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Have you seen the iconic 2009 TED Talk by Simon Sinek? The talk was about how great leaders must inspire trust, cooperation, and action. If you have NOT seen or heard that talk PLEASE drop everything you’re doing and watch it. Simon talks about a simple but paradigm-shifting model. This model has transformed the way that I think about my agency and how our communication and branding will affect our clients.

I am writing this because I want to talk about how you can apply Sinek’s thinking to your agency to strengthen your story, your agency’s story, and forge personal connections with your online audience.

Here’s the thing: I am sure that you could probably tell me the “what” of your agency without even thinking about it but — the “what” is the thing that you’re selling or the service that you’re providing. I bet that you can do the same exact thing for “how” you do what you do. These are the steps that you and your agency may have taken, but the details of your service or insurance product/policies, and how it all works together, is what gives people something great. It is the customer experience that somehow makes their lives better because it provides them with peace of mind when they understanding that they have the right insurance coverage.

Your “why”…your “why” is your everything! “Why” should be your agency’s underlying belief, goal, and purpose that propels you forward. ! If you’re in a mission-driven agency, it’s the very thing that you feel so deeply about following. In many cases, it’s not just about orienting your agency around the “why”, it’s about reorienting your life around it.  . Your “why” is unique to you and only you, yet it’s the very thing that enables you to connect deeply, on a personal level, with your customers. It also helps you connect with prospects in a way that can easily transition them into a customer.

This is not always an easy task, if you focus on your “why” through and though, the clarity it brings might just revolutionize not only your communications, but your OWN sense of purpose and alignment.

How do most people answer the “why” question? With something like this: “I want to _________ [what you do or provide and does it separate you from your competition) for people, so that they can ___________ (feel better, have a better experience, be happier – but let’s hope the happier isn’t just all about the price, safer more comfortable, more fulfilled more satisfied, etc).” This is great, but I challenge you to go deeper.

“Why” does this kind of service matter to your client/prospects? Why does it matter to your staff? And why does it matter to YOU? It should because we must not forget that we all say we give great service, but we all know that’s not the fact.

Bring on the clarity to your clients, prospects, and to your staff!

Here’s an exercise that can pay off (it has for me) in connecting with and articulating your “why.” Open up to a blank page in your agency’s notebook, and at the very top of that page write:


Now, finish that sentence at least seven different personal beliefs (but please make sure that all you write down are true for you)!  Write down everything that comes to your mind in the place where your deep core beliefs meet your values and drive, along with what you want to do in your agency, and with which direction you want to drive your agency in.

This is not to write a mission statement or a value statement that you’re going to share with the world; it’s to help YOU get yourself clear of your “why.” If your “why” isn’t clear to you it will not be clear to anyone else.

Let me share with you some of the statements I came up with when I first went through this very same exercise:

“I believe” that my agency’s marketing design and communication can and will change the world through my positivity.

“I believe” that life is about people more than material things and possessions and that our agency’s stories connect us, make us softer but also stronger, and allows us to see others as unique individuals and that everyone matters.

“I believe” that building a community that allows dialogue and inspiration, caring, and nurturing  is some of the most valuable work I could give to myself and my teammates in hope to spread that to my community. It’s about making a difference in someone’s life along with making the difference in the community. As my father preaches “you will die someday and when you die you will leave nothing behind – not money, houses, fancy cars etc… except your actions, so live each day to make a positive impression in someone’s life, and at your death you will die rich.” Those are words that I live by today.

I find myself going back to this exercise fairly often, and it’s amazing that the list never really changes. This exercise has helped me to clarify my own “why” which has helped me clarify my agency’s “why.” It helps me realign with my purpose when I’m entering a new marketing season or working on my marketing strategy, or when I’m drowning in details (usually dumb details that mean very little). It serves as a reminder of what’s really in my heart, and what I really want to give myself to.

I’m asking YOU to take a half hour out of your life to do this exercise. Please, if you would be so kind as to leave me a comment on how this exercise worked for you and your agency, I’d appreciate it. Focus on you because if you can’t get your “why” you will never be able to get your agency’s “why.” Now let’s see if Google can compete with us LOCAL independent insurance agents!


“Purpose” Photo: Seth Sawyers