Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Am Not My Competitor

In my business of voluntary insurance, I am often asked, "Isn't what you do just like...?" or "That's the stuff I see on that commercial, right?" I have to admit that in the past I have said, "Yes, that's just like it only with a different logo attached to it." I did that for ease and so we could move past the whole quizzical look I sometimes get when I talk about voluntary insurance benefits.

However, I am done with that response. I am in no way affiliated with or like my competitor. That's one reason why we are competitors and I don't represent them. I either don't agree with their way of attracting customers and/or I am especially not fond of the way they talk to individual clients like they are stupid for not getting a certain insurance product they might be peddling today.

It is now time for to stop myself before I go off on a tear about how my competition stinks and I'm way better. That's no way to conduct myself or do business. I have been reminded for the past few weeks how my competition works and what they do. I have also thought about what they do well. Let me focus on a few of those things right here and now, just to be fair:

1 - My competition does a great job of advertising. In many ways they make my job easier because people know their name or company. I can use that information to let them know that I do it better and I won't be on their TV set every 10 minutes wasting their premium dollars on my advertising.

2 - My competition is all over the marketplace. I call on businesses all the time who tell me, "Thanks for your offer, but we have (fill in the blank)." I'm always OK with that because when I show someone I can do it better, at less expense, and with better benefits within the policies I offer I know I have their attention and my competition is being escorted out the door.

3 - My competition has agents busting out all over. While it may seem like a great thing for people to have jobs in this day and time, in this insurance business it means two things are about to happen: (1) you are about to get your door knocked on more than before (even if you already have the competition as a client) and (2) your current agent will be disappearing and will be replaced by someone new. I definitely won't be happy having to answer the phone from pushy cold call salespeople more. I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of changing who I do business with. Many times the like or dislike I have of a company is directly related to the person who I have dealt with in the past. When that changes, I may not be as happy as I was. Also, many issues that came up in the past rear their ugly heads again with a new person who does not understand the expectations that have been worked through.

4 - My competition does a great job of selling. Unfortunately for my competition, business is not about's about buying. I can walk into any of my competitor's client offices right now, take one look at their billing statement and tell you that the people at that business have been sold. Wrong policies, double policies, unnecessary policies run rampant on many bills I see and it's a dead ringer that whoever had been in there had someone believing that if they didn't buy this or that they were missing out. I don't sell. I offer and educate and let people buy what they feel they need and can afford.

5 - My competition has a great customer service department. In the business of insurance people need to know they are covered and that when they need help with a claim or an issue, they know who to call or contact. Many times the client contacts the person who sold them the policy expecting some help there when all they get is an 800 number and an extension for them to call. I am the face my clients know and I want to be there when they need me.

So, a word to my competitors: Keep doing what you're good at because you're keeping my phone ringing.

Are you in the insurance industry and trying to take care of your clients?

Do you want an option that will help you stop the competition from bugging your clients?

Do you own a business and have my competitor selling to your employees?

Are you tired of being put off to someone else to handle your service questions?

Would you like to work with an insurance professional that will be there for years to come?

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, I am a phone call (205-370-8453) or an email ( away.

Are you ready?

Another tag line I have adopted over the years is "Step into my office, let's talk business." I am revealing the origin of that quote here.  I love it and you know what? It still applies.  Thanks Ray.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's October, So Think Pink?!

It's the month of October. While the children in our lives get excited about what Halloween costume they might be wearing and we all feel that little cool in the air, there is another reason to make October a little more special each year. October, for the last few years at least, has served as the official month for breast cancer awareness. Companies and retailers get out their pink colored products and display the fact that they help support a cause for research and cures for breast cancer. We start seeing emails come to us about various events and fund raisers that are happening all over to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer.

For my very first year, I have decided to take part in raising funds for this cause AND put my body in the action through the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Birmingham, Alabama. I am not much of a runner, but figured I could put together a decent showing for 3.2 miles of distance without causing myself too much physical pain or general embarrassment. How it all happened is kind of a nice story, but I will just post some points for all of us to consider as we go through October and help those around us to be more aware of this good cause:

1 - We have all been effected by someone with breast cancer. If we stop for just a moment, we can think of someone we are either directly of indirectly in touch with who has been effected. Any kind of cancer brings its own set of concerns, but for women this one ranks at the top. The physical and psychological effects can be devastating. Some have died as a result of having it, while others have battled on after some severe surgeries. I can think of no better reason to support a cause than to possible be able to help in some way those I know.
2 - You don't have to do it all by yourself. The reason these companies offer special products and these races are offered is so that the collective good of many people can allow us to at least give something. $5.00 may not seem like a great amount, but multiplied by thousands of people all working with their own $5.00 a life could be saved. We don't have to give it all by ourselves. A small part makes a big difference.
3 - Giving time is just a valuable as money. Maybe funds are tight and even $5.00 seems like a hurdle. We all understand that. However, there are ways you can give of your time to these causes. Maybe join a team in a race or offer to volunteer to help raise money in someone's behalf. The only thing I would consider a bad move in this process would be to not move at all. Be creative and do what you can to help those in need.

Those are a few things we should keep in mind as those around us all become more aware. Hopefully we do as well. As for my participation in the Race for the Cure, I have stated that I would not only race but also attempt to raise $100. I also joined a team whose goal is $1000.00. The reality goes back to what I stated earlier. Everyone working together with their small piece adds up to a big piece that can make a difference. With that in mind, please go to my personal race page here and donate directly for me and my $100.00 goal. If you would rather give directly to the team "Counting Our Blessings", please go here. In fact, if you are feeling good about yourself, join the team and come run with us on October 15, 2011. It's early on a Saturday but when it's over I plan on feeling pretty good about doing all I could do to help.