A very successful commercial insurance producer told me this recently. He said that when he is on a sales call, particularly a business luncheon, instead of the usual amount of small talk before starting to get down to business, after exchanging a few general pleasantries, he asks his prospects and clients to help him solve a business problem or issue that is current for him.
“Unrelated to our business today, let me take a minute to run this by you. I’m wrestling with this, to develop a workable solution. What are your thoughts?”
He said that getting their opinions demonstrates to them that you value their thinking on a matter that you have been considering. Nothing too deep or serious of course – you certainly don’t want to destroy your main purpose for the meeting – but he said it has really helped him connect with his prospects and clients. He added that as a valuable side-benefit, he has heard some great ideas that helped him solve some of his outstanding issues.
Recently I was reading an article about the importance of marketing messages and the author made reference to this statement from Albert Einstein: “If you cannot explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” If you don’t understand your business, how can others be expected to do so?
Old Albert knew his way around an equation for sure but it sounds like he was also well aware of other aspects of life.
For we who are involved with marketing – and that is just about everyone, in one way or another – it is important to take the time to prepare your own marketing message. As Einstein suggests, it needs to be simply stated. You may only get one chance to relate it to a potential client or business associate who can refer you to clients.
John Jantsch, marketing guru and author of many great business books, including “Duct Tape Marketing”, refers to this part of your marketing message as a “Talking Logo”. He describes the importance of it as “…a short statement that quickly communicates your firm’s position and forces the listener to know more”. I like what John has to say. He himself makes his many useful messages simple but meaningful.
My Talking Logo is: “I help independent P&C agents get the appropriate markets for their specific needs. I help them make more money.” I hope it passes the “Einstein test”.
Especially for people in insurance sales and management roles, there is no doubt that playing golf offers many networking opportunities, especially with existing and potential clients. In fact, that is why some people play golf – It is their sole reason. However, I have always viewed golf as another form of problem-solving and many business people I know enjoy it for that reason in addition to the networking and friendship that inevitably results.
With regard to problem solving, many of those described are used to overcoming obstacles to make the best day-to-day business decisions. Golf is just an extension of their work in a more open environment.
How am I going to hit the ball over that tree? What club do i need? Should I try to go over the lake or avoid it by going around it or playing short of it? To make sure I don’t hit my ball into that huge bunker, should I play to the opposite side of the green even it will put me very far from the hole?
These are examples of questions that golfers ask themselves throughout a round of golf. The golf shots they propose and attempt are aimed at solving the problems at-hand.
It is the same type of decision-making environment that business managers face everyday. However, the consequences of making a wrong decision in business is hardly ever more serious that a bad business decision on a golf course…unless, of course, you bet too much with your friends and lost!
From noted creative thinking coach, Michael Gelb: “Life is a continuous exercise of problem solving.”
Originally known as “Decoration Day”, the observance of Memorial Day as we know and recognize it on last Monday in May each year has a diverse history. Decoration Day is most often believed to have originated in Waterloo, NY just after the Civil War by a town druggist who was very sympathetic to the sacrifices of those who lost their lives in that long and brutal struggle. It had no name in the beginning but became known as Decoration Day due to the activities that citizens conducted. To honor the fallen, the druggist promoted placing flags or other forms of markers at the foot of all soldiers’ graves in the town of Waterloo. Very soon thereafter the word spread throughout the North and South and other town groups set-up their own forms of remembrances. As understandable signs of pride, cities and towns in both the North and the South claimed in 1886 to be the birthplace of what ultimately became Memorial Day.
Flags were soon accompanied by flowers being placed at grave sites throughout the Country. Somber marches were also encouraged in many towns. They could hardly have been termed as celebrations. According to a number of similar historical accounts, the dates of such remembrances varied from town to town but were most often held in the spring, because most of the flowers were in bloom then and available for the marches.
The concept of honoring those who died in battles actually goes back to ancient times when the Greeks and Romans did so annually with grave markings, festivals and feasts.
It was not until after WW II that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all wars in defense of our freedoms in the United States of America.
Memorial Day became a Federal Holiday in 1971 although it was still referred to as Decoration Day in many places throughout the Country.
On this Memorial Day, the Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers team – www.dvic.us joins so many others in honoring all fallen heroes who have served our great Country.
By Phil Tuccy – DVIC Strategic Board Member
I recently had a very interesting conversation with Shane Tatum, the President & CEO of Integra Insurance Services, an organization in Texas which provides agency network affiliation for qualified agents and agencies.
While Shane was explaining the Integra prospecting approaches and overall philosophy for determining the quality and experience of agents and agencies that his organization seeks as possible members, he said something that I had not heard before. He stated that they carefully “underwrite” each prospective member before considering them for inclusion into one the two key Integra membership programs.
Action words like ‘vetting’, ‘analyzing’, ‘evaluating’, etc. are most frequently heard in conversations of this nature. However, after hearing Shane describe the Integra “underwriting” approach, I do believe it is most descriptive of the actual process that needs to take place in order for an agency network organization to make the best educated decision as to who should be a member of a network group.
It is well known that traditional insurance underwriting requires knowledge of as much about the proposed insured as possible and the risks to which they may become exposed. This information is needed to make an informed decision as to whether the company wants to provide insurance coverage. Similarly, an agency network should want to know as much as possible about each prospective member. Most do but some are more about quantity than quality. Those that underwrite their prospects are models for the others. As an agent or agency seeking an agency network group to join, look for the groups that make you feel as though you are being subjected to an underwriting process. It will be to your advantage, in the long-run.
A written marketing that is well-developed will prepare you to be effectively underwritten.
Can it be done? I recently read an article in which the author stated that, as an insurance Agency Principal, he feels that he can teach any employee to do almost any task. He added that the real issue is to teach people to care.
Maybe he was in a low mood when he stated this but his point is well-taken, as least as “food for thought”. It might have more to do with creating an atmosphere where “caring” is a key aspect of the workplace culture.
I am not at all sure that “caring” can be taught.
Last Sunday, I was with my 11 year old Grandson at a sports type restaurant where we like to eat lunch and watch multiple football games. The volume from one local game was featured during the singing of the National Anthem by a soldier in uniform.
At the conclusion of the Anthem, everyone …or so it seemed…in the restaurant applauded loudly!
It was a great feeling.
Obviously I am very naive. I just learned that these two things happen on Facebook quite frequently…
People buy “likes” for their own business pages !
People set up fake Facebook pages to comment back onto their own Facebook content !
It reminds me of when I used to work in an office environment and certain ladies would receive deliveries of flowers and chocolates at work. Some of us suspected that they ordered the stuff to be sent to themselves !
I just formed two new groups on LinkedIn.
One is titled: P&C Agents & Insurance Network Groups
The purpose of this one is to provide a forum for Insurance Agents and Insurance Network Groups to exchange meaningful and relevant information regarding their respective business needs and interests.
The other is titled: Insurance Agency Hiring Needs
The purpose of this group is to match insurance agency hiring needs with the appropriate candidates, for consideration.
Members need to be approved but if you have an interest in one or both Groups, apply by requesting to join on the Groups’ LinkedIn pages.