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Don’t spill your candy in the lobby!

The other day I attended an insurance event and met two swash buckling producers. Full of questions, they began asking me about our agency. Question “So how big is your agency”, my answer “they don’t tell me such things”. Next question, so how many employees to you have? My answer “today, I don’t know people are always quitting”.

After a few of these tennis volleys, I asked my first question “do you guys have computers”? After a few snickers from swash number one, they answered, “why yes we have computers, do you have computers?” My response, no, but we’re looking into those. We did get a fax last year, but I’m not sure it’s used very much.

“Are you paperless?” they asked, I replied, yeah right. Who’s your biggest carrier? We are doing great with Progressive! What kind of insurance do you guys sell? We’ll, we write a lot of FAIR plan, but our main product is sub standard auto. We are cheaper than anyone! A few moments later, the swash bucklers moved on to the next target knowing that they would never have to compete against me.

If you know anything about my agency, we’re pretty tech heavy, have very low turnover, and have a consistent message of finding pain, healing pain, and showing love. We’re a commercial insurance driven shop that is selective in our bringing on of new clients choosing to focus on our existing profitable book of business. We are very aggressive, but tell many prospects; they are just not a great fit for our agency’s approach to business. It’s always intriguing when my competition goes on fishing expeditions only to catch some pretty big fish tales.

If I know the agency, I’ll shoot straight, if I don’t or have very little respect for their work, the exchange above is common.

There is an old sales adage “don’t spill your candy in the lobby”. The way I interpret this message is never give away all your special sauce in the first meeting and definitely don’t give any sauce away before getting paid.

This too applies when dealing with your competition. Many folks ask me questions that they are just not entitled to the correct answer. I think this mental jousting is a fun exercise for both of us, but I enjoy the banter and being creative with my answers.

My friend that was with me that day said, “did you just completely lie to those guys?” If lying is telling you’re 2 year old there is a Santa Clause, I lied. If lying is telling your wife she looks great in that dress even though if wore your favorite little black dress, she’d look like a beauty queen, I lied.

You don’t have to answer every question that is posed to you nor should you answer every answer from a competitor with complete accuracy. I am an actor and the world is my stage. Never spill your candy in the lobby.