Jack of all trades...
by Justin C. Snapp
November 20, 2013
“Jack of all trades, but master of none.” Generally, this expression is said with negative connotation in reference to an individual that is competent in many trades but not necessarily outstanding in any specific one. However, is it possible to succeed by being a “jack of all trades?” I think so – and it may offer the defining element that sets you apart from other advisors, particularly when it comes to business owners.
Small business owners are often an overhyped, yet underserved market for most agents and advisors, if only for the fact it is a challenge just to gain and keep their attention. According to the 2010 US Census, 89% of US companies have 20 employees or less. Often times, these small businesses have spread their resources thin. They need help in increasing their efficiency and improving their bottom line. Therein lies your greatest opportunity to cultivate valuable and lasting relationships with small business owners.
Let’s start by addressing what we know about small business owners. On a daily basis, they are solicited by a financial industry barrage and B2B sales professionals, not to mention circadian operations and employee requests. Small business owners are busy. Their time is valuable – they know it and you should, too. At their core, small business owners are looking to ensure that their doors stay open. It’s all about their bottom line.
To earn their attention, it is time to move past initial proposals of Buy-Sell Agreements, Succession Planning and Key-Person Insurance. You can bet they have heard your go-to pitches, one-liners and sales concepts. Leading conversations with novel bottom-line boosters like search engine optimization, brand management, cloud-based business solutions, employee retention, CRM systems and creative marketing to your small business clients or prospects will most certainly open doors for insurance and planning discussions and distinguish you above your competition.
Please understand that I am not proposing you register for every online course available in a desperate attempt to become an expert on all facets of running a business. However, keep in mind that constantly expanding your knowledge base has personal benefits for you because, as an insurance advisor, agent or producer you too are a business owner. You are most likely facing some of the very same challenges, concerns and goals as other business owners.
In order to position yourself as a business advisor that truly offers more, align yourself and collaborate with other dependable and successful professionals. First, take your time to vet possible candidates and discuss with them the expert associations you are establishing. Scrutinize their work ethic, organizational structure, client relationships, retention rates, and public complaint records. Ensure you are absolutely comfortable and confident in your professional relationship before you consider introducing a client or prospect. To add additional value, maintain an active role in communication between both parties. This will serve as a regular reminder of the benefit you bring to the table and show your clients that you are the core of a truly elite network for all things business-related.
Sometimes the greatest efficiency comes from simplicity. By offering small business owners access to a reliable network of vetted relationships, you eliminate the headache they face when taking cold calls, scheduling meetings, watching webinars and performing due diligence to choose and develop relationships with their service providers. Essentially, you have given them time, confidence and offered a solution to some of the complexities that small business owners face. As a centralized catalyst for growth, you have become not just their insurance advisor, but an integral and trusted business advisor.
The remainder of the rhyme is often times disregarded: “Jack of all trades, master of none, certainly better than a master of one.” In the current economic environment where the competition is fiercer than ever, ‘master of one’ is not always enough. Diversify what you offer by leveraging a valuable network of dependable resources and position yourself as the key to success for small business owners. You will undoubtedly unlock endless business development opportunities for years to come.