More, faster

by

Do you know what I do?

(If not, check over here.)

I just found out yesterday I’m taking a pay cut.  About 7%.  Because while what I’m doing is ‘wonderful,’ etc, it’s not producing enough business, fast enough.

You know — that old tension between short-term goals and strategic, long-term growth.

Can’t say it’s too much of a surprise as I’ve been focusing on building relationships rather than pursuing sales for some time now.

(To be fair, this is a shop within a shop I’ve created and to say I’m in it for different reasons would be an understatement.)

(Plus times are tough.)

(Also note how I’m not complaining.)

Still, it caught me off guard a little.

In my experience, you don’t build partnerships with sales pitches, is all.  Nor with advertising.

Could just me be, but I don’t think so.

But so here’s where it gets interesting: the amount of the reduction in pay — X — I’m being given the opportunity to use it for quote ‘advertising’ (since my entire budget got the axe last year, which is why you see these all over town, but there was never a next step) to try and increase sales.

I don’t think advertising or old marketing (whatever you want to call it) is the answer.  Rather, I think it has more to do with love being a circular transaction.

(And that the best marketing is often good operations — i.e. doing something worth talking about.)

Operations-wise, everything I do and how I do it — from being mobile and open, to creating e-policies for people since insurance companies won’t — is to help people do what they do, better.

I need a way for more of the right people to find out about what I do.  To let them know I want to work with them.  Without doing to them what I wouldn’t want done to me.

(Or, tell me what you need and I’ll create the service.)

‘More, faster.’

So what do I do with this money then?

Want to go lunch?

[Update: What Spike says.]

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8 Responses to “More, faster”

  1. bayinghound Says:

    I like lunch.

    It sounds like you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. You are in a place (industry?) that doesn’t really understand relationship building anymore. You are at a time when you haven’t yet built all the relationships you need plus there’s the added fun of a slow economy.

    Yet, I think your business model makes sense. In a different time (i.e. if you can wait out the time it takes to build and/or economy rise) or a different place (a more friendly brokerage), your idea will succeed.

  2. madebyamyd Says:

    rot. so you were given a chance to try to get this thing out there. it’s out there and folks like it. they do. so are they saying, “your model isn’t working. you need to do this”?

    i do think you are in the right place at the right time though. you are the only one doing it. what better place or time is there? we should have lunch and talk about it. i used to work for a giant company too. i’ll let you buy, because i’m nice like that.

  3. Ryan Says:

    bayinghound: A slow economy can actually be good for insurance at the agency level. Everybody’s taking stock of what they’re paying for things and people are (generally) more inclined to shop and talk. In terms of place, Dawson is one of the friendliest — it’s a single bottom-line business, is all. A numbers hustle.

    If by place you mean *industry*, well….

    madebyamyd: More like ‘Your model isn’t working *fast* enough. And here’s some money that used to be yours that you can use to try and make more stuff happen, faster — subject to our approval.’

  4. Kristen Harris Says:

    So…by “advertising” do they really mean whatever marketing tactic you want to take? I think you’re at the right time, whether it’s the right place remains to be seen. This sounds like the perfect opportunity to use someone else’s funding to make the impact you want to make. And have a Plan B, maybe Plan C, in the event “or else” happens, whatever that is. The relationships you build will follow you regardless, so what impact can you make with the budget you’re given?

  5. Ryan Says:

    Kristen: re: ‘advertising,’ good question. They mean advertising, in the traditional sense. But if I can sufficiently make the case for something different — which I hope to do — then the way you phrased it with ‘impact’ is spot on. I just don’t know what that is (yet). So I figure who better to ask then the very people I hope to reach with this — folks like yourself.

    What would you respond to? (I already know it’s not direct mail.)

    The other challenge is they’re looking for immediate returns, of course.

  6. jill Says:

    I think that your strength is in the interactive. If you’re forced to do traditional advertising, make it interactive. Take out an ad in a local paper and ask a bold question in the space, with a web address that allows readers to answer the question. That website, of course, will lead them to what you do and what you can offer. The interaction on the site will be the immediate return that you can show to your peeps. At any rate, good luck!

  7. cxChuck Says:

    Dude, keep your perspective on the bigger vision. Your model has all the makings of the new paradigms emerging from this chaos.

    Here’s an opportuntiy to leverage traditional $ in an innovative way, keeping on-brand with the brilliant message.

    I’ll offer two things: (1) let’s sit down with my insurance needs and see if you can create new/better value for us.

    (2) I would love to strategize business maintenance and growth with you. In exchange, we’ll talk. Let’s nail down the guardrails and create a path to growth inspite of myopic notions about “advertising”. (think using the sun’s gravity to slingshot you to the outer reaches.

  8. dawn Says:

    I think it’ll snowball because what you have is really good stuff and I think you’re absolutely right that relationship building is the way to go. I mean, I tell everyone I know about you because I think you’re great and it doesn’t matter to me whether or not they need insurance at that very minute — I’m talking about YOU and your business model. And I hope that when people need insurance they’ll remember that cool, committed, buy local guy I told them about and hit me up for your contact info. I believe that’s the way that will work because I met a lot of insurance agents at all the networking events I went to when freelancing and you are the ONLY one I ever thought twice about. Too bad the powers that be don’t get that but I believe your way will win out.

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