How to Prove Yourself as an Industry Thought Leader

If you’re on social media, you’ve noticed you’re not the only one in your industry sharing great advice and searching for potential clients. The Internet is full of smart, determined individuals. No longer are you only competing with other insurance agents or individuals in your industry in your town. Social media has expanded your range of competition much farther, especially for products and services that can be bought through social commerce. It’s not easy, but those determined to stand out and have their voice heard in a crowd can do so through strategic efforts. We’ve put together the following tips to help you position yourself as a thought leader in your industry:

Find your niche and be well informed. This is the first step to success. You need to find what topics you’re knowledgeable and passionate about and then continue to learn more. As a thought leader, you never stop learning and yearning to be better informed about your subject. Once you are well informed, you need to begin to develop opinions and back it up with facts that will help others succeed in your industry.

Write a blog and share your expertise on social media. Utilize your blog and social media together in efforts to share your knowledge, opinions and experience with readers. Invite people to visit your blog through your social media outlets and other digital marketing efforts and begin to write thought-provoking posts. Learning how to correctly use social media as an insurance agent is a whole blog post in itself. Be sure to check our blog for our previous post on the subject.

Lend your knowledge. Whether you’re speaking at events, writing guest blogs or commenting on your area of expertise for media outlets, you need to get your name and thoughts out there. This is the best way to share your expertise and credential yourself and your business. It will also help you network, gain clients and draw individuals to your social media outlets and blog.

Once you have established yourself as an expert in your field, the public’s trust in you and your business will grow. It will build your credibility, visibility and will increase your sales, clients and reputation. What else can experts do to stand out in a crowded marketplace?

How to Sell to the Boomer Generation

Born between 1946 and 1964, the boomer generation makes up a large portion of the population and currently has the highest disposable income of any generation. This means, if you’re not making a specific point to reach out to and market to this generation, you’re missing out on a ton of potential sales. Baby boomers have unique qualities that are important to understand and address in order to best make a sale.

We’ve put together a list to help you as a sales professional better connect and understand the men and women of this generation:

1)   Don’t try to “sell” it. Boomers are always wondering, “what’s the catch?” Make your sales pitches more informational and less about persuasion. Provide data, facts and solid information, and then present them with all available options instead of pressuring them into providing you with a decision right away. Establish yourself as knowledgeable and friendly, and the boomers will be impressed

2)   Virtual doesn’t work well. When trying to sell, remember that boomers did not grow up with computers or fancy technology and tend to enjoy meeting in person rather than talking through email. It’s also important that if you’re selling a product, bring it to the meeting. This generation likes to see virtual renditions, but more often than not likes being able to touch the product and see it in person to better understand it.

3)   Build trust. The boomer generation wants to trust you and your business. They are more likely to respond to referrals or testimonials from people they respect than reading online reviews. Boomers come from sales environments where people built relationships over coffee, lunches and phone calls. Personal relationships are imperative in order to gain support from the boomer generation.

4)   Don’t be too informal. Baby boomers were brought up in a more formal environment than you typically see today. Make your letters, emails, and phone calls more formal and dress to impress this generation. It’s important to meet the expectations of the recipient and to make them feel comfortable.

Being able to better understand how boomers think and operate will allow you to create better sales and marketing tactics that will help you reach them on their level of satisfaction. If you are in the boomer generation, what would you like to see from your sales agents? And if you’re a sales agent, what other tactics have you found to work best with boomers? Let us know below in the comments!

A Complete List of Services from Laser Image

You probably know from our other blog posts that we have a strong focus and passion for developing software programs and mobile applications that help businesses and agents streamline and simplify their procedures. But did you know we do much more than that? We’ve introduced and explained our main software programs, LeadForce, CampaignManger and FastApp, and thought it was time to showcase the other noteworthy services we offer:

Policy Print. We work closely with your policy print team to ensure we follow your procedures accurately, and make sure we get your policies printed quickly and securely with our policy print process. Our state of the art networking systems are secure with high HIPAA standards for protecting your sensitive and important data.

Quality Control. We know that even the smallest of details matters and understand the subtleties, complexities and uniqueness of each policy. Very specific procedures are followed for each and every single policy produced. Additionally, each policy is quality controlled and documented before it goes in the mail. Basically, we check it, and check it again until it’s perfect.

Lead Generation. We partner with several creative agencies to offer a variety of lead mailers targeted at numerous products. Some examples include our mailers that promote Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Senior Life and Final Expense.

Database Management. We’ve created a centralized lead repository that merges multiple lead sources (telemarketing, direct mail, ad campaigns, web, etc.) into one secure repository so that you can easily access and retrieve the information you need when you need it.

Data Processing. Numerous processes are handled in our data processing department, including merge and purge, NCOA, CASS certification, postal presorts, data standardization, file suppressions, kit seeding and much more. With all that, our amazing team still keeps it organized. It’s amazing—you should see it.

Data Entry. Our highly trained entry team helps you manage low or sporadic spikes in volume. These data entry mavens can handle basic contact information all the way to fully detailed fact-finders and survey questionnaires, depending on your specific business needs.

Laser Printing Services. Our specialty is high-speed variable laser printing. We create forms that are instantly available on the web. We also offer strategic solutions for sign-offs, digital archiving, quality control and real-time retrieval and distribution—all at your fingertips.

Full Letter Shop Services. For when you needed it done yesterday—we offer online inventory management, online project sign-off system, ink jetting, folding with inline gluing, fulfillment, tabbing and stamping, inserting and shrink wrapping.

Scanning Services. We offer high quality analog and digital scanning that includes the capturing of information that can be converted, archived, retrieved and printed.

Now you can’t say you don’t know! We love taking care of our customers and building successful partnerships through the spectrum of services we’re able to offer you. You can learn more about our other services by visiting our website: http://laserimagedallas.com/services

Wellness at Work: Work-Life Balance

Even if you’re like us at Laser Image and enjoy your job and the people you work with it’s still important to find a harmonious balance between your personal life and your professional one. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s very important to your physical and mental health. We’ve put together our best tips and tricks to creating a work-life balance that will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, happy and successful.

1)   Set goals. These are going to be mostly business and career oriented. What do you really want to accomplish in your career? You should think about both short-term and long-term goals regarding business, career and what you wish to achieve financially. Your goals need to be measureable and tangible, and should reflect what you want to achieve as the result of your work efforts with specific deadlines set to meet them.

2)   Find your purpose. After you set your goals, discover the purpose behind each one. These will help you achieve your goals because they’re more personal, family and health oriented. Considered the “why” goals, these are most important because they will better determine your happiness and well-being. Many people become so focused on their careers and financial goals they often forget why they had that goal in the first place, making it easy to get their priorities out of order. It’s important to write out your goals, then link them to your purposes. This will help you realize what the end game is for each goal.

3)   Learn to say “no.” While you should not be the person that says “no” every time your boss asks who will be the one to say late that night, it’s important to learn what you’re only doing out of guilt. For example, you don’t have to say “yes” to being the president of the PTA or volunteering extra hours (unless that’s something you really enjoy!). When you stop doing things out of guilt, you’ll find more time to focus on the activities that truly bring you joy.

4)   Protect your private time. Whether that means taking a trip to the spa, a long drive or a minute or two alone to daydream, don’t feel guilty about taking a few moments to yourself. This time allows you to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. It can also help you clear your head and allow yourself to be reminded of what really matters in life. If you don’t allow yourself pockets of personal time, you’ll become too burned out to fully appreciate any part of your life.

5)   Block off your time. If you have a big task looming overhead, learn how to block out all distractions and give yourself a specific amount of time to finish. This strategy will keep you focused and will help you meet your deadlines, allowing you to better enjoy your time outside of work with family and friends.

It’s also important to note that work-life balance in one stage of your life will not always be the same in others. Be willing to adjust your strategy as your life evolves in order to keep that happy work-life balance. What have you found to be a great work-life balance strategy? Share with us!

Insurance Agents: Which social media platforms should you be using?

Social media is everywhere and it may seem like everyone is using it. This is probably true; since this digital communication trend is free, everyone is hopping on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest to promote his or her business. But they’re not always doing it right. Just because you can create an account with your agency’s name on it and begin to post doesn’t mean that it’s effective or even smart to be using that specific outlet. Each social media platform has a different purpose. Use your precious time wisely by investing in the best digital communication for your agency and learn how to post the right content for your audience. We’re here to help you become more visible to your audiences through the correct social media outlets by breaking each platform down.

Facebook: This social outlet is is the most common and widely used. The majority of agencies would find that Facebook would be an effective location to share information on services and products offered. Facebook is great to share resources, articles, share blog posts, link back to your website, offer useful tips and even find leads in some cases. To be successful on Facebook you need to make sure your name matches your agency, your profile is completely filled out and you should post at least 3 – 5 times per week—depending on your audience.

Twitter: Twitter is much faster paced than Facebook, which means you’re going to need to be able to monitor Twitter several times during the day. Twitter is also very news-focused. You’ll be sharing industry news and what’s happening in the insurance world. It’s also a great place to network with other insurance agents and to set yourself or your agency up as a thought leader in the industry. To be visible and relevant on Twitter you’ll need to post at least 6 – 7 times per week. It should be noted that it’s hard to post too much on this social media platform.

LinkedIn: This is considered the social network for professionals and is a good place to find and network with other insurance agents. It’s also important to completely fill out your profile. This makes it easier for potential leads to find you if they’re specifically searching for insurance agents in your area. You should be sharing relevant content about the insurance industry and what’s happening 3 – 4 times per week.

Google+: Google+ might not be the biggest social platform at the moment, but believe us when we say it’s going to explode at a rapid rate very soon. Google+ is a Google-based platform and was initially designed to be optimized for SEO, meaning that your page has more potential for a higher page rank. It’s a good combination of Facebook and LinkedIn, with posts about company culture, fun tips and tricks, as well as industry news. You should be posting 3 – 5 times per week here.

Now that you know what each social media outlet is for and how much you should be posting, what social outlet do you think would be best for you? Remember, if you don’t have a lot of time, Twitter probably isn’t the greatest idea, and if you’re not good at staying on top of relevant industry news, LinkedIn might not be either. We do suggest having at least two of these platforms, though. So, what does your new social media strategy look like? We’d love to hear!

 

Heartbleed Bug

What is it and what does it mean to you?

If you haven’t heard about the latest massive security breach – it’s time to pay attention because your private information is potentially at risk. The Heartbleed Bug is being called one of the Internet’s biggest security threats to date and is making headlines around the web. So, what exactly is the Heartbleed bug, and how can you protect yourself and your personal information from being released?

What is the Heartbleed Bug?

The Heartbleed bug is an Internet security vulnerability in OpenSSL, which is used by many websites to keep connections secure. So, you can already see the issue that is beginning to form. This bug is able to bypass the common security system for many websites. OpenSSL is a method that websites use for encryption, which is the process of encoding messages or information as a form of security so only authorized parties can read it. It isn’t a perfect system, but it greatly reduces the likelihood that if a hacker bypasses other security measures that they will be able to read the encrypted data. This means that hackers are able to not only bypass security, but also read the encrypted data that could include sensitive data such as usernames and passwords.

What has been affected?

The bug has already bypassed security on many popular websites and services such as Gmail, Facebook, Amazon and even HealthCare.gov. The affected websites and services are all working diligently to patch the bug but are suggesting that users also take steps in order to protect their data. Mashable has a full list of which sites and services have been affected: http://on.mash.to/1rkyo5q

How can you protect your sensitive information?

The majority of the websites and services that have had a breached network have already been working to patch the vulnerability so they can continue to keep sensitive information secured–but users should also change their passwords. There is no guarantee that your information was compromised, but there also isn’t a guarantee it hasn’t been. The best possible step to take to protect yourself is to change your passwords immediately. It’s always a good practice to change your password regularly and to create multiple passwords across different sites.

So, bottom-line: we recommend visiting Mashable’s list of affected sites and services and immediately changing all of your passwords on the affected sites in order to protect yourself and your information. Good luck and continue to stay informed about this massive security breach in order to keep yourself protected.

The Trinity Strand Trail has Arrived!

We have some exciting news to share…. the Trinity Strand Trail has finally made its way to Laser Image’s backyard! The slab of concrete behind our headquarters that will be a trail for bikers, runners or walkers to enjoy has officially been poured and we are so excited for the entire trail’s completion. Check out the picture below to see the trail’s progress.

We recently had local graffiti artists create a mural on the back of our building for all trail-goers to enjoy. So if you’re walking, biking or jogging by, don’t forget to stop, smile, take a picture and hashtag “#LaserImage!” We look forward to seeing pictures of Dallasites out and about taking advantage of this great addition to our city.

We also plan to have a bike repair area for anyone to use, as well as a great patio for our employees to enjoy throughout the day!

This 7.8-mile non-motorized hike and bike trail along the original Trinity River watercourse, adjacent to Downtown Dallas should be nearing completion soon! Stay updated on its progress by following us on Facebook and Twitter or the Trinity Strand Trail on Facebook.