It doesn’t matter if it’s walking down the street, opening the door to your store, or serving your client… relationships matter. When you put other people first, treat them even better than you expect to be treated, everyone wins. Your business thrives, the world shines a little bit brighter.
Building a business is like writing a book and day-by-day, page-by-page, what’s being written is the story others will remember. You want that story to be a good one.
Everyone has a story.
I am Mark Brodinsky and this is Storytelling for Business.
Storytelling for Business: Everybody Else
“We have an entire section in the bookshop called Self-Help, but there’s no section in the bookshop called Help-Others…”
– Simon Sinek, Author/Speaker
For Nick and Rhiannon Hiter the life they are living, the business they are building, is a book, a book about other people, starting first and foremost with their son, Ethan.
“We believe that Ethan reads a book every day,” says Nick. “And it’s the one we are writing. Everything we do is geared toward him or our business, putting others first, Ethan, our clients and our agents, then we all win.”
It’s Team Hiter. Nick is a Satellite Division Leader in Nashville, Tennessee and Rhiannon a Senior Agent for USHEALTH Advisors. USHA is a subsidiary of USHEALTH Group, offering flexible health coverage and supplemental benefits for the self-employed, individuals and families. For Nick and Rhiannon, as a husband and wife team, it’s more than a business, it’s a labor of love.
But to earn Rhiannon’s love Nick definitely had to labor.
“We met in our early twenties, at a local bar,” says Rhiannon. “Nick was my barback and he kept asking me out, but I wasn’t ready to settle down. I was enjoying my freedom, into the bad boys and being single. I actually tried to hook Nick up with a bunch of my friends,” she laughs. “There are plenty of pictures of us hanging out with other people, boyfriends, girlfriends who came in and out of our lives. We can look at those pictures now and laugh.”
For Nick though, a star baseball player who loved to compete, this was no laughing matter. When it came to Rhiannon, Nick was in it to win it.
“I asked Rhiannon out and she said, ‘no’,” says Nick. “And as the years went by I kept asking her out and she kept saying, ‘no’.” But Nick refused to let this head cheerleader and homecoming queen get away from him.
“In fact, when she finally did give me her phone number, it was a bad one,” laughs Nick, (though Rhiannon claims it was an honest mistake :)). “I’ve got good game though,” he says, “because seven years later Rhiannon finally said, ‘yes’. This October we’ll celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.”
It’s been more than just a marriage of human beings, it’s also a marriage of the minds. Both Nick and Rhiannon are smart business people. While they were still dating, Nick started a marketing company with some friends and formed a management group, running five restaurant/nightclubs in the Nashville area. Rhiannon had left college after only three semesters to work at a doctor’s office, for what she says is “more money than a 19-year-old should be able to make,” and also worked at the bars on the weekends. After they got together, Rhiannon worked as general manager for several of Nick’s bars, including the most profitable one he owned. Nick says the two have pretty much been working together since they have known each other.
The Hiter’s are competitive, but caring, which is what they believe builds a winning formula. Both love the baseball diamond, Nick played baseball as a catcher in college and then for seven years in the minor leagues, “I made hundreds of dollars playing baseball,” laughs Nick.
Besides her cheerleading acumen, Rhiannon also played fastpitch softball, inside the diamond as well, as a second baseman. The two, now with their son Ethan, love to get out and play ball, ride bikes, and the family is big into music. “We’re scheduled to go see Toto, and the Foo Fighters soon,” says Rhiannon. “We’ve seen The Eagles, Guns and Roses, Metallica… and Ethan is an accomplished drummer. He plays in the School of Rock band in Nashville and even has his own YouTube channel.”
But besides family, the real music of the Hiter’s lives is the business they are building with USHEALTH Advisors. Like many who have discovered the opportunity, it was a find built out of necessity, a place for a second chance, because at one point the family lost it all.
In 2012, Nick started liquidating his former business and then invested everything they had into a water park Dolly Parton and her Dollywood company were going to build. But she suddenly pulled out of the deal and it crumbled. “We were part of a group who were all in on a high-rise building next to the park, filled with retail, timeshare and rental units,” says Nick. “But when Dolly pulled out the building never got past a hole in the ground, which is still there today.”
Goodbye Dolly, Hello USHEALTH Advisors.
“When the deal fell apart, we ended up losing everything,” says Nick. “We started over in 2013 and that’s when we found Andy Montague.”
Andy is now a Regional Sales Leader for USHEALTH Advisors and at the time was a Division Sales Leader when Nick joined the team. Nick didn’t go all-in at first but soon came back around and then with Rhiannon now by his side, committed to Andy to start building teams for the company in 2016.
Since that time, Nick and Rhiannon, the leaders of the Hiter Team, have produced more than $21 million in business for USHA and they have done it based on focusing on the clients, the agents, and others, with their core values: everybody else first and the right mindset. The Hiter’s want to give back and change lives in a big way and they know it begins with relationships and attitudes.
“The biggest challenge in this business, in any business, is the mindset,” says Nick. “When we make the commitment and ink the deal I ask every single prospective agent, what do you want out of this business? Agents come in all shapes, sizes and life experiences. No two are alike. You’ve got that person, perhaps a few years from retirement who got laid off but doesn’t want to dive into their 401-k to survive. Then you have the kid who wants to be a millionaire. They’re all different. We set expectations with our agents on a time and dollar basis. How much time will you need to invest to hit your monetary and lifestyle goals and how many policies will it take to achieve that?” But Nick says the most important aspect is what he calls, “washing away” the pattern of the mindset that got this person to where they are now.
“I try to give every single agent a new perspective,” says Nick. “No matter what their age, let’s say an agent is 30-years-old, I ask them what got them to this place? I tell them that there are 30 years of a pattern of a mindset that led them to the chair in front of me and that 30-year pattern probably didn’t work the way they wanted, which is why we are talking in the first place. We have to break that pattern. We have to wash it away. Once they learn how to do that, then they can build a successful business, based on HOPE: Helping Other People Everyday.
“We represent an amazing company and if your mindset is right and you believe in yourself, you are right there to have incredible success. The agents tell us where they want to go and we help get them there. I don’t want to push anyone who doesn’t want to be pushed. If my agent likes what they do, and they are excited, they are going to do even more. We may not have the biggest writers in the country, but I’d put their happiness up against anyone.”
Anything you want good, you can have. So claim it, work hard to get it. When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up. Each one, teach one.” – Denzel Washington, Actor
Making others happy, putting other people first, is the same mindset Nick and Rhiannon take with their clients… and it’s Rhiannon’s specialty.
“Rhiannon takes what she needs, but she always takes less than she gives,” says Nick. “I’ve always been a people person,” says Rhiannon. “It’s always about others. My gift is I can understand people and how to handle each person because each person’s life is different. I can take the information they tell me and relay it back to them in a way that makes sense and makes them feel better. I can always end what may have started as the worst conversation in a positive way and leave them happy and feeling like they understand things more. Once someone becomes a client I tell them, the only mistake you can now make in our relationship is not communicating. On any given day I am calling or texting with about 40 clients. It’s why our referrals are so high because we do a lot of face to face and we stay in touch.”
Nick says it’s his wife’s commitment and caring that makes all the difference. “Rhiannon easily spends 20 hours a week talking to clients and helping our Satellite Division. I bet she spends more time talking with our book of business than anyone in any other agency in the industry. It’s what she does so well. She educates the clients on how we got here, why we do what we do and all with the end in mind, we don’t win unless the customers win. We want you to stay on the books. So if we are not doing what we need to do for you and with you, then we’ve lost. You, the customer are the hero in our story.”
The Hiter Team recently opened an office in a retail space in Lenox Village, in Nashville… what Nick believes might be the only retail office space in the country for USHA. And it’s all designed so Team Hiter can better connect with their clients, person-to-person and build those relationships.
“Some clients even pop into our office to say, hi,” says Rhiannon. “I love talking with our clients, I want to bridge the gap in the lack of knowledge about health insurance in this industry. One of the cool things is we run into our clients all over town… at the school pick-up line, the baseball field, local restaurants or bars… every single week that is really awesome as well.”
Nick says he understands the importance and necessity of the virtual sales world, but he doesn’t ever want to ignore the community right in front of him and he teaches his agents the same. “Just because we have licenses and can do business in so many states, everyone has a really great network all around them,” says Nick. “I always think it’s crazy when you drive by potential customers every day in Nashville, never stop to talk and then go to an office put headphones on and call somebody in Utah to sell a policy.”
Focusing on the abundance in all you do is a mindset and an art form, while scarcity and fear is the easy way to color your world with excuses for not doing what you need to do to succeed. The Hiter’s believe if you give back if you care and you educate, then relationships serve the purpose they are supposed to serve, as the foundation of everything. It’s why they have teamed up and doubled down on their efforts.
“There are two of us on our business card, on our website, there are the two of us on everything we do,” says Nick. “We are a team in every way. We believe we are way more marketable that way and it gives the agent and the client the comfort knowing we are both here to serve. We love talking to our clients as much as possible and we are always looking for ways to reach out to them because every time we do we create more referrals. I love the Warren Buffet line, the purpose of a business is to create a customer that creates more customers.”
For Rhiannon, she says when it comes to working with USHEALTH Advisors, it’s poet Maya Angelou who speaks loudest in her mind and in her heart: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“I just always want to know I made somebody feel better,” says Rhiannon. “I never want to cause them trouble and I want to help them through what they needed. At the end of the day, we are thankful and blessed to be part of this company. Wherever our CEO, Troy McQuagge goes, we go. We love Troy.”
“I can’t imagine letting that guy down,” says Nick. “Troy has helped build an amazing company. This company almost seems too good to be true. It’s like a unicorn. You just don’t see it anywhere in the world, it’s not how the human race works anymore. Look at how we bring everybody together, people helping and loving on you the first time you meet them. People don’t have to be that nice and giving here, yet they are. It’s a life-changing place to be. Working here I realized, as I have in much of my life, that winning is important to me, but the more victories I create for others is how I get to win. That’s what real winning is. It’s about making everything we do, about everybody else.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
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