They are all great days

Updating from September 2012

Life philosophies can adjust.  It’s tough to think that any day you wake up doesn’t have some element of great to it.  Although I really do not remember who I was referencing six years ago, I think I do and just the possibility of who it is makes me smile.

Ten or so years ago I started to realize I could work with anyone.  Then, this adapted a little to

  1. As long as they are nice to me and the people I work with
  2. Their money is green

This is still the philosophy.  Sometimes we say “neutral or better” since we humans are meant to be nice to each other but that doesn’t mean you’ll develop some amazing friendship with everyone.  But, it is rare when I am not able to learn from someone that I am working with.  Sometimes it is something they share directly, sometimes it is something I learn while working with them.

There are a lot of satisfying moments in what we insurance brokers do.  One of my favorites is when a person you have not heard from/thought of in a while reaches out.  Happens almost every week at this point.  This week LinkedIn helped it happened.  Fairly certain it is at least six, likely closer to ten years since I spoke with her.

There are several reasons we use LinkedIn yet I cannot seem to figure out why so many in insurance don’t understand the amazing tool that it is.

“I DO NOT SELL INSURANCE I HELP PEOPLE BUY IT  and along the way I am privileged to interact with some awesome people.” BIlly Van Jura

This, has not changed and I do not suspect it will.  I think I take it more seriously now which is likely part of why we are doing well.  Operating this way also creates a lot of confusion for me since most brokers are still to busy selling insurance to realize there is a better way to do things.

Thoughts circa 2005

Doing an audit/ clean up of my computer.  Lots of satisfaction in finding goal list and projects that were successful but forgotten.  Also, find lots of thoughts that I am thankful I had then and are still valid today.  Some from a goal list I had put together;

My mission is to continually provide my clients with the service that I would expect, the best possible.  Each relationship will be treated as though it is priceless.  My professionalism must always be visible and I cannot sway from my principals.  Purely on principle, I must always give the client everything possible all while being the person who I would want to deal with.  I must be a reliable source for information and provide those who I deal with the utmost of professionalism…….

It will never be about the money, it is the goal that will drive me and I cannot lose sight of the fact that the money can disappear and I have to appreciate the experience and wherever it may lead.  Since it is my clients who will fund my pursuits, they will be priceless to me and therefore I must be unflinching in my resolve to make their experience great enough to share.  Once this is shared I will be in the best position.  It is about the overall financial goal however my clients must know that they are people and not just numbers and I cannot lose sight of this, my production goals are merely the road map, it is the people and the relationships that must be my fuel.

It is simple I will give them the best to start and therefore cannot be questioned later one.  Accountability is extremely important and I will hold myself accountable for everything.

The worst part about insurance….

**Incomplete thought 1/4/2015**


Is all the agents.  Well not quite all of them but lately it seems like most of them.  Likely that the Pareto principle would disprove this but hey it’s been interesting.  What do I mean?  I mean if more agents did what the public thought their “job” was we would need less agents.  Why?  Because then there would be less messes to clean up for the rest of us.

I mean that insurance has yet to adjust for the better so that the consumer really benefits.  Why is that?  I am not sure, maybe fear?  Maybe because they do not want to increase their profits along with market share.  Maybe it is out of pity for all the agents they’ll put out of business?

What’s a mess?  Depends on who you ask.  Here are some examples;

  • An email from a referral looking for a quote.  I send my usual request and get back 1/3 of what I need.  He then explains he believes this is  enough for me to give a quote.  Safe to say the odds are good I’ll see some policy that looks like swiss cheese if he did send it over.  Why did this happen?  Yes, could be my fault but likely it is because of the amateur that first set up the policy.
  • ANY time that I see a policy with minimum limits written by  another human being
  • ANY time that I see a new quote get a poor rate because of their claims experience.  Especially when the payment is under $1000

It would be nice an agent show their policy along with what they are offering you for your coverage.  It is unrealistic for everyone to know everything which is why we have specialists.  It is why people choose careers and become good at things.  But then again, there are not so good people in every industry.  Why should insurance be any different?

Available Real Estate? Somehow sacred? The next big thing?

Advertising on license plate holders!  About to ramble, hang on almost over.

It is already being done but think about it, who cares where you bought your car? Do you save money or get anything for allowing them a spot on your car? Why not sell this space? Are you willing to identify with someone/something strong enough to allow them on your car?

Could it be to much?  Not sure, people routinely put magnetic stickers on their side panels.  How much time do you spend parked behind another vehicle at a light?  Is it dangerous to put your Twitter handle on there?  Not sure, at the very least a web address and something catchy?

What is the difference between this space and a bumper sticker?  Heck it is probably easier to remove a license plate holder than it is a bumper sticker.  And as far as bumper stickers, can someone let me know why we allow a car dealer to place their logo on our car?  Think about it, you bought it, leased it or financed it and whomever holds the note is likely not the dealership.  Why do they get your real estate for free?

Not sure.  So a ways back I removed all of the car logos that I could and have no license plate holder.  What now?  Not sure.  Not sure if I am ready to commit to driving a billboard.  Maybe soon.

How about you?

Just some thoughts.

An underutilized sales tool


Seriously, people call you and you have 15-30 seconds to say something cool.  Credit to Jeffrey Gitomer who first put this thought in my head.  ” I am on my phone or away from my desk…”  Says nothing, shows nothing but it does waste the time of the person that called.  Help them smile, maybe even laugh.  Why not?

How about letting a call go to voicemail?  Absolutely!!  Stay on the phone with me, show me you are interested in just me.  Show me you are committed to speaking with me and getting something done.  Instead you click over or put me on hold.  You then need to try and reengage in the conversation.  We lost any flow we were in but hey you probably also just made another person feel unimportant as well.

Do you think you make anybody feel good when you tell them your are busy and will need to call back?

Now I understand sometimes things happen.  I do make exceptions for my wife, but not all the time.  She knows she can text or  email as well.  But if a child is sick or one of us is traveling, yes, in my world, this may constitute a good time to interrupt some business.  Beyond that, I am not rue of any reasons

Heck not answering the phone while on the phone or engaged in a task that already has your focus is more polite than interrupting someone.  On some level it also shows you are in demand

P.S. Please respond to all your messages and make some effort into leaving good voice mails as well.  Honestly, if a text or e-mail will work it is more important that you thoughtfully respond.

Just some thoughts, use as you see fit.

Marketing killed my dandelions

Here is what my lawn looked like a few weeks back;

2014-05-08 16.44.56

Chbly 6-8 chock full of dandelions and various other “flowers”  Probably 6-8 inches high and looking a bit rough.  But did it really?  Looked like a bunch of flowers and several dozen shades of green.  Why must a lawn be perfectly kept at all times?  My must people spend money on treatments to their lawn?  MARKETING  Ah, the pesky “american dream” of a perfectly manicured lawn.  No thanks.

Seriously take a moment to read about dandelions;

Not bad, used as medicine and food throughout the world.   Here is another little diddy on eating dandelions

Oh but your long grass produces ticks…prove it.  Oh but it looks bad, maybe to you.  What instead I am supposed to have a bunch of little yellow signs warning kids, I have two, and dogs, I like them, to stay off?  No thanks, let whatever grows grow.  Remember the people telling you that only grass should be growing in your lawn have something to sell.  Would they really mind my weeds if they did not have something to sell that “killed” them?  Of and on that note, why would you want to kill anything?

Anyhow, moving on.

But does the band aid fit?

So the other morning I was shaving and cut my chin a bit.  Somehow these tiny cuts bleed profusely and with about an hour before I had to leave I had to do something.  So I apply some cream so it will clot a bit and then apply the first band aid I could find.  It was clear and way bigger than what I needed but it worked.  It had the little bit of gauze that all band aids have and after a short time the bleeding stopped.  Now our upstairs cabinet was not quite like this;

But we did have five different kinds available.

Now as I was leaving I removed the band aid and confirmed this bleeding was done but what if it started again?  So now I went into our kitchen cabinet and grabbed a band aid.  So the downstairs cabinet is more for those times when the kids get cuts outside so it looked a bit more like this;

I went with the penguins from Madagascar.  Not because of the penguins but because it was a much smaller band aid.  Still had the same interior gauze but smaller.  It would work and fit my chin better but it did have a penguin on it and I was going to present at a meeting.  Not exactly ideal.

The point is this, there are several hundred companies that offer insurance.  Reality is the most important coverages (the gauze) that are offered are the same.  Now is your company the right size for you or the right color or have the right other features that is the true question.  And don’t worry, although changing companies takes a little longer than removing a band aid it is less painful.

Just some thoughts.

When does 1(nice introduction) +0(sad reply) = 3

The moment you decide to ask a friend for an introduction that is when.  See the key is that you, in this case I, was willing to strengthen a relationship by asking for some help.  See there is something to be said for being willing to go out on a limb and ask for some help.

Sometimes you win just by asking.

Now what about the other side, the brush off or lack of interest from the other party.  I give it a big aw well and move on.  See part of being willing to ask is being willing to get turned down.  Remember just because most of the world does not have the senses to see, hear or feel an opportunity doesn’t mean one does not exist.

You need to be open to opportunities for them to find you.

Just another day.  Keep moving forward.

Unemployment insurance is earned not bought

How many people who collect “unemployment” are legitimately unemployed?

How many of those same people did NOTHING or close to it to remain employed?

**Disclaimer; I have  no idea what the payments are for unemployment.  I have no idea what you need to do to “qualify” for it.  I have never nor will never be unemployed…maybe unemployable but never unemployed**

FACT: There are jobs everywhere.  Thing is many of them are not advertised and do not need to be.

FACT: That is not a statement about the “old boys club” that is a true statement as it pertains to the world we live in.

Take this statement via Harvery McKay; ” Dig your well before your thirsty…”  Pretty simple concept that is often overlooked. Why?  It takes some effort, well truthfully a lot of effort.  But incorporating somethings into  a lifestyle concept pretty much makes it easy.

Maybe as a condition for receiving the monetary benefit you do not teach them a skill instead you make them look in the mirror and assess their “network.”  Maybe instead of looking at their skill set first lets look at who they are as a person.  Lets look at who they know.  Lets look at why they are in the position they are in and why they are there.

Unemployment is not the problem.  The problem is whatever caused them to become unemployed.

So how do we address it? Some thoughts;

1. What have they done to keep up with the world? I do not mean updating the resume I mean have they continually added to a skill set?  Have they added another skill set?  Have they developed any sales skills (don’t kid yourself, we are all in sales)?

2. What is their on-line presence like?  Do they have all their contacts in one place?  do they even have contacts?

3. Assuming they have contacts, do their people know what it is they actually do?  More importantly, do they know what they want to do?

4. How have they stayed in touch?  Have they brought any value to them?  Is there any reason for their network to help?

By the way, so far everything above is free or basically no cost since all you are doing is keeping in touch with friends.  And since you are already paying for internet and phone service you are all set.

Reality and likely the fact is that if you are open to new opportunities and you are keeping up with your friends you can likely avoid the fate of millions of others.  You do not need a job fair, you do not need the want ads or job boards or whatever other tools supposedly can help.  As long as you are making an effort to be a good human being, remain in touch with as many of your friends as possible and are bringing some value to the world you can avoid the unforeseen.  Better of looking at yourself as an independent contractor responsible for his or her fate than letting the world determine it.



In case of emergency…

Where are your documents?  Scanned and stored in the cloud?  Hard copies?  Both?

Do you know the number to call if you have a claim?  Take a minute and add your insurance company(s) phone number to your contacts.  Add in your policy numbers as well.  This would save a lot of time in the event of a claim.

Is there an ID card in your glove box?  MOST ID cards have a phone number for your company and/or agent on them as well.

Have you inventoried some or all of your stuff?  You should

Do you have a go to auto body shop?  Not a big deal if you don’t but it helps.

Do you have a contractor?  Maybe one who has worked on your home before?  They don’t all want insurance work but definitely good to know one.

Got trees?  Have a tree person.  At worse, next time one is in the neighborhood go interview them and save their information.