When you think about networking and marketing your business, do you cringe inwardly before putting on a happy face? Networking can seem awkward and forced to many people, but it shouldn't be that way. When you're an independent property and casualty insurance agent, who you are is integral to what you do. You are a representative of your brand, and your friends, family, and neighbors can be your best assets in promoting your business.
Introducing What You Do
When you introduce what you do in a simple and accessible way, people are more likely to want to connect with you again when they have a need for your services. Whether you're at a 4th of July picnic with your neighbors or at a family gathering, make genuine connections by talking with others about what they do as well. Find the threads that weave your work together. Whether it's working with people or managing an active business, you can find a topic of conversation that will connect you with those who know very little about your field.
Making the Connection
While many jobs don't connect to the average individual's immediate experience, insurance is something that most of us have purchased or will purchase in the future. This means that you have the opportunity to be a helpful connector, forging a network wherever you go. While a wedding or other social gathering may not be the best time to offer extensive insurance advice, offer a little, then give that person your card so that your contacts can follow up with you for more information. When you give a little, you're perceived as someone who's accessible and easy to get along with, and friends of your friends are more likely to connect with you in the future.
Contacts of Your Contacts
When you feel like you're fresh out of insurance marketing ideas, go back to the basics. Connecting with individuals might seem old school, but it works. Word of mouth is one of your most powerful tools, and it can begin with your core network: your friends, family, and neighbors. When you accept a new position or launch a new product, mention this to those who have an interest in your work. If they know and trust your work, they'll spread the word to those they know. While your immediate contacts may not need insurance right now, the friends of your friends might, and they'll learn about you through this powerful grapevine.
Think About Technology
While the grapevine has always been an excellent way to get the word out about a product or service, the digital grapevine adds a whole new element to social marketing. Make your marketing truly social by asking friends, family, and neighbors to share relevant information with their contacts. However, do this in a way that's helpful, not intrusive. If your neighbor has expressed an interest in property insurance for flood damage and you've just published a pamphlet on the topic, send it to him and encourage him to share it with his friends who also have riverfront property. By playing on your interpersonal connections, you can turn social media from an impersonal medium into one that enhances your everyday relationships.
Your friends, family, and neighbors might know a little bit about your job, but they probably don't know all of the ways that your business can help protect them. By sharing with your inner circle and building trust in your brand, you increase your presence in the community. Friends let others know about your business, and before long word of mouth turns your inner circle into a much wider circle of many connections.
When you're building trust in your community, you need to be covered yourself. The American Agents Alliance has E&O insurance to help independent agents thrive. Contact us today for more information.