What It Takes For Success
The path to success is hardly ever traveled alone, and rarely comes without a few bumps in the road. There’s often a multitude of factors that play into one person’s climb to the top of their ranks. We spoke with a handful of determined and successful people with ties to the Fargo-Moorhead area regarding what, and who, they believe helped them find success in the area we’re proud to call home. Join us as we introduce these individuals over the coming months.
Did you know?
At the time of writing, Ryan Kill is the only State Farm multi-office agent in the Fargo-Moorhead area!
Some of Kill’s Accomplishments
- State Farm Ambassador Club Qualifier (2015-2021)
- Level 3 Ambassador Club Qualifier (2016, 2019, 2020, 2021)
- SVP Qualifier (2019-2021)
Ryan Kill is more than your average State Farm insurance agent. Not only is he licensed in auto, home, life, health and business insurance; he’s also licensed in both North Dakota and Minnesota. Kill launched his first location in West Fargo in 2015, with a second location in Fargo in September 2020. Kill emphasized that being a multi-office agent isn’t as common as one might think.
“I believe that it’s less than 1% of the over 19,500 agents that we have at State Farm who have a multi-office agency. You don’t get this opportunity unless you’re doing things the right way, taking care of policyholders the correct way and putting their needs above your own. We’re pretty proud about that,” Kill said.
Since the initial launch in 2015, Kill has impacted the lives of many across the greater FMWF area by assisting them through any and all insurance needs. Throughout his journey to the position he’s in today, Kill has gained a wealth of knowledge and lessons learned over his career. He elaborated on some of the advice that he believes in and attributes to some of his success.
“We’re showing State Farm that our agency is successful because we have ambitions of opening up a third agency here in the FMWF area. We already have two of them, which is less than 1% of all State Farm agents nationwide. However, the only way we can do that is by working harder and taking better care of our customers than everybody else.”-Ryan Kill
#1 Work Harder Than Everyone Else.
One of the biggest pieces of advice that I’ve picked up on over the years, and could give to others, is to work harder than everybody else. I grew up working on a farm where I was picking rocks in 100-degree heat, baling hay and getting cut up pulling milkweeds; all while mosquitoes were biting me all over. That’s out in the elements and you’re beating up your body doing all those tasks.
I can’t take the work that I do now for granted, as it’s not nearly as hard on the body. My only job is to sit down with somebody and figure out what they care about. But I’m glad that I went through that because it gave me a work ethic that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else. If you don’t have the drive, no matter the field you’re in, other people are going to pass you up. If you really want to be at the top, you’re going to have to work harder than everyone else.
#2 Don’t Be Afraid To Be Different.
We offer a unique experience that’s different from not only every other competitor out there, but also different from other State Farm offices as well. From comments on social media such as our Facebook page to Google reviews of our business, people can see that we’re taking a different path and it’s working. A lot of insurance agents offer similar pitches, and they don’t stick out from one another because of it. We like to do it differently from everybody else and we take a lot of pride in that. At the end of the day, it’s crucial to be different and hold to your values. If a process works, stick to it and don’t change it for anyone.
#3 Staying Focused On The Job Will Pay Off.
As the economy keeps changing, the hard-working people that are going out there and trying to help more people than everybody else are going to see the most success. Even at State Farm, we have our challenges with staffing and filling positions like everybody else today. However, my staff right now realizes that their job is to impact as many people as possible. These positions have to be filled and our economy is still fluctuating, yet it’s going to change one way or another soon. If you want to take advantage of it, you’re going to have to put in the work.
#4 If You Always Do the Right Thing, You Can Never Do the Wrong Thing.
We [at State Farm] believe that if we always make the right recommendations and do the right thing, we’ll never have to worry about looking over our shoulders. Outside of work, I think that’s a good rule of thumb to follow in life in general. Almost every day, you’re given opportunities to go one direction or the other. Well, if you always pick the right choice that you know is the right thing to do, then you’ll never have to worry about doing the wrong thing and making a mistake.
When asked about mentors that Kill has had throughout his journey, he was quick to cite two people that have been some of his greatest inspirations. “The first one would have to be my dad, as I got a lot of the work ethic that I have today from him,” Kill said.
“I grew up in a very farm-based community in west-central Minnesota. In the mid-80s, the farm economy was absolutely terrible. It was all hands on deck when working on the farm since we needed to make sure that the farm wouldn’t go bankrupt during those times. It was successful because of the hard work that my dad showed us growing up, and it’s because of that parenting that I’m the hard worker that I am today. My dad’s in his mid-70s right now, and he’s still working on the farm every single day. I can relate that to myself since my job is to do right by policyholders and continue to work for them.
Taking a more business-oriented perspective when considering other role models, Kill credits another mentor from a previous job. “The second mentor that sticks with me is Sheldon Emil, my former sales manager at [Liberty Business Systems]. He was the first one that guided and mentored me there. He taught me that you’re occasionally going to run into companies that have similar products. It’s a common obstacle in many fields, but he taught me that you have to find a way to stick out from the crowd,” Kill said.
“Through having a consultative approach, as well as a holistic approach, you can identify a customer’s needs and find a solution tailored to them. After doing that, they’ll buy into you and you can support one another. He also taught me that the best course of action is to be honest and upfront with people, then back up what you’re saying. I have to credit him because that’s how I learned to separate myself from other companies.
When I came in and offered something that nobody else was able to offer, that’s when I began to make a name for myself.
“When it comes down to it, educating and informing our policyholders and potential new policyholders is what makes us so different. That’s the obstacle that we love overcoming on a daily basis.”-Ryan Kill
Kill understands that insurance may not be at the forefront of people’s priorities and interests. However, he hopes that an understanding perspective and passion from himself may ease customers’ minds. “Insurance may not be the most exciting topic, but it is something that people need to take a little bit of time to look at and learn from someone like myself. That’s probably the thing that I’ve noticed the most in becoming an agent,” Kill said.
“We have customers that don’t have many items that require insurance, but we also deal with people that have a ton of stuff to insure. What we’ve noticed is that there’s really no difference in the level of knowledge between them. Sadly, we just don’t teach it as a society as much as we should. Our job as an agency is to educate and inform people on how insurance works, find out what they care about the most and make the appropriate recommendations to make sure they’re covered the right way. At the end of the day, that’s what matters most.”
“I think the biggest obstacle is that a lot of people believe that insurance is just a commodity. Across the industry, there’s a lot of marketing around price and we’re very conscious of our policyholders’ insurance dollars. State Farm is always going to hold us to some standard for pricing. A lot of the time we’re less expensive, and sometimes we’re more expensive.
A lot of people believe that all insurance agents are all the same, which they are 100% not! We joke in our office that we find it insulting if somebody says ‘Oh, you’re a State Farm Agent? You’re probably the exact same as my State Farm Agent.’ There is a massive difference between insurance companies and insurance agents. We both might be great people with similar professions, but they’re not the same as what my agency and I can offer and do differently.”’-Ryan Kill
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