When I ask you to quickly describe the stereotypical insurance agent, what comes to mind?

As a whole, the industry is pretty conservative, buttoned up, slow to change, and, dare I say it, boring. I know there are exceptions out there, but this is basically what a prospect who is meeting you for the first time is expecting, whether they are meeting you in person, via social media, or on your website.

And, I have been in this industry long enough to know that as accurate as the first stereotypes I mentioned might be, most in this industry are not boring, at least not when they are letting their personality come through. And the power of letting that personality come through cannot be overstated during the sales process.

I was reminded of this recently when I spoke at a conference of independent insurance agents. However, the reminder didn't come from the agents themselves, but rather from the hotel at which the conference was held.

The hotel was the Hotel Palomar in Chicago. While it is a part of the Kimpton network of hotels, it very much has an independent, boutique feel. The décor is just enough on the trendy side to feel sophisticated. The hotel staff are all ready to serve and very professional in their demeanor. The meeting facilities are clearly meant to help those using them be productive. I immediately liked the hotel, but it wasn't until I had a chance to experience its "personality" that it really kind of stood out for me. And that personality came through in a slightly unexpected place.

As I was trying to connect to their Wi-Fi, I saw they offered two options. The first was to pay for the service, and the second was to enroll in their loyalty program and get the Wi-Fi for free. I opted for the latter.

As I signed up for program it was clear they wanted to collect information about my preferences to make future stays as pleasant as possible. They wanted to know what newspaper I like to have delivered, what type of pillow I prefer, my ideal room location, etc. Not unexpected, except this is where their playful personality came through.

The options they offer for a pillow:

  1. Feather
  2. Foam
  3. A sympathetic shoulder

For room preference they ask, "How you would answer? I prefer a room that is . . ."

  1. A mess
  2. Away from the elevator
  3. Near the elevator
  4. On a high floor
  5. On a low floor
  6. In a quiet area
  7. Not spinning around me

Yes, it was a little thing, but I appreciated the humor and the personality they put into their questionnaire! For me, it was a great example that professional and fun don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Insurance agents don't have to be boring. Don't be afraid to let a little personality come through. Sure, you need to be professional, but have a little fun on your website, when your participate in social media, and even when you're meeting face-to-face. I think being able to do so actually shows a level of confidence, makes you more real, and will put your prospect/client more at ease. And when they are at ease, that's when they will open up and discuss honestly how you might be able to help them.

 

Photo by Jukka Zitting.