Aaron Franklin is an Insurance Broker at State Farm in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Insurance is a tough industry to understand, and tougher still to make exciting. Yet Aaron finds meaning helping people through his work.
In this episode, Aaron talks about how he became an insurance agent, why he loves what he does, and his passions are outside of work.
0:30 – Aaron’s introduction… How did you get into insurance?
5:30 – Aaron’s baseball career and how it shaped him
12:10 – Chattanooga tornado in early 2020
19:45 – How has COVID-19 impacted the insurance business?
24:05 – What is your favorite part of what you do?
25:55 – What drives you?
28:30 – What do you do for promotion?
31:50 – What do you do in your free time?
37:00 – Lessons from golf
40:50 – Where can you find Aaron?
42:00 – Closing remarks
Pierson: What’s up, everybody. This is Pierson with the Marketing Is The Product podcast. I’m here with Brandon Rollins.
Brandon: Hey, everyone.
Aaron’s introduction… How did you get into insurance?
Pierson: And today we’re joined with, by Aaron Franklin. How’s it going, man?
Aaron: Good, Pierson. How’re you doing today?
Pierson: I’m fantastic, brother. It’s good to get you on the show and actually talk to you a little bit. So to get the ball rolling, you are an Insurance Broker with State Farm, how did you get into the insurance business?
Aaron: Yeah, well it’s nothing. Obviously, when you’re growing up, high school or college, you probably didn’t have a lifelong goal of being an insurance agent, but it definitely evolved and happened. Oddly enough, I had just finished playing college baseball and moved back home to finish my degree, then met my wife, started dating and then… I was working at UPS at the time, actually, and it was a part-time job. And her dad said, “Well, you’re gonna have to have a full-time job to marry my daughter.” I said, “Yes, sir. Absolutely.” And then UPS went on a big labor union strike in 1998 and so, I’m like, “I got to have a full-time job,” [laughter] that was the condition. I had to have my degree and I had to have a full-time job. I said, “Yes, sir,” to both of those. But anyways, a lifelong friend and kind of mentor had been working at a regional corporate office for State Farm in Winter Haven, Florida, that’s where I grew up. And he asked me… He said, “You ever thought about working at State Farm?” I was like, “No, man I haven’t,” but I said, “Do they have any full-time job openings?” He goes, “Yeah, man. They’re hiring full time.” I said, “Let’s talk a little bit more about that.”
Aaron: So anyways, finished my undergrad and the next morning, actually, had an interview with State Farm for a life and health insurance underwriting position, which that sounds really boring, but it was a full-time job. And obviously, got the job offer, and that started my career with State Farm. But it was really interesting. It was kind of a lot in the medical background of underwriting life and health insurance applications. I had to trial by fire, learned a lot of medical lingo and reading medical records all day long and basically assessing risk for the individual applicant that an agent would send in for insurance. But it was a great start, great career, great benefits and actually, worked there in Winter Haven at the corporate office for seven years.
Aaron: Yeah, so that’s kind of how I cut my teeth with State Farm and then they went for some corporate consolidations and knew we were forced to either make a move to relocate with the company or take a different route. So after a lot of prayer and consideration, went the agency route and got approved to be an agent in Florida, that’s where my wife and I were both from, and thought that’s kind of where it was gonna happen. And then, I just had my first child in 2004 and then… That was July 4, and then four weeks later, we had one hurricane hit, then two weeks after that, we had another hurricane hit, and then in a span of about eight or nine weeks, four hurricanes hit Florida in 2004.
Brandon: Shoot. Where were you in Florida at the time?
Aaron: In Winter Haven, Florida. So Winter Haven is right in the center of the state, it’s right in between Orlando and Tampa. So we were there and three of the hurricanes criss-crossed right over the center of the state. So yeah, it was crazy. I think at one point, just in Florida, State Farm had over half a million claims going on at the same time with all the hurricanes hits. So anyways, State Farm said, “Hey, listen, we don’t know if Florida is gonna shut down. We don’t know what’s gonna happen, but if you still want to be a State Farm agent, you probably wanna look outside of the state of Florida in maybe six, seven years before we hire and put on a new agent.”
Aaron: So we had some family and friends that lived up in Tennessee, and so the chain of events that happened, that’s what led us to Chattanooga. And so I started my agency here in ’05, and yeah, man, it’s just been an awesome run since then. And we have four kids, so three of the four children were born here in Chattanooga, and my wife and I, we’ve been married… Coming up on our 23 years. So Florida is home, but Tennessee is really… It’s home now and we love… Absolutely wonderful place to live and raise a family.
Aaron’s baseball career and how it shaped him
Pierson: Well Aaron, I want to backtrack to something you said a couple of minutes ago. You were a college baseball player. What position did you play and where did you play at?
Aaron: Yeah, yeah. So I played at Polk Community College, which that was a junior college, actually in my hometown, in Winter Haven. So I played there my first two years, played shortstop and a little bit of outfield and then, my junior and senior year, got a scholarship to Embry-Riddle University, which is in Daytona Beach, Florida. So that’s where I played my junior and senior year. And at the time… So I had my two-year degree. Our coach kept harping on us, “Man, you gotta get your degrees. No matter where you go, you’re gonna take at least 60 hours.” Well, that was true if you went to a state school. [chuckle] So I got my Associate’s degree. Embry-Riddle is a private university, so of my 63 hours, they accepted 27 when I transferred. So that set me back a whole year. Anyways, got through playing after my senior year, and they didn’t have, at the time, a fifth-year program where they would continue your scholarships that you could graduate from that university. So that’s when I moved back home, and I finished up my undergrad at the University of South Florida, which is in Tampa.
Pierson: I got you. So baseball’s a big part of what made you who you are?
Aaron: Yeah, it definitely was. I had one sibling, who’s two and a half years younger, and we were a big baseball family. He played college baseball, got drafted, played a little bit in the minor leagues, and just baseball was what we did. So I played a little basketball growing up too, but when I got to high school, it was 100% baseball. But yeah, it was a big blessing, paid for a lot of my college education, which my parents were very happy about that, and it just… It taught me a lot of life skills, a lot of team building, definitely a lot of things that you glean from a team sport, and definitely how to overcome adversity.
Aaron: I’ve always said baseball’s a game of failure. People don’t really understand that unless they’ve played the game. But guys are in the Hall of Fame, and they’re only successful 30% of the time. So you translate that over to if Peyton Manning only completes 30% of his passes, is he gonna be playing next Sunday? Probably not. If Michael Jordan only made 30% of his shots, would he be the player he was? Probably not. So it’s just that it’s a game that you really have to learn to deal with failure and that teaches you, like I said, a lot of life lessons, and it’s a team sport. So that’s the one thing that I really loved about baseball. You could go 0 for four one day, but two or three other guys on your team go three for four and you win the game, or your pitcher throws a no-hitter. It doesn’t matter what you did individually, your team can still collectively chip in and win the game.
Pierson: That’s a very interesting perspective to approach it from. I grew up playing baseball, loved the game myself. I haven’t played it in years, but honestly, I haven’t ever thought about it like that, and that’s a pretty great way to think about it because it is a game of failure. You can fail more than almost any other sport while still winning.
Brandon: It’s a weirdly good metaphor for life. You hit the ball a third of the time and you’re a legend. That’s like a batting average of 333, people just don’t do that for the most part. And you get multiple tries to either succeed or fail and yeah, it does depend a lot on a team, and that is probably a healthier athletic environment than a lot of other sports, I would think, where you are required to do something consistently very, very well.
Aaron: Yeah, for sure. Well, and again, baseball’s a long season, the longest of… Major league’s about 162 games. I don’t know if they’re shortening it a little bit this year, but anyways, you don’t play 160 football games. I think they’re trying to get it to 17 weeks now or something like that, but anyways, it’s a long kind of gruelling season that it’s endurance and stamina. And all sports are, all athletes have to go through and train and prepare, but it just, it takes a toll on you mentally and physically for sure.
Pierson: I had to deviate and ask a couple of baseball questions for my inner child in me. So getting into insurance again, walk us through what your day-to-day life is as an Insurance Broker. What do you do?
Aaron: Yeah, no, that’s great. Well, I tell people I help people manage risk in their everyday life, and we help them recover from the unexpected, and we also help them realize dreams. And people say, “Really? What is that?” I say, “Well, actually, I get to be a State Farm agent.” And they’re like, “And you get to do all that kind of stuff?” I say, “Absolutely.” So it’s not just… No two days are alike. Every day is different, which is cool. Obviously, there’s activities that we wanna repeat every day as far as customer service and even on the sales side, but it’s a very rewarding job in that, I truly… I tell people I’m in the relationship business, I’m not in the insurance business ’cause it’s truly building relationships with people and their families, and we happen to talk about insurance from time to time, but it’s a life-long career, it really is. That’s the way I’ve always approached it.
Aaron: And it’s very rewarding to be able to help people. Obviously, we all like helping people save money. You know, the new customers, they’re coming over, they’re changing insurance companies from one to the next. But it’s also helping them plan and prepare for the future. Obviously, just last Easter, here in Chattanooga, we had a humongous tornado that just tore up a big part of the city, and it missed my office by three quarters of a mile. So just in that one storm, I think State Farm had close to 12,000 or 13,000 claims total that was going on, and I had about 300 homeowner claims just out of my office.
Pierson: And just to clarify, Aaron, before you keep going, these are the tornados that tore through East Brainerd, right?
Chattanooga tornado in early 2020
Aaron: And it hit late Easter night. I guess it was 10:45, 11 o’clock, somewhere in that timeframe. I’m forgetting now exactly, but it was late at night and they didn’t really predict that day that… They weren’t calling for a tornado. They said we might have some severe thunderstorms, but they really weren’t putting Chattanooga, so to speak, under the bullseye, but it happened.
Brandon: For anybody who’s listening to this and who’s outside of Chattanooga, which is actually quite a bit of people, let me give you a little bit of background here. These happened April 12, April 13 of 2020, so we’re three, four weeks into the pandemic at this point. We’re talking about people who are sheltering in place, and we don’t really know what’s going on with the pandemic. And then you have a few… I think it was like a few dozen tornadoes actually tear through the Southeast, one of which went through a fairly populated part of Chattanooga. If you wanna look it up, it’s 2020 Easter Tornado Outbreak on Wikipedia. It was no joke.
Pierson: I was actually in East Brainerd the night of those tornadoes at my best friend’s house, and I have videos firsthand of waking up the next day and going out, and everything just being completely decimated. And trying to get to my friend’s house who lives on Igou Gap, which was three minutes away from where I was at, and it taking two and a half hours to get over there and bring them ice for their fridge, just because the roads were completely shut down, and houses, it’s like it went straight through. And for those of you not from Chattanooga, Igou Gap is pretty much a straight road that runs all the way through one part of town. And it was like this tornado just planted down right beside it and tore a line straight through East Brainerd. And houses, all that was left was foundation of houses, and when you go out there today, it still looks like a wasteland in some parts of it just from the destruction of it. And it was a pretty surreal thing to see, let alone at the very beginning of the pandemic on top of it. I could only imagine what that brought from an insurance perspective because it wiped out that entire area.
Aaron: Yeah, and from my office, that’s my heaviest zip code as far as penetration of customers, is that East Brainerd 37421 zip code. That’s my back yard as far as my office. So we just had a lot of customers that just instantly were just… Were devastated. The blessing of that, I think, the final total was maybe there’s only two fatalities, I believe, of the… And if you saw, if you firsthand saw that devastation just for miles… That tornado was on the ground, I think they said nine or 10 miles, and all the thousands of homes that were destroyed and only two people passed away, it’s just an absolute miracle. You just look at that and shake your head and go, “How there were not just body bags everywhere.”
Pierson: Yeah, I didn’t know that the death count was only at two. And it’s pretty surreal to actually hear that ’cause I was driving around that day and trying to do what I could to help, and it’s just… It was one of the most surreal things to see ’cause we were untouched. We didn’t have any damage to the house that I was in, thankfully, but it was… Close your eyes, spin around, and point, everything was destroyed wherever you looked. And it was heavy times last year, in 2020, let alone… Aside from COVID, but it’s stuff like that that give your job a little bit more purpose.
Brandon: I think this kind of dovetails into something you had mentioned earlier, Aaron. You say that insurance helps to make dreams come true, and honestly, I, myself, I worked in insurance for about a year in 2015. And as intellectual and abstract as the idea of insurance may be, it really does make dreams come true ’cause… Or at least allows you to have a life where dreams can still come true despite bad things. ‘Cause a tornado rips a roof off your house, if you have home insurance, you’re not going to have to pay a truly enormous sum of money because of a random accident. If you have health insurance, you can recover from a serious injury, and yeah, you hit your out-of-pocket max, which can be considerable, but it’s better than the hospital bills themselves. Goodness, when Maria had her serious injury, it was… And it knocked her out of her job, it was disability income that kept us going without too much interruption to her life, simply because it supplemented our income. And it’s easy to miss this stuff until you need it.
Aaron: Well, and that’s where we take what we do very serious. We try to obviously have a lot of fun at work and have a great culture and environment there with my team, but at the same time, I tell them, and say, “You’re the professional and it’s our role and responsibility to ask people the tough questions.” Like with life insurance, nobody wants to talk about dying, “Hey, let’s plan your funeral.” That’s not a fun dinner-time conversation. But at the same time, you sit down and you talk with the family, husband and wife, whether it’s one or two incomes, they’ve got children, and if one of those spouses were removed from that picture, that family is devastated, whether they’re bringing income into the household or not. So it’s trying to help them plan ahead, again, for that unexpected, whether it’s disability or an untimely death. Nobody else is asking people those questions. That’s our role and responsibility. So yeah, we talk a lot about liability and our role in home insurance in that such, but really, when you get down to it, the things that I’m the most passionate to talk to people about is that life and health side of it and planning for that unexpected event and for the future.
Aaron: I’ve got a second business that I’m involved in too. I’m a mortgage broker, and I’m able to originate loans for Rocket Mortgage, which is a part of Quicken Loans. I’m sure you’ve seen their commercials, but… So that’s another business that I have, it’s very rewarding, being able to help people, rates have been at an all-time low, and saving people thousand dollars on a refinance, lowering their current monthly payments, helping put money back in their budget, and, again, we’ve all through… A lot of people have been through a tough time financially, in the last year and a half or so, so to really kinda have, that’s almost that instant gratification of helping people immediately impact their monthly budget, but also helping them save thousands of dollars long-term or even people that are wanting to say do a cash out refi, where they’re wanting to pull money on the equity of the house and put a pool in or put something in the backyard or something that’s gonna help their family enjoy their home even more, or even debt consolidation, so that’s just, it’s a lot of things, that we can help people with, and I just consider it a privilege to be able to do that, on a daily basis.
How has COVID-19 impacted the insurance business?
Pierson: And so, COVID’s obviously a big talking point for everybody, it’s been part of our lives now for over a year now, how has COVID changed the dynamic of your day-to-day job?
Aaron: Yeah, no, that’s a great question, Pierson. COVID, it’s a real virus. Okay, let’s just, I guess, get that out there, that it, it’s real and it’s affected a lot of people, in a lot of different ways. It’s changed, I think, there’s been some big cultural aspects that has changed in our society with this virus, and, as far as the dynamic in our office, we’re always there to help people, and you were talking about the tornado and three months into COVID or the pandemic or whatever, like when that happened, people didn’t care, they didn’t… They wanted you there to help them, they wanted you there giving them a hug and help them put the pieces back together, and coming in their house, they weren’t asking, “Hey, have you had COVID recently or have you got your mask on?” Just people in their dire time of need, you forget all that stuff, that’s not what’s most important, they need help, immediately. But then coming out of that, obviously, you wanna be wise and use caution, and if people are sick, you gotta make good decisions, for you and your family, of whatever is best, and we changed a lot of procedures in our office, as far as, cleaning our office more frequently, and I have a service that comes in and does that, and making sure that customers are safe, coming into the office, there was a time where people didn’t want to come in.
Aaron: But that’s just, what we do and the role we play as State Farm agents, I feel like, it’s a very personal relationship, that we get to build and have with our clients. We’re not an 800 number, sitting in a call center in, I don’t know, Arizona or whatever. So people want that interaction, with their insurance agent, in their office, but we now have all kinds of different tools and ways to interact with them based on their preference and based on their comfort level. So, I’ve still got clients that wanna come in and meet face-to-face, absolutely. I’ve got clients that wanna meet over a video conference, absolutely, and I’ve got clients that we can do business over the phone. Even with the technology now and the apps and everything that we have on smartphones, we can do business a plethora of different ways, we’re not just honed in on, “Hey, we have to do it just this one way, and if it doesn’t fit in that box, we can’t do it.” So that’s the… I guess that’s the beauty of State Farm being the largest insurance company in America, and they have a great technology, behind their brand, and they give us the tools, obviously, to be able to reach out and interact with our clients, however they want to.
Brandon: Yeah, and I gotta imagine that’s such a difficult balancing act, knowing exactly when it makes sense to have people in the office mask-up, crack a window, whatever you gotta do, and when it makes sense to have, just correspond over the phone or over the internet, it’s just a tough call. We should probably thank our lucky stars that this virus didn’t crawl out of the woods in like ’05, ’cause we wouldn’t have been ready for it. We’re very lucky that SARS was not COVID…
Aaron: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So, yeah, again, that’s… I just tell people, you gotta make a personal decision of what you feel like is best for you and your family, and that’s… That’s the way I view it man, we still have freedoms, I’m very thankful, obviously to live in the United States. That we do, we have tons of freedoms and we obviously don’t want those taken away, but just to be able to choose healthcare, choose healthcare providers. We just got a lot of great options and choices here for sure.
What is your favorite part of what you do?
Pierson: So Aaron, when you think about what you do overall, what’s your favorite part of it? It sounds to me, just from hearing you talk a little bit that you’re incredibly passionate about helping people and making a difference in their lives, would it be fair to say that that’s one of your favorite aspects of your job?
Aaron: Yeah, Pierson, absolutely, I’ve always said, I’m in it for the 30-year compliment. People kind of look at that, “What are you talking about?” It’s like, man, I love helping people on a daily basis, but I truly want to make an impact on a family that’s gonna help that next generation. I’m wanting that child, or grandchild, to be able to walk into my office, 30 years from now and say, “Man, I really appreciate what you did for my parents or grandparents, we’re now reaping the benefits because of the planning and the help that you gave them so many years ago.” So that’s kind of kept me focused on the long-term goal, and not just short-term. Yeah, so like I said, this is only my 17th year, as an agent, I’ve been with State Farm, 23 years total. But it is kind of cool now to see, I guess, as I’m approaching 50 years old, I’ve got a couple of years left, but to see from when I started now, people’s children at the time, and they’re now driving and they’re now getting married and now starting families of there own, from when I first started, and so it’s just cool now kind of in that next generation phase from people that when I first started, so it’s rewarding and again, to be able to help families and then their children, and hopefully their children’s children down the road, I’m not planning on retiring any time soon.
What drives you?
Pierson: Yeah. So whether it be professional or in your personal life, really, what drives you? What makes you get up every day and say, I wanna keep this going. Is it helping people? Is it setting generations up for success down the line? What is it that gets you up out of bed every day and says, I wanna make a difference?
Aaron: Yeah, no, that’s a great question. I feel like my faith is a big part of who I am, in my life, and I’ve been very blessed and I have been, afforded a lot of opportunities, I feel like, by God, to be able to help people, and directly impact their lives, and I take that as a big responsibility. When much is given, much is required. And so, it’s not just waking up every day trying to earn a paycheck, it’s waking up every day and saying, “Hey, who can I help today?” And to be able to pour into the lives of so many people, on a daily basis. We’ve got customers on all walks of life, all socioeconomic classes, it doesn’t matter, they all have needs that we can help them with, and that’s kind of the rewarding thing there as well, and also being able to pour into my team, and see them grow and develop and financially be able to contribute to the economic impact of their family as well, it’s very rewarding. So now… So I’ve got five team members, that work directly for me on the insurance side, and I, again, I kind of, I’m in a coaching and developmental role with them, I still do personally produce some insurance business as well. But it’s really now a stage in my career where I’m really trying to pour into my team, develop them, and let them kind of run a lot of the day-to-day operations, and I’m more of in a managerial consulting role on the insurance side.
Aaron: Now with my mortgage business, it’s just me, I don’t have anybody else under me licensed as a broker on the mortgage side. So I’m very more heavily involved in my mortgage business right now, and kind of getting that running and going and more giving oversight to the interim side of things.
Pierson: That’s a… It’s a perfect segue into this next question, which, it’s obvious that you’ve got a couple of different things going, whether that be mortgage, whether that be insurance. Thinking about it from a marketing perspective, how do you promote these businesses? Whether that be insurance or mortgages, what are you doing to help people see you and to gain that traction of people saying, “Hey, come see Aaron Franklin,” like, “I’ve got your best interest at heart.”
What do you do for promotion?
Aaron: Right, no, absolutely. And it’s… Marketing, there’s so many different approaches to marketing, it’s not like, hey, we just do this one thing and that generates all kind of business, you really have to establish yourself in your community, that you live in and work in, and that’s something that we did very early on. I moved up from Florida, so hey, here’s this, a kid from Florida, who’s moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and knows a handful of folks, how’s he gonna grow his business? Well, it’s just getting involved in as many ways as you can in your community. Whether it’s… I’ve coached my kids little league teams and just obviously met hundreds of families that way and be able to be in their lives and their kids lives that way, and through church, a lot of great relationships there for a lot of years now. And then just different activities to be able to get out in the community and be involved in, but it’s really branding yourself. When people think insurance, you want them to think about you. So back in the day, for sure, I had a lot of billboards, that I did, sent out a lot of direct mail, again, these were obviously marketing strategies that probably were a little more prevalent back in that timeframe than today, but it still works. And then on the digital side now too, trying to direct traffic to our website.
Aaron: So it’s really kind of just playing in all of that space to be able to ultimately make the phone ring, or get that email that, “Hey, I need a quote,” or, they can text in now and we get leads via our website, even statefarm.com. But yeah, I don’t think you can just do one thing, I think you have to brand yourself, obviously, and set yourself apart, and I always said, my biggest competition is not Allstate or Geico, they, and probably would like to think that, but it’s really other State Farm agents. State Farm in Chattanooga’s got about a 32, 33% penetration in the Chattanooga market. So if you think about it, one out of every three cars, started they are insured with State Farm. So just constantly asking people, “Hey, who are you currently insured with?” And really one out of three times you’d say, “State Farm,” “Oh, that’s great. Hey, how about your friends or family, do they not have State Farm?” [laughter] ‘Cause if they don’t I wanna talk to them. But again, we’ve got a great group of agents here in Chattanooga, and just, to be respectful of them and their business, obviously, we don’t go soliciting other State Farm agent’s customers, we’re wanting, that we’re all new, so to speak, we call it, a customer, that’s not currently with State Farm.
Pierson: You’ve kind of touched on it a little bit now, Aaron, whether that be baseball, your faith, your family. Outside of insurance, how do you spend your time? What do you do that kinda scratches your itch on a personal level? What do you like to do?
What do you do in your free time?
Aaron: Yeah, well, like I said, we’ve got four kids, my oldest son is 16, and he’s a sophomore in high school. Round two, one wasn’t good enough, so we had twins round two. So we’ve got 12-year-old twins, it’s a boy and girl twin. And, then the third go around was another little girl, so she’s eight and a half now. And we’re also in the process of an international adoption. We’ve been waiting about six years and finally got matched. So it’s a little boy, three years old. He lives in Burundi, Africa, right now. And hopefully, by the end of the year, we’re gonna be able to travel and go pick him up and bring it home, so we’ll have a new addition to the Franklin crew. But, so yeah, my family is a big deal, a big part of my life, and I’ve coached the boys baseball teams for a lot of years, and again, they, being a big baseball family. But I’m just trying to be involved in what they do, the twin daughter, she’s very involved in sports as well, she plays softball, and volleyball, that’s her big passion. So just being able to interact with them that way, and the youngest girl now, she’s wanting, the eight-year-old, she’s wanting to get involved in soccer.
Aaron: So man, it’s just somebody’s got a game every night, and we’re going somewhere. And the boys play travel baseball, so man, that’s a whole another culture and a whole another world. We’re in Atlanta, more weekends in the summer than we’re in Tennessee, but a lot of travel baseball down there, but, no, it’s great, man, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And just to be able… Yeah, yeah. So just to be able to pass that on to the kids, they love playing it, playing the game, my oldest son, he’s got a scholarship already offered to him for the University of Kentucky that he’s verbally committed to, so we’re excited for him, he’s put in a lot of hard work, and he’s a great student. We’re looking forward to him heading to Lexington in a few years, and we’ll be wearing a lot of blue. But, anyways, my younger son, he’s very involved, and like I said, in baseball, and golf as well, he’s got golf matches and baseball games, so we’re enjoying watching him play that. And the girls aren’t playing anything right now, so that’s…
Pierson: I was about to say that was the pivot that I took, from baseball to golf, I’ve played golf since I was in high school, so I’ve played for quite a while now. Golf and MMA. [laughter] Yeah, I got into golf first, and I got into MMA a couple of years ago, but I tell people I’m into MMA and they’re like, “Oh yeah, I could see that.” I’m covered in tattoos, I listen to metal music, and like, “That doesn’t surprise me.” And then I follow that with, “I’m also a scratch golfer.” And they’re like, “Oh, what?” [laughter] And, yeah, yeah, it’s a fun sport, and I think I’m very competitive, more so with myself than I think other people. And man, I got addicted to the fact that I sucked at golf, and I was like, “I can’t get good at this.” And it just became an addiction to figure out how to get good at it, ’cause it’s such a difficult game to get good at. And it’s a year-long journey, but the cool thing about it, which I find, is it transcends age. You can play… One of my favorite things in the world, was I go out and play with my granddad, and competitively play with my granddad, and just to get to spend time out there on the course with him and have those special moments where you’re talking to your family, you’re hanging out with them, but you’re also playing a game that you both enjoy and you can do that 50 years in age apart, it’s a pretty special thing, there aren’t many sports…
Pierson: I’ll put it this way, no one’s getting in a fight with somebody 50 years older than them and getting in an cage, bro, it’s, you’re pretty limited with what you can do to a certain degree, and golf’s a great game for that. You see a lot of people get to grow relationships through it and out there on a golf course, so I’m a huge advocate of it.
Aaron: Yeah. And like I said the younger son, so he’s a left-handed pitcher. And he’s wanting to… He’s talking about, “I don’t know if I wanna quit baseball and just play golf.” I said, “Whoa, wait a minute, pitchers can play golf every day, man, you don’t have to quit, you ain’t quitting baseball, you can do both.” But, man, whatever he wants to do, it’s their passion, whatever that they wanna pursue, man, we’re, my wife and I are 100% behind it. But it is, it’s a great game and I love getting out there and playing with him. He’s pretty competitive, so it’s a different mindset, like you said when you were talking about the team concept with baseball, but golf, man, it’s you and the course and that ball, there’s no… I guess you can play Chapman or Scrambles, but if you’re playing competitively, it’s all on you, every shot. And you really have to learn to have a short memory, or it’s gonna eat your lunch.
Lessons from golf
Pierson: I think that’s what’s so cool about it, and for me, I grew up playing baseball, team sports all the way, realized as I was starting to grow up a little bit that I wasn’t the best team player. I like solo sports a lot more, and, man, golf is… It’s a game with yourself, like you… It teaches you so much about patience and about just mental fortitude, ’cause like you’re gonna suck, like it’s just… It’s just not a question about it, like everybody that plays golf sucks at some point, if not the entire time of it, like I still go out there and I’m like, “Man, I wanna sell my clubs, I am tired of playing,” and I’m like, “This is terrible,” but then the next shot, it’s like, you hole it out, from 30 yards away and you’re like, “I am the best golfer in the world, I wanna keep playing.”
Aaron: You go from hero to zero, from, in one shot, it’s like you just birdie or eagle a hole and you walk on the next sea lots and you shank your tee shot in the water, you’re like, “What in the world man?” Yeah, but it keeps you coming back, especially if you hole out from far away on 18, then you’ll definitely be back next week.
Pierson: Yeah. Absolutely. Golf is… It’s a unique game, and it’s so different than a lot of sports are. I think the uniqueness of it is what kinda keeps me coming back there, it has kept me coming back. But yeah, it’s a great game, and I feel like it’s helped me mature in a lot of ways that other things would have… It’s helped teach me lessons that might have come from other things, but golf is a great way, if you’re athletic, it teaches you a lot about life, and I think that that’s a… It’s a really valuable thing for people to have those experiences, and to have those moments where you are met with just immense failure, and you’re like, “Okay, well, I’m only on hole two, I’ve got 16 holes left and I’m like to six over par right now, so, I’m either gonna bounce back from this or it’s gonna keep going downhill.”
Aaron: Well, who was the guy… Who is the guy when they were playing at Pebble, this is what? Three, four, five weeks ago, when… However long ago they were at Pebble Beach, and, man, he was like tied for the lead and going on to like 16 or something, and he like four-putts, he just totally lost it. And I just felt so bad for… And I’m like, “Here he’s grounded it out for four days, and he’s like three holes away coming down to finish, and he just loses it, and four-putts, I think it was like on 15 or 16.” And I was just telling my son, I was like, “See there man,” I said, “It’s a grind all four rounds. You gotta… You gotta keep going, but he just got… He had one bad shot, and he was so frustrated that… ” Oh, man, it was painful. But it is long life lessons in golf, and it definitely will teach you a lot of about yourself real quick.
Pierson: Well, your son being a left-handed pitcher, I don’t think he’s gonna have any trouble transitioning into more golf, I think pitchers have one of the easiest times, making that switch. It’s… I love it, I’m happy to hear that more and more young people are getting into the game and kinda breaking into it, but it’s cool to see that revitalized approach to it, you’re seeing that with a lot of things nowadays, but it’s pretty cool. Well, Aaron, where can people… Where can our listeners connect with you online? Where can I find you? Where do you want people to connect with you with?
Where can you find Aaron?
Aaron: Yeah, so my website, it’s really easy, it’s Aaron, A-A-R-O-N, Franklin, and that’s F-R-A-N-K-L-I-N dot com. So that’s my microsite, they can go right there, to that webpage and connect with us, shoot us a message, send us an email, they can initiate a quote from right there, so a lot of good ways right there from the web, for sure.
Pierson: Yeah, we can throw all the links in there for your website or anything you want, we’ll throw it in there for people…
Aaron: My phone number’s, it’s 423-894-2481. We’re very conveniently located on Lee Highway, near the corner of Lee and Bonny Oaks. So we got a big old red sign right by the road there, so obviously people, who are familiar with that, Lee Highway and Bonny Oaks interchange.
Pierson: And we’ll make sure we add in all the appropriate links and numbers and everything that people need to get in contact with you into the show notes below in the show. So Brandon, I don’t have any other… I don’t have any other questions Brandon, did you have anything?
Brandon: No, I’m all good.
Pierson: Well, Aaron, thanks so much for taking the time to come on the show, brother, it’s been a pleasure talking to you and kinda hearing about your story and your path, and I look forward to hearing what’s next for you.
Aaron: Yeah, no, awesome man, I’d love to meet you, we’ve gotta hit that ball around a little bit.
Pierson: Yeah, for sure man, I’d love to get out there, I haven’t played in a couple of months now, I’ve been cooped up inside and now I’m ready to get back out there.
Aaron: Yeah, it’s warming up, man.
Pierson: Golf season baby.
Aaron: Yeah, it can work a few weeks away and I guess the bermuda will all be grown in and we’ll be ready to go.
Pierson: Cool, awesome, well, guys, check us out on Spotify, iTunes, wherever you listen to your podcast, once again, this is Marketing is the Product. I’m Pierson here with Brandon Rollins and Aaron Franklin, and we’ll see you next time.
Aaron: Thank you guys.