Monday Morning Motivation Week of August 19

Last week we discussed strategies to become “the authority” on your topic. Here are a few more strategies to consider.

It’s no surprise that I LOVE starting the week (and everyday) with words of wisdom. Today’s are:

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show them.”
– Steve Jobs

3. Know Your Audience and Add Real Value

Knowing your audience is the core of the marketing process—without it, you wont know your audience’s pain.

Seek to understand the personal goals, frustrations, and daily struggles of the individuals included in your audience.

What do I mean by being “real”? People think frequently and often, “What’s in it for me?”

 You need to be seen by your clients as something they value and can use. This will aid in making a real connection with them so you can be a reliable resource.

4. Be Consistent

Consistency is a key component to establishing your reputation as an authority and building the trust that comes with the reputation.

5. Engaging With Your Community

Cement your position as an expert in your community by being open and engaging with them.  This doesn’t mean just placing a small sponsor add in an events fundraiser booklet or responding to comments and answering questions.  You need to get out and meet your “tribe” through volunteering at events, community and fundraisers. Additionally, have conversations with them by asking what they need. Most importantly, follow up and through based on your conversations.

6. Build Relationships With Experts and Influencers

Reach out to experts and influencers within your niche and in related niches that target the same audience that is your best customer. These folks are strategic alliances and could be your best referral source.

While it takes time and work to position yourself as an authority in your field, the benefits you receive will be worth the investment.

As the most trusted expert, whether you are a real estate agent, mortgage professional, builder etc., you will be the first choice in the minds when they need to hire someone that provides the services that you offer.  This is because you have not only helped them to know, like and trust you, but you have also clearly demonstrated the expertise that proves you can help them solve their problems or overcome their challenges.

Please review ALL of my Monday Morning Motivation blogs HERE

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Monday Morning Motivation Week of August 12

I LOVE starting the week (really everyday) with words of wisdom.
Todays are: 

“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
~ Meredith Hill

For the last few weeks, we have been talking about niches and niche marketing.

There are so many choices and options today when people are looking to solve a challenge or problem. 

How do they make that choice?

One way is that they find a trusted expert or authority who has built a relationship with them and has proven their expertise on their topic.

When your community needs someone that offers YOUR products or services, will you be TOP OF MIND and  the authority they turn to for assistance?

Here are some strategies to become “the authority” on your topic:

1. Focus on a niche

Don’t be the proverbial “ jack-of-all-trades and master of none”.  If you want people to see you as an authority, specialize in something.  Pick a niche that narrowly focuses on your ideal Customer. With this level of specialization, you can focus on what they need and/or want. You will be better able to personalize your message to speak directly to your ideal client(s) and connect with them emotionally. This is vital to your success in becoming an authority.

Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the right niche for your business and community.

 2.  Choose the right channels. 

Once you have chosen your niche, you must also select the right channels to share your knowledge and expertise.  You don’t want to waste your time sharing your knowledge in place where your community is not spending their time.

Do you know if they spend their time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or somewhere else?

Knowing this will increase your engagement with your future clients based on your relevant, focused  content.

Next week, stay tuned for item #3: Adding real value by knowing your audience.

Please review ALL OF MY Monday Morning Motivation blogs. Visit us anytime online for tips and training on how to build your business. Click on the link: https://www.vargasinsurance.com/blog/category/monday-motivation

Monday Morning Motivation Week of August 5

I start each week with words of wisdom, and today’s are:

“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.”
~ Charles Swindoll

After I gave notice to my “9 to 5” employer, I started working at Prudential with #TheMan as my manager.  Through his teaching, I learned the debit system; but more importantly how to collect, review insurance policies and uncover a new need for life insurance.  I was fairly successful. Though, anyone would have been successful with the training #theMan gave me. 

What’s “fairly successful”? Remember how I quit my “9 to 5” job to join Prudential? Well, I didn’t quit my 9pm to 12am midnight job nor my Saturday and Sunday taxi cab driving job since I didn’t know if I would make it selling life insurance.  But, after a year, I did quit the weekend taxi job. Why? Because I started making more money that both of my parents combined. That’s a quantifiable result right there.

I quickly learned that my “niche” was being present before someone purchased their home. 

You see, I figured out that if I could manage my homeowner insurance clients, there was high probability  that they would buy life insurance to cover their new financial need. I made more money selling life insurance than I did selling home or automobile insurance.

Here’s a book recommendation on how to narrow your niche to increase your responsiveness: 
“Badass Your Brand: The Impatient Entrepreneur’s Guide to Turning Expertise into Profit” BY Pia Silva

Niche selling gets great results! Without creating a niche, you can sell anything to anyone, but that doesn’t mean you should, right?

If you go to the general marketplace with the ”Hey I can help anyone with anything” speech, you’ve got about as much credibility as someone who says, “Hey I can mow lawns and i’ve got this hair re-growth tonic and I’m also a NASA astrophysicist.

No one takes you seriously when you try to be everything to anyone.
Consider this:

  1. Forget about the “anyone” and the “anything”. 
  2. Pick a “someone” and a “something”.
  3. Find the people with the problem.
  4. Pick one person with one problem and make them one clear promise.

This shifts your beige, general, bland message. Instead of the prospect thinking, “He/she ’s not really talking to me.” to “Hey, this person is talking about people just like me about the sort of problems I’ve got.”

Then, they pay attention and listen. 

Stop being broad, pick a micro-niche for the next 60 days, target it and get better results.

Stay tuned for why I stopped selling life insurance. 

Please review ALL OF MY Monday Morning Motivation blogs. Visit us anytime online for tips and training on how to build your business. Click on the link: https://www.vargasinsurance.com/blog/category/monday-motivation

Monday Morning Motivation Week of July 29

I’m always eager to start each week with words of wisdom, and today’s are:

If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction. ~ Sam Walton

Have you ever heard the saying, the riches are in the niches?

I started my insurance career 40 years ago working for Prudential Insurance on their debit system.

Are you asking yourself, “what’s a debit system?” Good!

The debit system was when you purchased life insurance from Prudential (Hancock, Metropolitan and all of the other mutual insurance companies).  It used to be that the life insurance agent who sold you the policy would come by once a month to pick up your premium. Gasoline was very cheap and that’s the way the life insurance business had been done since the beginning of time.

What you should also know about me is that I was a longhaired, motorcycle driving, cigarette smoking, 20 year old working 2 full-time jobs.

My interview went like this: On the urging of #TheMan, he told me to go to the local Prudential life insurance office for the interview. He thought the manager would be impressed with my work ethic as a 20 year old.  

Spoiler Alert: The manager was not impressed. He seemed more bothered that I did not get a haircut nor did I shave. I also wore a leather jacket and carried my helmet into the interview.

I was told I would be contacted after the interview. The home phone (landline was our only form of phone communication) rang about a week later. #TheMan told me that if I was willing to shave, get a haircut and buy a suit, I had a job. He also said that if I didn’t have a car, one would be provided. My salary for the first 13 weeks would be more than what I was making working the other two jobs combined.

He asked if I wanted the position. I told him that I did.

More next week!

Please review ALL OF MY Monday Morning Motivation blogs. Visit us anytime online for tips and training on how to build your business. Click on the link: https://www.vargasinsurance.com/blog/category/monday-motivation

Monday Morning Motivation Week of July 22nd

I LOVE starting my week with positive words of wisdom. This week’s are:

We have to get back to the beauty of just being alive in this present moment. ~ Mary McDonnell

Last week I started talking about being present, I talked about my trip out to Phoenix and how I was not being present with my wife, Kathy.

My second thought to paying attention is to remember that our time together is limited.

If there are changes you want to make in your personal or business life, start now. There will never be a better day to begin making improvements than today.

Don’t keep putting off the things that you want to do or should be doing. For example:

  • if you want to start eating more healthy foods, go to the grocery store and buy healthy food, buy supplies to start your own garden
  • If you need to exercise more, go for a walk tonight or find a buddy and work out
  • Is your relationship with your spouse wavering? Spend alone time talking tonight
  • Do you want a new job? Start sending out resumes. Tomorrow is promised to no one

You cannot continue to waste time thinking that you’ll take care of your issues at some later date.

Your family, your career, and your whole life are happening right now. If you don’t take any action to maintain or increase your happiness, life will pass you by. It’s okay to plan for the future, and big decisions should not be taken lightly, but you have to live your life daily without creating regrets.

Monday Morning Motivation Week of July 15th

I LOVE starting my week with positive words of wisdom. This week’s are:

The best way to learn to be present and develop presence is to have the experience of someone you respect and admire being present with and for you. ~ Mark Goulston

As I have mentioned in earlier emails, I was a speaker at IAOA in January. This gathering, our country’s youngest and brightest independent insurance agents, is one of the highlights of my year.

The trip started with our airplane ride to Phoenix. I don’t know what you do on an airplane, but I usually work writing blogs, creating  posts and/or laying out chapters ideas for the book I’m writing.  

Suddenly, I got a look from my wife, Kathy that screamed, “hey, I’m over here, why aren’t we communicating?”  

I put my laptop away, we watched a movie, fell asleep and had a great flight.

The conference is 2 ½ days of presenters and break-out sessions all day. The event is choreographed so that all of the members in attendance get maximum exposure to one another. Kathy spent this time by the pool, visiting the local things to do and working on her hobby.

When the conference was over, we hung out for a couple of days to enjoy the weather, but so did many of the other independent agency owners. And everywhere that we went at the hotel, we ran into each other and started chatting about how we’re doing, what we’re doing and our “secret sauces”. 

One of the agents asked me if I was afraid of sharing my secret sauce.  I replied, “you may already know the sauce, but you still have to cook it.” I borrowed that from a chef friend of mine!

Here are a few of the most common barriers that keep us from being present and mindful:

  • Thinking about the past and the future
  • Multitasking
  • Being in denial
  • Obsessing on thoughts or observations
  • Pushing away thoughts or observations
  • A lack of intention
  • A lack of compassion
  • Judging, analyzing, criticizing or evaluating

Judgment is one of the most common ways that keeps you from being mindful. Whether you are judging your experience as good, bad or ugly, it’s an obstacle to being fully present in the moment. We do this all the time. Everyone does. The way to do it less is to notice it and move your thoughts on and not let judging interfere with your ability to be mindful. It’s ironic isn’t it? You have to be mindful about being mindful.

Try spending a few days noticing all the judgments you make throughout the day: 

  • “What is that lady wearing?” 
  • “Yuck, this food is gross!” 
  • “I should not be the one handling this!” 

Any time you catch yourself playing Judge Judy, notice it, label it as a judgment, and resist the temptation to judge yourself for being judgmental. More irony, right?

Pay Attention!

When I came to this realization, my first thought was paying more attention to Kathy. I know how I feel when people don’t listen to me or pretend like they’re listening to me, so I have to apply the Golden Rule:
Treat her as I want to be treated.

This one is easy because I want to treat my wife better than I want to be treated. There’s an episode of the Cosby show (sorry), “The Dead End Kids Meet Dr. Lotus” when Theo is given great advice from his father. He’s told to repeat these words: “I will pay more attention to my partner.” 

Remember  “Tomorrow isn’t promised, all we have is today.'”
~ Sylvia Solomon

My second thought? Next week!

Monday Morning Motivation Week of July 8

I LOVE starting my week with positive words of wisdom. This week’s are:

“Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg

Last week, I talked about the responsibility of small business owners. Facebook is a good example because it’s where many people spend their day (and nights) scrolling.

There are two primary features:

● Personal Profile (Get over the fact that we, as marketers, need to share with the world ourselves and our families, warts and all! People want to do business with you and not a sanitized version of you.

● Posts 

Profile 

  • What is the One Job of your profile?
  • What is the One Measurement of your profile?

Posts

  • What is the One Job of a specific post?
  • What is the One Measurement of a specific post?

There are of course a variety of post types. You could have a picture, a video and/or a story (includes a picture or a video). You can now add polls and all sorts of things.

But isn’t it easier to think about One Post at a time? A few thoughts:

  • Gathering friends and followers is not the NUMBER ONE job of your profile.
  • Gathering followers is not the job of EVERY post.

For example: A post may have the specific job of featuring a video about the newsletter topic you are writing about tomorrow. You may want to point people to your “link in the profile” where they can sign up to your newsletter.

  1. The post points to the profile.
  2. The profile has the link that points to the page.
  3. The job of the page is to get people to engage with us and sign up for our newsletter.
  4. The job of the newsletter welcome email is to set the stage for what’s to come and on and on.

The real beauty of One Number (and One Job, One Measurement, One Source) is the simplicity. It narrows our focus and aligns our efforts, making it easier to know you’re on the right path (or not).

That’s it for this series! I would LOVE to know what you think of my messages over these last few weeks. Send me an email or connect with me on social media.

Monday Morning Motivation

I LOVE starting my week with positive words of wisdom. This week’s are:

People are in such a hurry to launch their product or business that they seldom look at marketing from a bird’s eye view and they don’t create a systematic plan~ Dave Ramsey

Last week I finished with applying your NUMBER ONE to marketing.

If you’re a small business owner, marketing is your responsibility. You may be of a size where you can outsource to a consultant or delegate the tasks in-house, but ownership of the plan is your responsibility.

We know that you are not a full-time marketing person; you have clients to serve.

Marketing is not your job description. So, we must find a reasonable balance and develop a simple plan so you can consistently take action to keep the marketing ball bouncing.

How much time is reasonable for you to devote to your digital marketing each week?

The only wrong answer is zero.

The right answer will vary. Of course, your expectations for what you can accomplish with marketing need to be in line with the amount of time you’re willing to spend.

BUT…

You don’t need to post every minute of every day to have an impact.

One Job

The concept behind One Job is to help you to narrow your focus to the most important next step. This applies for your website and social media channels.

Each element should have One Job. The job should be simple, and it shouldn’t try to do more than that.

If everything is set to focus on One Job, you can build an entire connected ecosystem focused on serving people at each point along the way.

For example: The primary job of our homepage is to get possible new customers to click on the button to get more information about some of the insurance products that we sell.

There are several elements, but it’s all geared to having them contact us.

The picture of families, cars or homes is professional. The message is that we want you to know what products we insure.

One Measurement

The beauty of One Job is that it narrows what you measure for success. If the message is doing its job well, then my measurement will be based on how many people click through and contact our agency.

Now, there are lots of things to measure, and installing Google Analytics is a must, but let’s be clear on one thing, if Google Analytics tells me that I don’t have very many visitors to our site, specifically our home page, it’s a failing page and effort on my part.

One Source (at a time) – Effort

As you know, you have a ton of different sources for driving traffic to your site. The most often thought of, are your social media platforms and SEO. Let’s pick one.

Facebook. Next week.

Morning Motivation – Week of August 6, 2018

You know that I LOVE to start my week with some positive words of wisdom:

Fear. It’s so easy to get stuck in it, to let it hold you back and keep you from being successful! I have been there many times in my life and I am sure you have also.

Fear holds us back from:

  • Trying new things. It has holds us back from trying something new for lunch or starting a new hobby because we fear we would have a bad experience or fail. And so we stick to our usual routine and choices. It also keeps us from moving from our current job to a potential better job.
  • Asking someone for the sale, what I call your “CTA” (call to action). Because we don’t want to risk being rejected or looking like a fool in the eyes of other people.
  • Living our life’s full potential, the fear has held us in its grip and calmly explained to us that it would be best and most comfortable for us to stay where we are and to do nothing new. Many times we have sadly believed the fear and gotten ourselves stuck in a place where we honestly deep down, didn’t want to be.

The fears we have are based on how we think about things and how we feel about ourselves. Sometimes we don’t think that we can ever measure up to make a big move, and these destructive thought habits can create a lot of fear that is really unnecessary and damaging.

But there are ways to handle these habits when they pop up and to – over time – replace them with healthier habits.

So today I’d like to share with you the first of a few destructive and fear inducing thought habits and what to do instead of letting them roam free in your head.

Fear-Inducing Habit #1: You keep the fear foggy and undefined.

As long as your fear of doing something is foggy and undefined and just floating around in your head it will hold you back and often grow stronger with time.

What to do instead:

Ask yourself this question: what is the worst that could realistically happen? Don’t just take a second or two to answer it. Sit down with a pen and piece of paper. Take time to really think about it and to write out the realistic worst-case scenario.

This will:

  • Bring clarity to what you truly fear.
  • Defuse the fuzzy fears or disaster scenarios that may have been bouncing around in your mind.
  • Help you to realize that you can often bounce back pretty quickly even if the worst-case scenario somehow becomes reality.

Next week, I will talk about the second fear-inducing habit: keeping your fear to yourself.

Carlos

Happy Spring! Do You Keep Waiting For Flowers To Bloom?

I hope that you are as excited as I am about today, today is the first day of Spring!

With all of this winters storms, this day is so much more special.

I know that it is just a date on the calendar, but it gives us reason to hope that the weather will be changing really soon.

I like to start my week with some words of wisdom,

“You’re frustrated because you keep waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds.” -Steve Maraboli

Do you have a stack of “stuff” that you intend to let go or get to, but never do?
 
I swear that my wife Kathy is the master of getting things done. She hates to see “stuff” stacked up anywhere. It’s a mindset. I have said before, she is super organized, she has a plan and is amazingly detailed on what she wants and does not want. It’s an addiction for her. Our son Matthew is just like Kathy, Jonathan and I are the exact opposites.
 
Stop Letting Things Pile Up
I have a silent little secret. It’s books, specifically the buying of books. I have decided that I am not going to buy any more books until I read (or given away) the ones that I have piled up. I’ve purchased many books thinking that they would be great reads, or that I would get some great ideas from them, but some have not even been looked at.
 
I have started taking notes on all the ideas that I think are useful and want to incorporate into my business and personal life from the books that I am reading. I am using Evernote to keep track of these ideas.  I will work on implementing these new ideas as hard as I work to read the book.
 
I want you to do the same. I bet you’re subscribed to too many newsletters. Unsubscribe from the ones that are not serving you. And I mean MY Monday Morning Message and our connection, too. If you do not find my writing interesting, or useful, click Unsubscribe at the bottom of the email, or unfollow me on Linkedin. It won’t hurt my feelings at all.
 
You see, I am a believer in the philosophy of “out of everyone you meet, 25% will automatically take a liking to you, 25% will automatically hate you and the other 50% is undecided.” I write these messages for the 25% that like me and the 50% that are still undecided.
 
Stop Adding “Stuff” to Your Life
Are you one of those people who has a plan, not really following it, and so you start looking for a new plan? You may be thinking that you’re not the problem in this equation. You are. And I am too, sometimes.
 
Work on ONE plan. Give it all your effort. Execute that plan. THEN, if it’s not working you can abandon it and try another. You are better off having learned from this failure rather than never having tried it.
 
But neither you nor I have permission to think, “Hmm, I’m not actually doing this anyway, so I’ll go find something else to not do.” Give it your 100% or abandon it completely: half-hearted efforts are a total waste of your time. You won’t be helped by doing this… that’s last year’s mentality.
 
One at a Time
Setting habits is like farming – you need to plant the right seed, tend to it, water it, and with the right amount of sun, air, and fertilizer, you will soon be harvesting the benefits of your hard work. You can’t just throw your seeds into the fertile soil of your business and expect them all to sprout. They’ll choke each other out, be encroached on by weeds or be eaten by the birds (your competitors). It’s a waste of time, effort, and treasure!
 
Plant one seed variety at a time. Nurture it. See the results. And then grow.
 
Spring is here
Start cleaning now. Clean out the sources of information you’re no longer using. Clean out the abundance of half-started plans in your world. And work on what resonates with the one goal you need to work on FIRST.
 
It’s time to shut off the spigot of knowledge and ideas and drink what we have poured. Get into a more measured approach. Choose a path and let that guide you forward.
 
If you need some help elevating your business to the next level, I may be able to help. I have worked with some amazing people who needed help, and I have room to coach a couple of local business people. Just reply to this message and we can set up a time to meet so I can learn about you and your business and see if we are a good fit!
 
Have a great week!

Carlos

PS If you or a client, coworker, family member or a friend who would benefit from our high level of attention to service and competitive rates we provided, I would sincerely appreciate your recommendations.Please text our agency at 617-409-0329 or Click here

PPS What I learned today, “What was Leonardo Da Vinci’s real name” Click here to read more.