Have you ever stopped to consider how important relationships are in your life?
I mean, when was the last time that you really thought about the people, issues or organizations that are the most important to you? How much time and effort did you put into developing those relationships? How deep and meaningful are they? Have the relationships changed over time?
After careful examination, you probably will find that you put the most effort into establishing “personal relationships” versus “business relationships,” although there is very little difference between those relationships in the insurance industry. We tend to take our business relationships personally.
So, what’s the big deal about making friends and developing networks, referral sources or political connections — connections that count? Well, after more than 41 years in the insurance business, I think I have figured it out.
Having solid relationships is one of the keys to finding the fulfillment that you are looking for in your career and your life. And it is those relationships that allow you to grow personally and professionally while investing in the lives of others.
As insurance agents and advisors, we also have a unique role in providing financial guidance and advice to our clients who count on us to help them. It is our “relationship” with them, built on credibility and trust, that affords us the opportunity to make recommendations that affect their lives. Our clients can count on us because we have proven, over time, that we have their best interests at heart. We have made the investment and have earned their respect.
Relationships And Political Advocacy
It is those same types of relationship-building skills we use in our everyday practices that we need to employ in dealing with our legislators at the state and federal levels. Believe it or not, lawmakers are people just like our friends and clients (well, some are anyway).
But, in the same way that we would invite friends over for dinner, stop by their offices or send them a kind note from time to time, we can build relationships with those legislators too. It is vitally important that we have solid, genuine relationships with those legislators before we need to ask for a meeting to discuss important matters that impact our clients, our communities and our industry.
Although making financial contributions to a political campaign can be an important part of the “political relationship,” I respectfully would submit to you that investing your time to help a legislator understand our industry and the products that we provide to our clients (who are, after all, their constituents) is valuable in distinguishing you from others who just write checks.
As we head into the 2022 election season, won’t you take the time to meet your members of Congress or your state legislators? Get to know them and share with them the Real Life Stories that motivate you every day to make a difference in the lives of the people you serve. NAIFA’s Congressional Conference, May 23-24, in Washington, presents a great opportunity to meet with lawmakers, introduce yourself and start (or continue) the process of building those meaningful relationships.
I promise that if you make the effort to meet with your elected officials and their staff members and develop new relationships, wonderful things are sure to come. But it won’t happen immediately, because developing trust and proving yourself take time.
You never know what the future holds, but the value of having great relationships with elected officials will give you opportunities, confidence and optimism that can change the world.
Invest in a relationship today, and start making a difference.