Wessly J. Anderson: Pivoting from Brick and Mortar to Working From Home
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COVID19 Special Edition Podcast Series, Helping insurance leaders lead their people.
This podcast is the How-To-Guide for working at home. We talk about the starting point to the finish line and everything in-between. The goal was to give you guidance and tactical information and Wes delivered…BIG time.
Jason Cass 0:01
Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Agency Intelligence. I don’t really want to call this the COVID special, but I guess we could call it COVID-19 Special Episodes. I’m kind of doing this on officially. The last one I did and I immediately did was with Jeff Roy, we talked about the CEO checklist and I publish that immediately. Just like this podcast, no intro, no outro, no ads, just about getting information to insurance leaders so that you, as an insurance leader can lead your people. That’s what this is about nothing other than that. And it had so many downloads and so many people shared it that I thought to myself, wow, we’re onto something. I was talking with my friend Wessly Anderson, who’s joined us. Wessly say hi.
Wessly Anderson 0:46
Jason Cass 0:48
I was talking with my friend Wessly Anderson and we were talking about – I got this call from an agent of many that I’ve had this week. And I felt so bad for this person, and I’m going to talk about that but I reached out to Wessly and where I’m going with this is, is you’re going to now see a series of 5 of these podcasts that are going to be released this week. Well, if you’re listening, today’s Friday, actually next week, they’ll all be out. And then we are going to try and put all that information into an e-book and deliver that to you. My goal is by April 7th to deliver that to the industry. Because Wess has been telling me as well, excuse me, a lot of people have been telling me about the calls that they’re receiving the good things and the bad things that are happening out there and agents that truthfully are suffering. Some of you who are who are not, you may find that hard to believe, but they are and I want to bring those stories forward. And we’re going to connect those problems with solutions. And we’re going to start today with my man Mr. Wessly Anderson, who yes, runs agencies but also his agency, owner of AgencyVA, who is a fantastic VA company and who would be better than to talk to people about using Virtual Assistants or having your employees work virtually from home. How you doing my friend Wessly Anderson, self quarantined?
Wessly Anderson 2:06
I am doing very very well. The quarantined lifestyle isn’t something that is new to me. I would say approximately about 50 days of my life when I was 19 years old was spent being quarantined as high as martial law Yep. Or as low as you know, just being self-quarantined similar to what we’re experiencing right now.
Jason Cass 2:28
What, how, so you can’t just say that.
Wessly Anderson 2:33
Well, I’ll share what here’s what we’re gonna do. I’ll share a like the highest level of I mean, quite frankly of darkness that can happen if you don’t check yourself during these quarantines and we’re going to, we’re going to go there real quick and then we’re going to get into some positivity because I’m not I’m not a fan of negativity, but, but you got to be careful during these quarantines after you experience you know, one week, two weeks, three weeks, you’ll learn that being happy is not as easy as it used to be. And when it’s not as easy as it used to be, it becomes critical. You have to make sure you’re happy. So when we were 19 years old, we were missionaries, there was four 19 year old dudes, we would, we would spend our time to try to make ourselves laugh for 30 minutes of every day. And that became like the most important part of the day. And I’ll never forget, we were sitting inside of a church, there was four of us. We kind of positioned ourself away from the rest of the congregation, and we’re just trying to laugh. We’re telling jokes, we’re trying to giggle because we’ve seen some, some pretty intense stuff. And in the middle of this laugh time, we were very self preserving in the fact that no, we’re not going to help you right now. We’re going to laugh, so please let us be, and we’re in the middle of laughing life’s good. And I remember this gentleman. I say, gentlemen, I use that term, probably wrongly. He comes barging into the church, and he starts screaming and yelling at one of the ladies that was there. And the four of us boys were were very protective 19 year olds. But I remember we looked over to our right, we saw this guy freaking out on the lady and we said, you know what? it’s fun time. She’s kind of, she’s got a handle herself like we were. We’re laughing right now we’re not dealing with carpets. So we continue to have fun time. But the situation escalated to where he was putting his hands on her and getting physical. And so that’s something that Wess doesn’t play with. I don’t I don’t I don’t mess with that. So I remember we actually had chairs, physically that were making it so people couldn’t even come and bug us. I jumped over the chairs. I grabbed the guy. I grabbed him by the shoulders. I turned around, I looked in his eyes. And I said, Hey, don’t touch her, you know, stop it. And this big man, he was huge, had red hair. His eyes were the scariest eyes I’ve seen and I’ll never forget them. And he looked at me and he said, Wes, I’ve just killed somebody. We didn’t say my name. He didn’t know me, it’s that I’ve just killed somebody. I mean, when someone says that to you, first off, you think they’re full of garbage. Second off. I mean, how do you respond? Well, I didn’t think he was full of garbage. By the way. I looked at his eyes, like something was wrong in that guy’s life. And he began to tell the story that as he was quarantined, he went outside to put gas in his generator, because I believe someone in his house was on oxygen. And he had a generator running, I think it was his mother or his father. And there was someone there that was trying to steal that generator. So he said, quite simply, I got a shotgun and I killed them. And so I’m 19 years old. So all I just was kind of I didn’t know what to do. I was scrambling. Well, one of the elder, older people within the church, like literally came walking in, I grabbed him by the shoulders, I put him in a room. I grabbed this guy that was freaking out. I put him in a room. I shut the door, and I went back to happy time. And you know, and it gets even crazier. So we’re on happy time we finished out happy time. Like the other three that I was with remember, there was four of us didn’t skip a beat. So the next day, a happy time. We’re sitting in there. We’re trying to have happy time. I’m like, dudes. No, it was another It was another one of the missionaries. He says, dude, I got to tell you this funny dream I had. It’s not really funny, but it was weird. He’s like, yesterday or in my dream, we were in happy time. And some guy comes barging in the church saying that he killed someone and Wes is over there freaking out, you know, and, and cornering the guy. And we all looked at each other. And we’re like, that’s real life right now. Like that’s, that’s the life we live in. And so that’s as negative as it can get. But we really, as I look back at that experience, like being happy, laughing, keeping a positive attitude, I think was the most beneficial, the most impacting thing you can do when quarantined and our insurance agencies, our clients, they’re all looking at us. And if we’re bleeding out, the fear that we have inside. If we’re bleeding out negativity, you better believe they feel that. And if we’re only positive for 30 minutes in the day, and if we’re making them laugh, and if we’re keeping that mood high and good again, they’re going to feel that. So the important part of right now as we’re quarantined more than this digital stuff that we’re going to talk about is keep your people happy, be positive, be a light, don’t be darkness.
Jason Cass 7:26
That is very, very true one heck of a story and loyal listeners. You know how it is here at Agency Intelligence, we get people on like, Wes, but you guys know like a brother like I do who tells stories like that, that we’re not expecting, but that is a great story and way to put it there you’re happy time. I think it’s important. I want to talk also some of the things that you told us about that you were telling me earlier about why you were late. And not late, but why you’re tired because you stayed up late. Having some some fun with the family. We’ll talk about that in a minute. But I love what your happy time is. Now. Let me frame this up for you here loyal listeners. Wes, the reason I bring him on is because I feel as if I can ask him questions, and he may not have an answer to. But he’s probably ran into an agency dealing with the same type of issues you’re dealing with right now. What is that? Trying to figure out how to start to work from home. We have employees who may be wanting to retire at one time and we’re trying to work them or maybe they’re moving to another state. And we’re saying how can we have like how can we help those people stay in our agencies time Wes that we have that he has these conversations with a lot of people. The difference is today, loyal listeners, Wes, they don’t have weeks, months, and years to learn. They don’t have time to pivot, we need to pivot quickly. And when we pivot quickly, and we have yesterday where we have people who were in our office and now the state says that they can’t come in or we’re doing which is most important if you look back from the CEO checklist, taking care of your employees and protecting them first and having closing the office If we are doing that, and we have to do that today, and we didn’t yesterday, that’s why I brought Wes here. Wes, here’s some questions I want to ask you. And so you guys have a frame of reference. If you don’t know, if you’re a new listener, Wes not only own AgencyVA, but he also has multiple agencies had at one time, I think you still do or maybe…
Wessly Anderson 9:20
Correct I still have two insurance agencies.
Jason Cass 9:23
Correct and okay, and they are and they are basically “virtual”. So he’s been doing this for a while, even before he created AgencyVA, it just kind of AgencyVA came, because he was really good at what he was doing there. So that’s why I bring him on. So Wes, if there’s anything, is there anything you want to add a little bit about that story to frame this up of who you are and your expertise before I ask you some questions?
Wessly Anderson 9:47
So I mean, for 10 years now, I always I never understood why people were spending the majority of their expenses on a sexy office and I didn’t get that. So I’ve always kind of been digital. And then another thing as it pertains to AgencyVA. You know, we have hundreds of virtual assistants we built that company with ever without ever meeting one of them. And if you’re a virtual company, you better believe you need to be able to be nimble and move and be virtual or else why are you a virtual agency? Why do you have virtual assistants so we had to move a couple hundred VAs from across the world. And remember, we built this company not having met them, because technology is sufficient today, and is not expensive. In fact, the things I’ll share today, it’s all free. But technology is sufficient enough today that you can build companies across the world that are completely digital. I mean, we did it, we’ve done it.
Jason Cass 10:39
So what would be if you were just gonna start high, I want to talk about the tools and the things that someone should invest in. Right? That whether it does in some of this stuff does cost sometimes as you said, I want to give that disclaimer here. There’s a lot of free stuff out there. But sometimes when you have to have free stuff, you kind of have to piece it together. We don’t want you to have to spend a ton of money. But also there is a little bit of convenience and spending a couple dollars in order to make it work a little bit more smooth, especially if you don’t have a lot of technical know-how just want to give that out there. But what what are some essential tools that someone needs? I mean, you could start with the number one Wes, like our VAs or working at home, can’t you work without this type of tool? Not necessarily the name brand, this type of tool. What would you say that is?
Wessly Anderson 11:27
It’s no question a digital ecosystem and a digital ecosystem is going to be and I’m gonna jump right into it. You really only have to go Slack or Teams. And and you got to look past today, you got to really look past today in the working remote and see the value that a digital ecosystems can provide you for tomorrow. I believe. And this may sound outlandish. I believe that there will be a day when someone comes and wants to see the valuation of an agency more than visiting an agency because if I’m going to look in by your agency Cass and I go visit it, you’re going to prep everyone, you’re going to tell them to wear collared shirts beyond their best behavior. And if and if I’m telling you I’m coming, you know, in the next week, you’re going to prep everyone to be wearing their best shiny stuff that if we get a visitor, everyone out good. Now a digital ecosystem is run real. So if I’m buying your agency and I say, Cass, if you’re telling me all these things are true, give me your login. Let me be Jason Cass for two weeks, I can see how these people act and run to their leadership, I can see systems processes, I can dive into your digital community. So I believe the valuation of an agency in the very near future will be predicated and one of the factors will be how effective is your digital community? And I mean, how long have I been talking about Slack and Teams? I mean, I can go until I’m blue in the face. I’m not gonna allow this as an opportunity to tell you which one I prefer. I’m not going to do that, because that we could spend the whole podcast on that, but it did-
Jason Cass 12:49
Why would someone need Slack or or Teams in that digital ecosystem?
Wessly Anderson 12:53
Because normally the way that people operate, or at least when I watched a normal agency, it was If someone had a question, they stand, they stood up, they walked over to whoever was that keeper of knowledge. Generally, it is the principal, they walked to the principal, they asked the question, that interaction right there is locked, and it’s isolated to those two individuals, and that is poor. And that is terrible. In a digital ecosystem, that very same question is asked, but you have the synergy of the team to answer. And then when I talk about doing this stuff today, that’s going to help you tomorrow, you then create something that’s searchable. So then you’re creating a team that, hey, we’ve had this discussion about what kind of roofs all stay in MetLife like, in fact, I know you’re gonna ask me, but I’m just gonna tell you, why don’t you search for that inside of our digital ecosystem.
Jason Cass 13:47
So timeout timeout, timeout. Do not let me, you know how my memory’s bad so use your memory here, because you don’t even drink coffee and your teeth are really white. So here’s what I want to say to you Wes. So when you’re talking about that as a loyal listener, let’s translate into what he’s saying there. I have heard agents reach out to me this week who have not been mobile not been virtual. And they’ve said to me, usually we just yell to each other. Hey, does this house have, does it cover this type of dog? Or hey, Linda, and that’s how you’ve been doing it. And now you can’t because everybody’s in their own home. What Wes is saying to you is, is keeping this digital putting that in a Slack or a Teams and getting it answered, now can be searched in the future to where you’re not having to scream to somebody who’s in another house, because you can’t, you’re just going to search that there to make that very simplistic. That is the effectiveness of a Teams or a slack. It’s used for a lot of other things, but searchable questions and knowledge is where he was going with that just wanted to kind of add to that Wes, keep going buddy.
Wessly Anderson 14:51
And so digital ecosystems, yes. Doing stuff today that’s going to help you tomorrow once you create a digital ecosystem, and when this world gets put back together because it will. And we got to have the faith that it will and it’s going to happen. When this world gets put back together. When we are back at our offices, there are a number of studies that show and clearly defined that if someone has the ability to go home and work and not skip a beat, their overall morale and health are better. So now you can look at someone and they’re performing well. And you can say, hey, Susie CSR, we now have the tools in place. Why don’t you hop home, go spend Friday with your family, get your job done. Everyone tells the story about being an insurance agent is great because I can work from the beach. I mean, that’s the most beautiful story and tell days like today when you have to do it.
Wessly Anderson 14:59
Digital ecosystems are that component that allow you to work from the beach that allow you to let your team go work from home.
Jason Cass 15:48
Could we say that an agency management system is a digital ecosystem it is allowing me, no?
Wessly Anderson 15:54
A hundred percent no. A digital an AMS is…yeah. No, no. I mean, an A MMS. So agency management system is exactly that. So let’s let’s use the acronyms AMS. Agency Management System. It has nothing about communication in their agency management system. It’s for managing your agency Slack, let’s use the acronym of Slack. Searchable Log of All Communication and Knowledge. That’s where communication goes. And it’s searchable, all knowledge and communication in one singular spot. That is the digital ecosystem. Plus, you’re going to switch your AMS everyone’s switches, I don’t know, an insurance agency that’s, you know, older than 10 years with the same singular AMS. So that data is going to leave there and you better hope and as it goes to another place, it goes clean, which it will not .Slack and Teams, that’s yours. Also, as a side note, and we’re not going to spend time here, Jason, but ask your AMS who owns that data, or you know, everything that you put inside of it, because I’m just telling you, it’s not you. Inside Slack and inside Teams, you have more of a control of your own data.
Jason Cass 16:57
So in a, in simple form, you can use something like a Slack or Teams, and it’s really for your own preference in a way, they’re kind of different, but they are used to the same way you can use it as an internal chat. You can do video screen shares with each other. You can do screen shares without the video. You know these you can make phone calls to each other, you can look at each other’s calendars in certain instances, you can connect other things to it, you don’t need to get that in depth, but start creating a spot as he’s saying where the digital ecosystem is, have you starting the communication so that we can share it at a later time or pull it up in I mean literally can be asked in the next day. Keep going on what would be your next thing there.
Wessly Anderson 17:38
Number two would be video communication in this time right now. You need to see the eyes of your people remember in my story starting I’m telling you I normally wouldn’t believe someone when they told me that they killed someone and I look in their eyes. You need to see the eyes of your people. You need to be able to gauge if they look like things aren’t well if they’ve got hope. If they’ve got fear, if there’s anxiety, you have to read them, and you have to see them. So a video communication is imperative. You can have this beautiful digital ecosystem, which is generally stuff that you’re typing and writing, but you still need to see these people and technology allows us to see all our people every day. And I encourage anyone that is quarantine and working from home, to make it a daily, not a weekly, a daily thing that you’re looking in the eyes of your people, and this can be five minutes, and this can be your happy time that you laugh. It doesn’t have to be about production right now. It can be happy it can be, “how are you?Is everything okay?” You know.
Jason Cass 18:36
A lot of things should not be about production. (Yes) I wanna, I want to throw that key right now. I’ve got a couple people, even in the insurance industry that are out there trying to sell me on stuff and truly pissing me off to be honest with you. It’s really, really tacky. Now, one second, if someone wants to get a video camera, they’ve been thinking like, I got to do this video thing. I mean, should we get a bad one or cheap one? I mean, how much should we think about spending if we’re going to get a video camera to do.
Wessly Anderson 19:01
So the one I have and I like it’s on Amazon. I can’t remember the brand. It’s 70 bucks. All the Logitech brand ones are like 70 bucks. I like those ones a lot.
Jason Cass 19:12
You’re mostly like a 920 or a 910 or something.
Wessly Anderson 19:15
That one seems to be the most common. I’ve got a couple of them sitting here. If and I’d give them to anybody. Your laptop works as well. Most laptops are going to have a camera installed. If you’re the agency owner, it’s your job to provide this equipment to them. If they’re using their laptops at home and their does not have a camera. Spend the 50 bucks make that delivery make it freakin happen. You need to look in their eyes. And and the medium that I think is the most simple to do is zoom. Because zoom is simple and easy and you can get a link and what we do is we get that zoom link and then we put it in our Slack channel,that Slack channel is called agency meeting. There could be a zoom link placed in there any moment. My team’s very unorthodox, and people know, shoot we got to jump on, and they do. And we, you know a lot of people when they’re on these video conferences, inevitably, the dog walks in, you know, the husband comes walking in his unders I mean, how many videos have we seen in this stuff? Look that should be celebrated right now. Like when they bring in there kids should be you don’t look down on them, you say introduce me, who is that? When their dog comes piling on and licking their face? Who do we got here? You know, like, let them be people. Let them, I mean that this is this is so so critical in the office environment. You know, you guys celebrate when their children come in. You don’t celebrate their husband and his unders but in the opposite you do celebrate when the kid comes in. The same should be said you know and have things like that say hey, next zoom call everyone bring you know a loved one from their house or something they love if they’re alone, something that they love, and see what people bring man like let them bring their child, their dog or a hobby that they love. You need to start learning about these people when they have home field advantage inside their home. And you need to see their eyes.
Jason Cass 21:06
So you can use something like a zoom, you could use. I use vineyard for a little bitty things. You’re talking about actual meetings, though, on that you could use GoToMeeting, you can use those different types of things. You can actually even do them inside of Teams, and inside of Slack. So you so even if you said hey, I’m just gonna stay with the Slack. I don’t want to have a lot of stuff. Wes and Jason, I’m not really I’m very technically challenged. Okay, stay with the Slack, go get your video camera or stay with the Teams and your video camera and you can still be you still now have a digital ecosystem that we’re trying to help you create.
Wessly Anderson 21:43
I want to put some out there Jason while you’re saying that and i and this might, I mean the but. So so I have to like put this with a I’ll say it with, I have the linchpin that I end the parachute that I can pull away if I need to. Because I don’t know how big or little it will be but I want to put this out there that if anyone needs help setting up a Slack or Teams if they can provide me with a roster with their names and with their email, I’ll put it together for them, something.
Jason Cass 22:13
Give them an email that they could send them.
Wessly Anderson 22:14
It’s easiest to find me on Facebook more than my email because my parents were hippies. They spelled my name WESSLY, then there’s a J and then Anderson so there’s no one that has that S-S-L-Y but me so and my Facebook profile’s public, messaged me. I really would enjoy helping you. I’m gonna I don’t want to deviate too much here main Cass. We can go all day. We’ve done it all day. We’ve been together a lot. People that are in pain, people that are struggling, the greatest resource they have is serving others. You better believe I’m feeling pain, you better believe there’s struggle inside my life. So if I can get an opportunity selfishly to help you. It’s not going to take me long to build you out of Slack. It may take you a couple days. I’m looking about 10-15 minutes. So I can build it out. I’m happy to do that.
Jason Cass 23:03
Wess and I were speaking in Tennessee. And he was showing people how to do this. And then he just said, just send it to me. And a ton of people sent it to him. And so he’s not. Yeah, he really will. So we have the digital ecosystem, video conferences are very important. And notice all this stuff that we’re talking about goes back to what Wes was saying at the beginning- communication, right? That’s what we’re trying to do communication. 95% of the world’s happened because the lack of or misuse or reading of communication. So that’s, that’s very, very important. All right, where do you got next?
Wessly Anderson 23:39
This is the last and final thing. So I kind of wanted to pivot off of number one with that digital ecosystem that’s changed the changeable. That is something that we can change. So let’s change the change role with our digital ecosystem. Number two with video communication, we can’t see the eyes of our people. So video communication is important. Let’s accept the unchangeable. We can’t go back. So video communication, we can’t go into our offices and see their beautiful eyes every day. So let’s use video for that. Now number three. And this is kind of, this isn’t exciting but it’s what needs to be done when you have a digital ecosystem is remove yourself from the unacceptable. And and here’s what I want to share with that. You’re going to have expectations inside your agency whether you’re together or whether you’re remote those expectations should not change. When you have an expectation, you always have to remember this simple sentence. You cannot expect what you do not inspect. You cannot. So if you’re expecting something of your team, it is now your job as the general, it is now your job as the owner of the agency to have something that inspects that. And so what we do when we send people home, well, we don’t send anyone home because we don’t have anywhere to send them from we’re completely digital, but what we start when we start these, when we bring someone in, we have to have something that we can inspect of what they’re doing. You don’t need to spend crazy money on tracking software. You can use what we start with is Google Sheets. And you can use Excel if you’d like, as well. And inside that Google Sheets, if they’re your quoter, you just put a couple of fields up top one that says the household name, one that says the time they started, one that says the time they finished, how many houses, I mean, how many dwellings, how many vehicles and then some notes. And they’re just every time they’re quoting, they’re putting that. But if you’re gonna expect things of these people, you need to inspect that you provide them a log, and you don’t tell them and you got to be that’s why they need to see your eyes when you do this. You got to look at them and say, Look, this is an attempt to micromanage you. We have expectations here at our agency. I want to inspect, you know, that’s my job to make sure that we’re upholding that. And so this is a simple way by which you can go in and you can put your stuff inside this Google Sheets, we embed that within our Slack. So they can just go click that button in the starting of the day, and they can just go fill out their log. Now, this though is where an AMS would work. And AMS will work fine with this as well check your AMS. And in your meetings when you’re getting down to business you’ve had the fun with them, you’ve made them laugh. You know now let’s make sure our companies are staying afloat. Share your screen on the video and look at the AMS what are they’re doing. Now you have a unique opportunity that you can take the fog of ambiguity that existed inside your office and create transparency. And what I mean by that is let everyone see everything. So in a team meeting, put how many quotes John did. How many service calls Sarah did. Let everyone see everything. Use this as an opportunity to be very transparent. And allow your team to see -“oh my gosh, you know, Boss Wes sure loves Mike over there”. We’ll Why does he love Mike because look at what he’s doing. He’s outperforming everyone. Make your office transparent. Your expectations need to be inspected, whether it’s an AMS, whether it’s a simple Google Sheets have something that everybody can see, fight that ambiguity, replace it with transparency, the results will be fantastic.
Jason Cass 27:20
And this is a mindset thing. This is a mind change here. And that’s what he’s saying, we get it. You’ve been thinking about doing this, this virtual going mobile, however you want to call it, you’ve been thinking about doing this, and with your own staff. This is how societies change. This is the times, it’s in these times of need and necessity breeds invention. It’s these times right here that people are forced to do norms. Think of how our society is changing loyal listeners of those who have never ordered Uber Eats who have ordered it three times, right? Think of those who have never went shopping at Walmart said that they would always keep going in or whatever store and now they’re having the groceries delivered. They’re doing things that they normally didn’t do. And I guarantee a lot of them aren’t going to go back. And they’ve done nothing but move forward. But they did it when they had to. That’s where we’re at right now. If you’ve listened to these things, if you’ve read the magazines, you’ve heard the podcast, you’ve listened to, you know, people at Babylon, you’ve listened to Wessly talk about it, you’ve listened to the insurance guys, we’re talking about this going virtual. And you just, this is the time, and we’re giving you this and the reason why I say this with the mindset real quick is, is I’m listening to us talk about this, and I’m thinking to myself, God, this is good information. But if you just can’t get out of your own way, that’s going to be a problem. So you’re gonna have to start realizing, as he said, I’ve never been transparent before. You kind of have to start being very transparent. And what’s amazing is, is that you don’t have to be- I don’t know how to explain it right when I say it, but when we’re all in the office, there’s an aura of transparency that is just normalized when you take us out of that office and you put us into our own cubicles in our own house. Now it feels as if people probably don’t realize how hard I’m working, they probably don’t understand how great I’m doing or maybe they don’t realize that I am putting too much dishes in the dishwasher and closing the laundry when I should be working. Everybody starts getting this era and the more is he saying that we can be transparent with our communication who we are seeing each other in our eyes creating this depot digital ecosystem. Notice so far what we have said we started with some of the most important parts. Basically slacks free, yes, there is like you can do the pay but I’m telling you right now we use it for AI and we don’t pay it on either. We use it we don’t pay and we do a lot of stuff. We run our pretty much our whole Office . We told you about getting a camera most of you have a laptop camera comes with it or you can pay $70 we talked about zoom that’s free unless you wanted to get the free but you can use it or inside of this nothing that we’re talking about here is crazy. Okay everything is very simple and basic. A lot of it is in your head and your mindset Now let me ask you this What if we have talking about tracking them and not tracking them but you know it just Wes I feel good when I’ve got Sue Ellen or or you know Wes I feel good when I can see Jonathan right over there and I can see that he’s doing his work and and it makes me feel good. I mean, how do I get out of that mindset to make myself relax? What am I looking for? What can I use as a gauge to help me understand that they’re getting their work done when I can’t see them any insight in that any thought?
Wessly Anderson 30:56
I think thoughts on that the the thing that comes to mind to me on that going back to just that transparency and inside of a Zoom call, you can have each individual team member present and or show something and they have their screen they’re showing. So if you want to see him working say, Hey, what’s everyone got going today? and Sue Ellen as you reference says, I got a quote to do. And you can say, Okay, you know what, Sue Ellen, like the stage is yours right now. We want to watch you and see, we’re not when everyone else I want you to take notes. And because she’s an all star, so you watch her do this quote, let’s watch. No one’s talking while she’s quoting. “Sue Ellen, how long is this going to take?” “It’ll it takes me about 20-30 minutes”. Okay, let’s go go out it, let her open up her screen start working. You can see it happen. I promise you as you start doing those exercises, you’re going to have a lot of notes and you’re going to hit Sue on you know, later that day and say Sue Ellen, you freakin killed it today. I really enjoyed where you did this, this and this as a team for a efficiency. We’re gonna try to work on maybe moving this, this and this. But overall, thank you so much for getting on stage for doing this for making this happen. We can’t thank you enough over here. They feel that gratitude. Now you were saying when you see them so as the owner, you see them working. Now she sees you appreciating them. There’s transparency right there, and everyone else watches Sue Ellen, don’t put someone on the spot that you know, that sucks at quoting. You know, Sue Ellen sucks at quoting, don’t ever do that. But if they’re good at something like what we do, like I’ll just put like real life. This is what happens with us all the time. We’ll be in the middle of an agency, one of our daily meetings. You know, some people call them huddles, because you can keep them five minutes, and the phone will ring and we say, answer it. And they’ll answer and they’ll talk and then they hang up and we say, Oh my gosh, you’re good at that. Like Holy cow. Like I felt motivated after you just spoke to that client. Or when we’re all there and someone does something poorly. It doesn’t have to be the boss that says I’m someone I’d say, dude, you gotta pick it up, stand up and smile when you speak. You know what I mean? Like-
Jason Cass 33:05
We listen to our recorded phone calls and our meetings. So we’ll do that on our video calls, and then we’ll play them and we will listen too. We will, I will just randomly pick calls, and sometimes someone butchered it. And we all heard it. And sometimes we all were like, wow, you know, and then it’s the feedback we get. One other thing I want to give is a real life example of what you’re talking about. Literally, I was doing this two days ago with May, migrate VA from AgencyVA, and she was doing some quoting and the way that we train them is we train them by company. From doing this enough, we train them into where they know Erie and they know really well, then they know Progressive and they know it really well, then they know the PL Rater, rather than teaching them all at once. We found that to be more effective. And so now she’s moving on to Stateauto, and I think it’s West Bend, and she’s learning them. And when we do those, I literally I have four screens. I just put her up on one of the screens and I make it live and I have her share her screen, and she just does the quoting. Now I’m not watching her all the time. Very rarely am I, but I’m looking at my other three screens and I’m doing my work. And then whenever she has an issue, she’ll be like, Jason, real quick. Why should I answer this? OEM coverage? Is that something that I should do on this? You know, and I can stop and look right over there and say, Oh, yeah, okay,and we answer it. And she goes on working, and I turn right back around, and I’m on my screens. So we actually are working in the same space. Actually, it’s nicer. Because if she was in the office, I would have to walk over to the desk, I would have to go where are you at? You know what I mean? And that’s just that’s a hassle. I actually find it easier that if she’s having issues, just share your screen and do your thing. And when you need me, let me know. So many ways, it actually becomes more effective. I never would have known that if I hadn’t taken that opportunity to use a VA and use video in that regard. So those are two real life scenarios. And actually you gave one, two or three scenarios. What if I’ve got an employee that just even in the first 2,3,4 or five days, I’ve realized they’re not good at working from home? I’m doing the Google Sheet. And I’m seeing that, like, their production has went down. They’re not really good at this. What do we do Wes? What are some thoughts?
Wessly Anderson 35:22
I think I think the reality of the situation is, is when you see their eyes and when they’re together, there’s there’s a probability that, a high probability that they could be they could be dealing with some real stuff, some real issues and and maybe some of your day is spent like what’s going on like you, you may find that they are a terrible worker that could be there. But I would believe right now, one of the factors is people are realistically, you know, I’m gonna get real this is and this is, this is uncomfortable stuff to talk about, but I sat across from an insurance agent yesterday. He owns a nice agencies done a lot of life insurance business. And he said, you know, Wes, I delivered two checks this week, and it’s something I’ve never done. I said, you deliver two in one week and you never done it. He’s about my age newer? And he said, Yeah, I did. And I said, Okay, well, awesome. And I knew he wanted to talk about it, but I really didn’t. And he was like, Can I can I talk to you about it? I’m like, oh, free, cuz I could, again, look in his eyes. I knew this wasn’t gonna be fun. And he said, both of these. And I mean, this is the most serious of serious things. He says, both of these this week, were suicides. And I had to go and I deliver the checks. So I’m telling you that right now, again, jumping to the farthest, as far as like we did the starting of this, that performed that person could be performing poorly, because there could be a level of depression and work could have been their reprieve. And you actually will find a high percentage of people their work environment is their most healthy environment they live in and their home environment is garbage. And now they’re stuck in this environment, with depression with negative feelings with what’s happening in the world, maybe with fear that because of their performance, you as the principal is going to can them. So sometimes people need to cry, people need to get angry for a second, people need to have that negative emotion. And if you’re not transparent enough with them that they can do it, they won’t. And so, I would tell you before you go, and right now in these moments, you know, try to lay the hammer down on someone, ask why, you know, see what’s going on, have them if they’re not bringing things if you don’t, if you’re not creating an environment in that video that there was something you love if they show up with nothing. They’re telling you stuff. Now they show up with something you then take 15 minutes after that call, why do you love that? You know, talk about positivity, help them explore positivity, because right now in the quarantine, you know, these digital ecosystems, video expectation, these are all cool, but really what matters is the health and the happiness and, and look, I’m telling you what we do today is going to determine how our business runs tomorrow. And if you’re taking care of your people today, you’re going to have very loyal people, deeply loyal people that love you. And that if love is their motivation for you, because you took the time, you know, to look in their eyes and ask what’s going on, which maybe you didn’t feel comfortable doing in an office environment, but now you’re at home, and now they’re home. Now, there’s no one else that can come barging in, and it’s a one on one, you know, video now you can do these things.
Wessly Anderson 38:29
But take some time to make them happy. Take some time to make them laugh. I actually have make it lighter. Gosh, I’m all like, down, up, down up.
Jason Cass 38:36
No, you’re not that is that very, very good point. I love what you said. I’m gonna let you go on but I love what you said about sometimes that’s their refuge or their way to get away is at work and you’re now putting them back in that spot and putting work on them. Go ahead.
Wessly Anderson 38:50
I encourage laughing I encourage I mean, Jason, you’ve been around me. There’s nothing my people have been explaining is like I’m very chaotic. And I agree with that. I don’t I can’t argue with them. I am chaos. I am chaotic. I don’t have much structure. But my goal is Jason anyone that crosses paths with me when they leave they feel better. And if I can make them laugh I’m going to do it if I can, if I can build them up I’m going to do it. One of the things I’ve been doing during these these trying times is I got this Lucha Libre mask and all and I don’t know it just it makes my team laugh. So I’ll start the call with this puppy on and and that starts the whole meeting as not one where there’s a suit or something. You know they all laugh and they all and I have the alter ego with the accent and you know Nacho Libra style and you know what they laugh and they gave me an I have fun with them. And like I don’t take myself too dang seriously. In the office you have the tendency to walk in with that. Your chest out. This is my office, I built this. Look at my shiny shoes. Look at my suit. I got a I got a book. I don’t I don’t judge my book by Premium it’s by Revenue because it’s that big and everyone else hear me roar and walk around and dude when I go into agencies and I see that I’m like, homie sit down, like relax ,like they’re everyone’s seen right through this but if you start a video call and you got yourself on a funny mask or you’ve got your child sitting right there with you at the starting of the video call my favorite child to deal with I got four so I got a lot to choose from Woodson is like a crowd favorite. So he’ll sit on my lap and start the call and it just disarms them it lets them laugh, right you know they can, they can then be themselves and again, if nothing is taken from this call, I’ll help anyone with these other all this other fun stuff. But if nothing is taken from this call, then right now, be that beacon of hope and light for your people. Be that beacon of hope and light for your community. Let people laugh around you, let people let their hair down around you. Don’t be too serious about yourself. Like that is more important to me than all these tools and stuff.
Wessly Anderson 40:58
I think these tools are cool. I think having A digital agency is great. I’ve been saying that forever. But like, making people happy and better that’s of greater importance than anything here and right now it’s critical.
Jason Cass 41:11
And if you’re if you’re not the lovey dovey type of guy, right you’re not me you’re not Wes. That’s a tough thing for you to do. You have people in your office that maybe are… so maybe you have one or two people who are good at working from home that needs to be your, I don’t know I’m making up that. Make a roll up right? Your work at home team leader or whatever. And that’s the one who’s in charge of helping you check up on people. How are you doing? Getting on the calls, establishing best practices like what is something that really you absolutely bombed because you didn’t think about it now that you’re at home and what is something that actually works better and sharing those things and leaning on those other people? One of the things that I feel the most frustrated for or not frustrated, as I feel for is the frustration that came from a man that called me yesterday when it’s him and his wife who work in the office, and she has a immune deficiency situation. It’s actually, she has a separate disease and because it depleted her immune, and so she’s fine, but she now has to work from home. And so here’s him trying to work from the office. And I mean, I could hear it in the guy’s voice. I mean, I can’t it’s not word for word what he said. He said, but I’m basically losing it. Like he’s having a hard time , like coming on. And it’s not because the phone’s ringing. It’s not because all this Corona virus. I think he’s in South Carolina, I want to say North Carolina, but I’m pretty sure it’s South Carolina. And he’s, he’s having all these things in it. And when I said to him, I said what’s going on, like, talk to me, he’s like, it’s working from home. It’s killing us. He’s like, we can’t figure it out. And a lot of It was he doesn’t have the systems in place. And that’s the hardest thing. I don’t know this sort of fact, but there’s probably a good possibility he has paper files, right? Very, very tough in this situation to pivot quickly in that scenario. And, it may be long enough that you call a company and say, Hey, come get these files in this filing cabinet and haul these suckers over to my house, right? Put them out in the garage or something if that’s what you got to do. Hire a kid who’s not in school right now. Well, they can’t actually because they can’t come into the office. So anyways, get a VA, somebody who can who can help you scan those things in. That’s a very tough thing. But right now, you don’t have time you’re trying to pivot. But like I said, get crazy. Get wild and say, What do we have at the office that I can’t digitize, get it to where it needs to be and then start that digital ecosystem. Start sitting down with the video conferencing, start setting expectations and priorities. Understand that people who are in your situation are just as stressed out as you even though you may be the owner, or you may be the employee, the Minister employee, there’s a boss who’s stressed out trying to figure out how to do it. And Mr. Boss, there’s an employee out there that you may be putting him or her back into a situation that that’s there where they’re escaping from, as Wes said. One of the most powerful things you’ve said here that I think a lot of people, I don’t think really think about when you said that Wes. And so I want us to stop and relax. I want us to reach out to people like me, you know, we use each other as agents all the time to get better into what marketing piece. Are you using for this type of client or whatever it can be? We need each other more than ever now. We need each other more than ever, and we’re all here more than ever now. Just ask Wes. I mean, Wes has a lot of stuff to do. But the poor guy hasn’t left his damn house in like two weeks. I mean, he’s telling you he’ll set up your Slack system. For you. I mean, really he has things to do. We all do. But it but we do have more time than anything right now. Anything to add before we end on a light note about some fun things we can do and some of the things you’re doing anything you want to add, though, to give some more reference to helping that person who’s pivoting to working at home.
Wessly Anderson 45:20
Yeah. I had the opportunity earlier this year to stand on stage at Ayers’ event, IAOA. And, of course, Ayers doesn’t have me talk about any success. He puts me on the failure panel. And it was interesting, I’m talking about failure out there with him. And we didn’t script it. I mean, he basically, yeah, we won’t get to that part. But I get up there and I’m talking about failure. You would not believe Jason, how many people since that time have called me with their partner sitting there talking and remembering that failure and because I opened the stage and said look, I’m here for you, if you’re experiencing a failure similar to this, I got you okay, right. Now I’m going to open back up because those calls and those things are finally faded. I’m finally getting less of those. And I don’t care if I get opened back up to more, I’ll do what I can. But if you’re hurting and things are bad, and I can help you, you know, don’t think that you’re too far down that you’re beyond help. Like, you know, one step at a time we got this, you know, messaged me on Facebook, I’ll jump on a Zoom call. We got resources, we can get some relief here. Right now I have a lot of muscle with these Virtual Assistants that if you want to talk about people that love people and help people and have gratitude, it is so enlightening to have them in your life and I can have a VA jump on and create your Slack.I can create your Slack but I’m gonna I’ll try to bring light to you if if things are dark and that’ll be my goal of this right here is if I can help you please let me know, if you just need me to make you laugh. I’ll put on my Lucha Libre mask and you can laugh and you know, it’s super important to me. So that’s what I wanted to end with though is these things are great. I will help anyone with each of these three things. But if you’re hurting, you know, find me and I’ll do my best to help.
Jason Cass 47:13
Wes, appreciate you very much. I love your expertise. There’s everybody has your “Oh, you have your own little personal issue that we maybe have gotten close to didn’t scratch it” You didn’t scratch the surface or “Oh, Wes, you almost talked about this Jason”, then reach out to Wes. Reach out to Wes say hey, I need to continue that man. You guys almost got to answer my question or Hey, you did but now I did it and I’ve got this What’s going on? Call us. And so do over 80 hours a week. I have virtual assistants through Wes’ company that do work for me. AI, we have one that does 45 hours worth of work over there with Sarah and Sarah works in California. I’ve never even met Sarah face to face and she literally runs my life like she has access to my bank accounts and stuff. Like literally, I’ve created that relationship with her. So that’s, reach out to us. We’re here, man, we’re here. I’ll be honest with you. I can’t sit on the phone with you for 20-30 minutes. I mean, I can take you know, because Wes and I are getting a lot of phone calls, but we can take 5,10,15 minutes to kind of nudge you in the right direction and then hit you back. Okay. In the meantime, Wes, dude, you were up late last night and tell us what you’re doing with the kids.
Wessly Anderson 48:24
So we heard and we were saddened by the fact that the Olympics have been moved. And I was telling my kids, I’m like, you guys are Olympians. We’re gonna have the Corona Olympics. And so here’s our household with four children. This is our laugh time, man. We are having events. I mean, we have been on- I’m on the tramp doing front flips. I’m going to break our tramp I’m so freakin heavy.
Wessly Anderson 48:45
We’re in our hot tub having aquatic events. Our Corona Olympics, they’re going like we’re putting the clocks down and not looking at clocks. Last night we ended at 11:30 with four children.We’re having basketball games one on one sibling versus sibling, Mom and Dad jumping in, like things, these kids, my goal is when this, when life gets back to normal, my children look at this and they’re like, that was some of the best days of our life. And that was we went back to the room. It’s gonna be weird when i don’t have him here all day, and I’ll stop. And we’ll go do an event and we’ve done archery. And we’ve done bb gun shooting, and we have done and Jason you know how my backyard is. There’s a lot of space back there for us to, you know, a lot to be stupid. And we, I mean, I’m telling you, it is dares. It is like sprint contests. I mean, I’ve raced every one of my children, of which I am number one, and pretty much every event I have the gold medal, and I i’m not i’m not gonna I mean, I’m USA and everything. And they are other little, little dinky countries that can’t handle, you know, USA and so I’m waving the American flag after every victory.
Wessly Anderson 50:03
I’m taking my four-year-old out man, like I’m going at him and, and yesterday we did it.
Wessly Anderson 50:08
It is so fun man this Corona Olympics. I was telling Ashley we’re gonna have to have a ceremony. When all this ends, we’re filming some of it. But at the end, we will have a ceremony 100% I’ll tell you this spoiler alert. I’m going to be number one on the podium. No, no questions asked. I mean, it’s not even close. And my kids think it’s close and they’re trash talking me left and right. Yesterday, we had brawl, it was fight. It was last man standing. And so all six of us we took mattresses, put them in our living room. And it was it was WrestleMania man it was just straight up. And yeah, that was it was intense. I was wearing my Lucho Libre mask, which I think helped me along but yeah, no, it’s it’s about having fun and, and me and my wife laugh our heads off and we’re seeing this the sight of our children because you know what these kids are feeling that fear. They’re feeling the uncertainty, their schedule has been changed the same as the people we work with the same as ourselves. Yeah. And so in the moment of doing those Olympics, the Corona Olympics where we’re trying to make memories, we’re trying to laugh and have some fun.
Wessly Anderson 51:12
It’s been excellent.
Jason Cass 51:16
Wes appreciate you very much man. Appreciate you as a friend appreciate everything you do for us in this industry. Thank you for AgencyVA. There’s a bunch of good VA companies out there. But you guys know that your top of the line, your guys’ agency vision, the the software that you personally have created to monitor agents, some of the things you’re doing that I know you can’t talk about right now but I know about them that you’re working with large carriers on current trying to create a great working environment that secure but also efficient and manageable. Through from the carriers to the agents to our VAs,you’re doing a lot of great things out there. On and we got lucky to get a person like yourself and yeah, because you are caring and because you are generous and all that stuff like that. But you’ve, you thrown in a mixture of the technology, and you allow us to kind of, your frame of reference of when we’re talking and discussing things comes from a completely different mindset. And I think that that helps. And it’s those kind of mixtures that we can put into this wonderful industry that the gods ever created. And, and I think that that’s where your genius is with it. So thank you very much for coming on. This has been very important. We have laughed, we have joked. I’m serious back of my head is hurting. But in all regards for anybody out there, if you need our help, we’re here for you. That’s what we’re here to do. I ain’t got time to do it in four or five months when the virus has gone because then I don’t like it. Yeah, but right now I’m trying to help you. No, I’m joking. Seriously, we’re always here for you. But right now we’re super here for you because we need to be able to make sure that you make it in a way this is almost like the great separator. It really kind of is and it’s really weird as I think about that over the last couple days is that, this is part of it and not the way that I’m like writing and thinking about it. But I think to myself how many agencies are now going to go virtual, who are now going to go mobile, are now going to create digital ecosystems when they were never forced to before who are going to look back in a month or two and go holy cow, I can’t believe we used to do insurance like that. And kudos high five, bam.
Wessly Anderson 53:34
Find that silver lining.
Jason Cass 53:37
Find that silver lining.
But the great separators also those who fight this. You can’t let fear overcome you in this. Fear is only because of the unknown when you know the unknown fear goes away. When you see that person who you think is going to harm you and they’re down the street but the closer they get you realize they’re not who you thought they were. You ease up with fear. You don’t you don’t Let the fear overcome you, once you know it, right now get to know it. You can’t mess up, or your customer is going to get mad at you because you have people working from home. Right? They’re expecting it right now, they’re expecting you to mess up. This is the time to capitalize. I’m not doing this podcast because I want to. I want doing it because I think that we have a unique opportunity right now. Everything 70 to 80% off at the stock market. That’s a unique opportunity. The world is changing and transforming and you have time to look at things differently and accept failure as successful right now. And that’s what I just want to encourage you to do because I telling you this without a doubt 100% the agencies that do are going to look back in two or three months and go wow, in a weird way. That was really good for me and we are better now because of it. There’s two people that are that are sitting inside of a speech and one walks out. First one walks out the door and says that speech will change my life forever. And the next one walks out and says that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Be the one that this changes your life forever. Because you’re going to change your agency forever. You’re going to change your employees’ lives forever. You are going to create what I’ve been saying for a while. Tangible love. Wes. Thank you very much, buddy. I really greatly appreciate you coming on here and bringing your expertise if anybody wants to reach out to you reach out to him at Facebook. And the reason why he also wants you to do that is because his VA is calm. And he wants to and but it’s the truth like you want to make sure, you want to make sure that it gets done.
Wessly Anderson 55:38
Yeah, I get 50 to 70 Facebook instant messages a day and is greeted by my talented virtual assistant David and we get a lot more done together as a team and so if you’re…
Wessly Anderson 55:49
It’s so much more efficient like it was taking me days.
Jason Cass 55:52
A year ago I couldn’t, yeah, I couldn’t get you on Facebook message for, I’m serious a year ago now I can actually get you right?Yeah, so no, it’s Wes on there. Don’t get me wrong but his VA help manage his. So hit him up on Facebook is the best way. So this is Agency Intelligence podcast. So with this COVID-19 Special Edition, we really today really tried to work at the things of working at home. And I’m going to title this Pivoting from Brick and Mortar to Working From Home. This has been Jason Cass with Agency Intelligence. He’s been Wessly Anderson with AgencyVA and we are out.
Wessly Anderson 55:52