Insurance – Business/Commercial: James Fuller, Coordinated Insurance Services

James Fuller

Business Category: Insurance – Business/Commercial

Summary: Commercial Insurance agent James Fuller of Coordinated Insurance Services generates 65% of his agency’s business from his BNI chapter in Salt Lake City… His first year, $10,000 came from referrals, his second he doubled that, so there’s no surprise that James has now entered into his seventh year in BNI…

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Laura Viskovich: Welcome to the Professional Business Connections. I’m Laura Viskovich. And I have a wonderful guest on the show today. James Fuller owns the Coordinated Insurance Services. Welcome to the show.

James Fuller: Sure. Thank you.

Laura Viskovich: So how did you get into what you do?

James Fuller: You know what? I grew up in the industry, and went off, ran a couple of other companies, and said, “You know, there’s got to be a better way to do this.” And I wasn’t very satisfied with the level of service and the brokers I was working with, so I decided we’re going to go out and start our own, and it’s been excellent ever since.

Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So how do you grow your business then?

James Fuller: You know, a lot of what we do is word-of-mouth advertising. Referrals are usually our highest-quality clients as well as our most profitable clients.

Laura Viskovich: Sure. So you have referrals. So how do you – do you network to get the referrals to build relationships? How do you do that?

James Fuller: Yeah. Definitely existing clients and business relationships that we’ve developed over the years has helped, you know, keep – have a little bit warmer referral rather than, you know, the traditional cold calling or advertising, internet advertising.

Laura Viskovich: Right. Cold calling.

James Fuller: Sure.

Laura Viskovich: How’d that go for you?

James Fuller: You know, we started out that way and realized quickly that it was not a viable solution for what the target we were going after.

Laura Viskovich: Right, no way. So is there any groups that you go to on a weekly basis to build relationships outside of your customer base?

James Fuller: Sure. I’m part of a business networking organization, which is a worldwide organization called BNI, Northern Utah. We do very well inside of that group. We refer a lot of business back and forth, clients back and forth, and then the traditional getting out meeting with other business connections that will help refer out.

Laura Viskovich: Great.

James Fuller: Sure.

Laura Viskovich: So how much of your business comes from BNI?

James Fuller: BNI holds about currently about 65% of our new business to our company.

Laura Viskovich: Wow, okay. 65%. Yeah. You’d want to go each week. So what do you think the secret sauce in attending a BNI meeting is?

James Fuller: Represent what you do, do what you say you’re going to do, and build relationships.

Laura Viskovich: Great.

James Fuller: And relationships are the top of everything we do. We are a risk management firm, and so if we don’t have the trust and rapport built with those who are referring us as well, the clientele, then we’re not doing what we should be doing.

Laura Viskovich: Yeah, okay, great. So how long have you been a BNI member for?

James Fuller: You know, I’ve been a part of a couple of different chapters. My original chapter has started in 2011 and have grown and developed since then.

Laura Viskovich: Great. So you obviously had to start somewhere, so what was it like visiting to find a chapter?

James Fuller: Wow, that’s a big question. You know, I visited a couple of different chapters. What I wanted to find was a chapter where I felt very comfortable as well as gave us and my company the ability grow and excel within the chapter.

Laura Viskovich: Okay, great.

James Fuller: So we’ve looked around and I joined a chapter of about 30 members, and we grew that to about 70 members, and then moved. And now we’re back then to a little bit smaller chapter and looking to grow that too.

Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So do you feel that the training that you receive in BNI from the Member Success Program to the BNI University is a true testament to helping business owners grow?

James Fuller: Yeah, absolutely. They – especially for people coming in to the industry who are not very comfortable or familiar with representing themselves very well and working as – work on their personal development, BNI definitely helps, gives them tools and mentorship on how to develop and grow your business.

Laura Viskovich: Is there an industry that you would love to join your group specifically to help you build that referral base relationship?

James Fuller: Yeah, absolutely. In my contacts sphere of who I do business work and who I refer out business quite a bit, too, would be a business attorney, a business firm would be ideal. I deal lot with clients who have business legal questions, need representation, and usually those are a common client to those business attorneys that can then refer them back to me.  

Laura Viskovich: Fantastic.

James Fuller:  Absolutely.

Laura Viskovich: Great. So you would build that relationship and then you would each refer business to each other.

James Fuller: Yeah, that’s the name of the game.

Laura Viskovich: Fantastic.

James Fuller: That’s build the rapport and the trust and do what you say you’re going to do.

Laura Viskovich: If there’s anyone out there who’s looking to visit a group and they’re just not quite sure where to start, what would your tip and trick be to that person?

James Fuller: You know, get out and visit a couple of chapters. Find one that feels good, you’re going to be comfortable at, and give it a try. You know, trust builds as you’re into a chapter. So like, sometimes, there’s a learning curve or there’s a trust curve that might take a little bit before you start getting a tremendous amount of referrals.

Me, myself, it took a couple of years before I was getting a very solid stream of referrals. Different industries are unique in that, some consumer-facing business entities will do well right off the bat and other more financial industries will take a little bit longer to build the trust. It depends on who’s in the chapter. Who – yeah, who naturally refers in, whether they’re members or not or visitors that are there that can help you.

Laura Viskovich: Great. So you’ve been in BNI for a while now. So what was your year one, year two, sort of like the growth?

James Fuller: Sure. Year one was all about relationship building.

Laura Viskovich: Yeah.

James Fuller: We get enough referrals to, you know, kind of pay for the time spent in the chapter for sure. But really, year two, year three becomes profitable. Year one, I would say we did about $10,000 in, you know, revenue generated from the chapter, which was good. But you know, I – we doubled up the next year and continually improved that. And now we’re, you know, a seven-year member.

Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. Wow, what an amazing story. Thanks so much for coming on and sharing your story. I’m sure you’ve inspired many people out there, so thanks so much, James.

James Fuller: Sure

Laura Viskovich: Wow, that’s James Fuller, Coordinated Insurance Services. What an amazing and inspirational story. 70% of the business comes from BNI. Can’t believe it, it’s amazing. I’ll see you on the next show of the Professional Business Connections.

2018-11-26T15:05:09+00:00By |Categories: Insurance - Business/Commercial, Interviews|

About the Author:

Laura Viskovich is the Communications Director of the Professional Business Connections located in Salt Lake City, UT. As a classically trained actress and dancer in Sydney, Australia, eight years ago she had a dream to create a children's entertainment company. Today Laura has expanded her business from Australia to the United States. She's a speaker, trainer, and an expert at relationship marketing. She understands the value of creating and maintaining strong long-term relationships and connecting other like-minded individuals.
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