By Carter Reese
My whole life I would hear my mom come home from work and talk about the challenges of her job as an insurance salesman, it was always an interesting job to me. My mother, Traci Reese, works for an independently owned State Farm office in Chanhassen Minnesota. She was very excited to have me come and job shadow her in her office, as she’s told me before I should be in some sort of communication profession, also I’ve only been there a handful of times my whole life. As she greeted me at the door and let me into her office, in typical salesman fashion, she offered me a snack and drink and let me know where the bathroom was, so I was nice and comfortable. Being my mom, the conversation wasn’t so serious at first, but after sitting with her for a few hours I was fascinated and learned more about her job and profession by the minute as she took care of clients over the phone.
Traci has been working in sales and communications her whole life after graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth communications program back in 1990. Within a year of graduating college, she took a job at her first state farm office in Bloomington Minnesota, where she is still working for the same company 27 years later. Working for multiple offices over the years, she now has the official title of “Office Manager,” so not only is she the main person the clients come to, she also must run the operations of the office.
When asked about certain skills needed to do this type of job, she kept repeating throughout the day that, “You just can’t teach people skills. You either have them or you don’t.” This seemed true to me as she was on the phone multiple times with people who had just crashed their car or had something stolen from them. Traci said, “You can be the smartest person on earth, but if you can’t talk to anybody, it doesn’t matter.” Knowing how to talk to people and calm them down after such events are a daily part of life for an insurance salesman, because she doesn’t only sell the insurance she also manages the clients and their daily insurance claims. Some clients, she says, she’s had since the 90’s and they’ve followed her from her different office locations. I thought that was very impressive, being able to build a substantial relationship with a customer for that long and keeping it business and friendly at the same time. She also said that insurance is a very license heavy profession and she must go to continuing education every six months to maintain her licenses. Traci has her life and health license, property and casualty, and her notary. These are challenging certifications to attain, so having a basic four-year education from a college will help immensely, she said.
Overall, Traci was a huge bank of knowledge in this field because she has so much experience and passion for what she does. Being her son, I still felt like I was a well taken care of client, and I got all the information that I needed.