The Salesman Who Doesn’t Sell
Brian Greenberg, Eller Entrepreneurship and Marketing ’00
President, CompassQuote Insurance Services
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Brian Greenberg grew up in an entrepreneurial family. “My father was an entrepreneur, both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs,” he said. “It’s just something in me.”
His parents went to ASU and UA, respectively, and so when the family moved to Arizona from Chicago when Greenberg was 18, he also looked to UA.
“When I started school, I thought that I wanted to be a doctor, but my aptitude was definitely in business, and the entrepreneurship program interested me tremendously.” His venture team worked on an ecommerce concept, the beginnings of his career in internet business.
After graduation, he considered his options. He recalled the advice of one of the guest speakers in the entrepreneurship program: “He told us, ‘Things might not happen right away. In the meantime, learn to sell.’” Greenberg took the advice to heart. Over the next few years, worked for MetLife as an insurance agent.
He did well, but being on the road constantly took its toll, and his heart wasn’t in the sales model for the product. “I knew there was a better way to provide life insurance. Some clients are just ready to buy, and are looking for a simple term life insurance plan,” he said. Simple term life insurance isn’t profitable for firms. “But if you sell enough of them, it can be,” Greenberg said. “Life insurance can be bought, not sold.”
It was this insight that prompted him to found an online insurance agency that serves internet-savvy clients who know exactly what they want, and don’t want to sit through a sales pitch to get it.
The company wasn’t an overnight success. “In 2005, I had to move back home with my parents,” he said. “The opportunity was there, but I had to be patient, especially since I was competing against huge companies.” A year later, Greenberg moved out again, and his company has been growing since 2007. Earlier this year, he was selected for membership in the Million Dollar Roundtable, the premier association for professionals in the financial and insurance field. Only the top 1 percent of agents qualify for membership, which is based on sales volume and commissions.
Greenberg now has two online life insurance sites, True Blue Life Insurance and Compass Quote, and has just launched an online quote engine, www.compassquoter.com. “Not everything is going to work, so it’s important to have multiple revenue streams,” he said. “I was taught from an early age the value of passive income. When you work hard now, you can build a business that can sustain itself.”
Top photo courtesy Brian Greenberg.