Eric: Welcome to the podcast entrepreneur perspectives, building and protecting your business one podcast at a time KazSource family production. In this episode we are going to talk about business in 2017, perspectives on the insurance market and big Ben Roethlisberger. Our guest today is Mitch Long a sales VP at cast source and a huge Pittsburg Steelers fan. Mitch is an experienced insurance agent and broker who was a native North Carolinian and a seemingly spend time in each of the cities in North Carolina. He currently lives in Greensburg. Mitch came to KazSource over three years ago.
He came from a large company where he had visions of retiring from until one day he left with no set job. Mitch is focused on providing incredible value to his clients of financial advisors, property and casualty agents and insurance agents. Through this he deals directly with the consumer helping implementing insurance plans that allow individuals and companies build legacies. Mitch brings perspectives of someone with incredible work ethic and activity, he is very much focused on his clients and their clients and we love that about him. So let’s get into the podcast. Mitch welcome to the entrepreneur perspectives podcast, great to have you.
Mitch: It’s great to be here I really enjoy, we are glad to be here and go Steelers.
Eric: Alright, so we are going to start with ten questions requiring kind of a more thoughtful response and then end with ten rapid fire questions. You are ready?
Mitch: Yes, I am ready.
Eric: Alright cool. So you heard the intro about you but of course we can’t do justice in one opening statements so what I want to do for the audience is tell them something real about you that the audience doesn’t know.
Mitch: Well yes, I was thinking about that one of the things a lot of people don’t know is that I have actually run ten marathons and I am not the smallest guy in the world I am six foot about two forty. But I have ten marathons including the New York marathons, Chicago marathons so I am real fast. But I have always had the ability to keep plugged on and finish the race.
Eric: That is it, I was going to ask you have run them maybe you don’t win the race of course but you do finish them right?
Mitch: Yes, I am usually kind in the middle so my best time is about three hours and thirty minutes for twenty six point two miles. So that is not awful so you are going to be in the middle of most races but you are not at the end.
Eric: That is awesome, so when is the last marathon you raced in?
Mitch: It’s been a while I have done some half marathons but the marathons are, first of all when you start having children they are very time consuming from a trained perspective. I was running fifty, fifty five a week trying to get ready for a marathon. So I run, I guess the last one I run was Chicago in 1995 but we have run some half marathons. I have run the Virginia ten mile in Virginia. We run a half marathon in Roanoke. So that is about all I have time to train for this days.
Eric: I got you, so does running a marathon does that help you out in the business world do you think?
Mitch: I think it does, the one thing is, is just to keep going because during the race you, what ends up happening you are physically ready because you have trained. But there is a big mental aspect to it too because you get tired of running, I ran the Charlotte marathon for example and the hardest part of Charlotte marathon was right in the middle. Sixteen to twenty miles because it was uphill at the time I ran it. So you are already getting tired, you are starting to have a trudge up hill. Your mind starts saying I really rather be over there having a drink and eating lunch than doing this anymore.
Then you get through the twenty mile point and you are still you have got another six miles to g before the race is over. So it does teach you about perseverance and keeping going and not stopping and when things get hard you don’t give up and so I think it has helped me in my business. Because it has helped me t say, even when sometimes you think I am not here working and nothing is really happening what you ultimately find out is when you keep going things really do come back to you and they do happen.
Eric: I like that, I like that so when you made and I mentioned this in the intro. When you left the company that you were with for how many years were you there?
Mitch: Twelve years.
Eric: Twelve years, so you are going along and I mean you had conversations with many people that we both know. That was a place where you were going to stay and they are a great company right? But you decide to make the move and you decide to make the move it wasn’t over night. Clearly you had a thought process going on, what that was like and I am not necessary tying into the marathon aspect of things. But it is a journey right? And you are going down this path and you are exhausted and you are tired and you are trying to finish your own race regardless of the company that you are with. It is still your own journey, your own race. How was that mentally?
Mitch: Yes, for me as the company had changed hands a couple of times and as the company got bigger and I have had this happen before. But as the company gets bigger and bigger you start feeling like your impact is less and less. So the reason I came to KazSource is because it is a small group. Its people that I have known for years obviously, it really felt like coming home and I felt like getting back to what I want to do. My thing is I don’t want to be involved in all the corporate stuff I want to involved with the clients and the insured the people that we are working with to go out there and work them directly and that is what I am and I am not a corporate guy. Even though as you said I really thought that I would finish my career at that old company. But I think particularly in our society today the companies are changing hands so quickly that sometimes overnight things can really change and they are not the same and it is not the place that you want to be personally.
Eric: Yes, I understand that. So now you are here you are in your day to day work. What is your focus day to day and what is your ultimate goal for the business and for yourself?
Mitch: What I want to do and I learned a long time ago that I want to be out in front of the agents. Different people do their marketing and their business in different ways, but I have always been a face to face guy and even in this world of social media and eastern access and emails and cell phones and all that there is still that personal relationship that you are trying to develop with your clients and in our business the clients are agents and financial planners.
They can get online and get anything they want online, so the difference to me is that face to face relationship where I have known a lot of the people that I work with for over twenty years. I know their kids, I was talking to an agent the other day and I said I remember when your son was four years old and now he is getting married. So those relationships are hard to replace and I think that still plays a big role on what we are trying to here at KazSource.
Eric: Yes, so you are digging deep. We talked about digging deep, building a relationship as opposed to just getting as many relationships as you possibly can and staying real small with those. You have the mindset that build a relationship like you said, you know their kids, when their kids get married obviously that seems to be really important for you.
Mitch: Yes, absolutely and I like that, that makes me- they know who I am and of course I go in there and brag about my kids and my granddaughters. But I see their kids and in see their grandchildren and so that personal relationship to me builds loyalty and as fast as our society is moving if you can find some relationships where there is loyalty that is going to help you in the future.
Eric: And you are keeping it and I have seen this so I am asking something that I kind of know already. But you are genuine in your conversations so when you asked a question about my kid for example you care, you know and we know that when you talk to business owners or people in business they love to talk about themselves and not in a bad way I mean. But it is interesting if you ask them questions about their kids or their interests they forgot and they love the talk and off they go and if you genuinely care to what they say that it can help but be a good conversation.
Mitch: That is right and I was thinking just as you were saying that I was thinking about a story about your son as a matter of fact, when we took his football to a football game and we were thrown and ended up in the parking lot and I accidentally threw it on top of a roof of a building, I don’t know if you remember that?
Eric: I do, I do.
Mitch: And I mailed it my new football, I felt so bad about it. But you know that is a story that we still talk about and now he is what, thirteen, fourteen years old?
Eric: Thirteen. Yes, it’s crazy.
Mitch: And so, but that is a story we talked about for years and that s that personal relationship that I think makes a difference.
Eric: Well you know it is funny that we talk about but he still talks about it so often when we are playing football or we are on a random place playing football he is like Mitch sent me that football. Remember that story and e talks about it and he remembers that it was the Carolina Panthers verses the Miami Dolphins on Monday night football. So he remembers like specific aspects around that, he will never forget who you are and I remember my grandfather many years ago. He was in the insurance business and one thing he used to do is he would stick a- he would put a stick of gum in a thank you later. Well now today if you put a stick of gum in a thank you letter you would probably get FDA would come after you or something right?
Mitch: They will all be investigating you.
Eric: Yes, but that was a memory that kids had the legacy had a second and third generation they would say I remember your grandfather used to do this thing and this could be like thirty, forty years ago they used to do that. So it is that little memorable thing you dig deep down to that relationship that lasts a long time.
Eric: So removing all that you do for KazSource in your life and what you are doing, what is your passion?
Mitch: Well, you know as I have got older your life changes and things that you thought were really important as a twenty year you know, that’s new to decide now. So I really personally enjoyed exercising, I have always felt like that helps me both physically and mentally. Because our business is a tough business, something that does put some stress on you. But the other thing I guess is really my kids and now I have got a granddaughter and I get to play that role of grandfather and I don’t have to- I am not taking them to school but I just get to be with them and spoil them and then I get to go home. That’s really become my passion and then my son is still really active in sports and he is getting ready to go to college in a year. So really trying to enjoy that last year of now he is going to play football this year, he is going to play basketball and so just trying to enjoy every second of the games we have got left with him.
Eric: I understand that they grow fast.
Mitch: Oh yes.
Eric: So taking your son we have talked about him a lot with him using social media and you guys listening to podcast and taking that into the marketing world. What is your perspective on marketing today compared to say what it was fifteen, twenty five years ago?
Mitch: Okay, the funny thing is back when I first stated literary this sounds unbelievable but I actually had a pager, no cell phone and my boss said you need to have a pager and have a roller quarters in your pocket all the time, and literary people would page and I head for the nearest pay phone and can’t even find a pay phone. We did business like that and we did a lot of business like that, but it still was going out and seeing the agents and being in front of them because you didn’t have that instant access, the podcast, the Skype the way we do now. Now it is instant access. It is good there is good things about it, I mean I do a lot of business over the phone for example where people are giving me the information that I used to collect in front of them on my application and I can submit it online. Those things are very convenient and what that does is it helps you focus, the people that I am going to see are the lager cases that are more complicated and for the other clients that we still what to help and we still have that need to help them. We can get them done using the media and the online access that we have.
Eric: Okay, so in your conversations with business owners let’s say they are in their fifties and sixties. Do you believe that in general they have they adapted to the way marketing is today?
Mitch: Somehow, and it is somehow but it is sort of funny but I do have some agents that have been around. I have got one agent that is a million dollar round table with Western agent. He has been around a lot time and he was an old school guy but he really has adapted to the media and it takes the guys in their fifties and sixties a little longer to figure it out. The twelve year old kids could figure it out in two seconds, we always tell Adam if we need to hook something up we just give it to him and pretend that it’s done and it’s done. But the older clients, the agents and clients are figuring that out and they are using the social media and because they know they have too. Because the younger generation that is coming up that is what they are used to. That is how they want access to information is online, on their phones and so you really do have to adapt to that.
Eric: Yes, and I think that it is interesting too that you have adapted to it and you don’t fight it. We see a lot of people that fight it that we don’t understand Facebook or we don’t understand that and I get it. There is certain aspects of it that just are odd but at the same time there is so much happening in those Eco systems that if you can play and learn to play within that eco system you don’t have to be active on it in a daily basis but you can hire someone for it.
For whatever you need to do but there is a lot being done their and that is the direction that things are going. Whether it is Facebook or another company down the road or some other system that is built there is a huge future in that and it is funny till you brought that story about your role of quarters and the pagers way back. There is an article we wrote together a while ago and we will put that article in the show notes the link to it. It is pagers and rolls of quarters it’s a good story. So now we are talking about the baby bummer generation the fifty, sixties and older and it applies to the market that we talk about quite a bit.
Which is the insurance market and more specifically the long term care market? What is your view of the long term care market? Obviously it has changed a bit and more change seems inevitable with cost of care in the rise, the health care plan that is constantly influx and then people living longer. What is your view of that?
Mitch: Well I think it is exciting and the traditional long term care, the plan that sort of work like you always say it works like your home owners insurance. I pay home owners insurance for thirty five years if my house never burns down I really never got benefit from it. But what I tell people is if my house does burn down that is the greatest deal I will ever have because all the value of my assets will be replaced. Same thing with the traditional long term care, you buy it and if I never need it if I happen to be that person that never needs then maybe I didn’t get any benefit from it.
But there are still reasons to have it because the impact of that is huge, if I go in and like you aid the cost of health these days sixty, seventy thousand dollars in a nursing home per year. That is a big impact of my estate, but the good news is there is so much more opportunity now to couple the long term care with your life insurance, with annuity so there is a lot more unique products on the market place that we can design specifically for the people and to do what they want to do and how they want to address that issue.
Eric: Yes, it’s a constant question I think when we talk about life insurance is not as talked about but long term care is. Because so many people have a story about it whether it is a grandparent or something that they dealt with personally or a family member they know someone who has dealt with it so it is a topic that people want to talk about. It is in the papers, it s in the magazines and obviously health care in general it’s always talked about. Every day you pick up a newspaper, people still pick up newspapers you pick up your iPhone and there is an article that you can read about it. So it’s always top of mind, it must be interesting for you as you sit down that people want to talk about that, where traditionally insurance is not the most talked about topic.
Mitch: No, and you know the thing is now with the life insurance, so that is sixty percent of every life insurance policy we have now has some kind of what I call living benefit on it. Whether it is an accelerated death benefit long term care, critical illness, chronic illness I am meeting with the doctor today they want disability insurance but he is sixty seven years old. In most of the domestic care years I am not going to like that.
But we are actually going to use a life insurance policy with a critical and chronic illness that will give him an opportunity an option and that is what I talk to people about. But having this long term care rider on your policy or critical illness or chronic illness, down the road it just give s you options. You may never access your life insurance for long term care but it is nice to know that you have the opportunity to do that if you needed to. So about sixty percent of all the life cases we are doing now have some kind of right or wrong. They are related to long term care.
Eric: It’s amazing because ten years ago that wasn’t the case and now look at it how much it has changed. A lot of what you are saying is how you are educating the consumer, you are educating the advisor which is something that obviously we talk a lot about and then taking that education and kind of going back a little bit to Adam for example. We hear a lot about education and whether education in this country is working, if it is not working. For someone with a kid in high school and you have had other kids go through the same process. What do you think about education as it is today?
Mitch: I was thinking about that and I had a professor one time that talked about what a college degree for example does for you. He said it’s just a ticket, he said it’s like getting your ticket punched. He said some doors will not open for you if you and you might be the smartest guy in the world. But he says some doors will not open for you if you don’t have this college degree. But he said after that it’s what do you really have? So that is the thing that we always talk about with our kids is you know you got o get the college degree but you also got to have something else beside that and you have got to- when that door opens then you got to be able to perform. I think that is what the education needs to be focused on is really practical, what am I learning that I am going to be able to translate to a job or an occupation or career in the future?
Eric: Yes. So getting that real life experience beats the classroom work but the classroom work is obviously necessary like you saying. Because it is getting you a ticket punch to get you to the next level.
Mitch: I know with my son Adam he doesn’t have to have a job but we actually make him go up and work at a local restaurant here to get experience. Practical experience on what it means to show up on time, what it means to do your job during day and make yourself valuable to your company. Because we always say there is always room for good people and so if you go in there and perform then they are going to say hey there is no way we are going to get rid of this guy because he is always here.
He is always working hard and again he brings something to the table and he would laugh, he would come home he was doing dishes and he would be soaking wet when he came home and he made the comment one time and he said I feel like a single mom trying to make ends meet and we laughed. But you know and even some of his friends were saying why are you working? You don’t have to work, but he wanted to get that practical experience of what it meant to be in the work place and I think that is as valuable as the education is.
Eric: Yes, I agree that is a good story. So you have a perspective on it and then you have worked with so we talked about fifties and six years old the baby bummer generation and they have a perception of someone. Like what your son is like or the millennial generation the twenties and the very early thirties I guess right now and they have a take and they have this perception that they are doing it wrong. Let’s say and social media has we have talked about already becomes so big and you watch your son and they are on their phone and they are flying through their Facebook feed or Instagram or Snapchat. What is your perspective on the baby bummer generation as it relates to not only them using social media or your kids or young people older than your son for example. What is your perceptive of that?
Mitch: I think the social media is good although I think that it can be some paralysis by analysis kind of it. It is so much out there and they spend so much on their phone that often it’s hard to get that generation to focus. Because it is always quick and so I think there is a danger in that although things like LinkedIn and some of the business related social media I think it is an awesome way to connect. You can find people that fit your market and what you are trying to do almost instantaneously.
But I think that still that personal relationship even the younger generation they like t do things I mean, I have more and more that they like to do things over the phone. Les do it through phone and email and I sell more insurance now to younger generation on the phone. But I still get the right client and they still want that personal relationship with the person they are working with. So you just have to know your market place and read how they want to do business and then have the ability to do that business the way they want to do it.
Eric: Yes, now kind of off the cuff right now you and I as we have this conversation we are on Skype I can see you, you can see me. Do you think video live video has an opportunity to maybe even develop more business for you?
Mitch: I think it can because it is hard to be everywhere and that you know not and I am a guy that likes t go drive and see people and even after all these years that is the way started. But I still like that but you do that more selectively but yes I can see right now I can be on the phone with you and you could be a client of mine and we can get the business done and you can be anywhere. You can be sitting on the beach and I can be doing business with you, I had an agent that called me this morning and he is in Wisconsin by a lake and he called me and we did some business over the phone at 6.30 in the morning. Yes it just gives you an opportunity to have relationships with more and more people that maybe you are not close enough to even do business with them face to face.
Eric: Absolutely, the development of augmented reality is what you are talking about where you guys can actually both be on the beach talking to each other. But you are in your house and he is in his house somewhere in Wisconsin and you guys can be on the beach in Miami Beach and having a conversation like you are really here. That is the direction this is going and it is wild to even think that it could be the way you are selling life insurance let’s say in twenty years.
Eric: So with communication with video we would like to talk a lot about email marketing. I think it is a polarizing topic. A lot of times live in our emails, sometimes too much and we would like to ask people what there take is on email marketing from the standpoint of, you know, go to a website and they give you Opt-ins. Do you sign up for those opt-ins and you do, do you unsubscribe from them? What is your overall take on email marketing?
Mitch: I think it is good, I think it is a fine line I have done a lot of email stuff in the past and you want to be effective. You don’t want to overwhelm. What I always worry about is people get so many emails from so many different directions and so many different marketing organizations. Then what ends up happening is they don’t view them as important and so they end up delete, delete, delete. I know I do that a lot I don’t know who you are I am going to delete you. So what I try to do is not overwhelm people. If you send something every day they are going to ignore it because it is every day. So I try to get that it is concise and quick and something that one page I don’t send twenty five. Similar carrier will have a sixty page marketing I said nobody is going to flip through sixty pages of information on an email. So usually I try a one page or a quick idea and what I call that is just another way to start the pod and that is what you are trying to do. You are trying to it’s another way to touch your client or touch an agent who you are trying to get some information in front of. But you want to make a concise and not overwhelming.
Eric: It makes sense and so with that I think a lot of companies have gotten in their own way and they got away from the heart of their business which ties into an article we wrote together. I mean it was your article on sportsentrepreneur.com titled get back to the heart of your business and in it we talked about how businesses are losing their heart and you often say how people don’t have any authority or ability to make a decision and ultimately businesses forgot why they even got into business in the first place. Expand on this a little bit.
Mitch: Yes, you hit right on the nail. My thing was some of our carriers that we work with and we love them all and as you know some are good at certain things and not good at others. But they really have people are not able to make decisions and so you end up with the administration piece of it become the thing. Instead of saying hey we are in the business of selling insurance and meeting clients needs these are the things that we are going to do really well. We end up- the process becomes the business we have a team that looks at this and a team that looks at that and a team that looks at this where I always have believed give that client, hire a good person and give them the authority to make a decision and to get that business process in the way you need it processed.
So that we can get our product out to the company and I was talking to one of our reps the other day and I said man we are terrible at getting our product to the market place. I mean our product is a policy I promise and we need to be better at getting product to the market place and we are awful at it. If in went to the grocery store and said I would like to buy a can of beans and they said that is going to be two weeks what would I do? I would go to a different grocery store right? I am not going to say well I will wait two weeks. You have got to get your product t the market place and so I think that that is where some of the companies are lost focus and that is what here at KazSource we are trying to do is, we are trying to deliver what our promise is and that is what I like about what we do.
Eric: You think small businesses, his large companies have so many layers of management and I believe that small businesses have an advantage in that space. Obviously, they have disadvantages in others. But they have an advantage in that space because the can create the ability to make a decision. You would agree with that?
Mitch: Absolutely and I think that the smaller companies are uniquely positioned to move quicker and the larger companies get so many layers and if you go to a back for example everybody at a bank is a vice president with no authority to do anything. I had one case on a life case where I was trying to get them they had a thirty year older son. Where the client had paid the loan off twenty five years ago and so I was trying to get somebody at the bank to just release the assignment that was on the policy and I talked to ten different people before I finally got somebody that would make a decision to do. So I just think the smaller companies like we are we can move quicker and I think the larger companies are going to get big because they can’t move faster though.
Eric: Yes, that makes sense. So frustrations like that because you have strategic relationships with different carriers frustrations can lead to fear and kind of leads to that question about what is your biggest fear in your business life?
Mitch: My biggest fear is actually the government. Our government in the previous administration in particular was too involved in business and I think the government needs to get out of the way. I have been a big believer that the government’s job should be to create jobs in the market place and help people working. But a lot of the things that were done by the previous administration were really costing jobs as you know there is not as many people coming in to our industry t work into our industry.
I was at a meeting about five years ago where there were two hundred and fifty agents and one of the speakers said “if you are under thirty five stand up” and there were three people out of two hundred and fifty in that room that were under thirty five and part of that is because the government has really made it difficult to be in this industry. So that is one of my biggest fears is just for the government regulation or intervention.
Eric: Yes, now we won’t get into a political discussion here because that could go a lot of different directions, right? But at the same point, you make a great point about the youth in the insurance industry. I see that there is a huge opportunity to become an advisor in the insurance industry right now because like you sad who under thirty five is in this business and it doesn’t seem like it is the cool thing to do right now. But look like a company like us and I am not speaking our book but we have developed a marketing business that is very interesting, that is very more cutting edge than the life insurance industry. But it all goes back to the foundation of protecting your business and it’s what we are doing in this podcast. What if a business doesn’t have a buyer seller agreement? They might have the best idea they have ever had but if they don’t protect that with the guy that wrote the code for that software they did developed, what good is that business if that person is no longer there? So it so important to have someone in this industry that is young, that understands all those different moving parts of these other businesses and they can go and have a b2b relationship with these other business. So I think you make a really good point in that there is opportunity but like you said there is fear in that because of too much involvement then they can eliminate the business all together like kind of what is happening with the health insurance market.
Mitch: That is right absolutely.
Eric: Don’t go anywhere because we are going in to some rapid fire questions right after we thank our sponsor. West Craven Insurance is a leading property and casualty agency in Charlotte North Carolina. Thanks for their love of entrepreneurialism and insurance they have sponsored this podcast. You could find the office of West Craven on Providence road in South Charlotte North Carolina near the new developments of waively place and ray farms. If you are looking to get a quote on your auto or home insurance policy, give West and his staff a call at 7046655340 or you can find then online at westcorner.com. So we are kind of past the thoughtful round we are going into what we call the rapid fire round.
Mitch: A bonus round Eric.
Eric: Yes a bonus round, you are the golly I want to shoot questions at you one after another. A few might be more difficult so take your time with those and let’s get going.
Eric: What book are you reading right now?
Mitch: I am actually reading a book that my daughter gave me called Hitler’s furies and it is about women in Nazi Germany and how some of even the women because I don’t know- drank the [0:32:22.3] so to speak and become Nazis. It’s very surprising where some of these women came from and how they ended up being brain washed almost for lack of a better word in to the Nazis regime. So she kind of turned it on and she just read it out of the blue, I don’t even know why she is doing it. It is not what she is studying but she gave it to me and so that is what I am reading right now.
Eric: That is great, so how are you reading that? Is that hard cover, paperback, Kindle?
Mitch…because I have always been, I mean I read most of my books I listen to because I am usually running. So I have my books on my phone and I am usually listening to wit my headphones. But I am actually reading a hard back book and it’s been a while since I have done so it is sort of need I read ten twelve pages a night. But yes, so it is a hard cover.
Eric: That is good, so when you listen, what app do you use to listen to your books? Is that audio?
Mitch: Yes it is audio books and I am just downloading to my phone and it’s so easy. That is the other thing about technology it makes things so easy for you. So every month you have a credit and I…
Eric: What is on audible that is the Amazon right?
Mitch: It is.
Eric: You listen?
Mitch: And I can look at the books and download one and five minutes later I am listening to the books.
Eric: I love it, now do you listen at normal speed or do you pick the speed up on those?
Mitch: On normal speed, I have tried to pick it up a little bit but next you feel anxious and—
Eric: Yes, you get anxious.
Mitch: So I like to listen to it to relax. So I try not to do.
Eric: I got you, I listen to a lot of books at speed just because of time and I think that is a big thing, no difference in this podcast. This podcast could be 35-40 minutes but if I can listen to this podcast and I am used to it now it takes time to get used to listening at say 11/2 time speed. If I can listen to something, if something takes 30 minutes and I could listen to it in 20 minutes. I just save myself 10 minutes, to me that is valuable but I get it too I definitely listen to books like Shoe Dog, the Phil Knight book. That is a long book but it’s so interesting to me that I just let it go and listen to normal speed but yes that makes sense. Alright so next question, even more rapid fire what is your favorite social media network and why?
Mitch: I don’t have.
Eric: If you have one.
Mitch: I guess LinkedIn just because I have more experience with it and I have made some connections out there with some business opportunities. I would like to know more about how to turn that, you and I have talked about that as to how to turn that. It is so easy to be my friend and the person will always come back and friend you and accept you. But then I am always like alright, then what? Now what do we do? How do we turn that into a relationship that we can do business? But so I guess that would be the one that I would say LinkedIn.
Eric: Yes, I think it goes back to the question that you are sort of asking in a way is it is just building that relationship no different than when you build a relationship with someone face to face. It’s a little harder to do but if actually that conversation where you go a little bit back and forth let’s say messaging can lead to an email, can lead to a phone call, can lead to a face to face, can lead to a lunch and who knows what? And if it is done genuinely then I think you have a chance, the issue that I see with LinkedIn and a lot of these social media networks are people are always out to get something and what can I sell you? I have always find it interesting that I get hit up constantly and people already they have something for our business. I am always amazed like you don’t know anything about me; you don’t know anything about our business. So how can you sell me anything? Like shouldn’t we just talk for a little bit?
Eric: So what social media do you just not get?
Mitch: Facebook and I do not do Facebook and I just- to me that is something is more social which I get. But some of the things that people put on Facebook I just couldn’t imagine anybody being interested in what I had for breakfast or you know that I ran across the street to see a neighbor. So that one is the one that I don’t get and don’t think I will get.
Eric: I got you so alright, what did you have for breakfast today?
Mitch: I actually had cereal so, you know.
Eric: What kind?
Mitch: It was delicious but I didn’t take a picture of it.
Eric: Like did you use Oman milk or soy milk?
Mitch: Just straight up milk.
Eric: Straight up cow’s milk.
Mitch: It was just old school.
Eric: Yes, so what app or program in your day to day work life is most important to you from anything from, it could be a project management tool, calendar, Google maps?
Mitch: Well, it’s funny that you put Goggle maps on there but it really is. I am constantly plugging a number in and I can remember the day just to tell you a story. I used to have maps, old school maps and I shouldn’t say this on out here. But I would be going on the road at 70 miles an hour trying to read a map take the next right, take the next left. So that map app is awesome and it s telling you where to go and most times it gets you there and sometimes it gets long.
Mitch: But yes, and for me it is the phone it’s the iPhone, its being or get on my emails I mean I can do tons of stuff on my phone anywhere I am which is so cool. I remember the days when people would send me emails and I wouldn’t look at email until the next morning. Because I didn’t have the Wi-Fi all over the place that you could get on your email I have got Wi-Fi on my iPhone no it’s instant. I can- an email pops up and I am responding immediately and so that is how things have really changed.
Eric: Yes I get it. It’s the all encompassing iPhone right?
Eric: It does amazing things, so what is the one thing you would tell an up and coming entrepreneur, young person to focus on if they are getting started in business today?
Mitch: Yes, I think it’s hard to some but I think its focusing on your target market whatever that may be. When I first started in the insurance business I mean I literary just got in the car and drove down the road and said there is an insurance agency or a financial planner let me just walk in and talk to them and I developed a lot of relationships that way. But if I could get back what it would be is to really have a plan and to really understand the type of whatever it maybe that you are doing.
Who do I want to work with? Who are the people that I want to target? And then to do that really well. To focus on that and not to get distracted and say this is what I do and to do it really well and then focus on those people that want to do business with you.
Eric: It’s good, alright so give us a quick personal story that got you where you are today.
Mitch: It’s hard to say you know my mother was in the insurance business so I kind of inherited it. I think you had some family in the insurance business so that kind of got you going as well. But you know I do have a story where I got to see what I was doing and how it worked and I had a lady that we did some mistake planning for; she was 83 years old at the time. Her husband had passed away, he had done a really good job and so they had an estate tax problem and so here she is at 83 years old with a pretty major estate tax problem. She had never written a check in her life he had never, she didn’t even know what a check book was and so she was lost and so we helped and her family. Number one, solved their estate planning issue, number two we helped her with long term care and at that age she could buy long term care policy back then, you can’t do that anymore.
What happened in the year 2010 is the daughter called me and said mum is ill and we were going to put her in a nursing home but she just wants to go home does her long term care policy pay for her to be at home? And I said absolutely. So I got to see and I actually went out there when the company came to help her, but I got to see that long term care policy work. I got to see a lady that spent the last nine months of her life in the place that she wanted to be. In her home that she had lived in for fifty years and the nurse came out in the morning.
The nurse came out in the afternoon and she- to me it was a dignified way for her to live the end of her life and then at the end to have the estate go to her two adult children and have the estate taxes paid for by life insurance. That is really what hit home to me to say wait a minute, this is what we do. It is really important and we are helping people, so that idea of helping people is something that kind of kept me in the business.
Eric: Keeps you going yes and you took that. I like what you did because you created a personal story for yourself but you also gave- my next question was going to be a short insurance story and you just did that. So that is really unique, picking the pace back up we are going to go into sports a little bit as we would like to talk about. If you could pick one team of yours to win it all this year, which team would you chose?
Mitch: Well it’s got to be the Steelers of course and that is the way it is every year. I have liked the Steelers since I was 6 years old, they play when I was 6 years old they played the 72 dollar funds in the playoffs and I think I have told you this story. The reason I started liking them is I remember I felt sorry for them because the Dolphins were so good and of course undefeated. So I sort of felt sorry for the Steelers and of course the next ten years was an awesome ten years for the Steelers I mean. Four super balls in six years, but you know like we talk about I know you are a Bill’s fan but when you grow up with that and in my life I don’t get it. I don’t get this thing about the Steelers and I said this has been my life; this has been part of my life. I am 53 years old now for 45 years this team has been part of my life and I have seen them be really, really good and I have seen them be really, really bad. So you sort of live and die with them. So always the Steelers every year we are hoping we will get one more. So it’s supposed to be we are heading for seven right to give us [0:42:31.1] balls?
Eric: Yes, I like that and it is you are right. It runs deep sports and we have talked about in an article in sportsprenuer its sports matters and it matters because it doesn’t matter in a way and it is a really good outlet for all the different things that we have discussed. Whether it is the economy, the government, your business, making money, generating revenue for your company that you work with but sports is deep because it brings you back. It is something that is bigger than you that you don’t have control over but you can have fun with it. I mean to a point now Adam is one of the biggest Steelers fan right? Isn’t his entire room painted in Steelers colors?
Mitch: Oh yes, absolutely. Day one he had a Steeler rapid on the day that he came home from the hospital so I mean he is even more than me. I mean it’s ingrained in him from the first day of his life and so those are the kinds of connections you and I have talked about connecting with people on the things that they like. It might not be sports, it might something else but we have made a lot of connections where we basically sit there and talk about a [0:43:36.6] day football. I know you got some clients who are big state fans and that is how you really connect with people and get beyond just that can I sell you life insurance? So those things are important.
Eric: Absolutely so is big Ben he is getting kind of close to the end here is this going- because how many years has he got left? Is going to bring another one home?
Mitch: Well I think that I think with him, I was talking with somebody yesterday I think there is team that they have got coming back is probably the best team they are going to have in the five or six years and I think he senses that if I am going to get another one its going to be here next year and I think he would be a lot like paint manning for example. I think that if he wants a super he would probably retire. But you got o get passed the patriots and I was just sitting here thinking in business you are trying to be consistent.
You are trying to have consistent revenue, consistent business and be consistent with your clients and you got to give them to these as much as I know they are in your division but you got to be consistent like they are and year after year they seem to have that kind they are consistently good. So Steelers have got to figure out where to get passed them so.
Eric: So that leads to the next question. Who has won in the super ball this year?
Mitch: Well I will always say the Steelers but you do got to put the patriots in the mix. I mean you know they are going to be around unless they have some injuries and I would love for you to be able to handle that for us if you will.
Eric: Right, I think the AFC says usually decided around July.
Mitch: [0:45:07.7 in audible] to laugh harder?
Eric: Yes, I was talking to a Jets fan and we both agree that it is not in their courage for release the bills of the Jets. I don’t think the Dolphins either. But Patriots are probably going to have a pretty good chance to win again but the Steelers like you said they look good and they are a fun team to watch.
Mitch: Yes somebody just has to figure out a way to beat New England at New England.
Eric: That’s it, that’s it. So I appreciate everything that you have shared today I know the audience will as well. But I always know that the audience sometimes wants to interact with the guests that we have on the show. I know you are interacting with people on a daily basis but if someone was to get a hold of you, it might be social on LinkedIn, email, phone. What is the best way if someone wants to get a hold of you right now? What is the best way to do it?
Mitch: Well the phone is in my hand all day long. So my phone number (336) 580-7675 fell free to text or email [email protected] either one of those things I am going to have that in my hand all day anyway so I will see you coming through.
Eric: That is great, so we are going to give you a bonus question. You are a great joke teller, as people have already figured out you are a good story teller. Do you have a family friendly joke that you could share with all of us?
Mitch: Well I actually have a funny story. So this is a story that I tell a lot in my long term care seminars and I never have forgotten it. I do a lot of long term care seminars and I was speaking down at North Carolina at a senior citizen center and I mean it was an old roof. I mean not like 70’s it was 80’s and above and it was packed and it was full. So one of the stories that I tell during my speeches is I usually talk about my grandmother and my grandmother moved in with my parents when she was 88 years old and my dada he said I gave her a bell and I said you know if you need anything you just ring that bell. So he said you know she rings that bell every three hours and so I was telling the story because I think it connects with people about your family, your mum. Maybe you remembered something about your parents when they passed away so I usually tell the story. Well this lady who was 92 years old right in the middle of me talking says “well I have got a story about a bell” and I am kind of looking around and I am like aright go ahead. Give us the story. So she said that she had fell and broke her heel and so she said I was moved in with my older sister. Get this she is 92, she moves in with her older sister who was 94 and she said I could not get out bed. I had to use one of the bed side toilets in the mornings, so she would come in there and she would help me get in the toilet and she would give me a bell and she would say when you are done ring the bell. One day I am in there ringing the bell and she said I could hear her in the kitchen going “well there is the ice cream man lets go get some ice cream. The whole place, just the whole room just laughed. I am so glad I had her tell the story and t was hilarious and so that was her story. I still to this day in my long time care seminars will tell that story.
Eric: That is amazing.
Mitch: You always think of someone.
Eric: Yes, it is amazing the stuff that you can encounter when you get out there and have these meetings and then you run into a situation like that. That just lives with you forever it is so fun.
Mitch: Yes, and that is the fun part o the business as you are meeting different people and hearing their different stories.
Eric: Yes, I think we can come back with another podcast and just tell stories about interactions we have had with different people in different events. That would be a good time.
Eric: Yes, well Mitch it was absolutely awesome having you on this podcast. For those that don’t know Mitch is an indirect reason why this podcast is happening right now from the revenue he brings into KazSource on a daily basis to his excitement about the changing business landscape. The work he does matters and allows KazSource to grow which in turn sponsors ideas like this podcast. The perspectives he brings to our business all the time and on this podcast specifically are now perspective you as a business owner and entrepreneur can use for yourself and for that Mitch thank you.
Mitch: I appreciate it thank you.
Eric: Yes and for any business owner and entrepreneur that is having a tough time making changes I your business I would encourage you to watch a person like Mitch Long. He is someone that wasn’t looking for change but eventually figured out for himself. Change was the best thing for him. If you have questions feel free to reach out to him directly as he has already said it and you can reach out to me as well. You can contact me at twitter @eric_Kaz or the same name on Instagram or you can find us at KazSource.com with links to us on a different social networks. Thank you for listening to listening to KazSource podcast entrepreneurs perspectives, building and protecting your business one podcast at a time and until next time, we are out of here.
A big thanks to West corner insurance for their support t the insurance community and for sponsoring this podcast. Thank you so much for listening to this podcast it is a big deal to us, we hope you found value in it and if you did we would be incredibly grateful if you gave us a review on iTunes. Remember to subscribe to this podcast and feel free to share with anyone you know more than anything thank you again for listening we appreciate it.