Chapter 6

Community

Introduction:

Leverage Your Community and Networks to Build Up Your Insurance Business

The way in which you communicate with your clients is critical to being able to generate repeat business and build a referral culture.

It’s important to have your own voice and style, but equally, speak with them in a way that establishes trust and exerts your knowledge and expertise.

To build a referral culture you need to speak with your customers as valued individuals who are seeking your help and expertise, in ways they understand and appreciate.

Tip 28: Be Involved in Your Community

Being involved with a charity, community group or local initiative is not only personally rewarding, it can also help your business.

While charitable acts are not performed with the expectation of direct financial gain, they certainly are not without their own rewards. The following are the ways that you, as a business owner, can benefit by giving to charitable causes.

1. Build Respect And A Good Reputation In The Community

Forming relationships between customers and prominent community members can be of great value to your company in the future. You can do this by identifying the specific needs within your community, or asking prominent local organisations what they need help with and making an effort to contribute. When businesses help other people, those people will typically want to support the company in return.

2. Employees And Customers Respect Leaders Who Do Good

By giving back to the community, you can become a positive force in your local area, which motivates people to do business with you. Good morale is essential to a successful business and this is one of the best ways to bolster it.

3. Connections and Networking

As a business owner, connections are an invaluable resource. The people you know determine what you can get done and what opportunities you can take advantage of. By contributing to your local community, you are helping to develop mutual trust and respect, which is essential in doing business. It can also provide a great introduction to other business owners in the area that are involved in similar projects.

Tip 29: Network Your Way to Success

Even with a small insurance business, you can network your way to success. There are countless opportunities to build a business network even in a small town, so make sure that you attend all relevant business activities in your area. Check your listings for local business groups that you can join and actively participate in.

Quick tips to create a strong business network:

  • If your area still doesn’t have a business group, round up some interested business owners and meet up to start a small network
  • Create strategic partnerships with non-competing businesses in your area

Business Networking Etiquette

Business networking is a high-involvement, but very low-cost way to generate quality leads and opportunities for your business and is an essential component to building any business, big or small.

However, it is important to note that business networking is more than simply showing up to a networking function and shaking lots of hands and receiving lots of business cards. There is an art to business networking.

Ensure you make a lasting impression for all the right reasons when next networking by following these business networking etiquette tips.

Business Networking Etiquette Tips

Putting the time and patience required into networking your business is well worth the effort. It is far easier to find the perfect-fit service, investors, suppliers, partners, advisors and everyone and everything else you may require for your business when you actually know the people that you are dealing with, or if they’ve come on personal recommendations.

Gone are the days of uncertainty when searching through Google and Yellow Pages for what you need. Networking can guarantee a better quality connection, providing you with the much-needed peace of mind you want when getting into new business relationships.

Remember that the more people you know, the more business opportunities you’ll discover. There really is no substitute for personal contacts in the world of business. Once you start meeting more and more people and telling them about your business, you’ll reap the rewards of more and more business opportunities stemming from your large network. Some rules to take away:

  1. Always carry around business cards (but give them out sparingly)
  2. Practice describing your business in a succinct way, avoiding any overbearing or annoying approach.
  3. Ensure you are engaging with others and always gauging their interest and discussing how you could help each other.

Bonus

Offer Your Expert Advice

As an insurance expert, there are numerous opportunities where you can help people and at the same time get airtime for your business. Try becoming a guest at a local radio show or morning TV show and offer consumer advice that is related to your specialty.

The trick is to sell an idea or product to your market, without the hard sell.

Quick tips to be the expert:

  • Hold a “free consultation” day at your business
  • Have a section for useful tips on your flyers
Tip 30: Join Relevant Niche Social Sites

Most savvy businesses are on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as some other major social media sites, depending on their industry. However, if you really want to stand out from the crowd and reach leads and influencers
in your industry, consider joining smaller niche social media sites.

Outside of the primary social media sites, there are hundreds of alternative social platforms designed for various industries and interests. Many of these online communities are easy to find with a quick Google search.

Sites like Quora, a popular question-and-answer site, provide an opportunity to build your business as an online authority.