I'm sure, on some level, we would all benefit from lying on a therapist's couch from time to time. Of course, most of the time, that's when we turn to good friends. Sometimes we feel and become better simply because there is a concerned ear to let us talk ourselves through a situation.

As odd as it might sound, businesses (yours and your clients') need the same concerned ear.

As we are getting to know insurance agencies that may become part of our network, we find ourselves in the role of that "therapist," sitting there in the chair taking notes. We scheduled an hour and a half to visit with a couple of agency leaders in just such a scenario, ask questions, and learn more about their agency and how they operate. Of course, as we ask questions, we allow the potential new member to talk and elaborate as long as it is productive. The hour and a half call lasted two and a half hours.

We didn't just discuss the easy questions (How much are you growing? How full are your pipelines?). We tackled the toughest of issues. We discussed why it might be that certain team members are somewhat intimidated by the leader and how that could be affecting the organization. We explored the dynamic that exists withing the leadership team and the message it sends. We talked about the company vision and how well it was communicated throughout the organization.

I can tell you for certain, we facilitated a much-needed conversation among the leaders. As we were finishing the call, one of them made the comment in a very good-natured way, "This felt like a marriage counseling session."

Sure, we offered some advice during this call, but mostly what we did was ask questions, listen very carefully, and, hopefully, made it very clear just how genuinely interested we are in them and their situation.

We love this part of what we do. We love it because we hear time and again how powerful and motivating these conversations ("counseling sessions") are for those with whom we visit.

Guess what? Your clients need these business conversations, too.

You need to be, and can be, the one taking this powerful conversation, and genuinely interested ear, to your prospects and clients. And, it's probably more attainable than what you realize.

The most powerful conversations you will have with prospects/clients aren't when you show up with answers, it will be when you show up with the right questions and a genuinely concerned ear.

And let your excuses go. We all know they stink.

We hear, "My prospects don't want to talk about anything but insurance." I call BS! You likely only give them the chance to ask about insurance. I promise, when you ask them about their bigger business issues, they will jump at the chance to talk.

We hear, "They won't give me that much time." I call BS again! Every single time we have this call with a prospect, we request an hour and a half. Not a single agency has ever said, "No thanks, I don't want to talk about my business that long." And, anytime it becomes obvious we are going to run long, we stop and ask if they want to wrap up or continue. Never has anyone said, "No, we've talked about our business enough." Your prospects are no different.

We hear, "But I'm just an insurance agent." I call my third and biggest BS! That is your personal head trash and you have to let it go. If you don't, you won't even be "just" an insurance agent much longer. You have to start taking bigger business conversations to your prospects and clients. They are craving it. They need it!


Photo by bialasiewicz