“If you first help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.” Zig Ziglar
In my 15 years of working as an insurance producer for two successful agencies, I spoke to large number of insurance company marketing reps.
Just like any profession, some marketing reps were really professional, knowledgeable, and helpful, while others simply just showed up.
There were two particular marketing reps that I worked with that had different styles, different goals, and completely different results with our agency.
The first marketing rep, lets call him “Mr. Wonderful ,” was young, confident, and self-focused. He started most conversations with what he was doing, how he was doing, and what he needed us to do….for him.
There was rarely a question from “Mr. Wonderful” that asked about the needs of the agents or agency. In fact, most times, the questions focused on how we could help him hit his own personal goals.
To say that our agency was disinterested in helping “Mr. Wonderful” was an understatement. The results were proof of this as well. Our production numbers went down and “Mr. Wonderful” couldn’t figure out why.
The second marketing rep, let’s call him “Mr. Value,” came into our office with a smile and one question on his mind…..How could he help us? There was no arrogance or self-interest. He was purely focused on adding value to us by asking questions, solving problems, and discussing new ideas. He worked extremely hard, but more importantly he truly cared for every person in our agency.
Even though “Mr. Value” focused on OUR needs and interests, his results skyrocketed along with ours. Not just in our agency, but with all the agencies he served.
“Mr. Value” understood the importance of connecting with others. He applied the principle I first heard from the late great Zig Ziglar who said, “If you first help enough people get what they want, you can everything you want.”
Although I first heard this principle in my early 20’s, I haven’t always applied it successfully. I am naturally impatient and have a tendency to want to solve a problem before a prospect, client or spouse has finished their thought. I have often found myself mentally saying, “Could you hurry up and finish talking……I have something important to say!”
Although my intentions are normally good and I truly want to help others, I am a human being with my own wants and needs. Guess what, there is a good chance you are too! This doesn’t mean we are all bad people, it just means that we are normal…..and normal is why most people fail to connect effectively.
What prevents insurance professionals from connecting effectively and building dynamic relationships?
I believe there are three main reasons why many insurance professionals struggle to develop successful and profitable relationships.
It’s been said that maturity is the ability to see and act on behalf of others.
Early on in my insurance sales career, my focus was one thing…..to grow my book of business. It’s imperative that every insurance producer focuses on growing a book a business. However, although my goal was just, my mindset was not. That’s because my focus before, during, and after every appointment was not, “How can I best serve and add value to others to grow my book of business?” Instead it was, “How can I make a sale to earn a commission to grow my book of business.”
While the goal was the same, the mindset and method were completely opposite. I spent many frustrating days, weeks and months asking myself, “Why are these people not understanding what I am telling them?” “Why aren’t they writing me checks?” Instead of asking and serving, I was telling and selling.
In many ways, I was my own “Mr. Wonderful” for much of my early insurance career. My focus was on my results and not the results of my clients.
Insurance is a unique and complicated industry. It takes hard work to understand and apply many of the principles of the business.
One of the things that I also had to overcome was my ego. We all have egos to some degree. As we grow in our knowledge, confidence, and bank account, it’s very easy to allow our egos to take over any conversation.
In 2005, I attained my CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) designation. For those not familiar with the CIC program it requires attending 5 different 20-hour courses and passing 5 exams. Earning your CIC, like many other insurance designations requires persistence, hard work, and talent.
When I received my CIC, I also began to develop a disproportionate sense of my importance. With these three letters behind my name, I sometimes felt that I was above my prospects and clients. I found myself talking down to my prospects and clients vs talking to them. Instead of adding value, I was more focused in demonstrating how smart I was.
Needless to say telling people how they should think, feel, or what coverage they should buy does not lead to positive communication and connection. I learned the important truth that states:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Don’t allow your ego to interfere with ability to care for and serve others.
3) Failure to Value Everyone
Someone recently asked me how to best add value to others. The truth is that there are countless ways, but as my mentor shared with me, there is only way that is genuine.
Today, when I meet with successful insurance professionals, there is one common theme: they truly care for and value everyone.
“No matter how much work you can do, no matter how engaging your personality may be, you will not advance far in business if you cannot work through others.” John Craig
Remember the company insurance marketing representative, “Mr. Wonderful?” “Mr. Wonderful” was hard-working, but he was not willing to work through others. He had one agenda…..his own.
Every person you come in contact has a story. Every person you communicate with has a past, a present, and a future. Your job is to first value them so that you can then add value to them.
The Bottom Line
Developing the mindset and learning the skill of connecting is the most profitable thing you can do for your business. When you increase your ability to connect, doors will unlock that you never thought possible.
Connecting is truly all about others. You must get off your own agenda and try to understand your audience. When you improve your relationships, you will grow your business, discover new opportunities, and spend every day loving what you do.
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