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Billy Potter is passionate about his work as a principal at Snellings Walters, but he still keeps a sense of humor. When asked about his rise as a broker, he breaks out a line from Bill Murray: "Well, it's a Cinderella story."

Potter is kidding, but he's not far wrong. When Potter was a kid playing baseball, his coach was Bill Snellings, who happened to own Snellings Walters. Bill thought enough of Potter that he predicted he would someday work for him, and years later, the prediction came true--and Potter has continued to impress ever since.

Potter says his approach to being a broker emphasizes the fundamentals. "It's really just basic blocking and tackling," he says. "We attribute a lot of our success to identifying the right issue within the organization. If you identify the issues, it usually takes care of itself. A lot of companies are just looking at the wrong issues."

As an example, Potter notes the trend of wellness programs. He says that although they have value, they don't actually save much money in the benefits area. "If you're doing it to boost company morale, that's a phenomenal reason to do it," he says. "But most companies have been loose about managing this budget item."


Potter and his firm are dedicated to the principles of the entrepreneurial operating system (EOS), espoused in the book "Traction" by Gino Wickman. "Businesses are different, but the issues are the same," Potter explains. "We're being trained every week on how to identify issues, how to discuss them, and how to solve them for our clients."

To get everyone on the same page, the company has required reading assignments, which Potter says help create a unified culture. It has also led to results: Since 2010, the agency has increased their employee benefits revenue sevenfold. "I feel like we've morphed into an insurance industry think tank," he says. "We have very robust and detailed processes to help build our business in a way that we think will reshape the industry."


Potter says he looks to workers' comp insurance as a system that has lessons for the benefits side of the equation. "Those methodologies have proven very successful," he says. "We have a process for picking up a box or wearing safety glasses, and there needs to be some similar level of boundaries for health care.

"We have a lot of ways to educate people; it starts with identifying the right issues," he adds. "And you probably don't have to pour a lot of time and money into anything other than education.

That's what workers' comp has done. They do it monthly; they do it weekly. They call it 'drug free workplace,' or they call it 'safety training.' They've quantified it."


Potter believes great things can be accomplished with passion and accountability. "I feel that our clients are experiencing that," he says. "I'm very humbled by the results that we've driven and the responses we've received, not only for the C-suite, but for the people working on the line. They've been very grateful.

"Health insurance is a sensitive subject," Potter adds. "It covers the people who employees care most about in this world, and it's frustrating because they're spending a lot of money on something they know little about. So, I'm grateful for the opportunity to make an impact on their lives."

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Title Annotation:2018 BROKER OF THE YEAR finalist
Publication:Benefits PRO
Date:Apr 1, 2018
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