Interview with Sherri Somers-Bell
Photo courtesy of Sherri Somers-Bell
Sherri Somers-Bell is a well-known financial coach and life insurance professional who teaches women in financial fields, such as life insurance, real estate, and mortgage, to succeed in their careers without sacrificing personal happiness.
Here she shares her secrets and relates how she has achieved her own success.
You began your career in law enforcement. What did some of your duties entail?
I was in law enforcement for ten years, during which I was a corporal in a sheriff’s office, worked in corrections, and represented the sheriff at various speaking events. I also created a curriculum for inmates. I figured if could teach them how to start their own businesses or how to get their GED, they would have a better chance at success once they got out. That reentry program got national recognition, and, in 2016, I was invited to the White House to share my ideas on how to lower recidivism rates.
What spurred you to change careers?
When my son was young, he was really sick. Every time he was ill, I’d get a call from his school to pick him up. Then one day he passed out from an asthma attack, and I needed to be home with him. So even though it was a difficult choice, I decided to leave my law enforcement career to find one that would give me the freedom to be with him whenever he needed me. I realized that it would be hard to find such a job, though, and knew that the only way to get the flexibility I needed was to create my own job.
How did you transition into the insurance and coaching fields?
As a result of my divorce, I found myself with a lot less income and had to give up my house and move my son and me into a smaller home—an eight-hundred-square-foot apartment. I have an MBA, so I could have landed a corporate job. But, again, I knew it wouldn’t have given me the time I needed for my son. Luckily, like many people who leave a job, when I left my law enforcement position, I had benefits I could take with me, including life insurance with cash value in it. I was able to use that to pay off some of my debts.
I also started going live on social media to share my personal story along with the strategies I used as a divorced, single mother to get out of debt. I was doing this every day, and it was creating a lot of interest—and, eventually, income too. A life insurance agency reached out and asked me to teach their staff my marketing techniques, and I started working as a business coach for individuals. After a while, I became a life coach as well because I realized I also needed to teach my clients how to master their thoughts so they could take action—just as I taught the inmates. Now, I’m the CEO of my own company, Sherri Somers Unlimited Services.
Later on, I got my license as an insurance agent and started showing other agents how they too can move from being an agent to a CEO. Now I focus on helping women in finance succeed—whether they’re insurance or real estate agents or financial professionals. I teach them how to build their own tribe or community and improve their thinking so they can propel themselves toward success.
What’s an important lesson you teach to the women you coach?
I always emphasize that they should take the time to learn how to generate leads without sacrificing family time. I remember once going to my son’s soccer game but then feeling like I had to leave so I could write a life insurance policy. I kept saying to myself, “Why am I doing this on a Saturday? That’s family time.” Too often I missed time with my son because I wanted to make sales—and I lost opportunities to make important memories. It’s important to know that you can achieve your professional goals while still prioritizing your family.
How can women get ahead and still have time for their families?
First, they should lose their superwomen capes because success isn’t just about working hard; it’s also about working smart. They don’t need to do it all on their own. They must learn how to prioritize tasks, such as delegating ones like bookkeeping, scheduling, and administrative work. It’s important to work on achieving balance. Women don’t have to always work long hours or cancel plans with friends and family to achieve success—they are more likely to burn out doing that.
What’s the most effective way for women to find success as sales professionals?
I don’t recommend practicing door knocking, cold-calling, or buying leads. That’s not who women are. They do better when they make selling about building relationships and creating value; it’s this heart-centered sales approach that’s often the most effective for earning money. But even though my focus is mostly on assisting women who are in finance, my model can work for anyone.
What does it mean to create value?
It’s all about connecting with clients on a more meaningful level and understanding their needs. Value shouldn’t be tied to an outcome like making a commission. For example, if I talk to someone about life insurance but only focus on getting the sale, I might miss how I can truly help them because I’m not paying attention. It’s important to shift your perspective from the business outcome to how you can help an individual. Even if you can’t do anything for them, you can find somebody who can. The point is being happy you were able to serve them, even if a sale wasn’t made.
It’s this sort of belief system that I’m coaching other financial professionals to embrace. When you can authentically build a community of customers, they’ll want to buy what you have to sell and will believe in what you’re doing. I tell all my clients to stop chasing commissions and start creating mission.
For more info, visit itssherri.com
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