How To Convince Your Internet Hating Boss an Online Presence is Important

online success

So I did a webinar for a large insurance carrier last week on some general topics pertaining to Social Media and it’s place in the Insurance Industry.

(A very skinny version of my Engage. Subscribe. Convert presentation)

Immediately following the presentation I got an email from a woman who had just been listening to the webinar.  The title of the email was HELP…

Reputation and Relationships

Her email explained that she worked for an independent insurance agency and that currently she was losing her mind.

online successFor the last several months she had been tirelessly trying to get the stakeholders within her agency to embrace social media, blogging and the Internet.

She further explained that the stakeholders disregard for the Internet was so extreme that they didn’t even care to update the basic information contained on their current Brochure style webpage.

It was the opinion of the stakeholders of this insurance agency that their Reputation and Business Relationships held enough weight that engaging in social media was a waste of time.

“Their agency was about Relationships”

I get that. My insurance agency is about relationships too… Life is about Relationships.

However, as a fellow independent insurance agent, I know this type of close mindedness is very typical and it broke my heart just a little to see such a brazen disregard for the power of social media and Internet.

But all hope isn’t lost.

As Inspirer of Online Awesomeness I see potential here…

See Insurance Agencies are about Relationships… Small Business is about Relationships… Life is about Relationships… and the Internet is about Relationships!

Misconception. Misunderstanding. Misimpression.

These insurance agency stakeholders as are many small business professionals are under the impression that anything that has to do with the Internet is NOT relationship based.

That is the mentality that needs to be broken… That is CRACK in the Internet Opposed Armor.

These business owners do not realize that the Internet is 100% based on relationship.

Sell that message.  Drink that Kool-aid.

The Internet is about Relationships people… DUH!

Look I make it blatantly clear when you come to my website I want you to take two actions:

Do you think anyone takes either of those actions if I haven’t built some kind of relationship with them?

NO… Hell NO!

The Internet is no different than traditional business or Life… The Internet is about Relationships.

So I see potential in my new friend’s situation.  The stakeholder’s of her organization already believe in relationship selling.  That is a fantastic first step.

Her avenue to success in convincing them that the Internet, blogging and social media need to be part of the Agency’s success structure is through showing how the Internet , blogging and social media cultivate relationships.

The Rub

I’ll spare you from my long-winded response to her, but essentially I advised her to find some of their biggest clients Online and show way that her Agency could strengthen and grow the current relationship through Online tools.

That will be a good first step.  She’s not telling these Old Timers they need to change how they do business or buy into some shiny new tool…

It’s as simple as tracking client’s blogs and commenting once in a while to show interest and enthusiasm for their product and brand.

When one of the stakeholders receive a phone call from the client thanking them for their support watch the Internet interest level of that stakeholder rise.

Thank you and good luck!

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About Ryan Hanley

This blog was created to help brands grow their audience, to grow their business. When I'm not writing, podcasting or creating the videos you'll find on this site, you'll usually find me watching baseball with my son Duke and a cold beer in my hand.

  • http://www.musclesandhealth.com/ Bob

    There are many people who don’t like doing business on the Internet. I think these people don’t realize that doing business online and doing business offline is the same. We have to add value and build relationships like you have mentioned. Cheers!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Adding Value + Building Relationships = Making Money

      That is the equation… That is deal.

      You got it Bob… Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • http://www.seopodium.com/ Mike

    I agree with you that Internet is about building relationships. People will only buy from us if we build relationships and build credibility. And building relationships is possible on the Internet :-)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Mike!! You absolutely can building relationships Online… Relationship is the backbone of the Internet.

  • matthewolucas

    Ryan –

    Great piece!

    One other point of resistance I thought of: the older firm who handles large clients and doesn’t want to reveal its client list through social media interaction. How would you address this sort of objection?

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      My first question would be: Do your competitors have an advantage that if they knew YOU were working with this particular client they could steal the business?

      If that were case that hide the client list…

      That not being the case, I would then ask: Does hiding your client list mean that your client no longer exists?

      Because you interacting with them on Twitter does not mean that your competitors aren’t soliciting their business… And furthermore all interacting with on Social Media shows is HOW STRONG the relationship is. It may actually prevent people from soliciting the business.

      You don’t have publish an all-inclusive list of your clients… But interacting with them Online only strengthens your relationship.

      GREAT QUESTION!

      Thanks

      • matthewolucas

        There’s not much of a competitive advantage. There is, however, a risk of our clients constantly fielding low-ball bids from the more unscrupulous players in our industry. We try to save our clients time, and that would be counterproductive potentially.

        I was thinking about video and written testimonials in particular. They are very powerful to attract business, but they also serve up a client’s company, name and face right on silver platter.

        The “prevention through strength” angle is a good one.

        • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

          You know what else you can do?

          Come right out and tell your client when they’re doing a Video Testimonial… “It’s possible you are going to get a bunch BS offers and one-off Solicitations for companies that can’t provide what we can.”

          If you address the fact that they might receive those types of calls then you are taking power away from the people that would do that…

          Make sense?

          • Matt Lucas

            Very much so. I appreciate the feedback!

  • http://www.rightmixmarketing.com Tom Treanor

    Ryan,

    Great post and I love the very practical advice you gave her. This is going to continue to be a major topic as businesses try to figure out if they need to be online, what exactly that means, and who’s going to do the work!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Tom…

      Lately I’ve been involved in a couple different conversations that centered around whether or not there are reasons you don’t need a blog and Online communication presence…

      Opinion is anyone who needs to develop relationships to succeed will benefit.

      Obviously so much more it.

  • http://ryzeonline.com Jason Fonceca

    Ryan, this is beautiful man. Pure art.

    To inspire a different generation, to provide relief, to see opportunity.

    I love it.

    Thanks for sharing this :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks dude… That means a lot coming from a person that Drinks Inspiration with their breakfast every morning…

      • http://ryzeonline.com Jason Fonceca

        Hahah… :)

        Good point!

        I thought about getting an I.V. drip but like… it just felt way less… inspiring than a positivity breakfast and some success O.J. :P

        So yep, still doing my thing :)

  • Brett

    I love this post. We don’t have much of an online presence either and most are convinced that a fine-looking landing page (fine-looking defined as a decent brochure) is sufficient. I don’t know if there’s major push-back against it, but there’s not much excitement. And I’ve been relatively slow at my guerrilla warfare plan: (a) setting up my own relatively related site and (b) implementing some social media and content marketing tactics and (c) tracking the progress. I just need to do it.

  • Meagan

    Great post Ryan & so true. Besides the fact that taking advantage of using social media & blogging to build relationships with customers, it helps to establish you as an expert in your field. That alone can help you gain new clients & keep the ones you’ve got. It gives people easier access to you & your knowledge too!

    I know a lot of people are used to doing things the old school way {my father-in-law included}, but presenting it to them as a way to build relationships & establish themselves as an expert is a good start. Plus showing them how it’s worked for other similar businesses {social proof} doesn’t hurt either. Great points! Thanks!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Meagan. I’m with you I think Social Validation is the Key to unlocking the Old Skool Door!

  • Kelly C.

    I started with an insurance company in January and have similar problems. The CEO who hired me understands why it’s needed, but it’s been slow going getting everyone else on the bandwagon. There is definitely a deep-rooted fear of technology and personal privacy. Many of our agencies don’t use social media at all, so the other challenge has been getting them online and walking them through it.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Kelly,

      I’m so happy to meet another insurance professional… I think insurance is a great industry and I hope it works out for you.

      To your issue… I really think you should look into clients and prospects that are Online. See if you can find other Agencies that might be connected to them. See if you can find ways to show them that other Agents are building relationships with Their client Online and they are missing out on it.

      Also just a question: What are you trying to do with Carriers Online?

      Thanks!!

      • Kelly C.

        Thanks Ryan!

        Our company Facebook page has actually been doing really well, all things considered. We’re even starting to generate new business with it. A few of our producers have seen how we’re using the page and have reached out to me for help in doing the same. My marketing reps have also been fantastic about mentioning it during field visits. My goal is to get more of our producers into social networking so that we can market cooperatively.

        Part of my problem has been reaching out to the other 600 or so agencies we do business with, as many of them are so behind the times they never got into the habit of checking their email. It puts a bit of a damper on email marketing. And many of our smaller agencies don’t have the time to sit on the phone and discuss it with me.

        • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

          Kelly,

          It’s not that don’t have the time… They DO!

          It’s that they won’t MAKE the time.

          Figure out how to convince them to MAKE the time and you’ll be dealing solid Gold!

          Good luck and let me know if I can ever help!

  • http://jacobyount.com Jacob Yount

    First time stopping by and enjoyed the read. Most people I deal with on a non-professional basis feel like “social” medial isn’t social but only spouting off your life story and letting everyone know your “business”….like a weird voyeurism. They don’t know the power of relationships, the sharing, the empowering and teaching and it goes on and on. Surely this closed minded view I’ve heard from folks would be the same view if they own business or instruct their employees on staying away from “wasting time on twitter”. A lot of it is based on resistance to learning a new skill set – because it does take time.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jacob,

      It’s there is an entire generation of Americans that communicate predominately through social media and online and text.

      They don’t use the phone like we do… They “Hangout” through facebook and other social media platforms…

      The reason I bring this up is because these people have perfectly legitimate and REAL relationships Online that they take offline as well.

      It’s about communication not some crazy new culture.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • http://www.annikamartins.com Annika

    The kool-aid has been drunk! I could not Amen loudly enough on this one, Ryan.

    The Internet is not some weird mythical creature that exists far off in the stratosphere. It only works (and thrives!) because PEOPLE are using this technology to connect, to learn from one another – all of which happens through relationship-building on some level.

    I can relate to your friend. I’ve worked for more than one corporate machine that hasn’t yet wised up to the opportunities available online. I think your strategy for her makes a ton of sense. Instead of forcing it down senior management’s throat, let them see the benefits firsthand and then they’ll be inclined to give her permission to open the flood gates.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Annika,

      For many of these Internet Hating Bosses change will only come from seeing their peers and clients already using the tools… They will just not have the foresight to make the move on their own. This is fine.

      The trick will be for the those pushing the Internet to understand this and find the clients and peers who will trigger their leadership to make the move.

      Thanks!!!

  • http://www.productivesuperdad.com Timo Kiander

    Ryan,

    Good stuff!

    In my country all the insurance companies I’m aware of are taking advantage of Internet and social media to grow their audiences and improve the engagement.

    So odd that this kind of mentality (that you blogged about) still exists – like a breath from 90’s.

    Cheers,
    Timo

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Timo,

      It’s crazy… There are a lot of small businesses and my case insurance agencies that pretend the Internet doesn’t even exist.

  • http://www.matthewlbrennan.com Matt Brennan

    Good blog, Ryan. I come across this all the time myself from businesses who are dragging their feet to get online. Your approach seems sound. As soon as they start cultivating relationships they should start to see the benefits.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Matt.

      There seems to be a disconnect with some people that the Internet is all Transactional. That’s it just transactions and that there is no relationship building or networking…

      It’s that revelation that I think will help a lot of people become more comfortable.

      Thanks!

  • http://dave-lucas.blogspot.com Dave Lucas

    I once had an internet-hating boss. He despised the web. That was in 1999. Today, he lives and breathes it! That proves change IS possible, and you hit the nail on the head when you wrote that the internet is about relationships (interaction)!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Dave… It’s nice to hear that people can eventually come around. Everyone is going to have to eventually. It’s how do we get them there before the space is too crowded… If it’s not already.

      Thanks!

  • http://www.socialmediaillumination.co.uk Gemma Thompson (@GemLThompson)

    Hi Ryan,

    I feel her pain, I think we all do! It can be so hard to get ‘traditional’ business owners to see that the social media networking isn’t all gizmo’s and gadgets but is in fact exactly what they are about anyway!
    But … with people like you out there I’m sure the message will slowly get through :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thank you Gemma!

      I really feel the trick is three-fold. Convince them it’s not expensive in dollars or time. Convince them there is money to be made…

      Show them their peers and/or competitors are already doing it…

      Then cross your fingers, rub your rabbits foot… and Hope! haha

  • http://www.reallygoodwriting.co.uk Mike Garner

    Unfortunately, you see this all the time. I was talking to a junior partner in a law firm last week. We’d talked about social media last year, he agreed to talk to his bosses. He came back to me saying he’d realised that he was working for a firm still living in the 1970s.

    Apparently, they now have a Twitter account that my friend runs but one the partners wants to vet all the posts he publishes. The legal profession is one that could be really good in social media, but not that firm.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Mike are right in pointing out that there are Industries, especially Legal, that are so ripe for the pickin’ if a company could break free from “The Way It’s Always Been Done” mentality.

      Can be very frustrating…

      Thanks!

  • http://evenminds.com Jason Anthony

    I think your point that they do not have to change how they do business to embrace social media and create an online presence is key.

    On the other hand, changing behavior (especially corporate/professional culture) can be difficult. It’s a decision that they will ultimately have to be made from the top. A lot of times this happens via communication between other business owners/CEO’s, etc., so another great approach would be to find examples of their biggest competitors online (and customer testimonials). Excellent post, Ryan!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jason…

      Changing behavior is so hard. But I don’t see Social Media as a change in behavior. It’s just another tool which allows you to spread your message. I know that’s Pie-in-the-Sky, but really you aren’t changing who you are or how you do business… You’re adding a communication medium.

      Does that make sense?

      Thanks!

  • http://www.ranashahbaz.com Rana Shahbaz

    I think it has been always the case with the new technology. There is always a group of people who really resist at first and then joined the camp. Plenty of people resisted against the mobile phone in the 90’s, is there any old school don’t use mobile phone now?

    Internet is really wide open and it is not easy for many people to embrace it but there is not doubt about the power of internet.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Rana,

      The “Large-ness” of the Internet is definitely daunting to some people and I can understand that. But there are way to ease yourself into it.

      There are ways to harness the power of the Internet without completely embracing all at once…

      Great thoughts!

      Ryan H.