With some people we feel quite close; with others we’re more distant, and some relationships might be downright challenging (let’s remember not to talk politics with Uncle Paul). However we feel about them, all relationships are subject to change.
Allies turn into enemies and adversaries become staunch supporters. The US doesn’t officially relate to Cuba, but not relating is its own kind of relationship. And that, too, is subject to change.
Our business relationships – with clients, prospects, competitors, vendors, etc. – aren’t fixed either. Prospects become clients, and can go on to become advocates to refer more clients. Clients, if we don’t maintain the right kind of supportive relationship, can become problem clients, or former clients.
Change is a certainty, and the best way to deal with it is proactively. Depending on our point of view, changes can be either positive or negative: a major prospect’s agent messes up and we win the account; a company we’ve insured for years is sold and we’re replaced.
When we have an account already, we embrace the status quo; when we’re selling, we’re fighting against it. Selling is all about change. We have something to offer that will change the companies we sell to for the better. Why else would anyone buy from us?
Selling is also about relationship. The insurance buyer is trading one relationship for another. And you, the producer, are starting a new relationship. If we want our relationships to be enduring, we have to nurture them with care and attention.
Change can be anticipated, encouraged, and sometimes avoided if we are alert and proactive.
- We can monitor the local business reports and watch news feeds to for new hires, promotions, expansions, contractions, acquisitions and mergers at our client companies and in the industries we care about. These changes signal new opportunities, or tell us we should pay more attention to an existing relationship.
- We can stay in touch with former clients and prospects via newsletters, blog posts and other media. The prospect that stayed with her incumbent agent three years ago when you quoted now finds that he has moved to another state, and she’s not comfortable with his replacement.
This month PMA is introducing BtoB Advantage, an email newsletter service we’ve created to help you stay connected with your current clients, and nurture your future ones. More details will be coming very soon!