“You get that feeling about something and you get really passionate and you put everything into it, kind of like this business, you’ve got to be all in.”
– Bobby Sparks
Bobby Sparks knows from passion, perseverance and going all in – for years he poured his heart and soul into music. For most of his life, Bobby has been a musician and eventually part of a band on the run.
“I played since I was six or seven years old,” says Bobby. “First it was piano, then I picked up bass and guitar. I had the whole works – the long hair, the attitude and I was going to be a rock star. My buddies and I went for it, full-out. We started off with the name of the band as Saber, then changed the name to the street we grew up on, (in Virginia), called Virginia Dare. We rocked it out as far south as South Carolina, as far west as Arizona, played in a few different states. It was the reason I didn’t go to college, but during those years I also realized it just wasn’t going to work.”
The music scene can be a tough one, the competition is fierce and it didn’t take long before Bobby and the band had to call it quits. “It’s hard to have kids and be a rock star,” says Bobby. “I thought we’d go to the top, we honestly thought we could go all the way, but it wasn’t meant to be and I guess that was one of my biggest letdowns.”
But the band is never far from Bobby’s mind or soul and it has led him to early success in his role as an agent and now Field Training Agent with USHEATLH Advisors. When you can hear the music inside you and you are passionate about being the best, it leads to inspiration, action, and results. In fact, just the other night Bobby and his fiance’ went to see Little River Band perform in Virginia and the way that band played reminded Bobby of how he wants his team to perform.
Seeing that performance and experiencing that realization, it’s easy then to spend some time looking back on how Bobby found his way to USHA.
Now as the years roll on, each time we hear our favorite song,
the memories come along.
Older times we’re missing, spending the hours reminiscing.
– Little River Band
“When I first graduated high school, I did a stint as a parts driver for Ted Britt Ford in Fairfax, Virginia,” says Bobby. “Then, they brought me inside and I eventually went into the service area where I knew people were making six-figures. But the time I was 24, I was making 60-or-70-thousand dollars a year, and I thought I was set. But as the years went on and technology advanced, there were not a lot of things left to fix on these vehicles. It was the older cars that needed to be fixed and it just wasn’t as lucrative. Also, remember in the service area you are dealing with people’s second largest purchase, next to their homes, and it’s always at the worst time. People never want to be there, don’t want to take the time to get their car fixed…and that’s every day! I got so cynical about it because I knew what would happen with each person. I wanted to be number one, I’m always that guy driven to be number one in sales and I was good at it, making pretty good money, but I was cynical and it got to the point my frustration was showing through.”
After 28 years in the car biz, Bobby started looking for another opportunity. It wasn’t just a desire, he needed to go.
In October of 2017, less than a year from the writing of this story, Bobby answered an ad in the Washington Post for USHEALTH Advisors. He watched a recruiting webinar and came in to visit the Virginia office the very next day. It was time for something new.
Now that my life is so prearranged,
I know that it’s time for a cool change.
– Little River Band
“Now that I do insurance and I do something I really love,” says Bobby, “I don’t wake up in the morning thinking, ‘how am I going to put myself and all of this together today?’ I get up, I get showered, I get dressed and I go to work, sit down and think, how can I make a few thousand dollars today? I don’t think about my work negatively like I used to. I’m always positive about things. I don’t stress about it. I know my Division Manager Jamie Blumberg promoted me to Field Training Agent, not because of my knowledge, but because of my work ethic. I’ve missed only one day since I started. I’m so passionate about what I do here, this is a whole paradigm shift for me. We recently had a regional meeting in Texas and it was a big kick in the butt for me. I’m doing even better than before. We are running a sales leader recruiting contest right now and I’m kicking everybody’s ass.”
Bobby says maybe the most important thing he took from being in the car service center was how to deal with other people. “One thing I learned is when people need to talk, let them talk,” he says. “Let them exhaust themselves, don’t cut them off, then you can try and change their perception and help them get their head straight. Eventually, they will stop and understand how this all makes sense. I also know you’ve got to always be learning, if you’re not learning, you’re not earning.”
And it’s not just money. Bobby knows the currency of love and affection pays huge dividends. He loves spending time with his fiance’ Chris and his three girls who are now 23, 22 and 19.
“I worked as a service manager for 28 years and I don’t ever want to go back. I hated every minute of it,” says Bobby. “I’ve been working here less than a year and I absolutely love it. Unless I’m hanging out with my family, if I have free time, and I’m not working on the insurance, I’m like what am I doing? I should be trying to help people and make some money here.” It’s a good mindset to have in this business, even though sometimes it can be enough to make your head spin.
Though a little head spinning is right in Bobby’s wheelhouse, after all, he was born in the same town and at the same time as the filming for the most classic horror movie ever.
“I was born the same day they were shooting a scene from The Exorcist,” laughs Bobby. “My mom was in labor and my dad was driving her across the Memorial Bridge on the way to Georgetown Hospital. He said he could see the film crew was set up for the staircase scene, where the priest gets tossed from the window by Linda Blair and rolls down the steps to his death. That was the same day I came into the world.”
There’s nothing wrong with having a little of the devil inside you, it might be part of what led Bobby to be a bit of a rebel, then a rock star. “My childhood was like the movie, Goonies,” says Bobby. “There were like ten of us at any time, always into something, always in trouble. It was the best childhood. I had so much fun as a kid. We did so much stupid stuff. Then once I got into music and we started the band, I grew long hair and knew I wanted to be a rock star.”
Yet it’s Bobby’s love of and appreciation for music, his own experience as part of a band, and that Little River concert the other night, that gave him the vision for his own team at USHEALTH Advisors.
“The Little River Band came out and played and they were so awesome,” says Bobby. “They didn’t come out to play and show how loud they could be, but they were in it to show how tight they could be. The goal is to be tight and in sync, not as individuals, not each person just showing how good they can be on their own, but to be a band. Like my team, we are a band. I play this and you play that, and we bring it all out on the table.”
Bobby knows now is the time to rock-it-out at USHEALTH Advisors and go all in with passion and heart, because this time around this band might just go all the way!
Lots of those friendly people,
they’re showing me ways to go.
And I never want to lose their inspiration.
– Little River Band
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.