Shortly after going full-time into the life insurance business (following ten years as a part-timer) in 1977 at the age of thirty-three, I was invited into a partnership with a senior agent.
Bob Jamieson had built up a tremendous estate planning clientele working with farmers living near Fort Dodge, Iowa. Twenty years older than me, he had two goals: (1).To have someone call on the sons and daughters of the clients with whom he had worked for more than a decade. His business had grown to the point where he was leaving money on the table because he did not have time to deal with smaller cases. (2). He wanted someone who would eventually take over his business when it was time for him to retire.
It was a mutually beneficial arrangement for Bob and me because it solved much of my prospecting problem, the biggest cause of failure for new agents. The arrangement also increased his income because he was not losing the younger prospects to competitors.
Bob told his clients, “I brought a young man into my practice who will serve you as well as I have in the past. Because of my time constraints, I felt it important to bring in someone who shares my views on doing what is right for the client and who is service-oriented.”
He recommended that they encourage their adult children to consult with me about their insurance and investment needs.
In effect, Bob transferred the trust that had taken him years to earn to me in a matter of minutes. In their minds, talking to me was the same as talking to Bob.
My job was to be a person of integrity, sell products and not make a liar out of him about my character or competence.
How does this tale apply to you?
For those of you working with a trusted employee or partner, it is imperative that you not only have 100% trust and confidence in one another but that you convey both messages frequently to your mutual customers. Build each other up. Do the right thing. Work as a team. Honor the trust that is conferred upon you and do the same for others when appropriate.
The partnership between Bob and me was a success from day one. It ended when my career took a different path into training and management but our friendship and respect for each other is maintained to this very day. I’ll always be thankful for the gift of trust that he transferred to me.
It worked for us and there is no doubt in my mind that it will work for you.
Bill Sheridan–SHERIDAN WRITES, L.L.C.
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