Posted: February 27, 2017 by Staff Writer
You know professional growth is important – and staying up to date on what’s happening in the health insurance industry makes you more valuable to your clients. And, of course, when you prove your worth to your customers that can often lead to referrals, which can help keep your business humming.
So, what’s the best way to stay up to date? Ask 10 colleagues and you’re sure to get at least five different answers. But one proven way is to take part in industry events. Whether it’s a local lunch-and-learn, a workshop at a regional or state health underwriters’ association conference, or a national convention, live events offer you learning, career-building, and networking opportunities that are not available elsewhere.
One of the big advantages of taking part in a conference or industry trade show is the opportunity for you to grow your personal and professional network. When you take the time to talk with other participants – before the day’s events get started (at breakfast or during coffee/tea session), at lunch, during the evening mixer/cocktail hour, at dinner (if it’s a day-long event that includes multiple meals), and during break-out sessions – you could find your next mentor. Productive networking can also be helpful to your future recruiting, or give the opportunity to collect competitive intelligence, source potential partners, vendors, and consultants, and even prospect for new customers (through a lead exchange program with a broker focused on a different market niche or neighborhood).
Many live events also offer Continuing Education (CE) Credits, which can help you satisfy your state’s annual education requirement. But whether CECs are available or not, opening yourself up to learning new things and getting an update on some facet of our ever-changing industry can be rewarding on its own. You can increase your industry profile, too, by offering to take part in an event program either as a moderator, panelist, or speaker. Later on, you can share your participation with others; see below.
Agency and Customer Benefits
Sometimes it’s good to get away and take a break from your routine schedule – and your work space. Getting out and learning new skills can make you more productive. You could discover a new way to approach an old problem, when you open your mind to new or evolving tools that are just being introduced. Talk with exhibitors or other attendees about what’s happening – and what’s working for them as they compete for the attention of customers in their area. You may be able to put their ideas to work back home to build your business and help your customers.
Taking part in industry meetings, trade shows, and conferences can help you meet new people. Chamber of Commerce and community events offer you a way for you to network with pharmacists, doctors, and other health care professionals who may regularly see individuals who need or are shopping for insurance. If you’re able to build a rapport with these professionals, you may find you can trade leads with them.
Share Your Experience
After taking part in a live event, it’s important to go back to your office and put those new ideas to work by sharing your experience with others. That includes your colleagues as well as your customers. If you’re active on social media – which you should be – share your experience there, too. If your customers see you’re investing in yourself and learning new things that can help you better serve their interests, it could lead to more business in the future from them or their referrals.
You may also want to consider hosting your own events. Lunch & Learns and seminars will help you increase your community profile and help you establish credibility as an insurance expert. That can, potentially, give you a pipeline for future referrals. If you do host your own events, be sure to offer participants a survey that includes a section where they can share comments and write in the name, address, email, and phone number of others who could benefit by attending your next event.
Have Fun While Investing in Yourself
Taking time away from your everyday sales efforts is an investment in yourself… and your business future. When you get that next email or mailer invitation for an industry event, consider whether it will help you learn, earn CE Credits, open you to a broader network, and better yourself. You might have some fun, too, especially if it’s in an unfamiliar city.
Check out the events your carrier partner, your local, regional, and national underwriter associations, and General Agency partner are planning for 2017. You may find the investment of your time can pay big dividends for you, your business, and your customers.
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