I’m proud to be a part of the insurance industry. The work we do is extremely important in helping individuals, families and businesses protect and preserve their financial assets. Insurance helps enable and empower our clients to achieve their personal and business objectives, knowing that we help protect them from loss exposures that can be financially, reputationally and/or emotionally catastrophic.
I find great personal satisfaction in helping people and have seen the positive impact it can have. In the highly competitive business of selling, where there are numerous outstanding alternatives to choose from, your ability to demonstrate a heartfelt and genuine desire to help people is essential to developing and building upon relationships that are long-lasting and mutually beneficial.
One of the ways I try to offer support is by connecting people who might be able to benefit each other. Of course, many professionals do that in the business arena—it’s what LinkedIn is for. Naturally, I do that too, but I also look for opportunities to help people in their personal lives.
I’ve made connections for people who need help finding the ideal school for their children. I’ve recommended a real estate broker or a professional mover when I’ve learned someone is selling their house. I have recommended trust and estate attorneys for individuals who wanted to get their family’s estate plan in order. The common thread here is a desire to help someone at a personal level, as opposed to a business level. What could be more impactful in terms of showing you care?
Of course, you really have to “pick your spots” and be sensitive to whether someone wants help in areas outside the business realm. But rapport-building conversations often involve personal and/or family matters, and if you have what you think might be a useful connection, ask the other party if they would be open to an introduction. You don’t need to be, and shouldn’t be, pushy about it. But you should also not be afraid of offering help because you feel you might be prying a little too much. If someone says, “No, I don’t need any help, but thanks for the offer,” then back off. If they say, “Sure, I would love some advice or an introduction from someone you know,” then take them at their word.
As I said, I like to help people because it gives me personal satisfaction, and I certainly don’t expect anything in return. But the reality is that good deeds often come with fringe benefits. Doing a favour for someone or offering advice or a connection that they may find useful generally results in a desire to return the favour.
I have also found that I feel more comfortable asking for help from someone I’ve been able to assist in the past. I may need access or a referral to someone I need to meet, or a favourable recommendation or endorsement to a key decision-maker.
Bottom line: Look for ways to help people. You’ll feel better about yourself and, sooner or later, the favour will be returned.