“Growing up and throughout college, I never thought I would be in the insurance business one day,” said Matt Alala, President of ACF Insurance Services. “However, I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.”
Like many others in the insurance world, a family connection led Alala to the industry. After graduating from Appalachian State University in 1995, his uncle approached him with a proposition to join the team at ACF Insurance, an independent agency out of Raleigh, NC. He had originally been interested in human resources positions after college, but decided to join the agency.
His early office duties included vacuuming and cleaning the toilet. He was also tasked with taking out the trash every Monday morning.
“I began to wonder,” said Alala. “What had I gotten myself into?”
Alala stayed the course. After starting off in a customer service role, he obtained his property and casualty license within his first few months with the agency.
“My position was servicing and selling auto and home insurance,” said Alala. “Then I eventually moved into a commercial lines role within the agency.”
After five years with the agency, he took on a management role, eventually overseeing all three locations. In 2011, Alala bought out his uncle to become owner of ACF Insurance Services.
“Now I was the one responsible for making the decisions within the agency,” said Alala. “If I made a wrong decision, then I was the one who had to suffer the consequences. However, if I made a great decision, then I was the one who would reap the reward.”
Alala said that this mindset allowed him to focus on what ACF does best and think of ways to make the agency even better.
This is the way Matt Alala works.
President of ACF Insurance Services, Inc.
One word that describes how you like to work.
Current mobile device:
Project(s) you’re currently working on:
Obtaining backlinks. Ongoing project.
Accomplishments you’re proud of:
I am proud of being a part of a successful insurance agency that has been in business since 1991. I am also proud of our success online and feel like it takes more than just having a nice website.
When looking at my business and our internet/website marketing, I tried putting myself in a customer role and went through every step of the buying process, like a consumer would have to. This gave me a chance to see what things about our website and internet marketing needed updating or revised in order to make it easier for the customer.
Ease of doing business is very important and having a website that allows the customer to find what they are looking for as quickly and easy as possible is extremely critical, especially nowadays with the age of instant gratification. I am proud that I have played a part in this process and its success over the last ten or more years.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Grow more home insurance and commercial accounts, and as always better retention!
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Keeping focused on the big picture, and not to sweat the small stuff as much.
What do you like most about your job?
The customers are really the number one thing that makes my job awesome. Insurance is insurance, but when I can help someone save money and see them smile, that’s the best!
What technology, apps or tools can’t you live without?
I love InsurancePro. I could not imagine running an independent agency the way we did back in the old days, having to get up every time we had a client to pull their file to get their policy information and call the carriers to get help with accounts. Ugh, how did we do that!?
Describe your workspace.
A traditional, large, old wooden desk that has been there ever since I can remember when my uncle ran the agency. There’s also a standing desk that is to my right, so I can stand and have more space to put things.
How do you manage your to-do list?
I have my same routine every week and have certain things that I do on certain days of the week. It’s second nature after doing it for over 20 years, so I don’t really have to even think about it.
What’s your best time-saving tip or hack?
My advice to my employees has always been to work hard and try to get everything done that you can first thing in the mornings. When the afternoon comes, the phones are ringing like crazy and customers are often coming in the office one after the other, so it is a lot harder to get anything done in the afternoons.
What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Put out our sidewalk sign and turn on the coffee maker.
What do you listen to while working?
I have a TV in my office, so I will turn it on in the morning when I get to work.
Favorite social network?
I like both Facebook and Instagram.
Night owl or morning person?
I used to be a night owl, but the older I get I feel like I am turning more into a morning person. Getting old is no fun!
What’s your sleep routine like?
My sleep routine is normally around 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
I believe in the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard, and it will pay off one day.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
I would be on the American Pickers TV show if I could switch jobs.
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