Interview with Shiva Irankhah: Staying Positive and Overcoming Failures

Getting past the tough times and waking up every day with a positive mindset may take some work, but the reward is great. Shiva Irankhah knows a thing or two about both, and has built a career for herself in the finance and insurance world that has made her an influential leader.

In this episode of Stay Paid, Josh and Luke talk with Shiva about her journey to where she is now, what it truly means to not give up, and the actionable advice she has for those just starting out.

Key Points

  • The importance of pushing through those first two years
  • How social media can be a game changer
  • The right attitude is what drives success

Tell us more about yourself and how you got started.

I moved to California in 2010 and began my journey in the accounting department of a finance company. Living in California is expensive, so I had to stick it out, even though my boss at the time hated me. In 2012 I got into the insurance industry, and I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I failed my exam twice before I was able to pass the third time. The problem was I didn’t have people who believed in me; I got told I was too nice, but I was determined to prove them wrong. I moved companies and commuted an hour to Orange County every day to make it work and gain knowledge in that field. I didn’t make excuses for myself.

My second year was when I learned to be aggressive—that’s the nature of sales. I eventually got to the point of leading a brokerage office, which I opened two years ago. It’s tough because you lose clients to competitors, but I kept trying to be positive. That transition to a brokerage was really exciting, but I also worked really hard. I’m now managing our second office in San Diego. Not everyone’s made for an aggressive type of career like real estate or insurance, but I believe that anyone can try. I’m passionate about what I do and I really have the hustle and the mindset for this business.

What instrumental life events really played a role in getting you to where you are today?

I had no confidence that I could do this, but I had the hard work in me. I went door knocking at the beginning of my journey and my whole clientele were basically people I had cold called. If you hear nos so many times, you eventually are going to get the yes, and that one yes can create so many other yeses because of that referral. You have to push through and make it through those first tough two years of learning the business.

Why do you think people quit?

People quit because they’re lazy. Number two because where they work they don’t have the support and they’re not happy. I’ve dealt with a lot of agents who didn’t want to do commission business because they were too comfortable. They don’t have the motivation or support to do it. You really need someone to hold your hand in the beginning.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Sina Azari. Growing up I never really had a boss who believed in me, and he really gave me a chance and coached me. He helped make me a strong person and he was there for me every single day of my first year. A good leader is just that: a person who believes in your capability and supports you every single time, until you’re ready to go on your own.

What would you say has been your biggest struggle to get past the hump and take it to that next level?

My first year was my failure time and it was my biggest struggle. I was getting a lot of nos and didn’t have people teaching me anything. I was struggling to get clients to trust me about life insurance, so I kept going to these appointments and then would look back at my mistakes to make sure I didn’t make them at the next appointment. Getting the prospect to really trust me was a struggle in the beginning. I literally made $10,000 in my first year, but I kept pushing through.

What advice would you give new agents on how to build trust with prospects?

There are typically three personalities we deal with: analytical people, interpersonal people, and dynamic people. I always try to teach people to build the relationship first. There’s a lot of new agents who look at big, veteran agents who make so much money, but they don’t learn the systematics of what it takes to get to that point. You have to bring their wall down and care for them and then they’re going to trust and remember you. Care for the client, not in a fake way, because when you do, cases will come to you.

How do you measure success for your business today?

Through the journey I’ve built. We’re all going to make money, the question is, what did you do to make that money? Money will come, but the journey is what really matters.

How are you generating leads for your business and how do you go after them on a day-to-day basis?

While we are provided with leads, we are also a referral business. I go after people I know and use social media a lot to get prospects as well. There are millennials, that middle group starting a family, and those in the social security age range. There’s so much you can do with these three main groups of potential clients. Social media helps us get out there, and everyone’s on social, even if they’re not liking or commenting.

You got a $10-million-dollar life insurance deal from an Instagram post. Tell us about that.

I had a referral from a friend, so there was already that trust there, and they were paying attention to me on social media. From there I got that deal.

Can you give us an idea of what you’re posting on social?

During the day I like to give people a look at my office life and what I do on a day-to-day. Then at night, if I go to a party or am out, I post on my stories as well. Some people want their social media profiles to just be about business, but people need to see who you are as a person. Because of my social media presence, I got a young-millennial recruit at Disrupt Tour. I’ve been consistent in building my brand and I want to make sure people know who I really am.

What are the three things you do every day to help drive your success?

I have to start my day on a positive note. Whether this is by walking on the beach or through meditation, I like to be positive in the morning. I try to put everything I do on social media. In a leadership role, I make sure I’m in the office every day and motivating my team. Everything falls into what it’s supposed to be when you remind yourself that you’re healthy and get to do what you do every day.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

If I could go back, I would tell myself to be more confident. I’m trying to create my A team now, but I wish back then I had the same mindset that I have now.

Where can you connect with Shiva?

Instagram – @shivairankhah

Facebook – @shiva.irankhah

Action Items

Following the podcast, our goal is to provide you with as many actionable tips as possible. For this episode, they include…

  • Find a mentor. If you have one, reach out and engage with them, and if not, find someone in your life who can be your guiding light.

As always, take action on these tips!

Subscribe today to get the most actionable sales and marketing tips.