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Mark Biermann


For our first episode, we sat down with Mark Biermann, a familiar speaker at our national events and one of the fastest producing agents in FFS history. We spoke to him about his transition to our industry, the importance of positivity for his success and how a quick response to the pandemic helped his business.  


Camille Cohen 00:00

Welcome to Lead. Empower. Grow., a podcast from First Financial Security where we share stories from entrepreneurs who are helping their communities through financial services.

Jeff Lehman 00:09

On today's episode, we spoke to mark Biermann, one of our top earners about how he became one of the fastest producing agents in FFS history.

Camille Cohen 00:15

Mark has had a meteoric rise to executive field Chairman with FFS. He's a familiar speaker at our national events. And every time I hear him speak, it seems like he has achieved a new milestone or set a new record with us. He is never one to miss.

Jeff Lehman 00:30

We spoke to him about his transition to our industry, the importance of positivity for his success, and how a quick response to the pandemic help his business.

Camille Cohen 00:37

Join our conversation. Okay, so Mark, thank you so much for joining us, we really appreciate it. As we get started, we wanted to talk a little bit about what you did before joining FFS and why the FFS opportunity really appealed to you.

Mark Biermann 00:55

Yeah, Bridget, as I think many people know that, Bridget and I were in the real estate business, we actually had owned a home building company and a real estate company and a land development company, and started that back in 1989. And, obviously, we know what happened in 2008, basically, changed that whole business model where the profit margins went way down. And the thing that I that becomes weary on that type of business model is we had to make $10,000 a day to break even I mean, property taxes were 350,000. You know, you get offers for and employees and all this other stuff. And then when we saw the FFS business model, we go, “Oh, my goodness, we can take our overhead, and it is so minimal.” And yet we can make as much or more money here, in this business model. And there's what really led us to what we saw. And then when we saw the products, the living benefits, I'm going Oh, my God, I watched so many people lose their homes, when they became ill or injured. When I was building homes for people, it drove me crazy and found out that about 80% of the time it was illness and injury, not losing your job. And there's where I'm going for bridge and I were going oh my god, we have something here that we can make sure people don't lose their homes. That was our exact first thoughts that we had when we saw it.

Camille Cohen 02:27

That sounds like a, it's so difficult to be building these beautiful homes for people and then know that there's a good risk that they won't be able to maintain them or keep them, especially with the 2008 crash, that probably happened a lot.

Mark Biermann 02:41

Oh, yes. You know, and it's really, when you build a home for somebody, you get to not only know them, you get to know their kids. And many times you would watch them have more kids and go, Oh, wow, I built that home, I did the best thing ever for that family, and then to watch it go away. It's very disheartening.

Camille Cohen 03:03

Now, looking at that, how did you get into insurance? What was appealing about these products? What made you think that this was a solution that could really help these families?

Mark Biermann 03:13

Well, that's very interesting, because when a friend of mine, or actually, I should really say mentor of mine, Charlie Lind, who meet him used to get together about once a month and, and Charlie introduced me to FFS because of another friend of his that told him about it. And, and he just said you wouldn't work. Because after marriage, and I started being consultants for for small sized business owners, and he goes, this is something that I think you might be able to help business owners with. And, and I go really okay. And you know, the bottom line is, you know, if Charlie would have never brought it to us that day, we I mean, we are so grateful for, for him bringing it to us. But it's just it's hard to put words into how did I get started it as simple as that right there. But you know, knowing also, that we can touch so many people's lives. And that was really what our focus became then is how can we touch as many people as we could and put that type of business model together.

Camille Cohen 04:27

So that that's interesting. And it kind of leads me into my next question, which is about the GOALL program. And you really marketed yourself with the GOALL program. And I know that that was designed specifically to address business owners. And, you know, how did you get started with that? What was the concept behind it and what kind of successes have you seen with it?

Mark Biermann 04:48

Yeah, well, one of the things that we did with the GOALL program, you know, when we started, when we first got into the business, the number one thing that we heard from people was the toughest thing is it You know, after you run out of family and friends, where do you go? And so being in the business, I knew that we had to have something that we would market ourselves to other people and have a vehicle to be able to do that. And we know marketing, nobody knows you're out there. And so when we started going into the working with the business owners, you know, it didn't sound very good, because the technical name of the product is really life insurance with living benefits and a supplemental income. So we told to talk to the business owners and said, Hey, we got it, we have we offer the goal program. And they go, Well, what's the goal program? I go growth, only automated life and legacy program. They go, wow. So there's where it was a game changer. And now the employer, when he does it works with a new hire. And if the employer says, What do you offer, we offer the GOALL program. Wow. And it's been just it's obviously been working really, really well, to be able to do that. But I you know, most people out there are just on their own and try to go door to door one to one and you got you have to have something that when you say what you do, creates curiosity in there's where I think most people miss out is that you don't you talk to them, and they go, oh, let's set up an appointment to get together. And a couple of days later, gosh, they cancelled the appointment. Well, the reason they cancelled the appointment, is what you told them wasn't the pique their curiosity to learn more. And so there's where we really said, Hey, we're going to make sure we pique curiosity. And if we can do that, we can then educate them on what we truly do and how we can help them. And there's been the game changer, because our appointments stick with us. They don't cancel because of that curiosity.

Camille Cohen 07:02

So, so talking a little bit about starting in this business and making that transition from building homes and read the residential side to insurance. What was it like for starting out? What did you feel like? Were the big challenges? And what were some of the things that you did to overcome them? Because you guys have had a lot of success in this business? From pretty early on, you know, you you really hit it hard, early in your time with us and and what was that, like? What was what was really the game changer there.

Mark Biermann 07:36

But you know, it's great. When we first got into the business, the biggest thing that we wanted to understand what is the products, so we know I could look at somebody and go, this is the product that you need. And just to get to get that under our belt. And so for the first basically five months, we started off a little bit slow, but we really wanted to educate ourselves. And the game changer happened when we went to the leadership convention, and went into the leadership convention, for the first time a big event. And all of a sudden, I'm looking around going, Oh, my God, look at all these carriers here. This is real. And we went and started talking to each of the carriers. They were like, Okay, you need, you need more education you need you need to learn more about our product, they were so willing to help us out and to answer our questions. And then during the convention, we got to listen to some of these top leaders talked about their success stories. After that convention, six months later, we hit champions club, you know, and it was just, it's been going there. But the big thing that happened at that leadership convention, is that the belief went into our heart, we got something here that is much bigger than we actually anticipated. And I think that's a big downfall for a lot of people. They don't allow it to enter their hearts, they just want to dip their toe in and see how it goes. And if it doesn't work, okay, I'll give this thing you know, three months, you know, that's, you know, we put it down we said we're gonna make $100,000 We're going to become champions club members, we want equity share in this company. And we made it a mindset that we were going to do this and, and we follow through with our game plan that we've laid down. After that convention, we spent 24 hours, basically going okay, we learned this from the convention, we got this, this and this, and we put our business plan together in 24 hours. And and we stuck to it. And I think that's a big part of it is success doesn't happen overnight. You have to be patient, and it will happen but you also got certain things that you need to do every day to you know, still different than walking into a job. If you decide that you're not going to show up at your j ob There's probably if you do that once or twice, you're fired. And there's where so many people in this business don't have that discipline to show up to work every day. It doesn't matter if it's part time or full time you got to show up.

Camille Cohen 10:13

We hear so much about the benefits of this industry and the opportunity where people get the flexibility. And, you know, you can fit it in, in so many places, and it can really work with your schedule. But the key there is that you've got to do the work. And sometimes that flexibility can be hard for people to say, okay, but this is a real job and a real opportunity. And it's not magic. I'm so glad to hear that those events are really inspiring, you know, we work hard to put them together and make sure that they're motivational, and that we're hearing from people who have done just incredible work in the industry. But we hear that over and over again, that, you know, it's not until you get in a room full of people who are doing what you're doing, and making it making a great impact in their communities, that it really comes alive.

Mark Biermann 11:03

Well, you know, just to add on to that, when you know, when we saw people making a million dollars a year, I'm going, Wow, it's been done. So it makes them a lot easier for me to visualize making a million dollars, it's been done. It's one thing to be the front runner and go, I'm leading, and this has never been done. It takes a different, you know, but when you know, it's been done, you go, I'm going to do it too. You know, it makes it easier

Camille Cohen 11:34

looking at the title of our podcast, and we decided to go Lead. Empower. Grow.,with the concept being that umbrellas are really a symbol of insurance. And also, you know, the concept of coverage and helping people and sharing not only the products and that kind of safety and peace of mind with people but also the opportunity and bringing people into our teams and under the same umbrella. With that in mind, do you have any stories of sharing that umbrella with others? What does that concept of vote to you like? What does that make me think of in terms of your experience in this industry,

Mark Biermann 12:11

giving somebody the ability to be self employed, and become successful, make great money. And is is a great thing to do. It's very satisfying when you see somebody else that you brought into this business, have success. There's there's it's an amazing feeling. But this now we'll take that one step further. You know, for Britain, I It's about how many people we can touch and help and get a policy on a given protected? Well, when you do that, and you bring another person in the FFS and they're having success. Well, the same thing is happening. They're just another level down, they are touching people, and they are helping people and protecting people. So it's a satisfaction that you know, it's hard to describe, you know, but it's, it's amazing. You're usually on Friday night and the abridged recap our week a little bit. It's about normally people we touched. You know, it isn't about the money you make. And and we just basically go okay, we touched your 25 people this week. Wow. You know, and we and we, we just say, you know, we're so blessed to be able to do that part of it. And I think when you teach people that and in fact, we've actually taken when we bring people in now into FFS, we actually put a lot of emphasis on on education. In fact, this weekend, we're actually starting this afternoon, we do a a 20 hour training, where we bring the people in and we do a deep dive into how you do this business. And that has been been huge for us where we take that extra time with the new people and say, Here's how our system works. And here's why we do it. Here's what you say to people. And we mean it people are going oh my god, I've never seen such a detailed breakdown. But it's about getting the people in the right mindset if you know, you know you can have an opportunity for success. But if your mindset is not in the right place, no matter what I teach or what we do, will never bring that person to success. And so there's where being able to share this with other people. Is is you know, that bridge and I were talking this morning, we need to be able to touch more people and bring into this business. Because there's so many people out there that need this what we're doing and You know, I honestly believe that down the road with what we're doing and what we have started with the GOALL program, that our goal is to make it a household name. And want to be able to have every person that participated in joining FFS, working with Mark and Bridget, using the GOALL program to get the message out, you know, is going to be literally a household name, you have to think big in this business. It's not if you think smaller, you're going to stay small, think big. And that and there's word big things will happen.

Camille Cohen 15:43

Well, you guys have done such an interesting job of making it really a team effort and having teams go out. And people with different gifts and different skill sets. You know, we talk a lot about entrepreneurs feeling that they need to do everything. And you know, in a typical entrepreneur situation, you're the male person, and the stockist, and the janitor and the accountant and you know, you're doing marketing and you're doing everything from top to bottom. And one of the things is FFS that we offer is taking care of a lot of the administrative work, some of the marketing, you know, a lot of the the things to get you started so that you're not starting from scratch, there's a system that's already in place, and you guys have taken it even a step further of saying, you know, we're putting you guys into these slots, we're making it so that you have a specific role in our teams? And how have you seen that play out doing it, you know, a little bit differently, where each person is not just building their own individual business all by themselves?

Mark Biermann 16:46

Well, you know, that, you know, when we got into FFS and found out the support that we get from the staff there when we're writing applications, I mean, it is absolutely amazing what that does, okay, plus you get guidance from from when, when that's happening. And so knowing that you have that support, making sure that the maps or the approvals of your clients are happening and and what are the underwriting or underwriter saying or whatever to get these questions answered. But what we actually did, we found out that there were a lot of people are bashful. They don't like to talk to people, but they're amazingly organized app writers and admin people, and they're so talented, they're nickel, I'd rather stay, I'd rather do that. And so we, I said, you know, what, I love being the guy out networking, I love to be the guy out presenting to people. And now I have an admin person and an App Writer that's doing something that they truly enjoy. So it's just, you know, using a person's talents, where they are comfortable. I mean, if you're a person that is uncomfortable, and you say, Okay, you gotta go present to that person and, and then write up, you know, do all this your stuff, they're gonna freeze on their tracks. And in turn, they might leave the business, because it's a piece of it I'm not comfortable with. And we all know that when you, you know, when somebody comes from a gob from a job, they go into work and sit down at their desk, and by golly, there's work there. And you just, and you do your 40 hours, in thing is when most of them didn't realize there was a sale or something happened on the backside that created that work for. So when they when they get into FFS, they go, Oh, my goodness, I have to network, I have to do this, I have to do that I have to do all these components. I just can't sit at my desk, and work will show up. But you know, there's where I will all go on network, and I'll bring the work in and you take care of the backside. And so that's really what's going on with what we're doing using people's talents to the best of their ability. Believe it or not, it also eliminates errors and creates more accuracy when you got good talent and you spot.

Camille Cohen 19:09

Well, and you think about people who are really skilled salespeople who have that gift of being able to network or speak in front of in front of a large group are often not that detail oriented people are the people who love checking off lists and doing you know, I mean, if we think about skill sets, it's very rare that you have someone who's just good at absolutely everything. And so if you can scale it up enough, you know, we had FFS do it for everyone, we're we're helping you through your apps, we're making it as easy as possible so that you're just able to go out there and sell. But it's interesting that you guys have taken it to another level where you guys have been able to scale it and it does show the importance of getting a team as soon as you get here and trying to get people who can help you and support you and keep that business growing. No matter what.

Mark Biermann 19:59

Right. Exactly right.

Camille Cohen 20:01

So with that talking about the kind of no matter what happens scenario we've had quite the year in 2020. I think if I hear unprecedented one more time, I'm gonna scream. But, you know, it really has been a year just if one thing after another and we've seen people's businesses respond really differently, and, you know, depending on their region and, and what kind of leadership they've had from their local government and whether or not they're open and how comfortable people are, are within face, but so many people have transitioned to zoom and, you know, a really digital work, but what has it been like in 2020? For you guys, I know you guys have made it on the dream destination, some of your team has made an on Dream estimation, which is fantastic, congratulations. But how have you kept your business going? How did you pivot? What have been some of the things that you've done that have been successful in this year?

Mark Biermann 20:57

Well, you know, when COVID, in 2020, really kicked in, I think that was in March or something like that. And immediately, I mean, the positive was, I didn't have to fly in an airplane as much on travel. But we also knew immediately that we had to reach out to the people and and basically do zoom meetings was the first adjustment that we put a lot of emphasis on. And what's what's unique about that we were already doing zoom meetings, you know, myself being licensed in 36 states, now, I can't go to all 36 steps. So in 2018, we actually put it put a system in place where we can do zoom meetings, and write apps and all that there stuff, but it wasn't more of a one on one situation, what we ended up doing was getting a system put in place, so we can do a zoom meeting and enroll 2025 people in one day. You know, and so we perfected that was a big part of it. But we also in March, immediately started calling up our clients and saying, Hey, you did not lose any money when the stock market went down? And they're like, really, is that really true? Yes. And they go, Oh, my God, I got a friend that just told me she, she looked at her 401k and lost all this money, you know, and I go, Hey, I can help her. And we started getting so many referrals, we were shocked, you know, from our clients down to their brothers and sisters to whatever. And so that was a huge, huge push for us. And then your other clients said, Hey, I got this other business owner over there, that needs your help to their employees are unhappy, because they just lost all this money here. So in but there's where the Zoom meetings came in, that we could tap into them without actually going there. We also said, Okay, it's time for us to really start putting a marketing plan together. And we never, ever had a true marketing plan, you know, through social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, all these other areas. And now we have that also in place. And so doing all of that. And we you know, the nice thing about it, we're not a big bridge, and I have with the GOALL program, we're not a big company. So we can make, we can move quickly to make these adjustments, when we saw that, and theirs were in March, when we did that all of a sudden, we had so much work, and applications coming in, that it didn't take, I think in a three month period, we went from 700 to 800 to 900 to a million dollars in income that quickly. And we I mean, we shocked ourselves. But it was a good shock. You know, it really comes down to this right here. If having success with COVID is a mindset that either you're gonna say, Hey, I'm going to take advantage of the market conditions, or I'm going to, I'm going to sit back and wait until COVID goes away. The ones that have said I am going to take advantage of this market, these market conditions are the ones that are having success. And that's just not even FFS and what we're doing, it's it's, it's as an employer across this country, there's certain ones that are being proactive and certain ones that are not being proactive right now. And just getting the message out there. Here's how I can help you in using that mentality definitely changes the whole thing. I mean, I teach over and over again, you have to find the need or their problem. Find that out, create curiosity, and create a belief that you can help them and you will get an appointment and you gotta be passionate about it. And so there's, you know, kind of a lengthy answer there. But Bottom line is, that's what we did.

Camille Cohen 25:04

When I imagine, so many of those employers who you'd already worked with, we're really proud that they could come to their employees and say, you know, Hey, guys, this thing that you invested in, and that you were excited about, like, look at what it's doing for you now. And it's a real, you know, we talk about financial security and peace of mind being a core part of our vision and FFS. And in a normal year, it just sounds like, you know, you know, whatever, like, okay, but that's nice, like, we all kind of have peace of mind. And then it you get to a year like 2020, and it becomes a real value and something that is scarce, you know, it becomes something that, hey, you know, this is something we really can offer you, it's real, and it's tangible, and there's, there's a product to back it up, it's not just, you know, go meditate for 20 minutes, you know, it's, it's a real tangible impact that you can have in your life for the long term. And for employers to have on their, on their people, and to be able to support them and to retain them, which I know is a huge deal for you guys is working toward employer relationships with their employees and being able to retain really great people. But yeah, it sounds like you guys, you know, went after current clients, and that's such a huge deal of getting referrals, you know, it's something that I think people forget sometimes is that it's an ongoing relationship, that you're still maintaining all of the policies that you've ever written, that you're still on them, that you are still working with those clients and helping them out. But COVID has really shown you know, what that means, and really speaking to those people again, and getting those referrals is a is a huge deal.

Mark Biermann 26:51

Oh, you know, when, you know, when the stock market crash and 2020 and, and now all of a sudden, you're talking to people going you didn't lose any money member, our product never goes in reverse. That's music to their ears. I mean, it is absolute music to their ears, you know, people work too hard to lose their money.

Camille Cohen 27:13

Well, and it's one piece, it's always nice when you can be the person bringing good news. So we've heard several stories from other agents where, you know, with an individual client and a tragedy has happened, but you can be the person bringing, you know, one, you know, peace offering, or, you know, one aspect of this doesn't replace what's happened, this doesn't solve all of your problems, but it's one less thing that you have to worry about. You have some peace of mind. And in these products, you know, it's the same thing when a financial crisis happens. Hey, you are you're okay? You're okay, at least here. Other things may be happening. COVID still happening? You're probably anxious, but at least here. You don't have to worry about that part.

Mark Biermann 27:58

That is exactly right. To know. The other thing too, a big question that came out, well, if I get COVID-19, and I become and now my lungs are damaged, I have this policy. Can I put in a claim? Well, we checked the carriers. And it was a yes.

Camille Cohen 28:14

Well, in so many people are worried about, you know, I think I think COVID has been odd in that it is really brought healthcare in discussions of health and long term health and consequences into the public sphere in a way that just has never happened, where, you know, people are talking about comorbidities. I mean, who knew that word a year ago, you know, no one's no one's talking about that before COVID. And people are starting to realize what risk means and what they are risking just in general. Can I ask you a little bit about people joining your team and what the interest in the opportunity has been like, right now. So we've talked a little bit about, you know, so many people have wanted the product and you've had just a lot of business that have people been really attracted to the FFS opportunity. Have you felt like, it's been an appealing proposition during this time? Or, you know, has that not really changed has recruited and that really changed in 2020.

Mark Biermann 29:11

Where's our best recruiting year in that we ever had? Absolutely. In you know, part of it people just wanted to join the cause that we're doing. But the other thing is there's so many people out there that were impacted by their jobs and now had no jobs or their income went from x and dropped down to x you know, and so now they're gone my incomes way down. I need I need something else. And so there's where we were able to add a lot more people to our to our team to help our cause here. But you know, it all depends on where they dropped him. You know, like I say, someone said cheese, I just love what you're doing. Next one was my income is down or I lost my job. I need to I want to, I want to start something different. I mean, one of our, one of our teammates, as an example was in the construction industry as a project manager, you know, 60 years old, and he's going, the last thing I want to do now is go get another project management job in this unstable world, because I'm gonna be the first to get laid off. And he goes, Mark, I know, you came out of the construction industry, can you teach me what you did? Because I love your cause. You know, and there's, you know, in right now, you know, he's just having so much fun, his wife has said to me, he says, I've never seen he is so happy now. You know, I mean, there's fulfillment right there.

Camille Cohen 30:40

Well, and, you know, talking about retirement, on the product side, it's, it's obvious, you know, that's a key component of the products that we offer. But on the opportunity side, too, you know, we've seen folks and talk to people who are like, the great thing about this business is you can scale it however you want. So you don't really have to retire. If you don't want to, you can just scale back what you're doing. Keep things going as long as long as you want to. But it's that's part of where the flexibility once you've built it, once you've gotten it going in, once you have a base of clients and referrals coming in, and it becomes something that really you can sustain because, you know, you're your own business owner, you are able to keep control of that for the long term.

Mark Biermann 31:26

Well, you know, here's here's not to, you know, in November, November was, was a bad month for for me, I started getting I wasn't feeling well, late October, and my energy level was dropping down, and I'm blocked God bridge, I don't know. And also this headache started coming in, and I couldn't shake this headache. And, and to make a long story short, it took right before the week before Thanksgiving, I ended up going to a clinic numerous times, and they just kept testing me for COVID. And you're okay, you're idle, there's something wrong, you know. And finally, after the third time going into the clinic, they now my temperature is at 102. They finally said, Okay, we'll let you we'll send you to the emergency room. And I ended up spending four days in the hospital and ended up getting the valley fevers what it was, and but you know, I'm, you know, so you can imagine that for about over a week, I didn't do any work, I was able to really do work. And some of my friends called me up and it was a week after Thanksgiving, they go, I thought you were sick. And I go, Well, I was sick. You know, I am still not all the way back at Nickel. But I just saw that you hit the leadership board for most apps submitted. And you're and you also hit the the income level as one of the top income earners that week. And I go, that's kind of nice, isn't it?

Camille Cohen 33:06

It think it's great that things keep going. You know it but traditional business models, yes, they're fantastic. But, but to me, many times, many traditional business models are somewhat more susceptible to what we do to a downturn in the market. With the FFS business model, that's the other thing that we really looked at was that the the market could be bad, it could be good. And it and it goes, it works, you know, you know, because in the down market, people don't want to lose money, they're going to change in an up market, they got extra money to put into the product. I mean, we are in a great situation, that it doesn't matter. If we have a good market conditions or poor market conditions for the economy, we're going to win.

Camille Cohen 33:56

Absolutely well, and as when the economy was getting better. I know that so much of our conversation with people was we'll remember the recession, and it wasn't too long, too long ago. So it wasn't hard to get an example in living memory. You know, it's not like we're like, well remember the Great Depression, it could happen. It could happen. You know, we're talking about something that's only a few years ago, and now, so many people have lived through two recessions. And it just it makes that kind of instability makes people really want to shore up against risk. And that's what we do. You know, we make it so that you can have that security and that peace of mind.

Mark Biermann 34:34

Absolutely. You know, having been in a situation that you don't lose your money when the stock market goes down. Like I said, it is a peace of mind. And I truly believe that every person needs to put a certain amount of money away into a product that never goes in reverse. I am a person that learnt that personally, during the downfall of 2008 You know, and we had everything what I would call in the risk bucket, you know, 401k real estate, real estate dropped 50% in value. So what happened to my value of my real estate dropped 50% devastating, you know, in this in 2020, we didn't have a single thing go in reverse. We readjusted, you know, I mean, we were fortunate that the real estate side of it didn't tank. Also our house did not lose value or anything like that. But still, any, every family out there needs to be diversified enough that they, if something happens, they don't have what happened to me and Bridget in 2008. You know, there's where our passion comes out. I tell people point blank that right there?

Camille Cohen 36:01

Well, in so many people, you know, you don't know, right? Now you have the luxury, or you may think you have the luxury of waiting it out, or, you know, waiting that 10 or 15 years, just things grow again, over the long term, but you don't know when you're going to have to pull money out, you don't know when something's going to happen where you have to suddenly care for an elderly parent or suddenly, you know, pay for medical expenses, or, you know, all of this is about really uncertain things. And Jeff and I have talked before about the the idea that we as humans are really bad at assessing risk. And we're really bad at thinking that whatever's happening right now, we just tend to project into the future forever. So if we're in a COVID year, and 2020, it's endless, nothing's gonna be good again, you know, we're just kind of that's that's generally how we think. But most of the time things are going okay. Or they may be going okay, and for those times, it feels really hard to envision, what could happen, why would I need this money? You know, and so, yeah, that's something that I feel like we need to start teaching a little bit earlier that, you know, this is how having a little bit of a safer strategy would probably do you?

Mark Biermann 37:19

Well, you know, you said something that I have a note right, right beside me that says staying positive. People need to stay positive. And some people just have a struggle with staying positive, because one of the things that they do, all they do is focus on the negative. This bad thing happened, this bad thing happened. I talked to a person the other day, and they were saying, Oh, I just got a horrible day. I go what went wrong? They told me one thing. I said, is that the only thing you did all day? Well, I know I had this I had this meeting, I had this meeting Well, how did they How did them two meetings go? Oh, they actually went really good. That was really good. And I go, did you forget about that. And so, you know, I told the person that this morning, I said, here's what I want you to do. I need you to write down what happened all day, that particular day, and then I want you to weigh out the negative versus the positives. And you're going to find that most of the time it's going to be positive. And I also had told people and look at 2020 as an overall what happened? And what are the positives? What are the negatives that happen? In motion that said it was a horrible, horrible year, when I told him to write down the positives, also what that list had more positives, and because the reason they had more positives, was they they said, Oh, you know what, I learned how to do zoom meetings, I learned, you know, and so I could I improve my business model. And in there's where so many people just forget about the positives. Tip for me, it's think about the positives, and then we'll throw in that negative, you only go okay, that's okay. Had a good day.

Camille Cohen 38:59

And it happens in in so many areas, doesn't it that, you know, I find myself remembering if I look back on different days, or if I think about things I'm, you know, I latch on to these negative memories, so much more so than these positive ones. It's really hard to capture and dwell on and like, hold on to those positive memories in a clear way. But things that affected me or hurt me or were really negative, it's they're crystal clear. That's just so difficult to get out of it feels like that's just how we're wired in some respects. And I'm sure some people are not wired that way. But it's a big challenge to like, and I do agree when you're talking about writing down the positives, and each day really talking through and remembering how great things were in a different moment.

Mark Biermann 39:49

Well, there's also simple things that can be done. This happened a couple of weeks ago, I'm doing a field training with one of my colleagues. And you know, we're we're, what, 15 minutes before the appointment We get a phone call, and the person had to had to cancel because of a family emergency, which is very understandable. And the person has turned right away very negative, and says, I wonder if it really was a family emergency. And, you know, just thinking of all these negative things come out. And they look down and says, Well, how do I know how I'm going to address this? And he goes, how are you going to address it, I said, my my model is that if I ever have an appointment cancel on me, for whatever reason, before I can end my day, I have to set up two new appointments. And so I become super focused, look at all my, you know, what follow ups did I not do today, because I have a routine that I do four follow ups a day, I add four names to my names list every day, you know, I want to do four appointments every day, you know, that's my goal. But bottom line is, when I added them to appointments that day, I call that person back up, I go, What a fabulous day, I'm so glad that person cancelled, I got two new people.

Camille Cohen 41:06

Well, and there's something, there's something to be said, too, because I think a lot of the advice you get is to talk through things or work through, you know, whatever negative thing happened. And, you know, those are obviously bigger things typically, that they're talking about that, if you think about kind of addressing it, and then moving on and replacing it with something great, you know, I've heard of some people with, like drug addiction or something like that, where they replace everything with with flowers afterward, the money that they would have spent, and it's something really beautiful and something positive that is, you know, impact you that were something that they love. And, you know, you look at that, and you're like, Yeah, I mean, if I can, now the narrative of what happened is really replaced by what I put in its place, you know, that's, that's the positive that you're getting out of it. And that's a really, that's a really helpful tip for making an immediate and making it kind of in the moment of, okay, now I'm immediately going to pivot, I'm not going to dwell on it or complain about it, I'm just going to move on to this other thing, and that'll be what my day is.

Mark Biermann 42:12

You used a key word there, Camille: pivot. Sometimes you need to pivot in your day, to make it a great day. And, and some people just, most of them will just drive home. And and I'm just, I want to end my day to day before anything else negative happens, I'm just gonna go hide, you can't do that, you know, isn't gonna go away?

Camille Cohen 42:38

Well, that's part of that discipline that you were talking about to where it becomes easier and easier to replace it and to talk about something new and to move on, you know, as you do it. So it becomes more and more instinctual to just go, yep. Okay, we're going to something new and not dwell on it. Because we are wired in certain ways, but that wiring in our brains is from repetition, you know. And so as you do it over and over again, I always think of I know, this is not actual neuroscience, but I always think of like grooves in our brain just happening, getting deeper and deeper and deeper, the more and more you do certain activities are things, certain thoughts. And so if you're really wanting to change it, you got to think of, you know, doing it over and over again, and it with the hope that it'll get easier every single time to think that way. So this question, I think I'm excited to hear hear what you say. But now that 2020 is behind us that we've kind of at least had, you know, we've bracketed that year somewhat. But looking forward to 2021. And what's coming, what are some of the goals that you guys have and the vision that you see for how your business is going to grow in 2020?

Mark Biermann 43:50

Well, we definitely, you know, it was interesting, because, yes, did we spend some time this last weekend in particular, doing our goal setting? And the answer is absolutely, yes. You know, and one of the things that I think intimidate a lot of people as you hit, you know, like, we hit the million dollar mark, and you start breaking that number down and going, Okay, what do I need to do to not only maintain this, but also to grow to $1.1 million to your next pin level? And when you when you start doing that, also nice go to Bridgette Well, I think I think the number I'm very close when I say this number, right, it's $2,700 a day you have to make to make a million dollars. average person would would freak out, back into the come in the back way and go, Oh, you know, okay, that's one $300 A month policy or our 313 100 out Yeah, you know that you're gonna make that $2,700 So can I write one policy a day? You know, and also To get the highest, you know, if I, if I get out there, I can do that. And in there's where I always say everything's a mathematical equation. And I think I had talked about, you know, when, after we were at that leadership convention, when our goal was $100,000. And if we were in at that time, we were at the 50% pay level. So I use 50% found out that if I wrote, we wrote $200 apps 2400 Target premium, that if we wrote seven policies a month, we would literally make $100,000. And also, they just changed the whole perspective, right there. And then we use six hours, as the monitor time that we would take to get each app and that go, and I go to Bridget, I go, that's 42 hours a month, that's 10 hours a week. And all sudden, she's going, Oh, my God, we got this, I go, especially if we work 40 hours a week, oh my God, you're in now obviously, it's a much bigger picture. Because you're always fine tuning what you do to get to 100 doesn't work for 200, to get the 300, you can't do you know, it's perfecting. Either you're perfecting or correcting your business model at all times. And so our by the end of 2021, our goal is that we're going to be at 1.2 million. And, and so is it easy, no. But can it be done? Absolutely. It can be you know, and in, there's where knowing it can be done. Having the right team in place, it can be done. And there's where, you know, some we sat and work through that whole thing. All of a sudden, it's like, okay, that's $100,000 a month. You know, break that down, you know, and and you start doing that, and you say, okay, instead of seven apps a month. It's seven apps a week. Can we do that? Yeah. And there's where your mindset says this is I can accomplish this. But when the average person out there, that leaves a J, ob has never made $100,000. Now you tell them you're going to make $100,000, here they go. I've never made it before. So they have a hard time visualizing it, and they look at it and go, gotta make $100,000 I make 12 bucks an hour. I don't. There's not enough hours in the day. But when we broke it down after that convention, we also found out that we wrote seven our apps a month and used that 42 hours, we made $48 an hour. I go, you know, it, there's where you know, and I think that if people would take the time and do their goals and work it in reverse. They're going to have a big eye opener and go, Oh, this is really doable, uncynical, I've never done that before, but lay out the path to be able to do it.

Camille Cohen 48:08

Absolutely. It's part of why we emphasize having a system so much and a system in place that FFS of okay, you know, there's manageable chunks that you can learn, and especially with success tracks, which we introduced this last spring, and having something that people can really get started with immediately. But the goal setting that you're talking about is so crucial of breaking things down into really manageable chunks. But having a big goal, a visionary goal, something that's really exciting that $100,000, or that 1.2 million, whatever it might be, that really gets you out of bed in the morning and looks exciting, and almost unrealistic. But then taking it and saying, Okay, this is achievable, because and really breaking it down. makes it so much easier to feel like you can have success in that space, breaking it down. And it gives you a better vision, you know, of seeing it. Okay, here's the game plan that we have to do. You're seeing it versus trying to process it just only in your head. One of the things that we that I've been telling the people on our team, because, you know, obviously we use the GOALL program, and it is I look at him and I say you know what the GOALL program business model isn't the dream. The GOALL program is simply the vehicle to get you to your dream. You know, in there's where every person out there, you've got to have a dream. I want to do this for my family. I want to do this or whatever it is. And I want a new house or whatever. There's your dream used to use what FFS has to offer, you know, to get you to that dream, but it just by joining FFS isn't going to get you to the dream you got to do something to make that happen because FFS offers that vehicle to get you there.

Camille Cohen 50:01

Man, it is always a treat to talk to Mark Bierman, I love hearing from him. It's always fun to see him on stage to hear what he has to say. And I love him throwing out goals, because you know, when Mark talks about goals, they're going to be very specific, they're going to be down to the number down to the penny, what they want to achieve how they're going to achieve it. I've, I've seen mark and Brigitte, talk about, you know, the elaborate goal setting that they do what they do every day, what they do every month, what they do every year to make that work for them. And I mean, they know every time they know down to the penny, okay, how much do I need to do every day to make this work every week to achieve a new goal, because it's crazy to you know, you can't just keep doing what, what you've been doing up to this point. To make it to the next milestone, he always talks about the fact that he has to shift his mindset every single time. Because making it from one income level to the next income level, you've got to just level up, you've got to do something different each time to make sure that it works. And I just I love hearing the specifics that they've got.

Jeff Lehman 51:14

Yeah, such a good planner in so quick and action to which I think was evident in the what he said about responding to the pandemic, calling people, his clients immediately to reassure them, they hadn't lost any money. And just immediately going out, the first thing he did when he hear the news seems like is contacting clients?

Camille Cohen 51:31

And can you imagine getting that? Can you imagine getting that phone call from your financial advisor who's just talking to you personally, who took the time to say, hey, you know, you might be worried about what's out there. But don't worry, like, we've got this we're fine.

Jeff Lehman 51:46

And the relief to see that call come in and be like, Oh, good, what is it? And but it to have it be good news? Yes, absolutely.

Camille Cohen 51:52

Absolutely. I mean, because I remember in the spring, there was so so much anxiety about so many different things that were hitting at once because of this pandemic, and to have a voice of reason and expertise, calling you that you've trusted with your finances and with your financial future, saying, Hey, we've got this. We're good. How much more trust does that engender? And then we hear him talk about how that is been a huge generator of referrals.

Jeff Lehman 52:25

Yeah, I think it's precisely, that's the power of peace of mind.

Camille Cohen 52:30

Absolutely. I mean, it's also, you know, in our business referrals are the bread and butter, right? I mean, hopefully that is where you are really getting most of your clients after you have a client base is clients networks are now ignore your networks. And that that's what you want, you want you you want to make enough of an impression on someone that they think, Oh, I've got a guy, I've got a woman, I've got someone who can help you do what you need to do. And I can just imagine how many of those people who talk to him told their friends. You know, my guy called me yesterday and says, I didn't lose any money. And he called me personally, that's the kind of story you tell to people. Whereas, you know, nothing else is really that interesting about your financial advisor that you're gonna, you know, tell other people, but I can imagine that conversation happened to run a few more dinner tables. After he made those calls.

Jeff Lehman 53:32

Yeah, that's the umbrella. That's the metaphor. It's like, we're all in a rainstorm. And then someone comes up to you. And he's like, Hey, you heard about the umbrella? The guy who's got the umbrella?

Camille Cohen 53:41

Over there, he's willing to share?

Jeff Lehman 53:42

Yeah, yeah. Love that.

Camille Cohen 53:45

There's room for everyone. Come on.

Jeff Lehman 53:47

Let's join. Yeah, he's great at that. Yeah.

Camille Cohen 53:51

It's funny how he got into this industry. I mean, so in our lifetime, we have had two financial crashes, to saving quickly to that to Yeah, to significant ones that have just been devastating and devastating for different reasons, different causes. But you see how he got into our industry because of the last financial crash and what he saw in construction and watching people whose homes got foreclosed on, not because they were, you know, just deadbeats who couldn't pay, right? That is not the case, almost most foreclosures and bankruptcies in this country are caused by medical debt. And that is, it's something that can get out of hand so quickly. And that was the thing that he and Bridgette looked at and thought I put all this time and all this work and all this effort into building someone's house, and then it gets taken away and for what we hear from so many people to that. You know, so many folks talking about how much anxiety they have over possible medical debt in the future. Yeah, that there is the possibility that if I get chronically ill, or critically injured, and my insurance maxes out, because even if you have insurance, there's a maximum it's going to pay out in a year, or I then lose my job, and then can't afford my health insurance anymore, or, you know, whatever. There's so many scenarios that people spin out, because it's such an anxiety inducing topic in this country, and to learn that there's a way for you to access life insurance while you're alive, if something happens to you. That kind of safety net is really the peace of mind that we're talking about is that you don't have to worry about that. Yeah. And with this pandemic, is made us contemplate mortality in a way that nothing else really could have made us do that on mass. And yeah, hearing him see that and say, You know what, I mean, because he was really successful in the construction business, he was doing very well. And one of the things that I know really appealed to him too, is a lack of overhead in this industry, and that he was able to enter it, to get really good at it and really understand what he needed, and then help people. And I think for him and help people quickly, right? I mean, building a house takes so long, but you look at our business and you can get someone protected, within months, right within just defend depending on what the underwriting looks like, just so quickly, and say, hey, you know, you've got it, you don't have to worry about this anymore. That feeling of like, you don't have to worry about that. What a gift right now.

Jeff Lehman 56:42

That's relief. Well, it was so great talking to Mark. We're so happy to have him on this episode.

Camille Cohen 56:46

We always love talking to him. And tune in next time for our next episode of Lead. Empower. Grow. where help another great agent on talking about entrepreneurship. For this episode, join us on our blog. We'll be talking about a few of the topics we we shared with you today. And also check us out on Facebook. We're always there at FFS news. We'd love to have a conversation with you. We'd love to get to know you and hear any questions that you might have. But we loved hearing from Mark today and we cannot wait to share the umbrella next time. Thanks for listening

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