Riccardo Annandale

Bring Value

5 minutes

Last evening, I was at a networking event and a young man in his twenties asked me what was the most important thing he should learn as he starts his career. It was a good question, and I was delighted he asked me. My answer was formed only after I asked him questions of my own because I wanted as much information about him as I could get before delivering my response.

So, I interviewed him. I listened. I clarified his answers and asked even more. He said he had graduated from junior college but was now pursuing a career in the insurance industry. I remembered back to the times my three kids all came to me on separate occasions to ask the same question: Did I think they should go to college or should they get jobs and start making money?

My answer was this: If you want to go to college, great. You will go there to learn how to learn. If you want to go start your own business or enterprise, great. I suggest you pick out a job in an industry that interests you; then, do your research and figure out how to get into that industry, so you make your mistakes on somebody else’s dime. That way, if you ever decide to go into the same kind of work, you will have some experience and, if you are dedicated, you will improve things for that enterprise, that industry and the world.

Then I added this: Bring your best to whatever the job is they pay you for. Become valuable.

My young friend went on to tell me about how much he has come to love the insurance industry, and a specific niche that has to do with helping small businesses with liability insurance because he has seen first-hand how one major accident that is not covered by liability insurance can wipe out a small business.

He also shared that it was tough to sell, largely because small companies and startup companies put off buying that kind of insurance until they are making better profit. It is a conundrum, he said, and yet it is oftentimes the only thing that keeps companies afloat after an accident. 

He asked me for advice.

Nadjib BR
Nadjib BR

My recommendation: He should become the world’s best treasure hunter.

In my vernacular, becoming the world’s best treasure hunter is to become someone who can do research way ahead of ever picking up the phone and asking for an appointment.

For example, think about yourself and the number of people you know. There are trails leading to the people with whom you associate. You are friends on FB and other social platforms: You have good friends listed. There are those familiar with you at your work, at church, at organizations and networks. All of that adds up to your connections to other people.

Take that same principle, I told him, and dissect the small business you would like to serve. Who are they? What do they do? How many people work there? What is their history? Who is their competition? Who is your own competition for this person’s business? What is their history? What else can you learn about the prospect with more research, perhaps a phone call or two?

Gather that information BEFORE you call for the opportunity to go in and meet.

Next, research all of the available information on businesses and industries similar to your prospect. Research claims made. Lawsuits filed. Build the potential risks involved in not buying the liability insurance you are proposing. Find out if there is an easier way for the prospect to make the monthly payments they will need to make. See if there are alternative riders available from other brokerages. Do all of this BEFORE you make your call.

Hans Isaacson
Hans Isaacson

Then, start putting this information together into something that you only package up if you are asked for it. Otherwise, start including some key points in what you mention in your notes and emails. Keep the valuable information coming and, at all times, be the expert and the professional willing to wait to be of service.

Bring Value.

You would be surprised at how many professional salespeople I have interviewed who would say that this approach sounds like too much work.

My prediction is that ten years from now my young friend will own the town, if not the state. And he’ll be about 35.

Icons8 Team
Icons8 Team

If you happen to be in a sales position and you are working hard to get appointments, if you feel you are overwhelmed with competitors, yet you have a better product or service than the other guys, you might want to rethink how you approach your efforts. Bringing information about your product/service is simply trying to sell to them. 

Bringing researched information that actually helps a prospect gain an edge over their competition or, in this case, protects them from disaster, is you bringing VALUE to them they didn’t have to pay for.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” 

Albert Einstein


Bring Value