We all understand that building partnerships with other small business owners is a good thing, but do we really understand why? Even more so, do we do the things that leverage those partnerships?
Paul Rand, author of Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Your Business, said that "92% of respondents reported that a positive recommendation from a friend, family member, or someone they trust is the biggest influence on whether they buy a product or service."
David J. Greer, author of Wind In Your Sails, agrees. In fact, he emphasizes the point by saying that, "A customer talking about their experience with you is worth ten times that which you write or say about yourself."
It's All About Relationship
A partnership is simply a form of relationship, whether the partnership is informal like we are talking about here, or a formal business arrangement. Relationships exist based on the concept of reciprocity. That concept means that each person in the relationship has something to offer that the other one needs or that they share a common goal. One of the goals of any small business owner is acquiring new customers. Chances are that is one of your agency's goals too. There are some things that you can do for each other to achieve that common goal.
How Does That Work?
Think about it this way:
If yours is an established agency and theirs is an established business, you both have something the other one needs – customers.
If yours is an established agency and theirs is a new business, you have something other than insurance that they need – customers.
If your agency is the new kid on the block and their business is established, they have something you need – customers.
If both of your businesses are new, you've really got something in common – you both need customers.
The idea is to build a relationship enables you to grow your agency and for them to grow their business at the same time.
Why Can't I Just Sell Them Insurance?
You can. But, let's face it – every time you walk into their business they are going to expect that you are going to talk about insurance. That's a bad start. But, what happens if your first approach (and the second, third, fourth and fifth) are about, "How can we help each other grow our business?" Focusing on that partnership approach,
Establishes a relationship of confidence and trust.
Broadens the scope of your least expensive, most effective form of advertising.
Will open the door for that small business owner to eventually trust you for his insurance needs, even if you never expressly ask for his business.
By the way, that's also a lot easier sell and has a greater potential for retention.
Keep Your End of the Deal
Even if you never gain a single client (that you are aware of), do everything you can to refer customers to your small business partners. The more partnerships you form and the more frequently you interact for the purpose of building each other's clientele, the more referrals, and recommendations you should expect. And they all come to you … because a business person they already trust has recommended that they do.
Selling insurance has never been easier.
American Agents Alliance has a well-defined mission to empower independent insurance agents and brokers to thrive through advocacy, education, and networking. We invite you to contact us to let us show you how we can help with strategic planning, marketing and retention. Your success is our business.