Filed Under:Agent Broker, Sales & Marketing

Giving Back is Good Business

The holiday season is a fine time for giving. For many, giving back to the community peaks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. You pitch in at the community Christmas tree or menorah lighting, attend business association holiday parties or dig deep to donate to charities. The spirit that moves us to give back to our communities as days shorten and the year-end nears is traditional and perhaps even genetic.

Read November's Strictly Sales column, "Disciplines of success."

With so many community service options available, how do you pick one? Ask yourself, "What am I interested in, passionate about or love to do?" Let the answer lead you to ways to best help the community. If you love the give-back activity you've chosen, then you're more likely to make meaningful contributions.

Give back to the business world that provides an arena for your insurance selling efforts. Be an ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce. Volunteer to be a trade association membership committee representative. Get involved with insurance agent associations on the local, state and national levels, if possible. Giving back time, talents and experience to business groups and trade associations increases "brand recognition" for you and your agency.

For example, while serving on a construction trade association's insurance and surety committee, it's typical to form strategic alliances with attorneys and accountants. New income is generated from referrals flowing back and forth between professional insurance agents, CPAs and lawyers. Perhaps you'll be asked to provide litigation support or expert witness consulting. Connections with accountants often result in introductions and opportunities to build protection plans or surety bond programs for clients they serve. The best part is that you're referred by someone who has a high degree of influence. It beats making cold calls. If you fail to become active in an association, strategic alliances and referrals from professionals with influence are less likely to happen.

Networking opportunities dovetail with community service, trade association activities and charity work. Giving back gets producers out of the office and on the streets to professionally present themselves to others. Working toward a common community goal creates relationships; rapport is built and referrals follow.

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