HSI Coach Maryellen May
Maryellen May, CPCC, coaches agents and brokers for Hartford School of Insurance’s (HSI) Sales Coaching and Training Programs, teaching them the skills and processes they need to successfully sell in today’s marketplace.
With more than 25 years of experience working with insurance companies and agencies, May joined HSI in 2014 from her most recent role as an Executive Sales Representative for The Hartford. A Certified Executive Leadership Coach, as well as an ADD/ADHD Certified Coach, she is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute’s (CTI) Core Curriculum and Certification program, as well as the CTI Leadership Development program, and was a featured speaker at the 2011 CTI Annual Summit.
One of the things she enjoys the most about working with agency owners and producers is seeing the results after they stretch themselves to places they never thought possible.
“I’ll make you accountable and allow you to stretch by pushing you into a place where you can grow,” said May. “In the end, clients walk away with enhanced direct questioning skills, redesigned processes and a clarity that creates a more efficient sales process.”
The Importance of Balance
May’s coaching philosophy is all about balance – something that she experienced firsthand when she worked with a coach for a 6-month period when she was a Small Commercial Sales Representative.
“I was amazed at the results – I walked away with an array of communication skills that had me selling over 40% more business without having to put in the overtime I had done in the past,” said May. “My job was taking over my life, and with coaching I got back to having fun at work and my agents could feel the difference.”
Professional and personal pressures often compete for time, and coaching can help unlock the skills and process improvements to succeed in both, enabling more effective time management.
“The ultimate gift from coaching is the clients’ ability to carve out more personal time to take care of themselves and their loved ones,” said May.
She stresses the importance of introducing a defined sales process and setting goals early on, which lead to increased efficiency, a shortened sales-cycle, and repeatable processes – all of which contribute to doing more effective work in less time.
Feedback and Continuous Improvement
May describes the importance of soliciting feedback and constantly incorporates it into her coaching, encouraging clients to solicit feedback from others when they have the opportunity.
“Many people have a fear of feedback,” she said. “I try to tell producers that when you lose a sale, it’s a great opportunity. Ask them – what could I have done differently?”
One year, May went to an agency and asked for feedback. She had done well with them in the previous year and expected positive feedback; however, she received some negative feedback and ended up approaching a few individuals and redesigned how they worked moving forward.
The agency principal was impressed and in turn asked her to provide feedback on how he was doing. That year, they designed one of the best sales plans they ever had and even incorporated quarterly feedback meetings into the plan.
“So much of sales boils down to relationships and communication skills.” said May. “It is amazing how sharing feedback helps to make behavior changes that can strengthen relationships that are critical to your success.”
May lives in Ellicott City, MD with her daughter, Anna, and her yellow lab, Betty. She runs each morning and enjoys movement, which she says spurs creativity and helps her focus. She enjoys hiking, being outside in nature and traveling internationally. A self-described “learning addict,” she recently took a trip with her daughter to Africa on a safari. While there they both bungee jumped over Victoria Falls, a perfect analogy for using new experiences as a tool for growth.
“I’m learning to be more adventurous and less in control,” said Maryellen. “As for my daughter … that girl has no fear.”