News flash: The average consumer thinks all insurance is the same. OK, maybe this isn’t a news flash, but it’s still a point worth repeating. And let’s face it, we’ve done it to ourselves. The industry has basically stated there is no difference in coverage except for price—so we sell on price, then wonder why the consumer demands the “cheapest you got.”

So how in the world does the average insurance professional separate him or herself from the pack? Answer: By developing a personal brand.

A personal brand shows your audience that you are not like everyone else. They will remember you versus the competition. When they think insurance, they think of you. And isn’t that the ultimate goal? We want them to purchase their insurance from us, so why don’t we position ourselves to be the preferred choice?

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my creation of The Insurance Goddess was the beginning of my personal brand. It started with my blog, named “Confessions of an Insurance Goddess.” I chose that title specifically to intrigue and entice people into thinking, “Ooooh, confessions. I bet she’s got some cool secrets she wants to share.” Just like the posts themselves, more people are likely to read if the title is interesting.

After several suggestions from a close friend, I decided to bring the character to life at a networking event co-hosted by my agency, Alan Galvez Insurance. I promoted my blog via an insert placed into a bag of homemade cookies. I passed out the cookies and posed for pictures for those that wanted them.

My total investment for this?  Around $300, including the cost to buy material, pay someone to make the costume and buy the ingredients to make the cookies. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this was by far the best $300 I ever spent.

 Here’s what I’m doing with my character on a local scale: 

  • Visiting local businesses (customers and non-customers) and posing for pictures
  • Getting a behind-the-scenes tour of a local business and writing a blog post about my experience
  • Raising money for various charities by asking for $1 in exchange for a picture
  • Promoting contests my agency is running
  • Attending community events such as our Halloween Ring of Lights where I give out free trick-or-treat bags (a natural fit—it is a costume, after all).

I know what you’re thinking: “No way am I getting dressed up in a costume. That isn’t for me.” That’s totally cool; then don’t do it. Never do something you’re uncomfortable with. But you do need to do something to set yourself apart from the rest.

Some ideas:

  • Wear a button or nametag that says something clever like “I sell solutions. How can I help you?” Make several buttons with different sayings and rotate them at your networking events/meetings.
  • Pick one business prospect a week (or a month or whatever frequency works for you) and drop off a dozen doughnuts or something equally yummy. Attach your business card or promotional material to the box, and you’ll be that “nice lady or man from XYZ Agency who brings us doughnuts.”
  • Redesign your business card or create a flyer that lists your abilities and how they can help people. Maybe you’ll say that your agency “makes insurance less complicated;” who wouldn’t like to read this? Remember, consumers don’t care about you, but what you can do for them. So tell them. (I’m working on a new business card as we speak and will share soon.)
  • Share items of interest and useful information to both customers and non-customers alike. Perhaps you have an HVAC friend who isn’t a customer and one of your carriers puts out a “4 Ways to reduce your energy costs” article. Pass along the article to the HVAC friend and suggest he give to his customers. Do this consistently and people will start to look to you as a provider of helpful information.

How about you? What are you doing to separate yourself from the rest? What’s working? What isn’t?

Remember, there’s only one you, so capitalize on it. Be memorable, and always in a good way.