Cherie Jones plays by the rules, at least when it comes to business – work hard, work smart, do it right. Cherie’s mom and dad drilled those principles into her from the time Cherie was a young lady. It was a good thing too because more than a decade ago when she started working with the “drillers” those principles came in handy.
“There was an opportunity that fell into my lap to service the oil fields,” says Cherie. “I started a supply company in the field. I sold household and office supplies, products which were necessary for these guys to survive. The men who work in the oil fields can’t just leave to pick up supplies, they can’t get out to get things like toilet paper or laundry detergent. For one thing, there’s probably no store around and it’s not like they can just order FedEx or UPS, because the truck could show up and these guys would already be at the next drilling site. You’d have to track them down by longitude and latitude.”
It was a robust business and one Cherie excelled at doing because of her work ethic, stamina, and drive — all the things she learned from her parents, who were very competitive health insurance salespeople. “Both my parents worked ALL the time,” says Cherie. “I don’t remember them being around that much. I had to become very self-sufficient early on. I think that’s a contributing factor for my learning how to work without someone standing over my shoulder.”
Cherie’s tremendous work ethic helped turn her Maintenance Supply Company into a business she only had to run hard a few days a month. That also meant for most of the month there wasn’t much to do. “I was bored,” says Cherie. “I’d get up in the morning, have lunch with my husband, exercise, go home and take a nap. Yeah, I was making good money and for the two-or-three days a month I worked, I worked REALLY hard. But I thought I can’t do the oil fields the rest of my life. Plus, I would drive long distances to these fields in South Texas and Louisiana, carrying all the supplies myself. As I got older, that got harder. I knew both my parents sold health insurance for most of their lives and they did pretty well, so I thought I would give it a shot.”
Besides Cherie already had purchased a policy from Brian Davis at USHEATLH Advisors, so when she went looking to add health insurance sales to her own resume Cherie knew where to go…. but she didn’t go right to Brian to ask for a position. As so often in life, past experiences can skew your vision of the world, right or wrong. Cherie says she watched her mother have to tough it out to get respect.
“First I called Teaira Still, Brian’s Division Manager, because I didn’t want to work under some guy,” laughs Cherie. “Both my parents sold the insurance, and my father worked for Mutual of Omaha. He told my mother she couldn’t do it. My mom, who was a nurse, secretly went out and started working at an insurance company drawing blood, then told my father he’d have to hire her. They were both very competitive. My dad or my mom was always one of the top salespeople. But I saw how my father treated my mother. He would give leads to the men, but not my mom. My father believed it was a man’s world and my mother would have to fend for herself. And despite it all, she did well. I didn’t want that.”
Yet Cherie quickly learned at USHEALTH Advisors, all team members are supportive: men and women. Teaira and her husband, Jay Still, thought Cherie would be a great fit for the business and when she came on board she did, in fact, join the Brian Davis team. “I got my license and was put under Brian,” says Cherie. “I was very happy, he’s a great trainer and very supportive and he’s a great family man.”
With Brian’s tutelage, it didn’t take Cherie long for her to catch on, though she says she knows she “drove all the leaders nuts” with her questions. “But if I understood it, I was more confident,” says Cherie. “I worked hard and in my first year, I was able to go on the company rewards trip to Cabo. I got to hear CEO Troy McQuaggue speak, and I loved it. I love everything about the company.”
The trip made Cherie work even harder, inspiring her to take it to the next level, and just as she was supposed to do, take great care of her clients. When you care for those in your care, it’s a win-win for all. Cherie says she knows a lot about caring and winning because she got it from her mama.
“I truly admire my mother and her story and all the adversities she went through,” says Cherie. “That is what molded me, was seeing all she could do. She raises four children, goes and gets a nursing degree, becomes a nurse practitioner, realizes she can’t make any money in that role because she’s a woman. She can’t get a job in other sales positions because she’s a woman, so she forces her husband to hire her as an insurance agent, then kicks his ass doing it, gets divorced and then goes to another insurance agency and becomes a manager. I admire that, with all these people and situations trying to keep her down, my mom still found a way.”
Cherie’s ability to care for people just like her mother did, lead her to win an award with USHA she didn’t even know existed, the Quality Award, for the agent having the best persistency rate in the company… which means keeping people happy and keeping business on the books. “I remember I got a call from another agent, Michael Gibson, to congratulate me,” says Cherie. “I was blown away. I didn’t know you could get an award for just doing your job.” In fact the next year Cherie was the Quality Award challenger, coming in just behind the man who had helped train her in the business, Brian Davis.
It’s all about caring that drives Cherie’s business. “I like meeting people and building relationships,” says Cherie. “I live in Union Valley, Texas and the next town over is Rockwall. There is a Facebook page called Rockwallian, it’s community page where people look for recommendations or talk about what is going on in the area. If you type in a request for health insurance information on that page, I guarantee you four or five people will say you gotta call Cherie. I just love meeting and helping other people. 95 percent of my business is face-to-face. I would rather meet someone new in person, gain a friend, and build a relationship. My clients can call on me, they can rely on me.”
Despite the slower-paced way of life, living out in the country with her husband Mike and three dogs, what most don’t know about Cherie is she also has a need for speed. Mike Jones runs a professional go-kart track, the Dallas Karting Complex. The two have traveled extensively since her husband can compete in kart racing events all over the world. “He’s raced go-karts his entire life,” says Cherie. “Most Formula 1 drivers and some Nascar drivers start in karting. My husband wanted to build something and get other people involved. If you have a need for speed this is the place to go.”
So where does Cherie go next? She says she wants to keep going as long as she can. “I would hope to stay with this great company,” she says, “and put money away so I can retire. My father never retired and he worked until the day he died. I was the last of the family to become an insurance agent. Every one of my brothers became licensed agents. I even met Marlon Perkins when I was 11 years old. But I don’t want to keep doing this forever like my dad did. My mom retired years ago and I would expect to do that as well at some point, but I know it’s also the kind of career, especially if I embrace the virtual world, I can do up to the end. I feel completely blessed and almost guilty about getting paid to do what I do. I get paid to make new friends and for me, it’s great to go out and offer a great product and sleep well at night knowing I’ve done the right thing.”
Cherie, the best-of-the-best at doing the right thing, because quality matters.
Until next time thanks for taking the time,