We’ve all heard stories about spouses going into business together. It always warms the heart to hear a success story, where husband and wife compliment each other so well, both in word and action. This is the story of Graziella Busa and David Yermak of Grace Agency.
It’s ironic that a couple, both living in New York City and both working in operations management, never met each other until each had moved to Florida. They were together before either had decided to give the Medicare sales industry a try, and David was first. He was looking for a change after working for a construction company when a golfing buddy that worked for Humana encouraged David to make the move. At the time David saw himself as “more of an operations guy.” But he sought the advice of Graziella, and she agreed that David had the talents to be an effective Medicare products salesperson.
It turns out that Graziella and David’s friend both saw something in David that he didn’t even see in himself, as he qualified for President’s Club his first year with Humana. What’s interesting is that Graziella makes me aware of this achievement, not David. “He’s very humble,” she says.
Graziella was hesitant at first. But after watching David’s success, she thought that the industry may be a good fit for her also. The Humana sales director asked her if she was as good as David. But David had already made it clear to the boss that the best salesperson under their roof was the one not currently employed by Humana. So Graziella joined the team as well.
From Carrier Teammates to Agency Leaders
It wasn’t long before both were among the top producing Humana agents in the region. Graziella claims that she was an average agent early on. But that changed when she “started focusing less on the process of selling and more on just helping people.” She continues, “People could sense that I was there to help them as opposed to helping myself, and they responded to that.” Referrals then became a larger portion of her business.
After only a few years of learning her trade, and with David still thriving at Humana, Graziella decided to take the journey as an independent agent and founded Grace Agency. It was now David’s turn to watch his wife in expectation of his own potential future. “I knew that she was going to put the bones together for our organization,” he says.
It’s clear that those bones were strengthened by trust and relationships. By this point the two had become quite trustworthy, gaining referrals that not only led to increased direct sales but also business opportunities that stretched across the entire country. When one major strategic partnership with a national group insurance brokerage was inked, David knew it was time for him to join his wife at Grace Agency.
Because their reputations were so solid, David and Graziella were also able to become the exclusive independent agency in multiple doctor’s offices. Even Humana’s brand-new sales director, to whom David announced his resignation during the director’s first day on the job, was supportive. “Anything you need,” in order to keep the relationship between Humana and Grace Agency strong, was the directive.
Keys to Success
The couple doesn’t shy away from what has made them so successful: honesty, hard work, and always putting the client first. They advise their new agents not to be afraid to tell a prospect when you don’t know the answer to something. Just be sure to get the answer. “Never think you know everything,” says David.
Graziella recalls getting on three-way calls with the client and the carrier so that she and the client could both find out the answer to an obscure question. And with more than ten years in the business, they both admit to still learning new details from time to time. “You can learn so much by just actually trying to help people,” she says.
And when it comes to always doing right by the client, Graziella says, “The people we don’t enroll in plans refer us just as much as clients.” We know there’s nothing better than earning a referral. And there’s nothing better to a prospect than someone they can trust.