We all want to improve the results we’re getting in our lives. For many people, better results mean more money. For others, it may mean more time, better relationships, or better health.
However, YOU define success, I have come to fully realize, and it’s taken me longer than I care to admit, is that if you want to get better results, you must get better at getting along with people.
Leadership is influence and connecting increases your influence in every situation.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking to gain influence as a mother or father, an agency owner, a producer, or a service representative. You can improve your results by improving your ability to connect and influence people in an ethical way.
You want to find and keep better employees?……….connecting will make a huge difference
You want to produce more commission dollars?……connecting will make a huge difference
You want to keep more of your key clients?…….connecting will make a huge difference
We need people and even with all the technology and high-speed communication we have today, you can’t do everything on your own in today’s world. The friction you experience in your day-to-day life comes down to leadership, connecting, and influence.
Back in 2001, I was a brand-new agent with a reputable Midwest insurance agency. I was one-year out of college and ready to take on the world. However, I had one major problem….I didn’t know how to communicate with people. I thought I was a decent communicator. I had talked for 20 years, but I was learning some very important lessons on business and personal communication.
That year I went on my very first “real life” prospect appointment. It was with a small commercial printer in Milwaukee, WI.
As I walked into this commercial print shop I was “pleasantly” met by the nice lady at the front desk who said, “Who are you and what do you want?” I realized that holding my shiny portfolio with a level of nervousness shouted out…..Sales guy!
I politely muttered with doubt streaming down my face that I was here to see Mr. Jones the owner and that I had an appointment scheduled with him.
The kind receptionist looked down the hall at what I figured to by Mr. Jones and said, “Did you have some insurance sales guy that you were seeing today?” Mr. Jones looked back down the hall at me, a baby faced, nervous, young insurance producer, and simply shook his head, rolled his eyes, and with an dejected voice said, “Follow me.”
Walking down the hall following Mr. Jones, I went from nervous to panicked. Not only was I obviously not wanted there, but I was not well prepared.
As I sat down, Mr. Jones looked up and me and said, “ok what do you got?” I thought to myself, “Say something clever Brent!” I thought asking a question would be the best way to go so I brilliantly said, “What is it that you guys do here?”
For an owner of a small commercial printing shop who didn’t want to see me that may have been about the dumbest question you could ask.
The next 10 minutes felt like some of the longest minutes in my life. I mumbled, I stuttered, I stumbled, and I sweated. In fact, I sweated a lot.
When Mr. Jones shook my sweaty hand and I left his office, I started looking for rocks I could hide under. The best I could I could find was my car outside in the parking lot. I remember sitting there for several moments just thinking, I am really going to have to get better at this communication thing or this will be a really short career.
Communication and connection is 100% a learnable skill
That event happened almost 16 years ago. Yet, just a few months ago, I shared the stage with some of the top known speakers in the world including John Maxwell, Paul Martinelli, and Seth Godin in front of 2,500 people.
Some people see me communicating today, whether it’s working one-one-one with a client, delivering training at at workshop to a small group, or standing up on a stage and think that I am simply a natural communicator. I have a feeling my old friend Mr. Jones would disagree.
Communication, connecting, and the ability to positively influence other is 100% a learnable skill. In fact, I truly believe that outside of mindset and attitude, the ability to communicate effectively is the most important thing you will ever do.
The question is whether you will invest enough in yourself to develop your communication and leadership skills.
Effective leadership communication and influence, whether it’s with your team, your clients, or your company partners is 87% people knowledge and only 13% product knowledge.
Think about that for a moment. 87% of our success is based on people knowledge, not product knowledge. Yet, insurance organizations spend the majority of their time training only the technical side of the business.
Developing high-level communication skills is hard work, but it’s hard work that creates a huge return on investment.
Max De Pree, author of Leadership is an Art states, “There may be no single thing more important in our efforts to do meaningful work and fulfilling relationships than to learn to practice the art of communication.”
As a keynote speaker and the leader of communication development for Agents of Growth, my singular focus to help every insurance agent become a world-class communicator so you can grow your business, improve your relationships, and become a person of influence.
Being a high level connector requires confidence, authenticity, preparation, humor, and a complete focus on understanding the needs and wants of others.
There are no natural successes, just as there are no natural communicators. However, those willing to invest in themselves will achieve significant results in their lives.