Morning Motivation – Week of February 25, 2019

Welcome to the new week, friends!

Are you ready for another motivational quote? This week’s words of wisdom are:

Last week I told you that you need to be ready to jump on board when people you trust start shouting about a massive shift. I’m telling you right now that the next big thing is… video!

I know that it’s not new, but it’s here and you should be using it in your business. It has changed real estate, insurance, mortgages… everything! As we advance in our businesses, people will only do business with people that they have seen on video — I believe this to my core.

Why is this? Because video eliminates all of the “reading and misreading” someone’s message. Have you ever read an email or text and thought, wow, that sounds awful, but maybe that was not the intent of the sender? Video eliminates all of that.

Here are some statistics on video:

  • 1 billion hours of video is watched each day
  • 576,000 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every day
  • 61% of US companies have a Youtube channel
  • This video has almost 6 billion views
  • 1.8 million Americans are earning $ from their Youtube videos
  • 180 million hours of video are watched on Youtube every single day
  • 85% of homebuyers and seller prefer to work with an agent that uses video
  • Homes that are listed and have a video with it have 4 times more inquiries
  • Including a video in your emails increases your open rate by 75%

Like I said, you might not directly work with video, and you might not have the appetite to learn it. But this HAS and will continue to impact you and your business. Video is changing things.

Next week I will share three things to do when the “next big thing” comes around.

Have a great week!

Carlos

Recap: Smart Home Guide

“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”

– Dean Kamen

Smart homes and connected devices are the way of the future – are you staying up to date with all of today’s innovations? If you missed it, make sure that you read our Massachusetts Smart Home Guide from last week, where we outlined many of today’s smart home devices, including:

  • Thermostats that you can set without even leaving the couch.
  • Light bulbs to turn on and off without having to cross a dark room.
  • Security cameras that you can watch in real time while you’re out.
  • Switches and outlets that can turn any device into a smart device.
  • Speakers that can control smart devices with your voice and will answer your burning questions.

These devices can make your life a lot easier, especially if you are someone who is never far from their phone. Make sure that you do your research before buying, however – some brands and devices are meant to be used together, and others won’t play nice with each other.

Want to find out how your smart home devices affect your insurance? Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can tell you whether you should increase your coverage to include your devices, and if your new technology qualifies you for a new home insurance discount.

7 Spring Cleaning Steps for Boston Businesses

March is nearly here – are you ready for spring in Boston? As we prepare for the snow to start thawing, the Vargas and Vargas Insurance office is preparing for its annual spring cleaning. Want to use this opportunity to organize your Boston business? Here are a few things that you can do to ‘Spring Clean’ your way to success!

1. Clear the Clutter

The most well-known Spring Cleaning task is unarguably the physical cleaning. It’s time to break out your sanitizing supplies and make sure that your office sparkles. Get rid of dirt and grime, and make sure not to miss any of the hard-to-reach spots.

Now is also the perfect time to evaluate the state of your office. Could the paint use a little touching up? Have you been putting off a cosmetic repair? Get those done now, especially in areas that clients see. Remember – your office only gets one chance at a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one for both customers. Employees will also appreciate a new and fresh look, so think about improving your décor or rearranging your office space.

2. Get Organized

Now is also the perfect time to go through your pesky files and make sure that everything is in order. Shred anything you don’t need and organize the rest. Remember that your digital files should also be included in this task! All of your files should be logically organized and easy to find in a jiffy.

Now is also the perfect time to organize your Social Media pages. Who in your business takes care of these? Do they have a posting schedule? Are they planning out posts ahead of time? How quickly are they able to answer any questions that come in via these platforms? All of these questions need to be addressed.

3. Assess Your Expenses

When was the last time that you cleaned up your business’s expense account? You should be combing through your outgoing payments often, but a deep cleaning once a year will give you peace of mind. Keep a keen eye out for any recurring expenses that you no longer use or need, since those types of charges can add up fast and end up affecting your bottom line.

4. Put Safety First

The safety of your employees, your customers, and your business should be your topmost priority, so make it a focus when you do this year’s spring cleaning. Make sure that your shop or office space is a safe environment so that everyone is less likely to suffer an injury.

Also practice cyber safety! Back up all files with company information – preferably on the cloud where it is easily retrievable in case of a hard drive failure. If you store customer data, you should make sure that it is safe from hackers. Also teach yourself and any staff that you have about digital password safety, and learn the benefits of a password manager.

5. Check Your Website

Your business probably has a website, but when was the last time you visited it with the eyes of a customer? Set aside some time during your Spring Cleaning to dust off your website. Open it and try to see it as a new customer would and look for anything that needs a little freshening up. Make sure that all of the links still work! Also, when was the last time that you updated your content or posted a blog? Now is the perfect time to start anew.

6. Evaluate Your Goals

Did you set a 2019 resolution for your business? Now that two months of the year are in the books, it’s a great time to evaluate your progress. Are you on track to achieve what you planned, or does your goal need to be reevaluated? Have you been taking the steps necessary to accomplish (and maybe even exceed) your goal?

If you need help getting your business on track to succeed, talk to Carlos Vargas about his business coaching and consultations!

7. Plan for the Future

Once your Spring cleaning is complete and your business is sparkling, it’s time to take a look at your future. There should be fewer tasks on your ‘to-do’ list, but that is no excuse to sluff off! Create a list of things that you should be doing to keep your business running smoothly and make your experience better for your clients.

Need help cleaning up your insurance portfolio? Talk to the commercial insurance experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency about your business insurance needs. We can help you evaluate your risks and find the perfect coverage options to meet and exceed your expectations. We will even help to ensure that you’re receiving all of the discounts for which you qualify! It will be one of the easiest tasks on your Spring Cleaning to-do list, so don’t put it off any further – call 617-298-0655 today to speak to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance representative.

Morning Motivation – Week of February 18, 2019

Hello, friends!

I love to start each week with words of wisdom, and this week’s are:

There’s a reason it’s hard to see the “next big thing.” Most of us can only ever perceive the world as it is right now. Remember, Henry Ford famously said that if he asked people what they wanted, they’d have said faster horses.

Do you remember life before phones were stuck in our hands almost 24/7? Remember life before scrolling and swiping endlessly? Remember life before Google? You probably do, but could you have PREDICTED any of this? No. Neither can most people (me least of all).

But when it happens — when something huge happens — when you start hearing people you trust shouting about a massive shift — it’s time to dig in and learn a bit.

One of those shifts is happening right now. I will tell you all about it in my message next week.

Carlos

Recap: Valentine’s Day

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

– Charles M. Schulz

Did you all have a good Valentine’s Day? We hope that you were able to show your love to those that you are closest to last week. We also want to take this opportunity to remind you that it’s not too late to show your loved ones that you care by purchasing more than just chocolates and flowers. We’re talking about the gift of insurance! Policies like these are a great way to protect your loved ones:

  • Home Insurance, Renter’s Insurance, and Condo Insurance to protect the place that you call home, as well as your belongings and valuables.
  • Auto Insurance will help you verify that your car is financially covered after an accident, and that anyone who is hurt in an accident can get proper medical care.
  • Health and Life Insurance will help to care for your loved ones when they are ill, and make sure that they have the financial means to continue on if you pass away unexpectedly.

When you’re ready to learn more about how to protect your loved ones with the right Massachusetts insurance policies, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We will help you review your current policies to make sure that the coverage is right for you and can give you free quotes on new policies for no charge and with no obligation. Don’t wait until next Valentine’s Day – call now!

A Massachusetts Smart Home Guide

Have you noticed that everything nowadays is connected to the internet? Once ‘smartphones’ caught on (to the point that it seems like everyone has one) it seems like everything need to be ‘smart.’ Have you adopted any smart devices in your home, or are you thinking of adding any to your repertoire? Whether you’re deep into the Internet of Things lifestyle or you’re thinking of dipping your toe in the waters of smart home devices, this guide is for you!

Thermostats

One of the first innovations in the smart home space was the smart thermostat. As with the majority of smart devices (as you will see as we go through each of the following categories) this product allows you to connect a household object to the internet and therefore control it from the comfort of your phone.

This means adjusting the temperature of your home without leaving the couch, or even being able to do it while you’re away from home! Imagine being able to go on a vacation in the summer and turning your air conditioning off to save money. This used to mean coming home to a stifling house! Now, however, you can use your phone and smart thermostat to turn on the air a few hours prior to arriving home – allowing you to benefit from the savings of turning off your thermostat without the hassle of waiting for the house to cool down when you arrive home.

Light Bulbs

How often do you wake up before dawn and have to avoid tripping over things to turn on the light? Or get ready to watch a movie only to have to get up to dim the lights? These annoyances are no more when you install smart lights in your home. Not only can you turn the bulbs on and off from your Wi-Fi enabled devices, most bulbs are able to dim, and some are even able to broadcast colored lights!

Security Cameras

Home security cameras used to be a passive possession. You would turn the camera on and forget about it unless something happened – then you could pull the tapes and hope that there was something useful recorded.

Now, having a security camera is much more useful. When positioned correctly, you can use a security camera to watch people enter and exit your property in real time, including delivery workers and even your children getting home from school in the afternoons. Some of these devices are connected to smart doorbells, which will send you a notification if they are rung, and sometimes even allow you to communicate with your visitors from afar.

Indoor security cameras can monitor older children that are home alone, as well as any elderly residents of the home and mischievous pets that should be checked on occasionally throughout the day. This monitoring for the indoor and outdoor cameras can be done via the internet from anywhere that you have a device with access to your camera system.

Switches and Outlets

Have another object that you wish could be powered on and off with your phone? Just plug it in through a smart outlet or hook it up to a smart switch. This works on many things, including fans, holiday lights and trees, coffee makers, and much more.

Speakers

Another great innovation in the smart home space is the smart speaker. Most smart speakers have the ability to connect to and control many of your other smart devices through voice commands. So most of the devices above that you can control with a phone can also be controlled with your voice and a smart speaker. This means that futuristic commands like “turn on the lights,” “turn down the temperature,” and “turn on the ceiling fan” are now possible to execute!

Smart speakers are also able to access a vast wealth of knowledge from the internet. Have a question? Try asking your virtual assistant! You won’t need to pull out your device – the speaker will often answer basic questions in seconds.

This list of devices may seem long, but it barely scratches the surface of what’s available to homeowners, and new smart devices are coming out all the time!

Does all of this talk about technology and smart homes have you considering upgrading your home with these devices? If you do decide to make a change, remember to call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency and talk to your Boston home insurance agent. Let them know what changes you have made to see if it affects your insurance rates. You may need extra coverage to protect your new device, or your insurance rates could lower because of added security features in your home!

There is only one way to know for sure what the impact on your Massachusetts home insurance policy will be – call 617-298-0655 and talk to your agent now!

Morning Motivation – Week of February 11, 2019

Happy Monday once again, friends! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

As you know, I start each week with some positive words of wisdom, and this week’s are:

In last week’s message, I started talking about how you should use storytelling in your business to set yourself apart from your competition and to brand you and your business. I started laying out a few steps that will help you use the power of storytelling in your business. I only got to #1 last week, but here is the entire list:

  1. Show, Don’t Tell – Don’t talk about yourself. Instead, use stories that convey your expertise and values, maybe even showing the “superman” side of you.
  2. Use Stories as a Problem Solver – Humans use stories to make sense of the world around us. As your prospects struggle with the problems they are facing in their lives, you can use stories to answer important questions. How can you help? Why should they buy from you?  Well-crafted stores can show people the benefit of choosing your product or service.
  3. Be Relatable by Sharing Other’s Stories – Set yourself apart from your competition by talking about your customers, not yourself. Use clients’ stories to help undecided shoppers relate to your clients. When satisfied clients talk about you and praise you, it is more credible than anything you could say.

People love stories. Use stories to get and keep the attention of your prospects and referral sources and create an emotional connection with them. We make decisions emotionally, so when you take advantage of stories, you will be able to influence others thoughts, behaviors and maybe even buying decisions.

Although the human brain is able to process emotional and observational information, research has shown that emotional responses are stronger than rational responses and therefore decision making isn’t logical, it is emotional. Research has also shown that emotional response to an advertisement has far greater influence on a person’s intent to buy a product that the ad’s content does.

This means that when you use storytelling in your marketing, your audience is more likely to have an emotional response and remember your message!

That is it for this week!

Carlos

Recap: Family Dinner Tips

“The most essential part of my day is a proper dinner.”

– Rachael Ray

How often does your family enjoy eating dinner together around the table? If your resolution this year involved eating better or having more quality time with your loved ones, dinner is the perfect place to start? What more could you be doing to make the evening meal fun and nutritious? Here are some tips from last week’s full blog post – pick one (or try them all!) at your next meal.

  • Focus on serving healthy meals. Healthy meals don’t have to be complicated or hard to prepare. They don’t always need specialty kitchen tools. They can be enjoyed by people with simple and refined palates.
  • Plan dinner so that your family can eat together and connect. Ask everyone about their day, encouraging communication. Alternatively, you can occasionally use dinner time to learn something new by reading an article or listening to a podcast.
  • The important part about family dinner is establishing a routine. It may not be possible to have every member of the family sit down to a healthy dinner every day of the week, but find a schedule that works for you and stick to is as best you can.

Want to continue to make sure that your family is healthy and protected? Talk to your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about your insurance portfolio. Review your family’s health insurance and ask if your life insurance policy has enough coverage for your loved ones in case of unfortunate circumstances. A complete insurance review is free, and it’s only a call away, so pick up your phone and dial Vargas and Vargas Insurance at 617-298-0655 now to start the process.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Our Agency

It’s February, and that means that wherever you look, love is in the air! How are you going to show your loved ones how much you care about them? Traditional gifts include jewelry, sweets, flowers, and stuffed animals, but have you considered adding an insurance check up to your gift this year?

A sweet or cute or shiny present on Valentine’s Day is a great place to start – but why not make sure to also give your sweetheart something that will be a long-term gift? As Massachusetts insurance experts, we will be the first to agree that an insurance policy isn’t a glamorous gift, but there is nothing quite like it to say, “I love you and I want to make sure that you are always protected.”

When you’re reviewing your insurance this Valentine’s Day, make sure to go over the following policies:

Home Insurance

Do you share a place that you call ‘home’ with people that you love? You need to make sure that it is protected with the proper insurance policy. Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency offers home insurance for homeowners, renters’ insurance for those in apartments or rented homes, and even condo insurance for condo owners with their own unique needs.

You never expect to need to make a claim on your home’s insurance policy, but having the protection makes sure that any issues that you have can be resolved quickly and without massive financial loss.

A home, renters, or condo insurance policy also protects your belongings, including your valuables – this means that if you bought or received a piece of fine jewelry for the holiday, you should make sure to let your insurance agent know. They can help you make sure that the value of your new ‘bling’ is covered in case of loss or damage. Talk to your insurance agent about your valuables, whether it’s fine jewelry, art, collectibles, or something else – they will ensure that your home coverage provides the proper protection for the items.

Auto Insurance

Your car gets you and your loved ones from place to place. This can mean work and errands, but it can also mean fun activities. No matter where you’re driving, you need to make sure that your car is protected so that you can always have a safe and reliable car – that’s where your auto insurance comes in!

If your car is ever involved in an accident, you want it to be fixed without having to empty your bank account. Having the right auto insurance will help in this endeavor! Your Massachusetts car insurance can also help pay medical bills of anyone hurt in an accident that is your fault, as well as provide liability protection if you are involved in a lawsuit due to a car accident.

Health Insurance

A big part of saying “I love you” is meaning that you care about someone’s well-being. Is there a better way to care for someone than making sure that they have a great Boston health insurance policy? Make sure that your sweetheart can get the care that he or she needs when they’re under the weather with a health insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency.

Nowadays, medical care can be very expensive. No one wants to have to make the hard choice of forgoing care or seeing a doctor and ending up in debt. Talking to a medical insurance professional can ensure that you and your family have coverage that you can afford and that will provide you with the best possible care for your premium.

Life Insurance

One of the best gifts that you can give to the person that you love is peace of mind. Tell them that you want to make sure that they are financially protected in case anything ever happens to you and get a life insurance policy. Often, these policies are very affordable, and they provide a lot of coverage in a ‘worst case’ scenario. The funds received can be used to cover funeral expenses, care for dependents, and much more. Ask your insurance agent whether you should consider term life insurance, whole life insurance, or universal life insurance based on your unique needs.

When you’re ready to talk to a Boston insurance agent about providing protections for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, simply call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. Our agents can provide a free review for all of your insurance policies to ensure that you are carrying the right amount of protection for you and your family.

We would also like to take this opportunity to extend a big ‘thank you’ to all of our clients. We are humbled that you have chosen our agency to provide you with your insurance policies, and we always strive to provide you with the best possible service. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Make Sure Your Valuables are Covered by Your Home Insurance

Natural disasters can put your home in Dorchester, MA, and all your personal belongings at risk of damage or total loss. Home insurance can help mitigate that loss. Standard homeowners insurance, however, comes with limits on how much protection you receive for personal belongings. This protection may not be enough to replace valuable goods if they are stolen or damaged. How, then, can you make sure your valuables are covered under your home insurance policy? 

Purchase an Endorsement

An endorsement is additional insurance you can obtain to fully protect valuable items. The first step towards getting this coverage is to have your valuables appraised to determine their worth. You’ll then have a better idea of the kind of protection you need.  

There are two kinds of endorsements you can obtain for your valuable items: blanket coverage or individual floater. Blanket coverage enables you to protect entire collections of goods such as jewelry, stamp collection, coin collection, fine art, wine collections, etc. Floaters or riders cover specific items such as one painting or piece of furniture. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you select the best option for your valuables so you can get the insurance protection you need.

Benefits of Endorsements

There are numerous benefits to obtaining an endorsement for your valuables. Endorsements give you greater control over insurance protection for valuable goods, up to the replacement cost of your valuables. They also protect you against more perils than standard policies to include pet damage, accidents, and mysterious disappearance. Under many policies, floaters have no deductibles, saving you from having to pay anything out of pocket when making a claim.

If you’re looking for additional protection for your valuable goods, contact us at Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, MA.