At the age of only 23, Libby has set the world on fire at USHEALTH Advisors, and it comes to her from the match strike and then the candle lit by her parents when she was very young… and now the warm embers that still burn in Libby to this day.
“I grew up an hour south of Atlanta, in McDonough, Georgia,” says Libby. “I went to a private little Christian school, had only 50 people in my graduating class. My parents were divorced and both got remarried. So I grew up in a blended family. I went back and forth every other week, which really probably established my independence from about two years old. I didn’t have to do everything on my own, but I had to remember a lot of things and do a lot of things independently. And so, I think that has helped me so much where I’m at today, is that I’ve done so much on my own.”
“My parents are also both self-employed. So I’ve seen hard work, I’ve seen the late hours, and what you have to do in order to – I don’t want to say make it – but putting in extra hours, I understand that from them. My dad’s a doctor and he was really big on instilling hard work in me. I didn’t have much handed to me. I had to work for a lot of my stuff. So it developed a lot of character, that’s for sure.”
Character and integrity are what fuel the best-of-the-best at USHEALTH Advisors, and for sure it’s that fuel that drives anyone who’s ever accomplished anything great, anything that other people look at and say, “how is this possible?” It all seems impossible, until someone does it.
From the day Libby walked in the door at USHA, she was set on doing the impossible, because she saw it as attainable… as possible. It can be, if you believe in you.
“One of my main things when I started was to figure out how to work my way up,” says Libby. “My goal in the beginning was to beat Frank Bakirtzis’s record when he joined USHA. So that was a really big thing that I set out to do, and even Frank helped me to do that, and all of my leaders, Ben and Tim and everyone.
So that’s probably, I would say, one of my biggest accomplishments would be beating that record, and then also getting promoted so early to a Field Training Agent. That was super exciting. I really wasn’t expecting it at first when I first got going. But that was obviously my goal. So I was super excited about that part, too.”
What was the impossible record? Frankie B, as they call him, had individually produced just over $700,000 in annual volume of insurance sales in his first 13 weeks at USHEALTH Advisors. Libby ended up producing $780,000 AV in her first 13 weeks. Then she went on to issue more than $ 1 million AV in her first four months at USHA! Understand at the time of the writing of this article, Libby has been in the business less than seven months.
“I knew nothing when I first came here,” says Libby. “When I say I knew nothing about insurance, I mean I didn’t know what a deductible was before I got this job. I was on my parents’ insurance, never had to deal with it. It was a learning curve at first.”
A learning curve, but Libby is used to curves. After all she grew up playing softball, as a pitcher, no less. Tough pitches, throwing them from the mound and handling them as a batter, come naturally to her. As she’s proven in dramatic fashion, she has no trouble with the curve.
But whether it’s sports or business, both of which are intrinsically intertwined in concept and implementation, you have to rely on your teammates for lasting success. Libby says the team around her has always been there for her, right from the start. As it is for so many, Libby says, starting this was scary.
“My greatest challenge in life so far, is probably me moving here, says Libby.” I actually moved to Nashville (from Atlanta) for this job. I graduated college in May, and I was really lost. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I’m very much a planner, so I’m super OCD about what my next move is, and I really struggled with not knowing what I was going to do.”
“So I got on LinkedIn and just started looking at opportunities, like what I wanted to do, and I had a few different things for USHA pop up. And so, I ended up making the four-hour drive to Nashville one morning and interviewing with them.”
“It was really hard leaving my family. I knew nobody in Nashville when I moved. I didn’t know anything about the company, really, and just took a leap of faith. It felt like it was just something that God had placed on my heart. So I took the leap. I didn’t even have furniture for three months, I mean, like anything. All I did was work and tried to figure it out. It was weird at first. I didn’t have any friends up here. I didn’t have any family. So that was a big struggle.”
“I ended up contracting with Daniel and Shelby Benz. They talked about how close-knit they were and how everything was very family-oriented, which was really what I was wanting and needing moving here alone. Like I said before, I was really nervous to just make the move, I knew I wanted to get away from Georgia, but I really didn’t know where. But it just felt right in the moment. I really liked Daniel and Shelby when I met them. I always joke with Daniel, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to do 1099. My parents always told me not to.” He said, “Oh, well, the only reason you wouldn’t do well here is if you don’t work hard.” I was like, “Oh, well, I work hard.” So I ended up signing right then. It ended up working out and I’m super grateful for it.”
Becoming one of the fastest starters in USHEALTH Advisors history is a testament to Libby’s focus and her desire to live the company’s mission of HOPE and to make the big bet on herself, to take some risks and see what’s possible on the other side.
“I bought all of my non-resident state licenses the second week after I wrote my first deal,” says Libby. “My leaders helped pay for some, but I just went online and tried to figure out how to buy them. I figured the faster that I had everything I needed, the faster I could hit my milestones. So that’s now something that I feel like not only my team, but our whole satellite division’s really good about, is when new people come in, trying to get them up and running with the states, because my whole thing is once you’ve written your first new business there’s no reason you should be doing a transfer to another leader or agent.”
But it wasn’t just investing in her business, Libby says she looked to be different, to stand out from the crowded field of agents.
What makes you different, is what makes you beautiful.
“So Frank was the number one agent in my region when I first started. And so, instead of doing everything Frank did, I obviously took advice from him and all my other leaders, but it was how can I be different and win a sale over him, instead of just being a cookie-cutter replica of him.”
“And so, I think that’s what has really helped me stand out is everybody has a different way to pitch. It’s not just one particular way that works. I think realizing that really early on was super important.”
“And there was the conversation my dad had with me, because I said to him, “Oh my gosh, dad. I’m texting all these people. They don’t want to reply to me.” He said, “You just need to put yourself in their mindset or in their shoes. If you’re getting texted by 50 people, what’s going to make you stand out?” That’s something I really try to tell my team too is, you all are competing against me essentially on a sale, so what makes them want to choose you over me? So, that’s just always something I try to keep in the back of my mind. I think that’s where being genuine and, like I said before, hearing what they actually need instead of just selling them a product. People pay attention to that. That’s how I’ve gotten most of my referrals is just being genuine on the phone and not worrying about make a sale or about the money.”
“It gets time-consuming when you have a lot of clients coming in and you have appointments. I would say mainly it’s how I interact with people on the phone. I don’t want to say I’m not a professional. I am professional on the phone. But I’m not cookie-cutter on the phone. I’ll crack a joke or laugh or … I’m still very much myself. My whole group jokes with me that they can hear me when I get on the phone with my accent or whatever. Just being true to myself has also really helped me, because it’s like you’re talking to your best friend instead of some random salesperson.”
It’s not only the lessons Libby learned from her dad who has been self-employed for much of his life, working as a doctor, but also her mom who has been successful in sales as well. It’s a family focused on service and getting to the heart of the matter.
“My mom always told me,” says Libby, “that the further I got into sales – and I tell my team this, I live by it – is if somebody likes you, they’ll listen to you. If they trust you, they’ll buy from you. And so, I think that’s my big thing when I’m talking to a client is instead of – buy from me, buy from me, buy from me – it’s more of listening to your client, hearing what they need, and tailoring it to so that they trust you and they know that you’re looking out for their best interests and not just for money in your pocket.”
Now that Libby has been super-successful selling on her own as an agent, she was recently promoted to work with a team, to be a leader in her Nashville office, sharing her best practices to help others to be the best.
“So my day-to-day now, really hasn’t changed too much. I now have an assistant to help me delegate appointments booking-wise, just because I’m trying to get my team up and running. My main thing with my agents that I try to do really well is making sure I’m giving them the tools that they need in the beginning to get up and running.”
I feel like everybody’s first focus is they always think it’s money, but I think some people need time or knowledge or education or patience. That’s one thing I try to do really well is figuring out and developing a relationship with people on my team. “How’s your day going?” Saying good morning, having team lunches, or having more substance behind you than just a name and a face on a team. I think you gain a lot more respect that way.”
“Also, I think you just have a way better culture. That’s one of my favorite things about our office that I tell everybody is … I mean obviously the money’s great now, but I love everybody that I work with. I’m best friends with half of the people, and I’ve created a lot of relationships that I’m sure will last a lifetime because of it. And so, I think my other big thing is trying to find ways to make work fun. I do a lot of incentives for my team, and contests and fun things to make it so it doesn’t always feel like work.”
“But I would say work-wise, I mean I try to get to the office about 7:00 am, that’s pretty normal, that’s what I was doing in the beginning. Then I usually go home around 6:00 pm or 7:00, and I still will run leads until 9:00 pm or 10:00 pm. I’m just not staying in the office till all hours of the night. I’m usually making dinner, do laundry, or something, which I’m really glad about. In the beginning, I didn’t really have a work-life balance. So now I’ve tried to transition and realize in order to make it sustainable, I’ve got to have other things in my life that make me happy.”
Libby has also found happiness and a little bit more since coming to Nashville, meeting another leader, Ben Fredericks. “We hit it off from the start and currently are dating,” says Libby. “He’s such an inspiration with how he’s grown his team.”
At it’s core, happiness is an inside-out game. Find the joy from within and share it with others. Libby has brought her light to USHEALTH Advisors and wants to make sure she’s sharing the strategies of her success, and now she’ll also get to share that success with someone special. She says her best friend Lauren just moved to Nashville and is training to be an agent, and perhaps, under Libby’s guidance, the next superstar.
“I would say a big thing about me … well, this isn’t really about me, but how I live my life, whether it’s work or even outside of work, is I’m really big on being a light to others. I think that’s my main thing in my work-life that I also try to strive for. Of course, I’m super proud of everything I’ve done at USHA, but to me, those aren’t the type of things that people remember when you’re gone. They remember who you are and your character and how you treat others.”
“I think that’s where sometimes people get blindsided in this job. I’m competitive and, believe me, I get it, but I think encouraging people and being a light to others in other aspects of your life is really the reason that I also stepped up into leadership. How can I directly impact somebody’s life positively and not just, “Oh, I want to be like Libby,” or, “Oh, I want to produce like Libby.” I think there’s so much more to life than that.”
“And so, being an inspiration to others. Obviously I love to inspire people in my work-life, being how young I am and how fast it’s been going for me. But I’m really big on the belief that as fast as everything can be given to you, it can all be taken away that fast as well. So I think remaining humble and keeping your head down, being positive, and being that light is my main thing.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.