“If you work the opportunity—and a lot of people work it—it will change your life. There is no better opportunity in America to put the work in and get the results.” – Eric Horstmeyer, Satellite Division Sales Leader, USHEALTH Advisors
Results is the name of the game for Eric Horstmeyer. Mainly because he is never satisfied with his past success—there’s always more, there’s always another level, another mountain to climb.
“I’m like actor Matthew McConaughey in that famous speech,” says Eric. “He talks about how he’s always chasing the best version of him and never getting there. He’s always the next version of himself, 10 years down the road. That’s me. I’m always setting goals ahead of myself. I’m always chasing something. And then you look back on your life and realize you’ve had a lot of accomplishments along the way and hope people respect you for it. My goal was to write a million and a half in business last year, and this year to be a top builder.”
You have to want it. You have to believe it. Then, you have to go after it. Eric has done all that and more with USHEALTH Advisors. He’s only been with the company for two and a half years and has been at or near the top all along the way. In 2018, he crushed his goal of writing $1.5 million in business by writing more than $2 million as a personal producer. This year, he was promoted to Satellite Division Sales Leader and is also focused on being a top builder with his team in Miami, FL and in his home state of Kentucky.
For Eric, there is no place like home.
“I was born in Lexington, Kentucky,” says Eric. “I’m an only child and had a great upbringing. My parents divorced when I was six, but both remarried and got it right the second time. All my parents love each other, and all supported me throughout my childhood—they were always there for me.”
In fact, an entire community in Kentucky has been there for Eric as he has built his business with USHA. They have been there because Eric is there for them, staying in touch, helping, and serving.
“Seventy percent of my business is by referral,” says Eric. “And 70 percent of that referral business has come from my hometown. Ron Leonard [Eric’s Division Leader] and I have leveraged our network, realtors, bankers, lawyers, and on and on through social media and people we know to build our businesses. So, it was a no brainer to open the Lexington office. I’ve been blessed to have Christian Brzostowicki, who is the Field Training Agent in the office, running it with me.”
Eric believes in the power of people, and he uses that power to create a robust referral pipeline that powers up his success with USHEALTH Advisors.
“The philosophy for us—Ron and I—is networking and social media,” Eric says. “The old standard is that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But that’s not true. It’s not who you know, but who knows you.I don’t know all these people before they are referred to me. There was a time I only had a few hundred friends on Facebook, but now I have more than four thousand. I don’t know them all, but they know me. You’ve got to get your name in the conversation when the topic of health insurance comes up.
“The strategy is to post consistently across all the major platforms—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube—and don’t think you can ever post too much. That’s a story in your head, it’s not the truth. You are just being selfish at that point. You have no idea how much or how many people want to see your content or who might need you and your service. You want to be that person whose name comes up at a meeting, cocktail party, sporting event, where people talk and the subject of health insurance comes up, because it always does, and then so does your name.”
Success has come quickly for Eric because he’s made it happen, but it only happened because he was quick to make a comeback from the one thing that nearly destroyed his life. Her name was Irma.
“It was the lightning bolt that changed everything,” says Eric. “I got wiped off the map in one night.”
That something—that lightning bolt—was Hurricane Irma. Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, struck the Virgin Islands and St. Thomas in September of 2017. Since 2003, Eric and his partners had built a robust restaurant business with 11 restaurants and bars, including Havanna Blue, one of the top three restaurants in the Caribbean.
It was a business generating nearly $15 million per year before Irma came roaring through.
“My world flipped upside down,” says Eric. “From that day on, I never made another penny from the restaurants—nothing. After 14 years, everything was gone.”
Fortunately, Eric had come back to Florida and was in Miami, where he also lived part of the time. He had been searching for a new opportunity, using the restaurant business for cash flow while he built a new one. The opportunity was USHEALTH Advisors.
“Neil Schwabe took me into this meeting with Don Dente [Regional Sales Leader] and Ron Leonard,” Eric says. “Ron was just opening up his office in Miami—it was so new, the plastic was still on the chairs. They showed me this video and my entrepreneurial mind started turning. The people that created this company had figured out how to crack the code on Obamacare and tap into a three-trillion-dollar business. In business, whenever something is messed up or broken and you find the solution, it’s going to be good. I saw that here and said, ‘How do I sign up?’”
The night the hurricane hit St.Thomas and Eric lost it all, he says he took time to grieve—for all of one night.
“I got up the next day and told myself to get to work. I had been riding out the storm at a hotel in Miami and so I got on the phone, started taking live lead transfers, working the dialer, and working my network. I went all in. I like people. It’s why, after practicing law for 10 years, I got into the restaurant business. At one point, we employed about 300 people. It was a people business—employees and customers. The right insurance business is the same. It’s a people business—clients and agents. Running all those restaurants also taught me the value of working long hours and long days—18 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Eric says he also credits his personal comeback and success with USHA to perseverance and being mentally tough—two traits he learned from his former high school football coach, the legendary Roy Walton.
“Roy was a tough-as-nails, old-school coach who scared me to death,” says Eric. “But we developed a special relationship, despite the Bear Bryant method of coaching. He made us tough mentally. Not a day has passed since that hurricane hit that I don’t think of him and some lesson he taught me.”
Those lessons were so strong, they also propelled Eric through his college football career, where he played as a wide receiver and tight end. Eric became an All-American and set nearly every receiving record at Centre College, one of the oldest football programs in the south. He credits football and his coaches with teaching him so much about life, overcoming adversity, and great work ethic.
Success leaves clues, and Eric says he has also been around plenty of successful people in his life from whom to learn, especially all of his parents. His dad was a successful family law lawyer, which initially inspired Eric to follow that path and get his law degree, then practice law for 10 years. His mom worked as an administrator for the Owen School of Management, the Vanderbilt Business School MBA program. Eric’s stepmom was a successful interior designer and owned her own firm for several years. And his stepdad, Kent Blazy, has literally helped chart the course for several superstar country singers, taking them up the records charts as a songwriter in Nashville.
“My step-dad has written thousands of songs,” says Eric. “I think he’s had seven number-one hits, five of them with Garth Brooks, including ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’, ‘Somewhere Other Than the Night’, ‘Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up)’, ‘It’s Midnight Cinderella’, and ‘She’s Gonna Make It.’He’s also had a number one hit with Chris Young, and he’s had cuts with Kenny Chesney, Reba McIntyre, Diamond Rio, and others. He even introduced Garth Brooks to Trisha Yearwood. They were singing demos for $20-a-song back then for Kent out of the studio in his house. My mom worked at Vanderbilt to pay the bills for 10 years while Kent chased his dream before he hit it big. That also taught me a lot about perseverance, the two of them didn’t quit until they made it.”
“Making it” is part of Eric’s DNA, and he never wavers in his quest to be the best. As a leader with USHEALTH Advisors, he now gets to teach others to do the same, sharing his knowledge and work ethic to help agents help their clients and in turn, build other leaders because no one wins without a team.
“Alex Kontos was the first agent I brought in, and she became a million-dollar producer,” says Eric. “She was also a lawyer, and she has really been a key to growing our Miami office. She is showing people how to do it by referral, without the dialer. Ron and I and our entire office have learned a lot from her about social media presence.”\
Eric says it is a combination of things that create success with USHEALTH Advisors, but the number one thing is being present.
“My advice to a new agent is that 90 percent of this is showing up, parking yourself in the office, especially for the first 60 days, and do what your leader tells you to do. Follow the system, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Our system at USHA works, so show up and do it and just as importantly, be coachable. I was 47 years old when I started this. I had been CEO of a multi-million-dollar company, but I put a tie on, I sat in a cubicle, and I listened to what my leader, Ron Leonard, told me to do. Ron says I sat there listening to him every single day. Being coachable means being humble. If you aren’t, you are going to struggle.”
Eric says he also enjoys being the number-two guy—for now.
“When I was head of the restaurant group, I had a lot of stuff fall on my plate,” he laughs. “There was a lot of stress, hiring new managers, people quitting in the middle of their shifts. Plus, we had a lot of near misses with other hurricanes. We were always preparing for that, it was like darts flying at you. It took a lot out of me, but I learned a lot, too. Being the number-two guy in our division doesn’t mean I don’t want to move up at some point and become a Division Sales leader, but I appreciate what Ron and Don have to deal with every day. I’m good where I’m at right now. I know my personality, and I know I’ll want to grow but being where I am at this moment has given me peace and calm, and I support Ron and Don as much as I can in their recruiting and training efforts. I’ve also had a ton of help from Leah Tewell. She is really responsible. She’s the driving force behind the success I’ve had as a recruiter. She sets up all the interviews, spends literally hours doing it, and then I just close them.”
Eric says it works because Leah puts in the work.
Eric’s also focused on what matters, being there as a father to his two children, 13-year-old Tucker and 11-year-old Tatum.
“Tucker is a good kid,” says Eric. “He likes all the things 13-year-old boys like, especially video games, and Tatum is an actress. In fact, she’s in acting camp right now after school. She has an amazing voice. My stepdad Ken loves it. Tatum just got cast in an upcoming musical of ‘The Lion King’ and she has a solo.”
Besides his children, what’s creating the music in his life now is the work Eric is doing at USHEALTH Advisors, and he says he believes he found this opportunity for a reason.
“I realized really fast that my place here was a perfectly orchestrated plan,” says Eric. “I wake up every morning in gratitude knowing there is a reason I walked into that first meeting that brought me here. There was something definitely guiding me through that process.”
Staying grounded is what has given Eric the foundation to build up his future, and he says his message to everyone is the three things he focuses on every day. In fact, he wears a physical embodiment of those three philosophies as bracelets on his wrist.
“The first one is about faith,” Eric explains. “It says, ‘WWJD’, what would Jesus do? I put God in my life and reconnected with God after the hurricane. The second one says, ‘Hustle.’ The philosophy in our office is mind over mattress. Get in earlier and work later than everyone else. The third bracelet says, ‘Never Give Up.’ You can overcome anything and I believe it—I believe it now more than ever. This company has really cemented that philosophy for me. You do those three things—Faith, Hustle, and Never Give Up—focus on those three and you’ll always be OK.
Yes, there’s magic in the power of three.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.