Think of a person you admire.
Now think of a business you admire.
Have you ever known someone who was admirable in person but not in business? They were one way at church and another way at work?
How did you feel about that person?
Brands are all about trust, and it’s hard to trust someone who’s one way in person and another way in business.
Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour, said this about trust:
“Trust is built in drops and in buckets.”
Have you ever lost trust in a person or a business? How long did it take? Not very long, huh? Maybe it happened suddenly.
But the trust that was lost suddenly took a long time to build, didn’t it?
Well, I can’t think of anywhere this matters more than an insurance agency.
“I got into this business to help people.”
Every agent I talk to says this. And they mean it. Most of the agents I’ve met are good people with good intentions. The ones who aren’t have lives and businesses that I would not spend an hour of my life working in or on.
It’s worth asking yourself, “Is my business an extension of my personal brand? If not, how is it different, and why?”
Because if it’s not, people will feel it.
A great business brand is just like a great personal brand.
It’s built on the foundation of relationships and connections with customers. And why shouldn’t it be? Don’t we want people to trust our business brand the same as they trust our personal brand?
Not just for them, but also for ourselves. If our personal brand is focused on serving others, and we align our business brand with that, life gets way better. Here are some of the mental health benefits of serving others:
- Improved immune system.
- More positive emotions.
- Reduced negative emotions and stress.
- Less isolation.
- Longer life.
- Overall happier, more fulfilled life.
If you’re serious about helping others in your personal life, you’ve experienced these benefits and you know they’re real. Is your business approach also providing these benefits, or is it negating them?
I once attended a sales territory meeting in St. Louis. A 75-year-old agent who had been in business for 50 years gave a short testimonial about being an agent. He said two key things:
- “I love what I do.”
- “I love serving customers.”
It was obvious that there was no difference between his personal life and his business life, and that alignment kept him in business for 50 years.
But caring isn’t enough.
You can’t just have warm feelings about your business brand. You have to do something about it. To build trust, you need to execute well over a long period of time.
That’s where I see so many agents falter. (You might say I have a unique vantage point from which to view this dynamic.)
They understand that trust is the currency of business. And they genuinely want to love, help, and take care of their customers. They hope to reap the rewards of a high-trust business brand.
And if they ever meet with a customer, they do it very well.
But they’re barely meeting with any customers because they’re too busy to get appointments on the calendar.
Good intentions; right priorities; weak execution.
You need a plan.
You’ve got to get in front of customers. If you spent the money to acquire them, but you don’t spend the time to build trust with them, you’re burning years or decades worth of profit dollars.
Your plan doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it won’t be perfect.
Some months will be better than others. Not everyone will agree to meet. Not everyone will show up. Not everyone will buy something immediately. Your processes will break down. Your team will need better skills.
But something will start to happen, and it will get better over time.
George Patton said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite time in the future.”
That’s the truth. Make a plan and stick to it. Work on improvements later.
You don’t have time to schedule appointments, right? Fine. Have a team member do it. Hire someone. Outsource. Talk to me and I’ll get my team to help. Find agents who are meeting with hundreds of clients per year and reverse engineer their approach.
But do something.
Do whatever you have to do so that you’re meeting customers and building your business brand.
But get started and get it done every month.
Or wait until “next month” to make your business an extension of your personal brand.