Is A Negative Attitude Costing You Business?
Never forget why your business is succcessful
I guess it’s human nature to forget about who helped you get your business started or even take time to know your current clients. Like many people I moved across country to Florida for a new job opportunity. I was in the same position as many of you; I had to buy Auto & Renter’s insurance when I arrived. Sally, my wife, and I lived here previously for over 17 years, owned two houses and two cars and bought our home and auto insurance from the same Nationally known company because a friend of ours was starting her own agency representing this company. We stayed with her for over 17 years but as time went on she became less and less accessible to us. We would call the office for some information and wind up talking with people who did not know us and we did know them. We would leave messages for “Our Agent” to call and one of these new people would follow up. Well, ok, she’s busy and building her business so we tried to understand. The longer she was in business, the less we talked with her. As a matter of fact I do not remember having a conversation with her at any time after that first year she was building her business.
I took a new job out of State and had to change our insurance coverage to our new home and use the same National Company that we used in Florida. We found one near us and talked with the Owner/Agent who was very friendly and glad to have our business. This was fantastic, maybe we found someone we could actually reach when we need them. She called us into her office and recommended some ways that this insurance company could help and guide us as to save us some money and become more efficient with our insurance investment.
It didn’t take long and, again, direct communication with this owner/agent ceased even when we called and left messages for her. Instead we got calls from her assistant or another agent, neither of which knew us well enough to discuss something without having to give them our complete history.
When we moved back to Florida, we immediately called our former “friend, insurance agency owner” who we did business with while living in Florida before. We called her office and left a message saying hello and that we were back in Florida and wanted to her to insure us again. She never personally called us back. She, instead, had one of her assistants call us. We again gave her the benefit of the doubt and gave all the information to this assistant. She totally messed up the insurance information to the point that we immediately told her that we were cancelling the insurance and going to another insurance provider, which we did. To this day, almost 2 years later, we are still waiting for our friend to return our call.
Now, I realize many of you reading this maybe thinking that well:
· This author probably became a pest, calling day in and day out about everything.
· Author is just a whiner.
· The author of this piece is just a difficult person to deal with.
I can sure understand skepticism about the real truth in this article especially since we are not hearing from either of these Owner/Agents. To that end I will tell you that Sally & I are pretty easy going and tend to give others excuses for their rudeness, lack of empathy, lack of time, etc. We are both positive thinkers and tend to always look on the bright side of any subject. I’m guessing that most of us view ourselves in this same light.
In any case, the purpose of this article is not to beat the two insurance owner/agents to death by giving them a public tongue lashing. The purpose of the antidotal stories is to provide examples of people in service oriented businesses that have forgotten why they have successful agencies or businesses. They have forgotten that they will lose about 20% of their base client list each year due to these clients moving, changing agencies or dying. That means that as a business person, you have to replace that 20%, and then add another 5%-20% in new clients in order to grow the business.
There are only two ways to increase your business:
1. Add new clients, customers
2. Keep existing clients
As a business owner you cannot do much about your clients moving or dying but you can sure do something to try and keep them from leaving you and going to a competitor. Most people want the relationship with, especially, their service providers to be one of trust and somewhat intimate in that they know something about you and treat you like you are their best customer. In today’s day and age that becomes somewhat difficult but by using an email program and putting out regular newsletters, making occasional personal calls to each of your customers and returning calls directed to you. You can always turn the call over to an assistant if it is something that needs to be done.
As a business owner/agent/sales rep or any other title you may have, building & keeping relationships should be your first business priority if you want to be more than successful. You do this if you want to leave a real legacy.