Lighthouse recognized agencies that saw the greatest increase in sales in April compared to previous months. Each of the top five agencies received $1,000 to donate to a local charity; Howard donated his money to City Life Church in Charleston.
Howard said over the past few months, he’s had to pivot his business a bit to rely less on leads from mortgage companies and real estate agents and more on direct customer referrals.
“Most of my normal partners are pretty quiet right now and their business is down significantly,” he said. “I’ve been utilizing social media and word of mouth, and thankfully I have a really good customer base. I’ve been able to basically turn this into an outreach program, basically just looking for ways to help people and looking for ways to save folks money.”
Prior to working in insurance, Howard was a commercial real estate agent. He said he used lessons learned in the real estate market during the Great Recession to prepare for the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus.
As COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in the U.S., Howard said he could “see the writing on the wall, and all the signs were there” that he needed to prepare for a potential business impact.
By March, Howard had already shifted his marketing focus to social media to get directly in front of customers.
“I think what’s happened with most of the other agencies — because I talk to a lot of agency owners — is that they didn’t or they couldn’t think outside the box or whatever the case may be, and they were relying completely on what for them were traditional referral sources.”
Howard said despite his continued success, he did end up delaying plans for expanding his business because of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.
“There has been, certainly, some negative impacts, but I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to help people,” he said.