Battling mediocrity

Had a small forgetful moment where I used the word pathetic, even in hindsight I stand by my usage.  Fortunately the majority of people I surround myself with think in a similar pattern to me but on occasion a small thinker not interested in helping those around them swims the moat and sneaks through the protective positive wall I have set up.  So what do you do?

YOU RUN THEM OUT OF TOWN AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.  Not to be rude, just because their negativity can be a hindrance to your positivity and who wants that.  Not me.  See if people continue to accept mediocrity you are just as much to blame as the carrier of this hazardous condition.

Those two paragraphs are not a profession of perfectionism, quite honestly all I do is try and that’s all I ask of anyone around me.  Just try and try harder and try even harder to keep improving.  I might snap someday soon if I hear about “The economy…” or my new favorite nemesis ” in these tough economic times….” Don’t like how things are CHANGE THEM.  I am not saying fix the economy I am saying fix your economy, heck until someone other than my wife and I are responsible for our bills I do not care what THE economy is doing.  Heck with any and all risk there is some potential for reward, go for it.  Make sure regardless of the outcome you are willing to sign your name to the outcome.  Some of the best advice I give myself is that I am the only one that measures my success and I win little victories daily, heck sometimes I win hourly.

Good luck, just some thoughts.

Do you think about where you spend your money?

I do, as a matter of fact I think about it a lot.  Do the people I am paying actually appreciate it?  How far are my dollars going?  Does the company I am choosing to work with share some or all of my non-negotiable principles?  Do they even have principles?

Now I know sometimes you and I just need to go to the big box store or shop on-line, but when we can what option do we choose.  EVERY bit of paper my company buys is 100% recycled.  Now in theory this costs more per piece but it would cost me more to sacrifice my principles.  If a better option is available why not go for it.

There was a stretch of time I was constantly approached by an energy supplier.  Can document speaking with at least 12 different reps.  Even though they were 12 different people the pitch was all the same.  On the surface sounds good but then you do some research and realize it is not what they are saying it is.  I asked some smart people, asked some of their people and kept accepting solicitations then realized they did not fit how I like to do business.  Then, one of the smarter people I asked mentioned another company.  So I do my research again and found a fit.  Yes, I research who I give money to and yes they better have some characteristics that fit me and my business.

Why do I bring this up when I typically write on insurance.  Well very regularly I hear from people spending a lot of money with people they really do not like.  They accept not so good service and hope for the best.  Baffling to me. I know it takes some effort to switch but truthfully it is not much.  Invest an hour and you could return $200 or more, not bad.  Forgetting money for a minute.  You work hard for your dollars, you earn them because only Washington makes them.  Let others earn your dollars as well.   Flex your principles when spending money and you can single handily influence the whole economy.  There is no shame in spending a little more to get a better product, service or experience.  Quite honestly sometimes it even feels better.

Either way, just my thought.

Managing the market vs your market, no difference in real estate and insurance

So two of the articles I read over the last few days were about market conditions in Insurance and Real Estate.  Trying to stay up on what is going on around me I read them both and was equally disappointed with the generalizations and ignorance that both had.  In a lot of my reading there are articles geared towards consumers, some towards agents/brokers and some towards company employees.  These must have been towards company employees who have no idea what is actually happening or agents/brokers who love to complain.

Why worry about “The market” let’s think about “your market.”  I know that is what I do everyday and it makes life a lot easier.  Fact is there are a huge amount of macro-economic factors that do not translate down to the individual transaction.  And for those that might translate there are so many ways to get past just about every one of them.  Some specifics;

1. “insurance rates in NY(your state) are on the rise…”  No, they may be for one or even a few companies but there are tons of very good companies whose rates are solid and have remained that way.  Maybe your unwarranted loyalty is the problem.  Maybe you do not check your rates ANNUALLY so you are so far above the market it looks bad.

So in Real Estate the rates are and have been historically low.  Find yourself a solid bank or broker BEFORE you go out and see a home.  Submit everything you are asked to give and you WILL get an accurate budget and save you and your agent lot’s of time

2. But it’s the legislature and the laws they pass and it’s the state of no-fault insurance in NY(your state) that are messing things up.  OR It is hard to by a home, the government and foreclosures are messing everything up.  Seriously when it comes to insurance the laws and government regs are there and not going away.  Instead of worrying about them or even thinking you have a chance to change them GO SELL MORE or HELP MORE PEOPLE BUY.  I appreciate the effort behind funding your Political Action Committee or speaking with your legislature.  Instead of throwing away your money apply it to a marketing campaign.  Instead of talking to your legislature go talk to more customers, talk to some experts in your field so you can better serve your customers.

3. “It’s a buyers market…” or in insurance “it’s a hard market”  Who cares!  IT IS YOUR MARKET TO MAKE.  MAKE IT YOUR OWN.  Whatever you want it to be just make it.  You have more influence on your market than any outside force does. Try something new, try an old time tested technique, cross promote, mail more, e-mail more, blog more, use the rifle approach rather than the shotgun.  READ positive things and ignore nay-sayers in the market.

Either way, just some ideas good luck!

What does your agent do for you?

So the agent you hire, yes you actually hire an agent since a piece of the money you pay to the insurance company is paid to the agent, What do they actually do?

They gather your information and type it into a computer.  Then they hopefully come up with a competitive rate for whatever insurance you are looking for.  Next, they hopefully make it easy to place the coverage with the new company.  Now hopefully somewhere in there they think, that’s right they actually think about you, your home, your cars, etc and help you make a good decision.  An agent should actually ask you questions and not just about numbers.  Here are a few;

Can you right a check for $1000? $2500?  Are you comfortable handling this amount of damage before a claim is filed?

What do you own?  Do you have any collections that are special to you?  Do you own any other homes?  Do any family members live with you?

Do you have any preferences about how we communicate?  E-mail, text, phone, mail?

What else can I help you with?  Anybody I can introduce you to?

That is one I want to focus on, you as a policyholder play a significant role in the bottom line of the company you work with.  Are they treating you that way?  Is the agency making  you a part of the agency or just taking your money?  Would love to know what else the agent can do?

See rates will fluctuate and claims will  happen so I think there should be more to this relationship.  Heck there should be something in place since the reason insurance exists is so that when a bad instance pops up you have a human there for some help.  Since those don’t happen that often let’s do something more in between.