NAILBA Perspectives Perspectives Fall 2018 | Page 9

TIPS FOR MAKING A GOOD IMPRESSION AND BUILDING QUALITY BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS IN A DIGITIZED WORLD I n my piece from the last edition of Perspectives, “Technology as the New Normal,” I discussed the insurance industry’s ongoing adoption of technology and the im- portance of using technology to enhance rather than replace strong personal relationships. Technology is allowing businesses of all types to reach larger geographical areas and grow faster than ever before; howev- er, the risk is that a higher quantity of business relationships will lead to lower quality relationships. I’m sure we all know from experience that it’s harder to get to know and come to trust someone when you never inter- act in person, and the same concept applies to business. Particularly in an industry as significant and personal as insurance, companies must make an effort to identify with their clients in a personal way in order to gain trust and stand out. So, how can a brokerage take ad- vantage of the scaling potential provided by technology without sacrificing the quality of client rela- tionships? Put simply, just be smart and strategic about your communica- tions. Below are a few practical tips on how you can use your brain and those of your agents to gain admira- tion and trust more quickly than you may think. 1. Have a professional image. We’ve all heard tips on how our cloth- ing, body language, hand shake, and speech can affect people’s first im- pression of us. Unfortunately, you can’t use these tactics on a new or potential client whom you have nev- er met face to face, but you can still present yourself as professional and competent in more subtle ways. For example, try designing a clean but unique email signature and includ- ing a high-quality image of yourself. This is likely the very first interaction they’ll have with you, and the care you take to “introduce” yourself via email can have a similar effect to that of dressing in a nice suit and using welcoming body language. It may seem like a menial detail, but if this small detail does lead to a positive first impression, it can impact the entire relationship. Due to a concept called the halo effect 1 , people tend to infer your skill in unrelated areas based on their first impression of you. If you send an in- troductory email that comes across as friendly and professional, your clients will likely assume that you’re knowl- edgeable, capable, and pleasant to work with. If you speak with a client on the phone and seem disorganized or don’t remember a previous conver- sation, they may continue to think you’re unreliable in the future. 2. Use digital marketing strategically. With targeted online advertising, you have a chance to convey your brand message to your target audience be- fore ever speaking with them in per- son. Even though seeing your ad will rarely lead prospects to reach out im- mediately, it will instantly create an image of your brand in their minds. If your advertisements effectively communicate the benefits of working with your brokerage, you’ve already set yourself up for success. Similarly to the way your brain forms assumptions about people based on limited information, your “So, how can a brokerage take advantage of the scaling potential provided by technology without sacrificing the quality of client relationships? Put simply, just be smart and strategic about your communications.” 9