what we tell our clients, for example, is we say, hey, when we take you from prospect to client, and then we do something that no other agency in the country does, we take you from client to partner, because when you pay your insurance bill, a portion of that goes to feeding clothing and educating the people in our community who need it most. And just so you know, those people are probably never going to be our clients, we get nothing from this. It’s not because we don’t want them as clients. It’s just because by definition, they are difficult to find. So we partner with people who know how to find them and serve them and we give to them. So when you become our client, you participate in generosity just by paying your bill and saving that thousand dollars we saved you. Right? I’ll tell that to a prospective agent, or team member. And if they if their eyes light up, and they start telling me stories about how they love to give, about how they are motivated by taking care of other people, and they start dreaming about or they start kind of like getting into a cycle. Wow, what a great retention tool because if someone’s getting ready to leave you say hey, don’t leave us let us shop you because the longer you’re with us, the more people we can help, you know. So then they start the wheels start turning that is the interest way into my agency. If you don’t get excited by our why, if you you’re not motivated by our why you’re not a cultural fit. Right? So, and there’s other things to the culture fit. But that’s the first door to get in. So as I’m having these conversations with people I’m kind of looking for that I’m looking and you know, and the reality is, is that’s a pretty big door, right? So that’s not meant to be a huge filter. Most people like the idea of giving to other people. But that’s but if I don’t see the excitement, if it doesn’t catch hold immediately, and then I’m like, Cool, let’s finish our coffee and, you know, I’ll help you in any other way I can.

Syd Roe 23:42

I’m honestly really impressed because I do feel like there’s I actually sat in on a presentation about hiring. And the whole presentation was focused on that one meeting and what questions to ask in that one meeting to try and it almost for efficiency sake. Right, like we play this efficiency game with hiring, which seems like it’s the wrong game to play. And Funny enough, I actually knew Seth for three years before you know, and I actually, I think we had this conversation. He and I’d like 30 days into me becoming, you know, partner with him on this project. And he said, Yeah, yeah, I knew within the first year of meeting you that I really wanted to work with you. And I was like, What? Really? I it didn’t even cross my mind at that point, right. Like, I didn’t, I had no idea. But I did lean on him, you know, asking him questions about certain things and he was a really valuable resource for me. Just in terms of industry, knowledge, leadership, leadership advice, etc. Over the last few years, so I think that’s really important and what helps to is then as a you know, An employee you come in, and you just feel like you’re, it doesn’t feel like this. Like, I feel like I’ve talked to so many people, they transition jobs. And it just feels like they’re completely starting over from the ground up. And when you get to know somebody and get to know their I had met his team I had met, you know, I knew zinc I knew their mission. I knew neon I knew be atomic. I’d met the pilot agencies, like, it just felt like I was walking right into, you know, the next thing without having this moment where, oh my gosh, now I’ve got to get to know all these people and it’s overwhelming. And so there’s a, there’s a sense of, you know, you’re really, you’re really helping that person that you’re about to hire, have a much smoother transition from, you know, a to b to it. Yeah, go ahead, dude.

Christian Moore 25:48

\Welcome. Yeah. To your point about like that hiring conference in that first meeting. So many people are trying to, again, put it in the context of marriage. I think it really helps. like okay, If I were trying to marry you, in the next three meetings, yeah, I got a bunch of, you know, I got to put a bunch of crap into one conversation. And I got to try and make a decision super fast. And it’s going to be a bad decision nine times out of 10. I was talking with, I was actually on a different podcast was called employer blueprint. And it was just with it was with someone who hires people in the insurance agency, or in the insurance industry, and they say, Yeah, they put into their business plan that four out of five are going to fail. Wow, think about that. Think about that companies put into their business plan, because of their hiring practices, that 80% of employees, you know, they’re just gonna hire five, and they hope to get one, maybe two, my gosh, and that’s, that’s Yeah. And that’s the that’s our that’s the culture that we’re coming from. And I think this is why in my last talk, I was talking about why Millennials are so important into in the workforce right now. And, and here’s the thing that people need to think about. Millennials are like 40 Right Millennials are in their late 30s. At this point, we’re not talking about. We’re not talking about, you know, a 15 year old kid directing, you know, the way that we, you know, should change their behaviors. We’re talking about, you know, people who can be the president of the United States, right. So, so millennials for they’re the ones causing us right now to say, culture. The conversation of culture hasn’t ever been as strong as it has in this decade, because we’re sorry, it hasn’t ever been as strong as it has, as it is now in this decade. Because Millennials are saying, we saw our parents get screwed. We saw corporations take their pensions and throw them away. We saw healthcare change. We saw tax codes change. We saw retirements get blown away, we saw bad decision making. And these are parents who were loyal to corporations or to state governments ultimately ended up getting screwed and we’re not going to let that happen to us. So please, please, please do Give me something more than a paycheck. Yep, yes. Yeah. Right. And so as we’re hiring, we have to realize, man, these people want something more than just these typical conversations. They want a life experience that fulfills them. And if your business and your industry or the way you act inside of your industry is not providing fulfillment to your employees, guess what the next rock star, the next David getting ready to slay Goliath? He’s in a field somewhere waiting to be found. And he is a millennial, and possibly a Generation Z, he or she?

Syd Roe 28:32

I love that. I love that I I’m not going to go on I’m not going to get into my rabbit hole. But yes, just Yes. I mean, I would take and have taken a pay cut because I need fulfillment. That’s how important it is to me as a person is. I don’t see I mean, at some point you got to ask yourself, what is the value of the next thing you’re going to buy what is the next car I’m going to buy really gonna make me happier is the next house I’m going to buy really make me happier. You know, ironically, we were talking about before I moved over to me and like moving and decided not to, but really thought about how we’ve cherished the fact that living in a, you know, a smaller house actually makes us a little bit closer together. Right? You live in a bigger house, it’s like, there’s, you know, you want to in the sense that you get you have your own space, but it’s also kind of like, well, then you never really know where anybody is. Versus now, you know, we can kind of, we’re always seeing and hearing each other and, you know, kind of getting in each other’s bubble a little bit which there’s a there’s, there’s kind of an awesomeness to that too with having kids around. So, but yeah, I mean, I mean, see, I got into my rabbit hole, but yes, I 100% believe so strongly that if you don’t give somebody a why, you’re just going to have to see And this is the other thing too is when you don’t give someone a why, then you feel forced to give them more money. Because you don’t, you don’t have anything else to give them. And that’s the only thing you have is here, let me just give you a raise, let me just give you a promotion and you know, make you feel more important, but it because you don’t have that fulfillment to give them

Christian Moore 30:17

100% and so, you know, that talks about the culture being the foundation of things, right. And so and I know that this isn’t a, you know, how do you hire and how you build your organization, you know, necessarily conversation, but in terms of how we got here, and then transitioning into the conversation about me on, you know, this is a perfect opportunity to transition because why does neon exist? Right? Why are we and why has Seth put so much of his own time and money and, and staked his entire future on this? And if you listen to him, and it doesn’t take long for you to realize that he’s right. Right. And I’m not and I just can’t imagine there are many People who have listened to him and said, Yeah, I wouldn’t. I don’t I wouldn’t get behind him. Right. And it’s his belief in his why that makes him the leader that he is right, the thought leader that he is. And so ultimately, we’re trying to figure out how to change an industry. Yes, that’s, that’s super easy. But, but and there’s so and it got me thinking in terms, especially as we were thinking about this conversation, you know, I kind of like to pre plan some thoughts. And since you texted me about 10 minutes before we started going, I didn’t have a lot of time. But the thinking about the sorry about that taxi late at night is my fault. But you know, I was thinking, Man, we are in a situation where neon exists on two on two levels, right? One is the neon client is me. It’s the agency owner who’s out there listening right. So the why of the neon needs to exist to communicate specific to me, and it does, and it really does. And that’s why it’s and that’s why it’s such a great solution. But on the other side of it, is that it really needs to exist to help us fulfill our why. So there’s this, there’s this transient thing that neon becomes. Because it’s not just, it’s not just does it allow us to access and utilize data in a more elegant, beautiful way. But it actually provides us the opportunity to give what we really want. And at the end of the day, you know, the, the conversation about data and owning data is super important at a core level. But the true thing is, if you ask most agency owners, what they really care about is providing a great client experience. And more data gives us the ability and owning our data gives us the ability to provide the experience that we want, which ultimately allows us to get more clients and keep them And ultimately make great fans of those clients. Right. And that’s, I think that’s the difference between neon and any other, you know, whatever solution I know, it’s not an HMS technically, but any other LMS or some competitor that neon will ultimately replace, right? Because it allows us to provide an experience that is unlike anything else that’s happening in the industry right now.

Syd Roe 33:22

Yeah, and I think to, to In addition, it allows the industry to and this is the really, really hard part because I think we’ve and I feel like I’ve wrestled with this idea so like, deeply this week, just because of the video that I put out, but it I feel like we operate in this environment right now where it is hyper competitive. And look, I love competition. I it gives me like, you know, goosebumps butterflies, energy, all the things like I just I love it like I think that there needs to be a sense of collaboration within that competitiveness. And that’s what we’re missing today. It’s like we walk into, you know, I’ve been talking to agents, the last few weeks about these care performance carrier performance reviews that are coming up, you know, this end of the year, like, hey, look, you promised us that we would get this much premium. And now Where is it? And the frustration that they feel in those environments? For so many different reasons, and it’s like, I mean, granted, maybe there are, you know, maybe there is an environment where that’s warranted because somebody wasn’t doing their job. But I think for the most part, you know, agents make those promises and then want to fulfill them and having to come into this meeting where you’re being almost scolded, or, you know, pressured or you feel how does that result in? I mean, I guess I think about it, boil it down to just any relationship, right, like, let’s just take my part My partner and I, on a human level, if I’m, you know, if I need just to do something, or I, she’s made me a promise and then I come to her and I’m like, berating her and, you know, scolding and angry and, or making her feel pressure and anxiety. And that doesn’t help me get what I need, right. And what I need is for us to be working together. So that, you know, maybe there’s a reason that whatever I needed from her didn’t get done. So let me explore that first. Okay, why wasn’t it done? Okay. Well, now I’ve understood, I understand the root issue. You know, now we know how to fix it or make sure it doesn’t happen again, or whatever. And the same goes for me, right? If I don’t do something, right. And it’s like, we don’t operate in that world today where we, you know, and so it’s like, I think the really exciting thing for me about Neon is helping How can we start to change the environment, we work in Because I look at it and say, Oh my gosh, if we can’t even be real partners to each other if a carrier in an agent can’t find that true collaborative partnership, how do we, how can we pass on true partnership to a client?

Christian Moore 36:15

Right? You have this 100%? Correct. Right. So

Christian Moore 36:19

and, and this is this is perfect, right? And this is, this is really a great conversation, because the conversation about the carrier relationship and them coming to you saying, well, you promised us this. But what did they promise us? And what was the question? Do they just give us the appointment? And that was the promise, we promised that you can have access to us and, and that’s it. Because that’s not a partner. Right? So that’s, that’s like a grocery store. Like you promised. If you promise to buy things. We’ll let you walk around our store. And if you don’t buy things in an hour, then you have to get out. Mm hmm. That’s not a relationship. Yeah. Not a partnership. That is transactional at best. So, you know, when I started the agent when I started this agency I brought on about 15 carriers as a as a scratch slash startup, right. And after two years of production, we put up a little more than $2 million in new business. And I had two carriers, one of them had $938 and the other had a meal or had zero and I and I went to them and I fired them. And I said, and I had a lot of agency owners across the country saying what in the world are you doing firing let them fire you don’t fire them and I said, No, they’re not a cultural fit. And because I went to them and I said, Listen, I will, I was like, I will pay for my employee to become field cert a field certified training underwriter with your company. I was like, you know, I’ll have them go out so that you know we can increase the speed and increase the processes. I was like, I’ll have them go train. I’ll pay for it all. I was like, let us be a partner with you. You know, let us help make this a better process. That’s not how we do it is what they said. Oh, fine. Okay, so that’s I tried, it’s clearly not me, every other carrier was happy. So let’s, let’s move along. But as you’re, as you’re saying that like with your partner or with any other relationship, I can’t go to you and say, well, you promised me this without also recognizing my promises to you. Right? And so, and I think this is the beauty about data and neon. And we’ll just use them in interchangeably here. We need a mirror. We need someone else to help us see ourselves. Right. And so one of the great truths about life is that you cannot see yourself clearly you need others to help you see yourself more clearly, right? That we are beings created to be relational. And so, if we are relational in that aspect, and this is not going to change from personal to business, so the business is also need Mirror, in Neon is the mirror for the carrier. Because it gives us the data to say, you, here’s where your promises are. And here’s what you look like when you look at yourself. Right? So here’s the opportunity for me to show you, Hey, this is taking your processes, they take five times longer than that our other agencies or other carriers in our agency, right? So why are you not getting as much business, your ease of doing business is harder than what it should be? Here’s the data so that you can fix these problems and become a true partner in my agency.

Syd Roe 39:35

Right. Yeah, I mean, another example that, you know, Seth and I were talking about that, again, I love that one. Just it’s so granular. Seth was explaining. Actually, he sent me a report that one of his carrier sent over and it had, it was the performance review. And there were four factors that they were looking at, and they all revolve around How much business Did you bring in? How much business did you let go of, you know, what’s your retention rate. And when you think about the idea of performance, it’s crazy, because in every other aspect of our life, we would think so much more deeply about what performance truly means. Like when you think about performance with your team. Or the perfect This is probably a terrible example. But like the performance of your relationship, right? There’s so many factors, we’re so complex as human beings, and what we often look at is the behaviors that resulted in the outcomes that we have before us. So, okay, somebody didn’t perform well. What does that mean? Right? Does it mean that they were overworked? Does it mean that they weren’t doing that? Because we, you know, I think there’s an assumption right now, that okay, the perform the for performance numbers aren’t what we want them to be. So therefore, the agent just didn’t try hard enough. And yet any other conversation we would have in our life. goes so much deeper than that, right? Because there’s so many different behaviors that could have resulted in that outcome. And that assumptive behavior, while they didn’t do their job is just one. It’s just one reality, potential reality. So it’s just it’s, it’s, and part of it is, you know, here’s it, here’s it. Here’s a granular example. It could be, right. It could be that if, if manufacturing and I’m using quotes, because manufacturing would be the carrier here, so product development, right? If manufacturing is changing up their underwriting teams, people that agents have to develop relationships with now there’s a new underwriter now you’ve got to redevelop that relationship, rebuild that trust. What does that do to distribution in a, in a, in a company where distribution and manufacturing are tied together? They’re linked to they’re not separate businesses. And you know, my partner works at Sleep Number. So I’ve heard conversations about How distribution and manufacturing work together and how, you know, distribute when distribution doesn’t deliver. They look deeper at well, was it? Did we just make the wrong bed? Was the market not needing the bed that we made? Right, but that conversation doesn’t happen today. It doesn’t happen today in those performance, you know, carry your meetings, it’s solely the responsibility of the agent to sell exactly what they promised with no, with no deeper understanding of why things are the way they are. And that’s the frustrating part. Oh, dude, you got me worked up.

Christian Moore 42:4

You know, for the second thing, there are good carriers out there. Right. There are

Syd Roe 42:38

Yes,

Christian Moore 42:40

truly. And I have there are a couple in that I work with in particular. And, and we just for example, we just brought on Westfield and immediately they came in, and we’re getting ready to do a music video in our agency in order to start recruiting people. I know that’s ridiculous. I love that. But we’re going to one of my partners are one of my team members, he, we probably do more karaoke than we should admit. But we’re both okay at singing and dancing. And so we kind of want to do something fun and show ourselves as, as a non stuffy organization in a very stuffy industry. But anyway, westbow came in and said, Dude, how can we participate, like inside of the first month of being there? We have other carriers who do a really good job and are not afraid of the data share. And so it’s a you know, it’s certainly not every carrier. Right. But there are, but I think the bigger you get, the harder it is to turn those ships around.

Syd Roe 43:44

Yes. And, and to your point, there are amazing partnerships that exist in the channel right now. And so I think the question is, how do you how do you scale that idea, right? How do you start to make it not like Oh, you know, these guys happen to have good partnerships? How am I trying to say how do you make it a staple? And not a special environment? Right? That just happens because these guys are different. It should be the staple in the insurance industry that carriers and agents just work together seamlessly. Because in that way, I mean, man, we could start doing that. That’s when that wrote that gets passed on to the, you know, customer and the customer calls in and the agent doesn’t have to say, Oh, yeah, it’s probably going to take me three days to get that information. Because I don’t have that seamless relationship with a partner. No, yeah, I’ll get that for you in two hours. I’ll, you know, shoot me an email. I’ve got that right here, right, because that’s that seamlessly seamlessness between the two partners. So

Christian Moore 44:47

we’ll think about, you know, eventually what we need to do to kind of answer that a little bit is we kind of need to become Walmart. And I don’t necessarily mean we need to be big and sell things cheap. But what I mean is that we need to have We haven’t need to have enough clout that we can go to someone and say, if you want to be where we are, you have to do things the way that we say. And so there needs to be and that’s why it’s so important for people to get on board with this because it’s not just going to be our neon pilot group. And it’s not just going to be the amazing arguments and information that Seth can give, but it’s going to be a collective group of independent agents across the country consistently over time saying, this is where we are going and the very first time that I heard about neon, this I said, I said, Neon is the Panama Canal. It is not just the next thing, it is the thing by which all other things are going to have to pass through in order to get to the other side. Right. So that is where we are right now. And we have to say we have to get the carriers to see that hey, you’re on the wrong side and in order to get the other side. It is a mentality shift that has to happen first. And it’s and it’s taking place in the form of things like me, I’m not that Neon is going to be the only solution. But it’s definitely the form of the solution. Right?

Syd Roe 46:11

Yeah, man, I don’t think I can top that explanation. I do deserve anything we didn’t talk about today. Besides the skydiving, puberty, coffee making, mortality, industry revolution data. I mean, anything we did culture, is there anything we didn’t cover that it’s your it’s like, blazing at the top of your mind? You just have to get out?

Christian Moore 46:41

Yeah, you know, I think that there’s one other thing and I think it comes back to this whole concept of experience, right? And it’s something that is just for the sake of vulnerability and transparency. And really, this is probably more and it’s funny to say anything is directed at Seth because if he hasn’t thought of something, it would be the A surprising thing in my life. But um, but you know, if we’re going to create something, it has to be better than what exists. Right? And so, for example, we had a conversation about a raider. Right? So for a team member, what’s the best experience for the agency owner? And that needs to be the thing that drives us not just the revolution of how we take and manage data, but what is in it. How do we redefine, you know, I was listening to your podcast with Cass, how do we redefine the concept of IMS right? And so if we’re redefining these things, we need to be doing these things better and providing a better solution. So as we are constantly driving forward, I guess the question is, and this is probably why it’s so important for the pilot group. And really how I see myself in this is everyone has to I feel so behind in this group of pilot agents and it’s really kind of an awesome place to be because there are the concepts that these guys have in terms of how to use and manipulate data, how to create these systems and processes is so far beyond anything I can do. But where I, where I feel that I bring value to the group is, I’m a critical thinker. And I don’t necessarily have to understand the processes to be able to ask the questions that I think are valuable. But what I love about our group is we have this core contingency of people, where those pieces of the puzzle seem to fit really well. And so I think for us, in particular where we need to be is we just need to be continually asking that question, what is going to be the best end-user experience? And how is it going to be better than what already exists?