Peter Vitale has been in the insurance industry for just under a decade. In that relatively short span of time, though, he has more than proven himself capable. Specifically, Vitale is capable of growing small and medium insurance agencies’ client bases, revenues, and profits.
After graduating from Oakland University, Peter Vitale entered the insurance industry as an executive account manager with Allstate. He quickly moved up to own his own agency, which he had for just over two years.
It was while he owned an insurance agency that Peter Vitale really showed his aptitude for growth. He was recognized as a “Miami Heat” and qualified for the North Central Honor Ring in his first year of ownership, both of which are awards that come from Allstate. The former recognizes the fastest-growing agencies, and the latter is based on a combination of growth, retention, customer service, and profitability. In his last year of ownership, Vitalie was again recognized for having one of Allstate’s fastest-growing agencies.
Although he was a successful insurance agency owner, Peter Vitale decided to use his skills to develop a career beyond just his agency. Through Bloomfield Insurance Group, LLC, he became an insurance agency consultant. In his role as an agency consultant, Peter Vitale helps other insurance agencies that are seeing stagnant or declining client numbers reinvigorate themselves with growth. He does this through a combination of retraining staff, revising marketing campaigns, and reviewing profitability-increasing opportunities.
To date, Vitale has helped multiple insurance agencies see growth when they previously were declining. Each agency he works with receives his direct and personal attention.
How did you get started in this business?
I was always interested in customer service-oriented industries, and have been professionally driven in areas that focus on customer satisfaction, service, and growth. I became an Executive Account Manager with Allstate Insurance in 2012 and remained in that role until 2014. During this time, I learned the technical tools of the trade, and gained invaluable experience in the insurance industry, before pivoting into a leadership role soon thereafter. In February of 2014, I pivoted into the role of an Agency Owner and perfected the leadership skills needed to successfully guide others to daily and long-term success. As the owner of Bloomfield Insurance Group LLC, I constantly tweaked our team’s methodologies and searched for ways to maximize positive outcomes.
After seeing positive results on a large scale year over year, the idea of sharing my knowledge as an Insurance Consultant began to grow. Entrepreneurial in spirit, I recognized this potential venture as a great way to further explore my love of the industry, create tangible change for other small business owners, and expand my reach in the insurance realm.
How do you make money?
As the owner of an insurance agency, I make money through the services provided via the agency. As an Insurance Consultant, I typically invest in some ownership stakes in a company that I’m working with, and when the results of my interventions pay off, I receive a portion of the newly blossoming profits associated with that company. This is a great methodology for instilling confidence in the companies that I work with, as my performance and success are tied directly to my livelihood, rather than charging a flat rate for services no matter what the results of those services rendered.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
After working in the insurance realm for so long, I was fortunate to gain the experience and technical know-how to hit the ground running when I became the owner of my own branch. Thus, by the time I was proverbially “on my own”, I had already established myself as a viable insurance professional in the Michigan area. My agency was fortunate to see profit and growth off the bat. In fact, in 2016, we were named as the fastest-growing Allstate office, an honor that is truly a testament to the hard work and dedication of my staff to customer service, and the overall consumer experience.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Occasionally, I had fledgling doubts. However, when those inklings of doubt would come up, I would remind myself that I genuinely enjoy what I’m doing and that the passion I have for this industry would propel me to success. At the backbone of everything that I do, passion and a love for the insurance industry trumps any potential insecurities that I may occasionally face. I don’t do this as a hobby, and I certainly didn’t end up going down this professional trajectory by accident. Each road that I have embarked on within my professional career has been carefully examined, and driven by the desire to help others. Reminding myself of these innate, immovable, and inherent qualities have always helped me to forge ahead.
How did you get your first customer?
My first customer at the Bloomfield Insurance Group LLC came to me as a referral. She already knew that I would be a dedicated source of information, care, and attention, and she wanted a personalized experience tied together with great customer service. From there, customers became interested in our services and swiftly came to value the attention and care they received.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
While many insurance agents and agency owners want to take on as many clients as physically possible, I believe this strategy to be harmful in terms of long-term reputation. By focusing solely on the number of clients represented, insurance agents and agency owners may be sacrificing the bespoke needs of consumers. Instead of this approach, I engage fully with a smaller number of clients, focusing on them with unending amounts of consideration, problem-solving, and general availability. I dedicate my professional efforts to ensuring that their needs are met, rather than focusing on expanding my customer base.
While this strategy isn’t exactly based around traditional marketing ideologies, I have found that it has lent to an overall reputation of being focused on client care. A reputation like that is difficult to garner in today’s professional atmosphere, where clients are often treated like a number.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Obviously, all professionals are working in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly brought about the need to make various professional decisions, personal considerations, and has spotlighted the need to evolve business practices. Though I love the personal interaction that sets my business apart, I chose to think about the wellness and safety, security, and health of staff and clients alike, above all else. Thus, pivoting our business model to function solely in a remote capacity has been a vast transition. However, I’m happy to report that we have been seeing fantastic results, and have been able to provide the same level of care for all parties involved. My team is committed to exceeding client expectations, and I know that I can count on them to remotely perform at the same high-caliber speed as in the office.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Mindfulness is the key to my success, both personally and professionally. In today’s connected world, it is so easy to find oneself mindlessly completing tasks without giving them much thought. There are so many external stimuli simultaneously working hard to capture our attention, and sometimes, we don’t even know what we were thinking about 5 seconds ago.
Thus, in order to make sense of professional strategies, impending thoughts, and overall ideas, I try to sit in complete silence for at least one hour every day. I don’t do this to meditate, and though it is probably helpful for my overall wellbeing, it is also very helpful in maintaining focus and meaning professionally.
During that dedicated time, I try to actively contemplate what I am working on, how to maximize success, and what I need to do in order to conquer any potential professional issues. I try to do this without distractions, which can sometimes be difficult. However, I truly believe that the opportunity to meaningfully go about the day makes a big difference in terms of business success. In order to achieve goals, you have to know why you are embarking on the path to achieving them. You have to calculate methods for doing so, and you have to be able to turn everything else off for a moment to accurately contemplate your progress.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Before entering the consulting world, I did the work and ran a very successful Allstate agency. I operated one of the fastest-growing Allstate agencies in the entire country from 2014-2016. I earned Allstate’s Inner Circle Elite award in 2015 – this is Allstate’s top award that is earned by approximately 1% of the 11,000+ agencies in the country each year.
Having the opportunity to recruit sales staff for insurance agencies is probably the most rewarding part of my job. Identifying and connecting with individuals and bringing them to the insurance industry is incredibly rewarding. I look for people with ambition over experience. Watching successful producers grow in the industry and earn more than they ever thought possible is something that never gets boring – it is truly the reason why I continue to do this work every day.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
On the consulting side, I am constantly looking for ways to expand the business, and hope to continue to do so in the future. The industry has adapted to new technologies and has begun to rely on a lot of intuitive AI and machine learning strategies to take the cumbersome parts out of operations. Thus, I’m very excited to learn how to integrate blossoming technologies into our everyday operations and to remove the bulky and outdated procedures that sometimes plague the insurance world.
What business books have inspired you?
I’ve found Jim Collins’ “Good To Great” to be one of the most powerful and useful business books out there. In the book, Collins delves into the importance of mastering basic principles of leadership, and the proverbial fundamentals. High-level executives and business professionals cannot succeed in complicated business development tasks without mastering the basics of business. Collins’ methods of diving into the examination of how fundamental principles impact success on a long-term basis are brilliant and effective for anyone looking to embark on a professional journey.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust your gut. Don’t try to make something work because someone else wants it to work – trust your gut, and if you don’t think the solution is right, just move on. Often, people have a path they want to take to get to the desired outcome, but it is important to remember that the outcome should be the goal and not the path to get there.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Of course, I would love to help any professional looking to get into the insurance field or any future small business owner. Though this is a general blanket statement, I would tell anyone looking for advice to not be afraid of hard work. Building a stable business is difficult, and often comes with a lot of long nights, busy weekends, and sacrifice. That’s okay. Hard work pays off, especially when one is passionate about a professional venture.