Storm Damage Tips From Vargas & Vargas Insurance

This weekend’s Nor’easter, which is not a storm named by the National Weather Service, produced widespread damage including downed trees, sump pump failures, and power outages. The Vargas & Vargas Insurance team handled dozens of calls throughout the entire weekend and remains available at this time to assist you.

We understand there is great difficulty locating tree removal services and roofers to patch or tarp roof openings. We also note that finding generators and or sump pumps to remove water from basements is a challenge at this time.

Below are some tips should you have suffered any damage:

Tree damage: If there is tree damage to a building or home the first order of business is to ensure everyone’s physical safety. Once that has been completed, contact a licensed tree removal company. Currently, tree removal companies are focusing on calls involving severe damage. We suggest a number of companies be contacted to secure competitive quotes and, if necessary, to get on waiting lists for assistance.

Sump pump failure: Be extremely mindful of entering a flooded basement as water that has risen to certain levels may have caused an electrical short creating a dangerous situation. Elevating personal belongings and removing the water as soon as possible is important. Pumps and generators are in high demand currently and most local hardware and big box home improvement stores are out of stock. Contacting stores within a reasonable driving distance may be good option.

Roof damage: Much like tree removal services, licensed roofers are in high demand after a storm of this size. While likely well-meaning, this will cause individuals without the necessary level of expertise to offer assistance. As we have suggested in the past, please do not let anyone on your roof that you did not contact directly, and please be sure those that do provide help are appropriately licensed and insured.While these are the most common types of losses after a storm of this nature, we recognize these are not the only issues currently being experienced. Please contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance with any questions or concerns you may have.

To report a loss, you can contact us by telephone (617-298-0655), email(customerservice@vargasinsurance.com)
or text (617-409-0329).

If you suffer an emergency that cannot wait until we are open for business, please contact our after-hours claim telephone number  617-322-5289. 

Also, you may find our blog titled, “Home insurance, should you file a claim”, interesting to read, can read it by clicking here.

Sincerely,Carlos

The one skill more important to business pros than sales.

I hope that you had a fantastic weekend! As you know, I like to start every week with some words of wisdom:

“The thing that people don’t realize is you want to teach people how to fix things without paying you for it because that builds up leverage, you give up a sale in the beginning, but you get all the sales in the end.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Over the next five years, there is one skill undeniably more important to the success of all business professionals than sales. Unfortunately, most are not putting in the hard work to improve this skill. That’s where the opportunity lies for us!

What is this important skill, you ask? It’s building relationships. You need to build relationships today to stand out 5, 10, and 20 years from now. Most businesspeople aren’t doing this today, and the writing’s on the wall for them.

We operate in a marketplace where attention rules all, and those who can attract (and keep) the attention win the game. If you are not doing the work today that sets you up to succeed, you will not be able to compete. There will come a day when what you do and offer in the marketplace may be better and cheaper, but it will be as if you don’t exist because you have not built the relationships to get and keep their attention.

If you look at the money being poured into ads everywhere by the big boys – Trulia, Zillow, Rocket Mortgage, and Morgan & Morgan, for example – the money they are spending doesn’t pan out.  They can’t be local like you and me.  It’s not the consumer’s fault that they think that they believe the ‘big boys’ – instead, it’s an opportunity for us to educate them.

I am a believer in content marketing, telling your story, being the local and value provider, and giving without expectation of a return. I truly believe that the organizations that will be in business in the next 5, 10, and 20 years are the ones who are laying the groundwork today.

What does that look like? It means getting your customers’ emails and cell phone numbers. I work with some business people who still do not have their customers’ information! There is no way to compete in a world where your competitors have your customers’ email addresses and cell phone numbers and you don’t.

If you want to stay relevant for the next several years, you had better change your way of doing business. You need to put the content out there in all the ways that your customers are consuming it – video, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

If you don’t like to be in front of the camera, find someone who does. If you don’t like to write, find someone who does (hit reply now and I can connect you with my copy editor, she is amazing and an asset to my business).

“There has never been a time in history to attract attention was so valuable.” –Ryan Hanley

Your story needs to be told whether you are a big huge brand or a mom and pop shop, and no one can tell your story like you can. Your ability to tell your story is as important as your ability to sell your products and service. It’s the only way that you will attract the attention to do business in the new digital marketplace.

In today’s world, ‘losing’ means taking the time to perfect the customer experience. It means thinking about the way people answer your phone. It means making less cold calls and writing blog posts or creating bitesize videos about the questions you hear every day.

The truth is that I don’t know where this is all headed, what I do know is this:

“There is a connected generation and an unconnected generation, every day that goes by the connected generation expands and the unconnected generation shrinks, who are you going to bet your future on?”

Make the conscious decision to tell your story and connect with the expanding consumer group. How will you connect? Podcasts, blogs, video? I don’t know, but taking the time today to start building your brand now is what will help you succeed in the upcoming years and even decades. Attention wins the game, and I want you to come along for this ride. Lose today so we can all win tomorrow.

I will leave you with this final quote:

“If you’re not putting relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.” –Gary Vaynerchuk
I implore you to heed this advice. You can thank me five years from now.

Have a question? Need help? Leave a message below and I will work your question into a future message.

Know that you are loved!

C

Going dark to recharge the batteries!

 

Summertime is quickly coming to an end.  I am going dark for a little while.

Kathy and I are headed out of town to refuel. Years ago, we started vacationing “on the shoulder” of seasons, due to the cost, less hustle, and bustle at popular vacation spots.

After many months of doing my best to encourage, inspire and serve, giving many presentations, coaching some amazing business people, and making many new friends, we are taking some time to refresh our batteries.

Doing good for others without doing good for yourself isn’t very good, is it?

This is why you will not be hearing from me for the next few weeks.

So I’m taking this time to regenerate, spend time with friends and loved ones, swim, golf, continue my quest to be better physically fit, read, reflect, and just be a human being versus a human doing. I’ve been at this for a long time (37 years) and hope to be around many, many more years. Vitality is essential for longevity, so I’m protecting mine.

I will also be using my “dark time” to reread some of my favorite books. Try to reshape my thinking, develop my philosophy, and reset my being, so I come back strong in early October so that I can serve you even better.

One of the books that I am re-reading is Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life. Here is a passage that I felt was worthy to share with you:

 

What did you enjoy reading this summer? Leave a reply below, I would LOVE to know.

Hope all this helps. After all, our world needs more heroes. Why wait for them when you have it in you to become one of them?

In my absence, please remember that Jeff Camara and the Vargas and Vargas Insurance team are always available to help you and your clients with insurance questions, quotes, and any problems you may encounter.  They can be reached by:

Telephone: 617-298-0655
Text: 617-409-0329
Quote team email: quotes@vargasinsurance.com
Service and claim team email: customerservice@vargasinsurance.com 

And know that you are loved! Now go out and have some awesome weeks!

It’s your turn (it’s always your turn)!

C

Four Tips for a Healthier Autumn

Temperatures are slowly dropping here in Massachusetts. As you prepare for the leaves to change (and eagerly await your first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year) make sure that your focus stays on being at your best. One of the most important ways to stay at your peak is to stay healthy. Here are some tips on how to stay healthy in the Fall months:

  1. Don’t Skip the Flu Shot: No one wants to get the flu, so prevent it with a flu shot (if you are eligible). Also do your best to avoid getting a cold by keeping your hands clean, among other preventative techniques.
  2. Embrace a Pumpkin Diet: In addition to being a great decorating item, pumpkins are a great food! They are high in vitamins A and C, and the seeds are a great healthy snack when roasted.
  3. Enjoy the Weather: Fall is the perfect time to get outside and exercise. Winter’s harsh cold will be here before you know it, so don’t squander this perfectly crisp and cool weather.
  4. Plan Ahead for Holidays: It’s never too early to start making plans for Thanksgiving. If you’re hosting friends and family, make sure that there are plenty of healthy options on the table.

For more great tips on how to be at your best, stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog. And remember, our agents are here to help with all of your Massachusetts insurance needs – just call 617-298-0655 with your insurance questions, and let us know if you would like a quote!

Vacation Tips: Avoid Identity Theft

When a vacation is on the horizon, it’s important to make sure that you are fully prepared. This obviously means making sure that the packing is done, but don’t forget about some of the other tasks that should be on your checklist. These are specifically meant to protect you from the threat of identity theft – something you certainly don’t want to deal with… especially right after a vacation:

  • Don’t post about your vacation on social media. It’s easy to be so excited about an upcoming vacation that you want to share it with the world, but posting on Facebook or tweeting about when you will be out of town is an invitation to identity thieves.
  • Put a hold on your mail. This is much safer than letting it pile up in your mailbox or asking a neighbor to collect it for you.
  • Protect your electronics. If you don’t normally have a password or other lock on your devices, you may want to temporarily set one while you are away – this will make it harder for others to use your devices without your permission if you accidentally lose them in an unfamiliar place or leave them in a hotel room unattended.
  • Alert your bank to the fact that you’re going on vacation. If your bank knows that you’re travelling, they can reach out about potential suspicious activity. You can also choose to temporarily freeze certain accounts to prevent issues.

To further protect yourself before you go on vacation, talk to your Boston insurance agent about reevaluating your home insurance coverage. This will ensure that you are protected in case anything happens while you are away. The number for Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is 617-298-0655. Make sure that it is programmed into your phone before you leave in case of an emergency.

“Run Your Week Like You Are Dancing On The Edge Of A..

Everything is NOT important, right?. I’ll even go one step further, everyone is not important. At least not as it relates to you and your business, and your life as a whole.

Our son, Matthew just stopped by to spend a few minutes with Kathy and I before he leaves for his honeymoon in the morning. Before Matthew left our home, he told me a story that gave me the idea for this Message – before Matthew left his branch at #EnterpriseRentACar tonight, he had a meeting with his assistants and support staff and advised them to take some risks this week. He said that he left them with this message;

“Run your week like you are dancing on the edge of a razor blade while trying not to get cut.”

As business owners, you need to take some risks, and it’s the little things that make a big difference. That’s true in marriage, parenting, and in marketing yourself as a mortgage, real estate, legal or any professional. In truth, it’s important in every business. Too often we get caught up in the “thick” of “thin things” and we lose touch with what really drives success in our business.

As we all know, being a loan officer, real estate agent, attorney, solopreneur, or business owner is not easy, BUT having the knowledge and tools to succeed makes running a smooth sailing ship an attainable goal. How many days have you been at the office until 8 pm? How many weekends have you worked when you shouldn’t have? Do you feel like you’ve been running around all day but have not actually done anything you set out to do in the morning? As business owners, these are questions we have all answered “yes” to at some point. But why? Because we don’t have the right mindset to create the job we want vs. the job we have.

In every profession, there are cardinal sins that take you off track and derail your success. Over the next few emails, I will be sharing the marketing sins many of us commit and will help you implement some tips to turn your downfalls into productivity! My challenge to you is to take one or two sins that you’re committing and focus on improving them. When you’ve got them nailed, move on to another sin and overcome it. Business success usually results from the commitment to making small incremental improvements over a long time.

Sin #1: Working “IN” Your Business Instead of “ON” Your Business!
I was working with a friend that I mentor who was in a sales slump. He was putting in a lot of time at work, but was not seeing any results from his efforts. I decided to perform a very simple diagnostic: I asked him to email me a detailed list of all his activities for the next three days and then give me a callback. He did his homework and I received the email listing all his activities and how much time he spent on them. With an immediate glance, I could tell exactly what his problem was — he didn’t realize what business he was in. After reviewing his activities, it was clear that he had become a “Fireman” and was too busy “putting out fires,” because that’s where he spent most of his time. Rather than working “on” his business, he was working “in” his business. The key here is to concentrate on the “non-urgent — but important” tasks and NOT on the “urgent — but not important” tasks.

This mortgage professional (and, maybe you) should be spending more time working “on” your business doing things like proactive sales and marketing activities, which have a higher long-term payoff.

How can less be more when it comes to working? Well, that statement is true, and I would love to show you how to accomplish twice the work in half the time, and reduce your stress in the process. The secret is Pareto’s Law, or the 80/20 Principle – a core foundation of success in business, and in life for that matter.

Now go out and enjoy the rest of your week!

Carlos

How to Make the Most of an Afternoon Nap

It is truly unfortunate that napping is associated with laziness in today’s society. In truth, there are many benefits to polyphasic sleep, including lower stress levels and increased mood. Whether you need an emergency nap on a busy day, or you make it a point to get a snooze in every day, ensure that you get the most out of your afternoon siesta with the following tips:

  • Limit your nap to 20-30 minutes. This length has been proven to increase alertness without inducing grogginess or sleep inertia.
  • Choose your environment wisely – a nap while riding the T will never be as restful as one on a quiet couch or bed.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep for a nap, try using meditation techniques like breathing exercises to calm your mind.
  • Combine the benefits of napping and caffeine by having a coffee right before a short nap. When you wake up, you should be feeling the effects of both for a double boost!
  • Lavender is a scent that naturally lowers heart rate and blood pressure, so it can help you relax before you attempt to drift off.

Once you awaken from your nap, you will be more alert and ready to take on any task. Similarly, here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency we are ready to help you with all of your insurance needs! Call 617-298-0655 to speak to one of our agents about a free and no-obligation review of all of your insurance policies – we can make sure that you are fully covered and that you’re not overpaying for your policies. Sweet dreams!

Low Cost Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

One of the most-asked questions from small business owners is this: How do I market my business without spending a fortune? Thankfully, there are lots of potential customers out there for you, you just have to know how to find them. Here are a few tips for getting the word out about what you offer without breaking the bank:

  • Word-of-Mouth advertising is free! Just ask your customers if they are happy with the service that you provided and ask them to let their friends, family, and co-workers know about your business, and the word may start to spread.
  • Leverage Social Media – depending on the type of business you have, you can consider using many social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
  • There are many local events going on in the Greater Boston area all year round. Ask to be an event sponsor or volunteer to help out in order to both aid the community and gain exposure for your business.
  • Running a contest could encourage your current clients to spread the word about your business – just make sure to spread the word both in person and on your Social Media.
  • Ask for reviews on Google and Yelp. If a customer is satisfied with your business, let them know that it would be a huge help to you if they would post a review of your business on websites like Yelp and Google. After all, those sites are a major influence on potential customers!
  • Leverage your friends, family, coworkers, really anyone that you have met in the past, typically referred to as your top 100, or executive 200, I call it working your Dunbar’s 150, leave a message below and I can share with you more details.

Here’s another tip on how to save your small business some money: talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about your Massachusetts small business insurance. We can get you the insurance coverage you need while making sure that you get the discounts you deserve – so call 617-298-0655 today for your free quote.

I’m In Love With Many Things…

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you to everyone who showed their love by replying to last week’s message!

Your feedback and responses have been incredible, AND I am so looking forward to having coffee with you and will reach out to everyone else by the end of this week to schedule a time for us to meet.

I’m glad last week’s emails resonated with so many people!

I am a man in love. I’m in love with many things, and a few people. And I’m also in love with learning – it’s what makes my ‘business-me’ work well.

I’m drinking a Starbucks “Clover Pressed” Panama Carmen Estate Reserve Blend at our local Starbucks shop (I find that I sometimes work better here than at home or the office, it helps me to pause and people watch). What’s in your cup?

I asked in last week’s message, “How are you feeling about your year so far?” I am feeling pretty good about my year… the summer is here, which in my book has always meant that the workload scales back a notch or two and Kathy and I get outdoors more than ever, and all of the meet and greet family and friend events are starting, of which I try to not miss any.

Lately, I’m learning from people who push beyond average. The time for average is over. I am learning from people who live simply but with impact. I’m learning how clarity and the value of integrating your life around the alignment of your mission, your goals, and the targets related to those two points matters a lot more than which social network you use.

We are wasting so much energy in turbulence instead of in forward motion. We are drowning ourselves in distraction (Trump, Russia, impeachment, etc.) and are avoiding facing the work that we must do. We’re still chasing the shiny and new when what we need most are the basics. We are seeking every possible opportunity to lie to ourselves, coddle ourselves, or make excuses.

There are plenty of employees and passive people roaming the planet that are just waiting for “the man” to ruin their lives more so that they will have something new to complain about. But you’re an owner/entrepreneur. Even if you’re an ‘employeepreneur,’ your belief is that you own your choices affect your own your life, and you aim to own your future.

We strive to build our capabilities through learning and executing on that knowledge so that we can be of better service to the people we have the opportunity to serve.

What’s right for you? Even if you’re not sure, I know this: learning is a part of the menu, and it must be. Every day.

Since starting down the path of helping others, I’ve learned that it’s important to be relationship-minded. I’ve learned that, like with all industries, there are good and bad examples. I’ve learned that my concept that “we are all salespeople” is absolutely true in marketing. And I have learned that many self-employed/entrepreneurs are happy to “just be,” rather than growing their knowledge or brand.

Right now I am reading two books, my summer enjoyment reading is Winter of the World by Ken Follet and to stay sharp and continue learning, Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount.

That’s all I have for today. I’m finding myself drawn to people seeking the next level. Those who are making excuses or who feel they’ve already figured it all out aren’t that interesting to me. I’m sure they’re nice people, but I’ve only got 50 years left on this planet (if I’m very lucky) and I’d rather spend it with people who care.

And thus, I end where I began – What you learn matters. Do you agree?

What are you learning?

Carlos