Owning a business is often an all-consuming endeavor where the owner spends most of their waking hours thinking about various details that need to be addressed daily and for the long term. “Finding” the time to think about the big picture and strategy of the business can feel like a luxury.
If you’re not a seasoned business owner, you might not recognize or appreciate the incredible value of engaging owners in conversations about their businesses. These conversations can be priceless for the client and, in turn, for you as a salesperson.
But you’ll struggle to engage in these conversations if you don’t have a healthy amount of business acumen and genuine curiosity to ask questions about your clients’ strategy and operational practices. Another struggle for the salesperson who lacks business savvy is thinking that these non-insurance topics are simply wasting time.
However, when you allow an owner the time to talk about their vision, financials, strategies, or business processes, you’re not “taking up” limited and valuable time – you’re giving them the gift of time to reflect on their operations and their future. Being genuinely curious, asking in-depth questions, and having a conversation about the business practices also provides you with extremely valuable insight for developing solutions for your client.
I’ve yet to meet a business owner who doesn’t love an opportunity to talk about their business – use that to your advantage! Talking to someone about their business is akin to talking to a parent about their kids – a little genuine interest and a heartfelt connection can go a long way in developing a relationship.
Owners look at their businesses not just for what it is today but also for what it will be. No one else has the same passion and enthusiasm for their business as they do, but if you can tap into that passion and allow them to share their vision and enthusiasm with you, then you have an opportunity to help them realize their vision.
Depending on the client and the size of the business, you may be allowing them to talk about and analyze their business at a deeper and more strategic level than they might have on a regular basis. Or, if they regularly take the time to work on the business in this way, then perhaps you’re providing a fresh outside perspective with your questions or insights.
Either way, the more you understand how a business makes and keeps money, the better questions you’re able to ask to connect with the owner and provide them with strategic value. And the more value you offer both inside and outside the insurance conversations, the more valuable you are as an advisor.
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