There are many distinctions related to taking a professional, helping approach over a selling
approach, and they have significant implications. Professionals help rather than sell. They have clients
instead of customers/policyholders. They build relationships instead of conducting transactions. They
offer solutions instead of sales. They attract clients instead of pursuing customers. People buy from
them instead in being sold. They find cooperative opportunities instead of competitive obstacles. Think
of the implications from these distinctions. We’ve always heard that people do business with people
they like, and people like people who help. You’ve heard the term “trusted advisor”? This is what we’re
talking about. It occurs when you shift from selling to helping. Imagine having clients who are eager to
refer others to you.

When you adopt the attitude of a professional and take the focus off the products, guess who the focus
falls on? You! You become the service that clients buy. You become valuable. You become a resource.

You become an expert. Clients don’t look to insurance policies for answers, they look to you! One of
the greatest challenges in arriving at this mindset is becoming clear as to what makes you unique so you
can communicate it effectively to your prospects and clients. I often work with my clients on clarifying
their purpose and identifying their unique strengths so that their marketing and leadership is effective.
An interesting challenge we face is that we tend to downplay our strengths, especially if they come
easily to us. We tend to take them for granted and we tend to assume that everyone has the same (or
better) abilities. A very revealing exercise I often ask clients to do is to ask five people they know for five
traits that make them excellent at what they do. (My suggestion is to ask people who aren’t family. Ask
clients, friends, and associates.) You may be surprised at the results. I find that the responses fall into
three categories. 1) You’ll hear things about you that you and everyone else already knew and will
thereby get confirmation, 2) You’ll hear things that you already knew but didn’t think anyone else
noticed, giving you new insights as to what people notice and value, and 3) You’ll hear things that you
never knew about yourself; things that never occurred to you to be a trait that others would value.
These traits and insights are the things that set you apart from all the others out there. These are the
things that cause people to do business with you. These unique traits will help you be more effective as
you contact new prospects, present your ideas, and generate referrals.

I find that when people aren’t clear about what sets them apart and aren’t clear about their purpose
(Inotherwords, why they do what they do) they end up leading with their products and their company.
They rely on the strength and credibility of others instead of leading with themselves. The goal of every
professional should be to become credible in their own right. That doesn’t necessarily becoming the
foremost expert in their field, but it does mean becoming excellent at what they do as a professional –
helping others. It means finding new ways to help. It may even mean helping in ways other than with
insurance. You can become a resource for information or a networking source of contacts within your
community. You can offer advice in other areas of business or life (other professionals are more than
happy to provide you with article and insights you can pass on).

The whole point of this is to stop selling insurance and start helping people. It’s been said that people
don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and it’s true. The interesting
consequence is that when you take your focus off of selling and place it on helping, you’ll attract more
clients, generate more referrals, and sell more insurance. Life is good…

Author's Bio: 

Written by Michael Beck, “Head Zookeeper” at , a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:
Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.