top of page


"And one of the questions was, what self beliefs are holding you back? I'm going to read you some of these. This is astounding."

In episode 30 of "Yellow Colored Glasses", Dustin talks with Scott Grates, insurance agent, professional development coach, author, husband and father of three.

Introduction: "You've written some books now too. Right? So lots of stuff going on. Just from everything that I know about Scott, which is really what people say about and the interactions we've had in our conversations, he's just a very, very genuine person. He helps a lot of people. He does a lot of different things to make himself successful. So he fits in line with a lot of the things of the people we bring on here, a lot of things that we like to highlight."

Community:  "What has been your favorite thing in your thirteen years of what you've been able to do as an agent, for people in that world?" 

"My favorite things is the community, you know, truly. I'm a little bit unique. I was in the mortgage world in 2008 when the financial crisis hit. I was at dinner with a really good friend of mine and his wife. And she's like, hey, we should open our own insurance agency. I'm like, you know, it's probably not the worst idea. I had been in sales my whole career and the thing that drove me crazy about sales was the month to month grind. It was that grind month to month that was slowly killing me as a salesperson. And so what I really loved about the insurance concept was it's residual. If I can make one sale and keep that family happy and keep delivering a high level of value, strengthen that relationship, go wider, dig deeper, and they stay with me for thirty years, I can get paid over a hundred times on that one household. So that's the long lead in to the question that you asked, which is what do I enjoy most. I actually created my own opportunity in my hometown. There was no agency here and when I went to the farm and said, 'hey, you know, I want to work with you guys, but I want to work in my town', and they're like, we don't have an opportunity there. Let's make one. They were like, well build a business plan. We're a tiny little town. We've got three stoplights. We've got more cows than cars. Which we can't insure. Building the community of customers, giving back to the community. I ran thirteen years worth of taxes not long ago, and we came up with close to $200,000 that we've given back plus our time. That's been the most gratifying part for me."


"The business model and the ability we have to build something great for our family that's residual and all that is phenomenal, but the piece you're talking about with community and the way that you can help one family for that long, you know, for that length of time.  Not only that, but when you do a great job with that family they're telling someone with a problem because we're problem solvers. We're figuring out how to make people's lives better."


"Nobody wants to talk about insurance until they need to talk about insurance. And when you need to talk about insurance, now you want very specific answers from your insurance agent, and you're not going to be able to get those unless you have that conversation upfront. Not only the initial conversation, but at least once a year. We're calling to schedule those reviews because insurance does not set it and forget it. This is a context for us to deliver the value that we promise upfront."

Professional Development Coaching:  "What led you down the coaching path?"

"I'm just huge on systems and processes, empowering, trusting my team. You know, obviously, I have to have the right people in the seat. Frankly, the agency didn't need me, you know. I am very strategic and intentional about the way I coach my own team. They're very efficient.  So at the age of forty, I started looking around and I'm like, man, is this it? I've got twenty something years left. Instead of working with just my six team members, why don't I work with other agents, team members and show them the same system processes, mindsets, things that we're doing, that we can coach them. And I was very anti-people charging. Then a month later, I circle back around and I say hey, you know, what did you take action on? You know, what did you implement? What are the results? How can I help you? Like, oh, well, you know, we haven't done that yet or, you know, because you know this from being in the space that when you're coaching, you get a lot of head nods, you get a lot of, like, people fired up, everyone's going to take on the world and then they get back to their agency and almost nothing happens. So what I was seeing is people weren't taking action on what they were learning. A great mentor agent got in my ear and he's like, 'Anything free has no value. You have to have skin in the game.'  So that's when the website launched and we started doing monthly membership fees.  If I can give you ten x value, then you'll stick with it. And if I'm not, you shouldn't be paying me. I think this is good for insurance too. People love to buy, but they don't want to be sold. Insurance is insurance, but there's ninety something flavors or whatever it is. And we all have our own flavor. But at it's core, we're asking what they have going on in their life, what is going on with their coverage. We give suggestions. We follow-up. We ask for introduction to friends and family. I compare it to GPS. If you sit down with someone with an investment plan, you are here today. This is your target date for retirement, your goal. Then your role as their adviser becomes the GPS.  So now put yourself in a car, you put in where your destination is, take a left, and you take a right. What's the GPS going to do? It's going to recalculate. It's going to say, hey, this is how we're going to get you back on track. Same in the coaching space. We figure out what their goals are, what's realist, and then they're going to want to quit on things. 'I tried that.' Well, how many times? I tried it once. It's not going to work once. I'm here to guide them, keep them on track to where they want to go with their goals in mind. Really it's no different than with customers."

Office Expectations: "If you were telling your team the top three things they need to do on a daily basis, what would those be?"

"You've got to start the conversation. So as much as we all hate prospecting, you've got to prospect. We've shifted our focus at my agency to prospecting is working with our current customers and asking them for an introduction to one person. We try to build this agency around great people. Great people hang out with great people. If you know just one person, who's as awesome as you are, would you be comfortable introducing me to them? So, that's prospecting."

"Then, centers of influence are huge. The centers of influence, the referrals, the reviews, but then obviously the follow ups. So quoted, not written type stuff. So number one is you have to prospect. Number two is, I think too many people get nervous about objections. We're just creating conversation. But the more we can figure out what the actual need behind the deed is, then it's not just a surface objection."

"The last thing is the follow up. We're going to give you the best coverage and we're going to do it at a price to fit your budget. If we can check all those boxes, there's no reason they wouldn't come with us. So initial conversation, work through objections, follow-up would be my three.


"What have you done from a leadership standpoint?"

"I love this question and this is really the bread and butter. This is the meat of how we do what we do and how I have the work life balance I have. Big mindset shift. Every single team member of mine really has the same title, and this is right from day one that we have these conversations that you're the CEO of your desk. I've only got six desks at my agency. So one sixth is a pretty heavy weight. You're super important to the operation. I don't care if it's there first day or their thirteenth year and what their role is and what their pay is, that desk has to be profitable in order for the overall agency to be strong. So what we do is every team member creates their own business plan. No different than we have a business plan as an agency. We also do a twelve week year. March twenty-third, that's a Friday. That's the end of our first year. So then we're going to plan and we're going to write our business plans for the next twelve weeks. We never look further than twelve weeks. They do it on their own and I don't want pie in the sky dream circle stuff. Come hell or high water, this is what I'm going to do. This is what I'm going to contribute. This is what I need as far as marketing. We sit down individually, go over it, they present it to me, nothing formal. I give it my blessing. And now what I do for the next twelve weeks is just act as their coach, their cheerleader, if they need it. So now the big difference is it's not Scott telling them what to do. From here we reverse engineer. So twelve weeks becomes, what does each week look like? What does a winning day look like?

We overthink accountability. If I'm going to put you on a plan to lose weight, here's my plan for you. Brush your teeth, get on the scale, write it down. I don't need to give you a diet plan. I don't need to give you an exercise plan. Because throughout the day, you're going to act differently know that in the morning you have to jump on that scale. And you've got to own that number that pops up. Same thing with our agency. I don't tell them what to do. I don't tell them what their goals are. They know. And they know that every day before they leave, they have to fill otu this little survey that we have the magically compiles the numbers and sends us a group email. They know they've got to get their own results. We've got twelve weeks to get this thing done. I change comp plans, I change bonuses, everything changes. Every twelve weeks based on what we have done and what we need to get to in order to hit our year."

Serving Our Clients:  "Most people, when they think about brokerage, for some reason people think of brokers, 'hey, this is just a person that's going to shop the price, find the best deal for me', they don't think of us as your agent. So what we figured out, and where I think the pieces that's been the most successful for us, is we are still taking care of you just like State Farm agents. We are still offering you the same kind of service. We're still doing those reviews. You're calling us when you think you might need to file a claim. We're education you just like a really, really good captive agent should be doing or would be doing. I know there's a lot of different avenues that we can provide on the independent side as well. So I think whenever you can stay hungry and stay focused on doing all the things that you're talking, the consistency having your team run, and clicking on all cylinders, you're doing a great job from a leadership standpoint. You've been somebody that's influenced the way that we try to do things and run our business."


"I appreciate that. And I certainly get inspired. I follow you guys on social and see all the cool things you're doing. And there's been more than one moment where I'm like, why aren't we doing that? The other thing I'll say, team members often paint themselves in a corner with just auto or auto and fire. And I know you guys are very diverse with your approach. We start the conversation with customers around, 'contact us for anything in the world' even if it's something we can't do. I network with all the business owners. If you need a landscaper, call me first. And then we'll get you hooked up with whomever. And I say that because from an insurance standpoint, we have what we call total protection conversations. I'm not just concerned about your auto or your auto and home. I want to know all the potential gaps and create a plan for you. There are plenty of times where what they have or what they need, I'm not the best option for. And I'll be the first to tell them that. We did the right thing for the customer. I'd rather not have your business than have it the wrong way. If you're looking bottom of the barrel, cheapest, cut coverage. That's just not me. That's not a conversation I want to have. I want to be proud of what we've done for you."

New Book & Passion:  "You have written some books, and I know you've got a new book coming out."

"Yeah - so, I've got three kids. My oldest is a senior in high school. And when the class of 2022 graduated, it kind of hit me pretty hard that it's like, oh shoot, we've got a senior. If something happen to me and I don't come home tomorrow, everyone's going to be okay financially. The family will be totally fine financially, but there's a few things in this head that I would want my kids to know. Starting with Ty specifically. I need to get some things on paper so that if something happens to me beyond the money, they get some of my insights, some of my knowledge. Just be aware of certain situations and be prepared for them and hear some thoughts. I woke up everyone morning and part of my morning routine is I write, and I started just jotting down all these different things that I want Tyler to know. After a few months, I had , like, three hundred pages of notes. Oh, shoot. I've got a book here. It was cool because it wasn't just for Tyler. It was for all kids who are about to enter the real world, whatever phase they're in. I had some trends going, some themes, and there was a lot of f words, not the f word that we automatically think of, but it became catchy. So there were nine different sections that all started with f. And in each section, there were four short chapters. Each chapter ended with a crossroad. At some point in your life, you're going to come to this crossroad and you have to decide this or that. Just be aware, be prepared, and then three bullet points kind of summarizing the chapter. Here's three things you need to know before graduation. It releases right before this graduation season and is available on Amazon."


"I didn't know that this came from things that you wanted to, you know, you're talking about passing away or leaving things that you don't know or that you want your kids to know. The idea behind what you're doing here, like that's really, really awesome. And I think having some that their dad wrote down for them, that's going to be pretty incredible."


"My wife just read it and her feedback was, 'I think this will be better for the parents than it will the kids', which makes sense because that's where I come from.  People in their thirties, forties, fifties, you know, how often do we hear from them; 'I'm just not confident enough'? The lack of self confidence and that little voice int he back of their head that says, you're not good enough, you're not smart enough, you're not prepared enough, you're not worthy of, you know, more money or asking for the sale or whatever it might be, that negative self talk, that imposter syndrome. It's kind of become my mission as I look at what's next. What's the second half of my life? What's my purpose? What's my passion? All due respect to insurance agents, I love insurance agents and their teams, but in many ways, it's almost too late for so many of them because they're just so set in their beliefs and they're not willing to try new things. I want to go to this generation that's just starting out into the real world and teach them all the real world stuff, develop those strong habits that will carry them and talk about things they're not getting in school."

Survey Results: I sent a survey to sixteen year old to fill out online. It was, like, six or seven questions, pretty basic stuff. Right around a hundred of them answered, and one of the questions was, 'what self beliefs are holding you back?' Dustin, I'm going to read you some of these. This is astounding.

  • Doubts about my future.

  • Fear of failing.

  • Lack of self belief in myself that I'm not good enough.

  • I'm afraid to fail.

  • I can't be myself.

  • I'm not good enough.

  • Nobody cares about me.

  • I don't have enough money.

  • I'm not good enough.

  • I'm not good enough.

  • Self doubt.

  • I can't do it.

"Eighty-eight answered in that type of answer. I just read you some. Just self doubt. These are kids that are going to be seniors in high school next year. They're scared to death. They're afraid of failing. They don't believe that they're good enough or ready enough. Who's helping them? Who's that voice for them? Where the book is leading...we're starting a website called Tribe of Teens. We're going to start a podcast. We're going to start a weekly newsletter. The goal is to take one little excerpt, one little lesson from the book each week sent out in a newsletter. I want to know how people have gotten some pretty awesome things done in their life and have them on as guests and ask them to talk about their seventeen year old self. Paint a picture for where they were as seventeen year old kids and we do this as an adult too, we're talking about lenses, right, yellow color. 'Yellow Colored Glasses", but they look through these glasses that, Scott's got it all figured out. He's writing books. He's coaching people. He's writing multiple businesses. Seventeen year old Scott was the least confident and high of self doubt."


"All the things that happened to me that I thought were bad at the time. Ever single thing, every decision in my life has led me to the next thing. And everything has always been better. I was a high school basketball coach, football coach, teacher that went to college and was being an assistant for a while in college. That was all I knew in life. I wanted to be a coach. I did that for six years after college, wife was a teacher, we weren't making a lot of money, and we decided to go a different route. I'm still pivoting. I'm thirty-two years old and I have no idea what it's going to be like when I'm thirty-five. It's pretty alarming because, whenever I was seventeen, I had self doubt, but I also had people. I had coaches. I had teachers that I knew believed in me. I knew that I had people in my corner. It kind of scares me a little bit because I don't feel like kids have that as much these days. Not that teachers and coaches are doing a bad job. There's something that's disconnected from the kids and their role models. It's not the same as it was."


"My personal thought on that is we're just so focused on numbers and metrics. Everything is so much to the test To the game plan that, everything has to, like, fit in this little box. You and I both know that nothing in the real world fits in a box. The first 'f-word', the first section, is failure. Kids are so scared to be wrong, they're so scared to lose, they're so scared to fail, that they don't try anything. The goal of this tribe that we're putting together is to help beat that voice, to encourage them, to reframe failure, take chances as long as your failing forward, learning from it. Winning is easy. You find out someone's character and what they're made of through defeat and through struggles. Things that happen to you today, good or bad, your response to that event. Your response to that event will determine the outcome. Process what's happening."


"Are you trying to get this in the hands of schools at all"


"The goal right now out the gate is we're leveraging relationships with business owners, and we're asking local businesses to sponsor a graduating class. We're doing some friends and family pricing the first month. Get the book into hands of every graduating student in your town. We can leverage relationships with insurance agents too because what a great opportunity as an agency owner to identify families who care enough to spend ten bucks or spend a little time with the kid. So if you know that you've got a sixteen, seventeen, eighteen year old kid, someone you insure, you can give that as a gift to the family. I'm always active in the schools and now these are my thirty year old customers."

Future Plans:  "What other business ideas or ventures are you on? Anything besides the book?"

"So we are opening the second agency in July. So we'll have two insurance agencies. If the right people, systems, processes are in place I will not have to trade time for money. Yes, there's oversight on my end. I'm strategic and intentional with how I communicate with my team. The last piece is real estate. We've got nine different properties in our portfolio that are being paid for by rent. We would trade every penny to go back in time. To reframe the mindset around time-money relationship. Preserving your time and the work that you do is truly what you're passionate about."


"This is a lot of good stuff. No matter what, having money, it does matter. It matters a little bit. But I'm the happiest in my life right now when I am just in my driveway with my two kids and my wife. It's sixty-five degrees and we're shooting baskets. It's enjoying that moment. That piece of what we've got going on and doing the things you're talking about. It allows you to have more times where you're not trading time and money."

bottom of page