Weekends hit different in 2020. With all of the new, exciting challenges this year has brought to us (sarcasm), it seems like each week is roughly 265 days long. But alas, it's Friday and if you're like me, you plan on making the most of the weekend.
While you may not plan on pounding the pavement looking for leads and/or potential new business contacts, you should always be open and treat each social outing as an opportunity to meet people who you could one day do business with. It just makes sense. Here are a few of our favorite networking tips to keep in mind if you're out and about this weekend.
Tip #1 - The ABC Rule - ALWAYS BE CARRYING
Business cards. Always be carrying business cards. You don't have to roll out the door with 100 of them in your wallet, but it's great practice to always be sure there are at least a few with you at all times. You never know when you could meet someone in need of your specific services. And don't be shy about giving them out. You don't have to be pushy, just say "Hey if you ever want to connect, let me know!"
Tip #2 - ASK PEOPLE FOR THEIR CARDS
If you've been having any kind of meaningful conversation with someone who you can see doing business with in the future, asking for their card is a great way to give you a leg up in the networking game. When you get home, write a note or two on the back of the card they gave you. Anything that has to do with what you spoke about or something interesting about them that you can use later on in a business call.
Tip #3 - INTRODUCE PEOPLE
A huge part of networking is being seen as a networker. People often think it's all about who you're meeting and who they know, but it's also really important to be someone who connects new people to each other. This puts you in the mix of several circles and creates more opportunities for you in the long run.
Tip #4 - TALK TO EVERYBODY
If you're in sales, which all agents are, you should have been blessed with the gift of gab. This makes networking easier for you than someone who is more on the shy side. If you see someone at an event who seems to be shrinking into the background, walking up to them and introducing yourself is a move that means more than you know. It gives you an opportunity to get to know them and then introduce them to anyone you think they should connect with.
Tip #5 - BE YOURSELF
Listen, it's the weekend. It's always ok to be casual and in lots of times, it's preferred. People are often more loose in unexpected networking situations than they are in formal ones, so take advantage of being yourself and really get to know the other person. Being at ease will make the conversation flow more freely and could lead to more interesting places.
Yes, the weekend is the time to ditch the suit and tie and get out there to relax, but keeping your eyes open for new opportunities and being open to speak to new people is a natural part of any good salesperson's personality. If you're headed out this weekend, be sure to bring your cards with you and be yourself. You just never know when it could pay off!
It's easy for people to assume certain things about having a career in the insurance industry but as we all know, you never really know what something is like until you've done it for yourself. Some of us may have gone into the industry with preconceived notions of what it would be like based on growing up with parents who were agents, or based on stories shared by friends who are agents now.
Just like in every career, there are pros and cons that come with the business card, but that doesn't mean they're going to be the ones you'd expect without having done the job yourself. Here are a few busted myths about being an insurance agent that you can share with anyone who may be considering becoming one.
MYTH #1 - INSURANCE IS BORING
If you're an agent, that means you have a whole list of people you're servicing, which by design means you're going to always be busy. Every day you're responding to any number of unpredictable things that have gone in your client's lives which means every day will offer new challenges for you to tackle. Also, lots of agents aim to start their own agencies which means now you're not just an insurance agent, but you're a business owner. Running a business entails a lot more than simply selling insurance.
MYTH #2 - INSURANCE IS JUST A DESK, SALES JOB
Insurance is certainly a desk job, but don't most jobs come with a desk? And yes you're selling, but think about what you're selling. It ain't color printers, my friend. When you sell insurance you're giving people security to protect the most important parts of their lives. Their health and the health of their families. Their homes. Their businesses. Their transportation. Things that people build their lives around. In that case, there's no way you can refer to insurance as just a sales job.
MYTH #3 - AGENTS ARE JUST THE MIDDLE MEN
Having your own book means that you're in charge of proactively bringing products to your customers. Without the agent, there would be no way of knowing what each client actually needs. Agents are not simply robots who quote policies, they do so based on very real human need and understanding. And if you're putting the necessary emphasis on customer service, you'll see that nothing meaningful gets done without you.
MYTH #4 - THE HOURS ARE LONG
Sure, selling insurance may not be your typical 9-5 job where you leave your work at your desk when you walk out the door, but that's the case with a lot of careers. If you're called to help a client after hours, it's likely that they're dealing with some kind of emergency where you're acting as their lifeline to help and that's an aspect of selling insurance that makes it so important. When you look at the hours that way, it becomes an honor, not an annoying obligation.
MYTH #5 - YOU WON'T HAVE ANY SUPPORT
Once you become an agent, you become responsible for your own clients, that's true, BUT, it's in every agency's best interest to help their agents succeed. Most large carriers have a wealth of resources like coaching, online toolkits, and marketing support available for their agents to use when they're in need of help. If you make sure you do your research when becoming part of an agency, these resources are a great thing to look into.
These myths are easily debunked once you begin a career in insurance. Buckling down and getting in the trenches will tell you whether it's right for you, not stories from the battlefield that you've heard from other people. If you're thinking a career as an insurance agent might be for you, take the time to find out for yourself. It could just be the best decision you've ever made.
We don't know many business owners who aren't always looking to bring in new business. As agency owners, we're always trying to expand by coming up with creative ways to market and reach new prospects. We don't get into business to serve a few people and then decide, "well, I guess that's enough". Most of us have long-term plans to run our businesses and the only way to do that is to consistently be bringing in new customers.
The struggle, however, is finding new customers when it appears the well has momentarily run dry. Luckily now, thanks to social media, there are more ways than ever to retrieve pertinent data and reach people who you may not have been able to reach prior. Here are a few ways you can think about trying to attract new potential clients.
1. SEE AND BE SEEN
Businesses can't sit back and expect customers to come to them unless they've done something to let them know they're there. Sure advertising and marketing are the basic ways of getting the word out, but there are lots of other ways to be seen. Get yourself involved in community events like hosting a booth at a street fair or sponsoring a 5K. Volunteer at events or for charities where people may not be aware of what you do. And after all this, make sure your website and social media accounts are 100% up to snuff so that when people DO reach out to you, you're easy to connect with.
2. PAY ATTENTION AND ASK QUESTIONS
We should always know what our competitors are up to because that's the name of the game. If a similar agency seems to be winning more business than you, try to find out how and why that is. What are they doing or offering that your agency isn't? Is it a customer service flaw? Is it a problem with your products? Don't be afraid to ask questions when someone turns you down. And likewise when you have a happy customer. Find out what it is that they love about doing business with you. This is valuable feedback that you should be highly interested in hearing so that you can change whatever it is that could be losing you business.
3. CELEBRATE WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM THE REST
And we don't mean celebrate it like "Yaass girl! Rosé all day!" We mean, find what makes you different from your competitors and promote the hell out of it. Let it become your image so that people see the difference in doing business with you from the jump. Let it be something that drives you to create new, influential partnerships or interesting promotional events where you can stand out. You don't have to do exactly what someone else is doing to make your business stand out, you just have to highlight why the way you do it works.
Finding ways to bring new business into your agency is often easier than you think. If you're struggling to find new clients, taking action is the first step. Try these 3 tips and go forth with the odds forever in your favor.
If you've ever ordered something from Amazon, you know what it's like to get emails asking you to review your purchase. Even if your purchase is a box of disposable silverware, they want it reviewed. You may wonder why Amazon's all up in your business about reviewing a $4.99 box of plastic forks. They're just forks, right? Yes, but no.
Businesses want you to review their product and your experience with their business because other customers will base their orders off your feedback. Studies have shown that as many as 90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase or visiting a business, and they're willing to spend as much as 30% MORE at a business with "excellent" reviews. So Amazon wants your review of those plastic forks, because it's going to help build trust in their brand and highlight the experience their customers can expect from them.
You want your customers to do the same. You don't have to go after your customers with the full court press the way Amazon does, but you definitely want to get as many of them to leave online reviews for your agency as you can. Here are some ways to make that happen:
GIVE THEM A PLACE TO REVIEW YOU
If you're looking for online reviews, it means there's a place for your customers to leave you one. That means you'll want to showcase it on your website and include links to where customers can review you in the emails you send and on your social media feeds. Also, including a "call to action" on those mediums is extremely important. Have "LEAVE A REVIEW" buttons and links clearly marked so that your customers can easily add their insights when they're ready.
Don't be shy when it comes to asking customers to review you online. Post up signs in your office. Send emails asking for a review after important interactions with your agency. Include posts in your social media feeds asking customers to head to your site to leave their thoughts about the service you've provided them with. Sometimes all someone needs is a little nudge and you'll get valuable feedback for your business.
TELL THEM WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
People love a testimonial and they love a shout out. Showcasing a great review from a past customer is another way to get people to leave their thoughts on your site. Especially when someone sees that you're sharing customer thoughts on your Facebook or Instagram pages, customers are likely to be more motivated to get in on the action.
Ah, the old, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Offering your customers something to leave a review is a typical but great way to get them to do so. Have ongoing raffles that customers can gain entries for when they leave a review. Dangle special coupons or discount codes for clients if they leave a review. Maybe offer a a cool promotional gift for people who post their feedback on your site.
Online reviews are also a good incentive to keep your staff on their toes because your aim is to get POSITIVE feedback. The better the experience is at your business, the more positive feedback you'll get. And the more positive feedback potential customers see online, the more new customers will be drawn to do business with you.
Of course we all know Halloween is a spooky time of year because of the ghosts, goblins and extra cavities, but most people overlook the hidden dangers that the season can post when it comes to their homeowner's insurance. Since the holiday means trick-or-treaters and their parents will likely be approaching your home, and in the dark of night, you're going to want to make sure you do a few things to keep your home and the kids in costumes safe. If your town is allowing trick-or-treating this year, you're going to want to plan ahead to keep visitors and your home safe.
Leave The Lights On
Make sure the outside of your property is well-lit on Halloween night for TWO reasons. First, trick-or-treaters and their parents should be able to see where they're going in order to avoid trips and falls on the way to and from your home. The last thing you want on a fun evening is something getting injured on your property. Second, a well-lit home is more likely to keep mischief away. Occasional eggings, shaving cream dousing and toilet paperings are tricks that your teenage visitors might try to leave on your property. Shining a light on your home will likely keep them away.
Stay Away From Flames
There are lots of LED alternatives to candles these days. If you're using decorations that light up, make sure you're using battery powered lights instead of candles to avoid potential fire hazards. If you ARE using light-up decor, make sure there's no threat of bulbs becoming too hot and igniting paper or other materials on the decoration.
Secure The Perimeter
It doesn't hurt to take a walk around your house before it gets dark to make sure there's nothing that poses a safety threat to visitors. Check for tripping hazards, hoses and cords that could pose a threat to someone and low-hanging hanging branches. Anything that looks like it could poke, trip or tie someone up accidentally should be taken care of.
Pets Are Best Inside
Even the sweetest and most mild of animals can get spooked on Halloween. Kids in costumes can easily freak out a normally calm dog and your friendly cat. The last thing you want is an animal attack on your property. Let the bats and spiders do all of the greeting at your home to keep visitors, and yourself, safe from any unpleasant accidents.
The best way to keep you home and all those who approach it looking for treats this Halloween season is to be prepared. Follow these simple tips and you should be in good shape on the scariest of nights!
We've all seen lists of the dos and don'ts of successful people. They pretty much always include things like GETTING UP EARLY or EXERCISING or BEING HIGHLY ORGANIZED. Those of us who are under-exercised and highly unorganized because we hit the snooze button 3 times every morning and start our days in utter chaos, we get it. We understand that there are regimented things that we can do in our lives to position ourselves to be a step ahead of the rest.
But there are some other less tangible qualities of successful people that bring big results when it comes to an overall benefit in reaching their goals and continuing to advance in their careers, and their lives. Things that don't involve 5 a.m. workouts and an alphabetically organized record collection.
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DON'T LET FEAR HOLD THEM BACK
Successful people GO FOR IT. This might seem like something we all do, but it's not. Many of us are afraid to take chances because of a fear of the unknown. We're afraid to go after a career that means less money but offers more self fulfillment. Successful people aren't tied so afraid of failure that they're unwilling to go for something that could change their lives for the better.
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE HAVE THEIR EYES ON THE PRIZE
Successful people don't let themselves or their plans become derailed by gossip or drama. They focus on big ideas and working to bring them to life, regardless of nonsense around them. They focus on doing, not on what someone else is or isn't doing. Focusing on minutiae slows you down. Staying focused on you and your goals is what keeps you moving.
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ARE TEAM ORIENTED
Successful people lift up the people around them and they showcase the advancement of others. They want their coworkers and friends to succeed and they celebrate it when they do. They know that there is room for everyone to reach their goals without it taking anything away from their own success. They give credit where it's due and they give it often.
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ARE SELF-AWARE
Successful are better at interacting and influencing other people because they take the time to understand themselves. By knowing what drives you to do the things you do and to react to things they way you do, you're more apt to work better with others. They understand their triggers and how to deal with them and they understand what brings them joy and how to go toward it.
It's nice to know that there are some innate qualities that contribute to our success, instead of just eating quinoa and kale, and meditating while standing on one foot at dawn. If success comes down to the things on this list, I think we can all find ways to be a little braver, a little more focused, a little more inclusive and happy for others, and a little more in touch with ourselves.
Let's be honest, there's nothing like the early days of a new career, when you're just starting out and everything is fresh and exciting. New people, new places, new experiences. And on the other side of the coin, once you've been at something for a long time and things become routine, it's easy for that once exhilarating to become a little stale. They don't call it the daily grind or the rat race for nothing.
It's easy for all of that bright and shiny newness to become dull, and it's hard to stay motivated. But just like sometimes we don't take the sound advice we so easily give to other people, lots of times it's easier to help motivate others than it is to motivate ourselves. If you feel you're falling prey to the doldrums of daily monotony, we have a few ideas to help you stay engaged and excited about work.
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Dangling a carrot works on horses and kids, so why not set a goal for yourself with a clear plan in mind, and set out to reach it? Create your goal in your personal life OR your professional life and then create short term and long term plans in mind to make it easier to stick to along the way. This is a great way to visualize something NEW that you want to work toward which takes you out of the mundane. And creating a step by step guide to help you get there will keep you on track.
Lots of times the best part of reaching a goal is the pride you feel from your accomplishment, but don't be afraid to give yourself a little extra reward for a job well done. Extra incentive isn't a bad thing when you're doing something to better yourself. In fact it's something that most people are afraid to do for themselves, which adds to the monotony of their careers or their daily lives. You finally got that promotion? Don't shy away from getting yourself something nice or scheduling a day off in a few weeks to celebrate. This is a great way to keep yourself motivated and moving forward.
This is a big one. Lots of people lose sight of what they loved about their careers after the excitement wears off. It's important to remain in touch with why you're doing what you're doing and to remember why you started doing it in the first place. Queue up a few relevant Ted Talks or read a book that initially sparked your interest in your field. Maybe sign up for a few conferences to meet new people in the industry and see what could develop in the future. Sometimes motivation comes in the form of a coworker, boss or keynote speaker.
We've all fallen into that work funk where the days drag on and there's nothing that spectacular to look forward to. These are some great ways to regroup and get yourself re-motivated so that you can return to the days of being excited for the work day and taking pride in what you do. A healthy outlook on work means more than you know. Giving yourself an emotionally fulfilling work life leads to a richer life in general - something we all want at the end of the day.
Getting up in front of an audience and slinging your wares isn't easy for anyone. No matter how confident you are in your product, there's always the risk that your potential client won't be interested. And no one likes being told no, especially after you've put your best foot forward in presenting yourself and your company. No matter how polished your presentation is, the possibility of being turned down is a vulnerability that most sales people understand.
Most pitches are tried and true long before they hit your market, but before you put yourself front and center in front of a new prospect, you should always make sure your pitch is as listener friendly as possible. Here are a few tips for making sure you're presenting yourself and your product in the most viewer-friendly way.
1. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AND LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN.
The best way to customize a presentation and an offer is to know exactly what your client needs. Asking the right questions will help you point out where your client needs the most guidance or where they have the most questions about their current insurance (or insurance in general) and it will allow you to create solutions to specifically meet their problems. YBR Insurance Sales Scripts are made for this exact purpose. If you've never used a sales script, it's something that will help to put you on the right path for a perfect pitch.
2. OFFER KNOWLEDGE INSTEAD OF SELLING
You know that icky feeling you get when you know someone's working you. It's an uncomfortable reality of the job, but there are lots of ways to finesse a pitch so it feels like you're offering your client more than what you're selling. People can look at a pair of sneakers or a new cereal and decide whether or not they want it, but insurance isn't something that most customers readily understand. This means you're there to help them differentiate between what they need and what they don't need. This is your time to educate them. Make it simple. Make it visual. Offer them options that suit their needs. This makes them feel like they're making a calculated decision on something they didn't know much about before your pitch. A client will appreciate your guidance as opposed to your simply telling them what you should do.
3. YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT ASSUMPTIONS
Don't assume that you know what your client understands and doesn't understand about insurance. Be sure to fully explain your products and processes during your pitch. You can always tell a client to stop you if they don't need something explained, but it's good for a client to see that you're interested in them knowing everything that pertains to the business you plan on handling for them. Assuming that they know everything going in will lead to a confusing pitch that leaves them with more questions than answers.
4. SHOW THEM THAT YOU DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL
In these cases, it's fine to gingerly toot your own horn by way of customer testimonials. Don't go off the deep end, but if you have a client who has had a similar situation as your potential client, don't be afraid to tell them what you did to make that client happy. If you have the client's feedback handy, be sure to pass it on or highlight it in your presentation. Show them success stories or share current customer comments with them when you feel it will resonate.
Insurance is an industry where people truly need guidance. It's not something that people would lump into a general knowledge category, so when creating your pitch, be sure to make it full-bodied. Be informative and interested. Your client will appreciate a pitch that caters to them on their terms, not on someone else's. If you take these tips into consideration when preparing your next pitch, you can feel confident that your prospect will appreciate you for it.
The term "ghosting", which first gained popularity in the world of dating and now applies to relations of all kinds, refers to the sudden disappearance of one person from a budding relationship with no explanation. Most commonly, you'd get ghosted by someone after a few dates, you know, when you think things are going well and it just doesn't make sense because he invited you to his beach house for July 4th and then stopped texting you and all your friends tell you to move on and he isn't worth it... whatever.
As it turns out, ghosting isn't primarily for hopeful romantics anymore. It can really be done in any relationship, at any time. All you have to do is simply remove yourself from a relationship like a thief in the night. You can ghost your friends. You can ghost your family. You can even ghost your job if you're so inclined.
Personal relationships aside, what happens when this pesky human avoidance tactic finds its way into your professional life? Say you've been wooing a client and all signs point to doing business with them and then just before you're about to start signing papers, suddenly... POOF. They're not answering your calls. They're not returning your calls. Your inbox is empty and you're scratching your head.
What could have happened? Everything seemed great. Your first instinct is to wonder what YOU did wrong. Naturally, you're going to take it personally. Just like when you've had two great dates with Paul from Ocean Beach he says he's going to call you and then he peaces out like an apparition in an episode of Scooby Doo.
Here are a few steps to take if you think a potential client (or Paul) is ghosting you.
Before you downward spiral into self-loathing, retrace your steps. Maybe there was some miscommunication. Maybe you mistook your client's politeness as interest. Maybe you haven't read the signs properly. MAYBE.
TAP, TAP. IS THIS THING ON?
In potential business relationships, following up is always KEY to being with. In the case that you've already reached out with your standard follow up and didn't hear back, it's okay to follow up again, but this time, express genuine concern at not hearing back. Do they have questions they need to ask? Is there anything you can help with? Is everything OK? It's also alright to politely explain that you had expected for there to be further contact based on previous interactions.
If you don't hear back after that, take it as an opportunity to reach out one last time to share any new and potentially exciting news about your company or your services. Add that you're happy to offer your continued availability to your potential client regardless of whether or not you hear back from them.
KEEP IT MOVING
Don't lose so much time wondering what went wrong that you begin missing out on other opportunities. Chalk the lack of communication up to someone who has a hard time telling someone NO and who will avoid it even at the risk of being unprofessional. Don't second guess yourself if your selling strategies have been working and your relationships with other clients are genuine. Truly, it's not you, it's the ghost-er. That's definitely the case with Paul from Ocean Beach.
It's not easy to swallow your pride in these circumstances, but the best action is to always react graciously and professionally. You never want to react in a way that would perpetuate or even justify the client's lack of response. The best advice is to stay focused on the clients who are responsive and move on with grace.
People are passionate about politics in this country. Especially right now. Whether you're someone who is eager to discuss your political views with everyone you meet or if you're someone who keeps them close to your chest, this is and has always been a controversial subject.
We've all probably been in a position where we've either had to ask someone NOT to discuss politics in a certain setting or we've been the one asked NOT to discuss politics in that setting. For instance, if you're my dad, you like to get the fans on the sidelines of my 4 year-old son's soccer game all RILED UP at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning with talk of your fiscal view for the nation. Just NO, Dad. Read the room.
Talk about politics is one thing if you're in the presence of family and friends. Sure, there's a good chance it's going to go over like a fart in a space suit, but at least the relationship feathers your ruffling aren't going to lose you any income. Those people are most likely stuck with you, whichever way you lean. They're still going to have to pass you the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving whether they like it or not.
But what about discussing your political views in the workplace, or even more risky, with your clients. ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW. In 2020, we're in the midst of a massive polarization between political parties, so the odds point pretty clearly to the fact that a lot of people are on one side of the aisle or the other. There's about a 50/50 shot that just a casual mention of who you're rooting for will get you a side-eye.
Most experts strongly suggest that you DO NOT want to discuss politics with clients. If a client brings their own views up, it's fine to let them finish their thoughts and say what they'd like to say. Because insurance is a relationship-based business, of course getting to know one another is key. You never want to shut a client down when they're sharing insight into their life and their thoughts. However, never allow yourself to argue with them if it's a hot topic and you disagree.
The best move you can make in this situation is to find a thread of agreement OR simply say that even though you disagree with their thought, you're glad that they felt comfortable enough to share it with you and you're interested in how or why they feel that way. Find a creative way to turn the conversation into a constructive one. The worst thing you can do is come off as argumentative and hot-headed.
We always want our business relationships to be genuine, but these days there are some conversations better left for the Thanksgiving table, if they're even allowed there. Accepting that not everyone is going to share your ideology is imperative and knowing how to keep a potentially heated conversation from blowing up in your face is key.