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Marketing Strategies of Big Companies

Season 2 Episode 16

Marketing Strategies of Big Companies with Chris Howard

Season 2 Episode 16


Transcript

Intro/Outro: Welcome to the Insurance Leadership Podcast, the podcast designed to bring you perspectives and principles from leaders in the life and health insurance industry. We trust you'll enjoy today's episode.

Ryan Eaton: Welcome to another episode of the insurance Leadership Podcast. I'm Ryan, your host. Honored to have you listening in with us today. Today, we're gonna talk about how large insurance companies take products to market. And we have a guest that has over 55,000 employees in his organization, and they're one of the top 10 largest global insurance companies.

According to Forbes, this episode is gonna be one you don't wanna miss. So, we're gonna have Chris Howard on the show today, with Zurich, and he is the head of the North American market and he's gonna walk us through how big companies take products to market. Chris, welcome to the show, buddy. 

Chris Howard: Thank you. 

Ryan Eaton: I appreciate you being on the show this morning and I'd love to get started with maybe getting our audience a little overview about you, maybe kinda hitting where you live, maybe a little bit about your family, kinda your hobbies, some of the things you enjoy, if you don't mind.

Chris Howard: Sure. 

I live in suburban Philadelphia. I've been here for probably 10 or 15 years since I moved back from Southern California, I have three children who really aren't children, a 26-year-old, a 23-year-old, and a 20-year-old. I also have a three-year-old grandson, which really is a weird thing for someone who's the only early fifties to say, but I do you know, I, I, I enjoy spending time with them whenever I can.

I think the one thing that this pandemic has done for all of us is it's brought us closer to our families. For me, I have everyone under my roof right now, so it's really brought us closer to my families. but you know, I enjoy golfing. I do have a place on the New Jersey shore. So we do get down to the ocean a lot, those two or three times a year, when I do get to surf, it's a lot of fun, but it is New Jersey.

And we just enjoy being down there. It's a different life when you drive over a bridge and you're on kind of a channel island. 

Ryan Eaton: Oh, that sounds amazing. So, you have all your kids under your roof right now, is your grandson or granddaughter with you as well? 

Chris Howard: And my grandson is with us as well in our daylight basement.

We built a two-bedroom condo for them, so uh, they live downstairs. 

Ryan Eaton: Man. That is fantastic. And you know, I heard someone once tell me that success, the definition of success and a good life is having your kids and grandkids all sitting at a table with you enjoying a meal, and spending time with you. And it sounds like you got a you got a great setup with having everybody close.

Chris Howard: I do. It's great. I appreciate it. 

Ryan Eaton: That's awesome, Chris. Well, look, before we kinda get into some of the questions we got for the podcast today, do you mind giving maybe the audience, a little bit of background of kind of what brought you into the insurance industry? Most people, it seems like don't plan on going into in the insurance industry, but they end up landing in the insurance industry.

So maybe kinda how you got into it, maybe some of your previous roles and it'd be a great overview. 

Chris Howard: Sure. I, I, I would say that that is very consistent with me. I went to, to school at a small Pennsylvania college called Shippensburg university for journalism. I got out of school in right around 1990 at a time when finding a job was finding a job, you were lucky if you found a job.

And, you know, I went to work as a collector for Christ of credit. Some people can do that job. Some people can't. I was one of those people who just was never fond of. calling somebody up at dinner time telling 'em that they owed to be $300. so. You know, I, I, I was lucky enough to find a job in a marketing type role, which kind of felt like journalism to me.

And from there you know, I, I parlay into a role at a, at a life insurance company as a direct marketer. So, the beginnings of my insurance career were direct marketing to members of associations, like the American Legion and the VFW selling them graded benefits, life insurance, product. 

Telemarketing. I wasn't the telemarketer, but, you know, we managed programs whereby we would contact early customers of first card visa back when there weren't as many people who had visa cards as they do today. Okay. Selling accidental death insurance. So. Funny how we land where we land, but that was the beginning of my career in accident and health insurance throughout the course of my career, you know, I started selling for a company called American bankers insurance group, which became an insurance group selling credit insurance in the mid, mid to late 1990s.

From there, I went to a company called Balbo insurance group, whereby we sold those same credit insurance programs, but we also marketed a forced order hazard insurance product, which was more or less homeowner's insurance. That for those customers who didn't have it, or couldn't provide proof of homeowner's insurance, we would place coverage.

We were owned by Countrywide prior to the financial crisis and, you know, After the financial crisis as we may all know, countrywide and imploded having 7 million, what they called pay option arms, which didn't fare well in the in, in the crash at the subprime mortgage marketplace. So, you know, I went on and I worked for a motor club for a while.

Motor club, believe it or not, is very similar to insurance. Your claim is just different. Your claim is dispatching somebody to tow a car. And from there jumped in at Chub in, in right around 2008, 2009 spent 10, 12 years at Chub. And you know, we were acquired by ACE in the mid-20 15, 20 16 timeframes.

And the culture changed. It just, it didn't feel, you know, after three years at the ACE Chu version of Chubb, I, I was ready to move on mm-hmm and, you know, Zurich just happened to need somebody to manage their accident and help practice, right. Time, right place. And that's what landed me where I'm at today.

Ryan Eaton: So, did you come on to Zurich right before or right around the time of COVID? 

Chris Howard: I joined Zurich in March of 2020 . So I met everyone at Zurich this way. , which w was really interesting. It companies were able to flip a switch and go from, you know, face to face belly to belly day in the office type situations to zoom calls, Microsoft team calls without that much of a hitch, other than the hitch we experienced earlier.

Ryan Eaton: That's right. 

Chris Howard: Interesting that you know, we just, Zurich puts on a golf tournament down in new Orleans once a year. And I was down there a month ago and I met almost everybody that I had met on zoom, zoom calls, or team calls for the first time in person. A month ago. 

Ryan Eaton: Oh, wow. I went to that golf tournament.

Fantastic golf tournament, by the way. So I'm, I'm in Jackson, Mississippi. So new Orleans is about three hours away. So we went down there with a, with a company that asked us to go. And so we went down there, enjoyed the golf tournament was great, but I, I had to been special for you to be able to see people from all over the country that you've been talking to for two years and finally get to meet them.

It was great. 

Chris Howard: It's interesting. To translate how people look on TV, to how people look in person. I think it does add weight. Yeah. 

Ryan Eaton: Yeah. Some people say it adds 10 pounds. I feel like for me it adds about 20 pounds. So, I've tried to work on my lens. So, well, look, tell us a little bit again, before we get to the question, I'd love to know about kind of what your role at Zurich looks like right now.

I know you're head of the market and for the life accident in health for North America, kind of go in what that looks like on a day-to-day basis. 

Chris Howard: You know, I manage a group of about 150 people that focus on selling. Different kinds of life, accident, and health products. We focus primarily on four or five different marketplaces in accident and health.

We focus on occupational accident, insurance mm-hmm group accident insurance with specialty health, which is kind of stop loss. And then we have a pretty big travel insurance business. and then on the life side, we focus more on the affluent side of the business day in and day out. I would say, you know, I, I, I rely on a team of profit center managers that kind of own each of those different business lines.

Within each of those different business lines, they have a staff of distribution people, and they have a staff of underwriting people. So, for me, my role is more or less to manage the P and LS and the growth of our accident and health business within a really big property and casualty business.

Mm-hmm so, you know, I would say what I enjoy is spending time with people like you doing these kinds of events, talking to customers day to day out the relationship management side of the business. I rely on the actuaries and the underwriters to make sure that the business we put out there is profitable and appropriate from a rate standpoint, for the different risks that we take.

You know, I grew up more as a sales and marketer. So, for me, I spend more of my time, both internally and externally selling than I do internally and externally number crunching. Right. 

Ryan Eaton: So, I gotta ask you this, and this is way off base of what I wanted to talk about, but okay. Coming on during COVID.

Starting the month of kind of when everything happened and being over the travel section. And I know travel insurance probably went wild during kind of everything stuff, getting canceled and obviously the health side of it back and forth. What was that like from a business management perspective coming onto a company and kind of having that whole industry getting flipped upside down?

Chris Howard: You know, so we Zurich acquired a company called cover more back in 20 17, 20 16, 20 17. And they acquired a company called travel X a year prior to travel X which is a more recognized name in travel insurance in the United States had a really good year in 20, 19, 20 20. You know, we were up in the record months in January and February from a production standpoint.

And if you want, if, if you've ever heard of falling off a cliff if you know our business, which we had intended to double from 2019 to 2020 was less than a 10th. So, it. Truly fell off of a cliff. And you know, right now we're, we're, you know, we, we, we diversified we, we lifted and shifted and tried to find different ways to at least keep it floating.

So, you know, we have a, an affinity business and we have different pieces of our travel insurance business that fit with rental car companies that fit. You know, other distribution channels like that. So that's what we did. We relied on, the bits and pieces to kind of at least keep us afloat, which, you know, we're on a good recovery path now.

Wow. Still, still recovering. But I would say that by 2023, we should probably be back to the pre-pandemic levels. Yep. It was a crazy business to inherit. 

Ryan Eaton: I bet it was. I mean, it was just, everything was changing on a daily basis, you know, I mean it month to month, everything's different. Even now my, my wife and I have an anniversary this summer, we were looking to travel down in the Caribbean area and, you know, we were finding out different things with COVID as, oh, you have to have this, this, this done, or you have to quarantine, you know, four days immediately when you get here or this, you know, it's just, it's a juggling deal.

So it makes, it makes it tough for. 

Chris Howard: It does. I wouldn't wanna be an international traveler in the midst of all this stuff, cause it is just difficult and that's what really killed the travel insurance business was all of the trip, cancellations, all of the outta country medical, all of the forced quarantine.

Yeah. You know. That was all unplanned for when you build insurance products? No, you're right. It was a big loss for the industry. 

Ryan Eaton: Mm, yes, it was. Well, look, Chris, you know, when I'm thinking about Zurich I looked on your website probably a week or two ago and saw that you guys have. 55,000 employees globally.

Now, when you're looking just from a large scale, you guys are one of the top 10 largest insurance companies in the world. According to Forbes, I, I mean, you got huge organization. How do you keep your goals and your vision for your team? How do you keep the focus on that? When there are so many different objectives throughout your organization?

You know, 

Chris Howard: I would say our biggest challenge is creating and maintaining relevance within a giant property and casual company Zurich with those 55,000 people of which 8,000 of them are domestic here in the United States. You know, our global accident health premiums are, you know, less than a toenail on the organism.

And so, from that perspective creating relevance on a day-to-day out basis, getting the resources fighting for the investment that we need to continue to grow our business. That's the challenge that we face. And then even telling the accident and health story whereby the property and casualty world is prone to catastrophes.

Be that earthquake forest fires. So set aside the pandemic from the past two years, you know, our business historically is not prone to catastrophe losses and, you know, the stability of earnings in, in, in the accident and help business is kind of what we focus on when we're talking to our organization about getting that capital that we need to expand.

Yep. And also, the, you know, property and casualty from a business perspective, it either grows or shrinks. As a result of hard and soft markets yep. In, those markets, when it's hard, it's easy to get the rate. It's easy to show growth when the market softens, it's really hard to get growth. So if a company needs growth to continue to, you know, establish itself amongst its peers, as, as a leading provider, you know, they turn to.

Product lines, you know, business segments like accident and health for that. And we have been fortunate to have recovered from COVID. We grew by about 25% last year, you know, and this year we have high hopes to continue, continue that growth pattern. And that's what the organ organization looks for. So fighting for wallet, share whether it's accident, health, financial lines.

Construction life sciences, all the different business lines that exist in, in a PNC organization. You know, I think we're doing a good job of maintaining at least creating an aspirational vision of what we could be. 

Ryan Eaton: Right. So let me ask you this. When you're. Kind of going out for market share. Right.

And you saw 25% growth last year over the previous year. What does that look like? How do you lay out the plan and kind of attack for your team when your kind of going out there, you're creating relevance, you're creating relevance with the big company, and then you're trying to show your team, Hey, here's how we have to attack?

How do you build that plan of attack for your team? 

Chris Howard: You know, I think it's, two or threefold, you know, I think it starts with the game plan. You know, what markets do we do? We go after and why do we go after those markets? And you know what we historically looked for from a, again, our core business unit is we've been relatively steady, heavy and providing good service and fair rates.

And we've relied on that to continue to slowly grow in the markets that we were in, which those markets that we were in primarily were again, that group accident business. Which for Zurich three years ago, meant business travel, accident, insurance, special risk insurance, occupational accident insurance, primarily in the transportation industry, and then stop loss and, and some managed care access business.

I think finding markets that are more opportunistic ha have been kinda where we've gone in the past three years. So, things like gap, medical insurance. Yep. Things like supplemental health insurance. Things like the gig economy, you know, focusing on markets that have a lot of runways have been kind of the direction that we've been focusing people on and in.

So doing, I think we create a level of energy and a level of excitement in that. You know you don't have to come to work and be bored anymore. You could do different things. You know, so I, I have, you know, I brought on some talent from my past that has that kind of different kinds of experiences and those different relationships.

We, we, you know, I I've been saying we, you know, for us, it's all about relationship management and, and customers and, and selling and, you know, that's, I think what we've done is we've created a, a, a business that is much more diverse. Much more sustainable whereby prior you know, we mentioned travel insurance.

If we relied on travel insurance two years ago, we would've been out of business. Right. But we had other cylinders that were firing even in the course of that. So, you know, from a game-planning perspective, you know, finding the right markets to be in building a plan around that’s both realistic, but aggressive finding talent that has those expertise.

Be that distribution talent or underwriting talent. A lot of it is tied to having relationships externally, you know, hiring people that external people trust and then assembling the talents into a logical go forward path, I think has been, what's worked for us in the past couple of years. You know, we've made a couple of acquisitions here or there where it made sense.

We continue to focus on, again, that diversification strategy. 

Ryan Eaton: You talk about diversification. You talk about maybe even some acquisition from that standpoint, you guys are in again, talking about a large insurance company and how you take things to market 210 countries. And I gotta say, when I saw you were in 210 countries and territories globally, I didn't even know there was 210 countries.

So I felt I was, I giggled a little bit when I saw that, but. You know, how do you figure out which markets, which acquisitions, which product diversification you go to? Are you looking for niche products? Are you looking for, Hey, what are the brokers saying? Are you looking, Hey, what's the market need, like the gig economy.

That's something that's just really kind of gone full bore here in the last few years. How do you kind of decide which, which avenue to go after? 

Chris Howard: You know, I think you come up with some kind of an algorithm that works for you that takes into. Barriers of entry. Yeah. That counts ease of entry that takes into account upside potential.

And then, you know, how quickly and how difficult will it be to expand in those kinds of markets? So I mentioned, you know, the affordable care act did a lot for businesses like yours at ours. Whereby it, it opened the door to it kind of created that high deductible health insurance marketplace. That's right.

And we do not sell health insurance. What we do is we sell things that wrap around health insurance that make it easier for consumers to afford coverage. Yep. So that's a huge market potential for. I think any insurance company to think about, you know, trying to, you know, solve for what the consumers need.

That's gotta, you know, I think for all of us that has to be number one and then, you know, taking into account the barriers of entry, the ease, ease of entry, the volume potential to kind of chart a path forward. And, and, you know, that's, I think what we've done. So with that diversification that I mentioned earlier, you know, supplemental health has been a big part of that yep.

Markets that are growing. Like the gig economy, you know, the gig economy is really just a bunch of independent contractors that happen to be, you know, accessed through an application that's right. Fastest growing market segment. I think in the, in, in the United States probably worldwide. So what you have is you have a bunch of people who have decided that you know, they'd rather make their living or supplement their income using, you know, as an independent contractor, you know, using a phone as a dispatch vehicle.

And through that, you know, you have the ability to communicate, but you have a billing vehicle, you have a communication vehicle and you have a big population of potentially underserved customers. That's why the gig economy, I think, represents a huge opportunity for everybody. You know, think of millennials mm-hmm and gen X, you know, people who are under the age of 30 to 35 that's I think the panacea for all of us as insurers, if we could figure out how to get those people that may not yet have children that may not yet have a house, get them interested in some kind of insurance that, that makes their life easier.

And, and, you know, billing them automatically gives them the ability to buy without talking to them, selling people, you know, the, with using the Amazon approach. That's right. Those are the different things, you know? So when we look for markets, when we try to grow business, I, I just view the gig economy as, as just a huge opportunity for everybody.

Ryan Eaton: I agree with you, Chris. And I'm gonna kind of bounce around into my, thought process here and jump to technology-type question, because I agree with you. I think the gig economy, I think, how do we access these people? How do we make it easy for them to purchase? Like you said, the Amazon process, the 1, 2, 3, 4, everything's here.

Pick what we want. Pick what's affordable and kind of move forward. And I think technology has to be able to do that for people. You know, insurance is one of those things that people don't necessarily enjoy talking about, you know, talk about it at a, a Friday night event. , you'll, you'll quickly have people disperse from you, but I think it's something we have to make.

More friendly, more user friendly from a technology stand from an understanding perspective as well. How do you see technology changing in the insurance market and in the United States or North America? What do you, how do you see technology playing and having an impact on insurance in the future?

Chris Howard: 22.02 You know, I think it will be part of every facet of the insurance business going forward. Be. enrollment pricing, claims, operations, servicing, billing, and collections. Uh, I think technology is a part of all of that. You know, in the past six months, you know, we've had conversations about artificial intelligence as it relates to under.

We've had conversations about the ability to pay claims using Venmo. We've had conversations about enrollment engines, all digitally micro sites, easily customizable, and everything being accessible in a mobile environment. That are the conversations I think we all have on a day-in and day-out basis. That's right.

And I, I think if you look at the rise of the insured tech, I think that paints the picture. You know, clearer than anything that we can talk about. Cause there are a ton of insure techs that all have a bunch of really interesting ideas that are out there. You know we, as the insurance company community are probably in last place when it comes to deploying technology for us still means how do we enhance our internal underwriting systems?

How do we. Use FTP to collect data. How do we push it all downstream? So it fits into our old, you know, IBM infrastructures once we do catch up. And once we do put the availability of capital, kind of there at the forefront, I think it it'll do our industry a world of good, because we'll all now talk on the same channel rather than, you know, All of our distribution communities, all of our external servicing communities, third party administration communities, they're all really good at staying forefront.

Yep. Once we catch up to even 10 years behind where they are, where we're able to seamlessly integrate with, with that technology infrastructure, that technology forefront to me, that's where we're going. You know, in 10 years, I, I view almost everything being automated. I agree. 

Ryan Eaton: I remember Chris probably it was, I think it was 2007.

Our president David White said we're going completely electronic at the office. We're getting rid of all the paper, all the filing cabinet. Everything's gone, we're going a hundred percent electronic. And I remember at that time it was, it was huge. It's like, has he gone crazy? I mean, it was one of those.

Everyone was trying to figure out how we're gonna do this. And you know, how's Sally gonna get trained on how to access these documents. And, you know, we did that. And within three months after we did it, We never look back. It was one of the best things we'd ever done. We had so much more space in our office.

We had more room for people for cubes, and it just, it was one of these things that were great, and everyone was able to access the information quicker. But I think from a leadership standpoint, my question would be for you is how do we get. Our teams, how do we get leadership in our organizations and everyone to get on board, maybe with moving forward technology or moving forward, product deployment?

How do we get everyone to that spot that we got them moving forward? Because some, as you said, sometimes in the insurance industry, we can, we can almost become complacent and not move the ball forward when it comes to technology or other things. How do we move that ball forward? 

Chris Howard: You know, I would say kind of two things, you know, from a Zurich perspective.

Yeah. You know, one Zurich kind of gets it, you know, we're, we're at that point where a lot of our internal conversations are all about how do we digitize? How do we create the technology? And, you know, we, we we've taken it a step farther where we tie it to, you know, how can companies like ours have an impact on, you know, worldwide sustainability in the environment.

You know, if you think about it. What you just mentioned with Morgan and white, where you went electronic and you got rid of the requirement of paper and the requirement of files and the requirement of, you know, all of that, you know, the infrastructure that takes resources to, to engage you know, Zurich has a goal of being, you know, Being one of those zero-emission companies by 2030, and it might be an aggressive goal.

You know, Zurich plants, a million trees a year. Zurich is, is very quickly trying to go to a completely paperless environment, even to the conversations earlier that we had about, you know, pre-pandemic, you know, the beginning of the pandemic, where we all went to, to zoom calls. Yep. You know, I look back and I, and I see you know, I, I remember June of 2020 driving down the skuk expressway in Philadelphia and being the only car on it.

And I, I wonder how healthy it was for the earth to have. A year's worth of no emissions. That's a big part of, I think, what this digital economy will bring to the world from an insurance company perspective, you know, how do we embrace it? We have largely made the investments to try to eliminate that old IBM mentality to, you know, we are now a cloud-based company.

You know, we rely on technology for, I would say, half of what we do. And it's, it's a funny dynamic for companies that once you go digital, you know, how does that impact the workforce? Yep. That's one of those things that I, you know, I haven't yet put my arms around or my, or my head around, but if you automate the claims process, how many claims people does that affect?

Yep. If you go to automatic enroll, You know, online enrollment, digital enrollment, how does that impact the call centers? Yeah, it's still, it's still an interest. A problem that we all need to kind of embrace. But I mean, I think, you know, for our kids, I think it's, it's a great directional tool, you know, we're trying to improve the world that we 

Ryan Eaton: broke.

I like that you talk about kids and, and talking about technology and some of the different things there. My son of the night, we were talking about building a website for something, and he said, oh, dad, I, I can build that. I said you know how to build this? He said, oh yeah. He said I learned that in my coding class.

And then I also had HTML class and he said we had to build websites. And I mean, the, and I started thinking about the show, are you smarter than a fifth-grader And I said, I will never laugh at those people again, because there was, I, I, I know what he's talking about, but I don't know how to do what he's able to do.

And it's just impressive the way some of those things are moving forward. And the kids and the younger generation now are being trained on this type stuff and how it will help with a lot of the things that, that you're talking about there as well. 

Chris Howard: Agree. And yeah, you know, it is it's, I mean, kids are amazed.

My son just graduated from Northeastern with a degree in computer science or engineering and, you know, he's actually going to work in, in a quasi-insurance industry. One of those technology providers that support our industry. Yeah. And, you know, He's not gonna have that same. You know, going back to the beginning of our conversation, whereas how did you fall in the insurance business?

Yeah, he doesn't view himself going to work in the insurance industry. He go views himself as going to work in a technology 

Ryan Eaton: field. Yep. We probably have about 20 to 30 programmers on staff here that, that we use for different things. And it's just a different world for that. And we even, I mean, we could probably use 60 to 70 of them, you know, and, and they're a huge asset to our organization.

But there's always another project. Right? They said that I heard something the other day they were going into for every system you build within four years, it's out of date. And if you're not rebuilding or updating the system that you're building you're falling behind and are going dead. And, and so I think that is a, it's a.

A huge piece of technology and and learning on that side. But let me ask you a, few last quick questions I have for you, Chris, if you don't mind I always like getting different people's advice on certain topics. And so I wanted to say, what is the best leadership advice you may have received that you'd wanna share with the audience today?

Chris Howard: you know I don't know if this is leadership advice that I've received or just something that I've learned throughout my career. It's just as easy to, you know, close and implements a mouse as it is to close and implement an elephant. So go elephant, honey. I like that one. And then, you know, from the perspective of my leadership style, I guess would be you know, I, I tend to, you.

We're all people, whether you're the CEO of a company or whether you are a customer service representative for a company, we're all going to work to try to make our family's lives better. So, treat everybody with respect and the dignity that they deserve for trying to accomplish that monumental task and taking care of your family.

And then just, you know, everybody has a different point of view. So, listening to people, I think listening to people and not having the answer. But knowing that the answer comes from the experts that you have working with you instead of, so have people work with you instead of for you? I think that's, you know, my leadership style.

I don't know if it's advice. No, that's right. Worked for me. So, I have a really strong team of leaders and, you know, I trust each of them to manage their business and to do what's right for their business. And I know that I wouldn't succeed without them. 

Ryan Eaton: Yep. Be someone that people want to be around. Right.

Chris Howard: Exactly. Do business with people that you like to do business with because life's too short. 

Ryan Eaton: David always says here at our office, he said, you know, I used to have to do business with anyone just because I needed the business. Now I actually get a pick who I wanna do business with. And I think it's treating people the way you wanna be treated.

Like you mentioned earlier. The big reason for that. So, look, one more question for you. From a sales standpoint, distribution standpoint, you can kind of take it whatever way you want. What's the best advice you've either received or what you've learned from that side of the business? 

Chris Howard: I would say be persistent, you know, no, isn't a is just a word, you know, I would say that you know, creating relationships, hanging around listening, being some, being someone that people wanna listen to, being someone that people wanna hang out with in the long run.

I think that's what gets business. Yep. I've been fortunate in my career. I've closed a couple of billion dollars’ worth of insurance two or three of those elephants. And a whole bunch of, you know, dogs in between and even a couple of mice, but you know, it was, it is always, you know, nothing was ever a, here you go.

Here's my business. When I walked in the front door, it's taken time, it's taken, you know, Thought process and kind of creating a plan. And then following the plan, following up being creative being an ally, being a resource, even if they're not customers yet being an ally and a resource, I think is, is an important component of the sales process.

And then, you know, just be thoughtful. It's really you know, selling is one of those, the combination of persistency for my thoughtfulness. Being smart. And then just not quitting until you get your job done. 

Ryan Eaton: No, I love it. I love it, Chris. And so look, , one more random question I promise is the last one.

What is your favorite business book? 

Chris Howard: My favorite business book, believe it or not. American Bankers is great because they force us, force us to read business. And it's kind of between two, it says a book called and it's not even a business book, but we read it as a business book. It's called sidhartha. 

Ryan Eaton: I have not heard of that one. Okay.

Chris Howard: And, and then the art of war. 

Ryan Eaton: Good one. No, I love that. Well, Chris, man, I, I can't thank you enough for being on the show. I, I know we've spoken before, but it was great to get, to spend some time with you and pick your brain on this. I know it's very, very much appreciated from our audience and listeners, people listening in.

So, thank you for taking the time to share with us today. 

Chris Howard: We got it. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Ryan Eaton: Thank you, Chris. Appreciate you, buddy. 

Chris Howard: Bye-bye.

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