When I first started in the life insurance business, I had a pager and a roll of quarters. When a partner or client would page me, I would head to the nearest pay phone and start dropping quarters. Believe it or not, I sold a lot of life insurance that way. That was 1996, 20 years ago.
Back then, email existed, but good luck finding anywhere to get online. A lot of the time, a day or two or more would pass before I could respond to my emails, and nobody minded. Nobody expected anything different. Now, it’s instantaneous response no matter where I am. My cell phone functions as a Wi-Fi hotspot for me whenever I’m on the go.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to the way it was. It sounds like a cliché, but it really was a simpler time, at least from my perspective. But then I remember how lucky I am to be alive and doing business now, during a time of incredible opportunity.
Throughout history, people have always been at least ambivalent about change. I imagine business people generations ago trying to use a telephone for the first time, a little annoyed that they had to learn something new.
And things are going to keep on changing. We’re going to keep getting new tools with which to do business and new ways to live. I mean, I’m sitting here at my favorite coffee shop, and I can use my phone to read a book, look up articles on the insurance industry, send a couple of emails, update my LinkedIn profile, check the score on the game, and write the first draft of this piece of content—and I’m sure that in ten or twenty years people will say “you only had an iPhone 6s? How did you manage?”
These days, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (among others) are becoming the dominant places people go, not just to connect with friends, but to educate themselves on business strategies and to research and purchase a range of products, including insurance. So, we’re creating content, giving away ideas and providing value every day—in fact, every second of every day. You can go to our marketing blog, or our community page, or one of our social media pages, and access this information at a time convenient for you.
Look, I could spend my time romanticizing the past, but I have a business to manage. Adapting to change just isn’t even a question for me. I have a lot of fond memories about how I did things when I was just starting out, but the reality is that the important thing I learned in those days had nothing to do with remembering to keep a roll of quarters in my pocket—no, the important thing those experiences taught me was how to build relationships. And the importance of human connection, of working with people, is not going to change.
If we can focus on doing business in the way that works today, while keeping an eye out for changes coming down the road, and still prioritizing human connection, then I think we have a winner.