Agency Performance Partners


APPX Sales Success Story: Bishop Insurance Service

Posted on May 7, 2020 by Deanna Hotham

Overview: A longstanding fixture in Montana’s insurance industry, Bishop Insurance has been serving the residents of Montana since 1958. The current owners, Debbie Vassar, Pete Bishop and Robin Nelson, have been operating the agency since 1997. As a 100% independent agency, they take pride in their extensive knowledge of the insurance industry and their ability to proactively service their policyholders through any situation.

Location: Bishop Insurance serves all of Montana and has two locations: Polson and Ronan.

Name of Owners: Debbie Vassar, Pete Bishop and Robin Nelson are co-owners of Bishop Insurance.

Number of Team Members: Ten team members participated in the AppX Sales program.

Types of Insurance Sold: Bishop Insurance is a full service, independent agency. They are capable of recommending, selling and servicing numerous personal and commercial lines accounts.

Reason Why They Purchased: We met Debbie Vassar at IAOA. After we spoke with her about her agency, Debbie and her colleagues decided to have Agency Performance Partners perform an Agency Assessment. Looking through the results of the Agency Assessment, Bishop Insurance’s leadership and Kelly Donahue-Piro thought that the team would benefit from having a clear, comprehensive sales process in place for everyone to follow.

AppX Sales Overview

The six-month AppX Sales program is hyper-focused on the only metrics that matter: increasing the quantity and quality of your sales. The goal of AppX Sales is to transform your agency so that your culture reinforces the value of high performance and driving sales. Most sales training has temporary results, but building a sales culture sets your agency up for long-term success.

With training workshops and bi-weekly calls, we will teach your team the best sales practices so you can increase your written premium.

Learn more about how AppX Sales has improved sales metrics for its clients here:

AppX Sales will provide you with the following once you’ve signed on to the program:

  • Training
    • Two Onsite Training Days
    • Designed Content
    • Interactive Session
  • Tracking
    • Bi-Weekly Metrics to Show Results
    • Review of Metrics with Your Team
  • Tools
    • Scripts
    • Role-playing
    • Worksheets
  • Coaching
    • Bi-Weekly Coaching Calls
    • Workbook
    • Plan of Attack


The agents at Bishop Insurance tackled the challenge of the AppX Sales program and came through it better able to collaborate as a team and with stronger sales numbers. Even more impressive is that even though the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted their training, they were able to maintain their momentum, finish the program and have kept up with the procedures working from home. One of Bishop Insurance’s owners, Debbie Vassar, said of the team: “I am so proud of them for trying this and I am so happy to learn that many of them believe in what we did and that they don’t want to go back to how things were.” Here are some of the improved sales numbers the Bishop Insurance team achieved:

  • The team increased their personal lines policy count by 31%.
  • The conversion rate for personal lines increased by 14%.
  • Account rounds doubled!
  • Retention rate improved by 2% in personal lines and 1% overall.
  • The team increased their average of 1.62 policies per client in March, 2019 to 1.65 policies per client by March, 2020.

Team Feedback

Initial Responses: 

The responses from the agents about how they felt initially were split between being excited about trying the new AppX Sales process and being nervous about time management. Some people also responded that they didn’t think they’d end up sticking with the program. We’re happy to report that by the end of the six months, none of the agents wanted to go back to the way they used to do things.

How They Felt a Few Weeks Later:

All of the agents found the AppX Sales process easier after a few weeks. They were able to manage their time more efficiently once they got accustomed to the new process. Several agents also responded that even just a few weeks into the program they were already selling more multi-line accounts and had improved their ability to sell quickly.

What Was the Hardest Part?

The agents agreed that stepping out of their comfort zone and embracing change was the hardest part. We won’t pretend that the AppX Sales program is a piece of cake! It can be uncomfortable at first adapting to change and learning the new procedures. The Bishop Insurance team stuck with it and found that it became easier as time went on.

  • “Just looking at it differently. Change is always hard until you give it a try.”
  • “It was weird to introduce myself and my abilities to new prospects. Once I figured out that they actually paid attention and appreciated it, it was easier. They do want to know more about us when they call. They already know they’re calling about insurance, but they like to know who they are talking to.”
  • “Stepping out of my comfort zone and asking for the sale. And not emailing quotes.”
  • “Getting through the awkward uncomfortable moments of learning how to do things. Getting out of my own way and just giving it a chance to work.”

What Was the Best Part?

Citing how the AppX Sales process improved their service to their clients and their ability to work together as a team, the agents at Bishop Insurance had many positive things to say when asked about what the best part of the program was.

  • “I think that just having an actual sales process is good. We now have guidelines to follow, the best way to carry out the process, and tools to make the sale, or breakup and move on if needed.”
  • “The agency has better retention and closing ratio.”
  • “[The clients] see more of what they have for exposures and understand the coverage they get better.”
  • “That we are now focusing on a sales effort knowing that it also improves our service to our clients.”
  • “We are seeing that each individual is more committed to the team’s success, they are working together better than ever and pushing to accomplish things as a whole.”

Recommendations to Other Agents Starting the Program:

The Bishop Insurance agents gave some great advice about being open minded and not fighting change. Success with the AppX Sales program requires working through the first few difficult weeks. It does get much easier after you’re over that hump!

  • “Give it a chance. It does suck a lot in the beginning and is very overwhelming to feel like everything is changing. But it’s not all changing, it’s just bits and pieces being refined to make your job easier.”
  • “Be open minded!”
  • “Don’t fight it, give it a try. It works and it works well.”

Thoughts from the Bishop Insurance Leadership at the Completion of AppX Sales

  • “The respect, camaraderie and teamwork of our staff has increased tremendously. They have worked hard to provide leads to the other departments to help them achieve goals. They encourage and support each other openly and overall work more as a team than I think I have ever witnessed.”
  • “I am so glad to get to know you and feel that you have really enhanced and added to what we felt was a pretty good crew and agency.”
  • “The agency assessment and sales training processes have been worth every penny and every frustration in trying to implement new processes.”

“I am so proud of them for trying this and I am so happy to learn that many of them believe in what we did and that they don’t want to go back to how things were.”

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