Solving the Inexperience, Credibility, and Trust Paradox
Question: If you are an inexperienced insurance and risk management professional, how do you outrun the “lack of experience stigma” that creates credibility, trust, and self-confidence issues for new producers?
Answer: You can conquer this issue by realizing that you have resources to overcome the experience deficiency.
Resource 1: Credibility is not the only element of trust.
While it is logical to think that credibility is the primary factor driving trust, it is important that you realize that there are numerous contributing factors at work. People don’t trust someone just because they are smart and experienced. Rather, trust is the result of a complex set of calculations made by someone when they decide whether to believe you when you say something. Even if you have all the experience in the world, that skill is not enough to guarantee trust. The astute consumer weighs in on numerous factors including, but not limited to believability, empathy, humility, and vulnerability. For example, your willingness to acknowledge obvious ignorance creates rather than destroys credibility. Your ability to say, “I don’t know. But I will get you the answer,” indicates self-confidence and authenticity.
True credibility comes from letting the other person see you as you are – not as you would wish they would see you. Transparency and authenticity trump expertise and experience.
Resource 2: Build your network.
Effective networking is not about serving yourself. Rather, finding ways to make other people more successful. Successful producers understand that real networking is about generosity not greed. It is about giving before you receive. Learning how to help others succeed is the key ingredient in your networking process.
The great myth of networking is that you to reach out to others only at the time of need. This is incorrect. Successful individuals built their network long before they needed anything at all. Creating a community is not a short-term solution or one-off activity only to be used when necessary. Building a powerful network is a journey not a destination. It begins with a predetermined plan and a strategy to carry it out. The strategy is built upon the constant process of connecting – of offering and asking for help. When you put people in touch with one another and give your time, expertise, and share freely, the pie gets bigger for everyone.
If you are new to the industry, you should build a deep and varied network of trusted colleagues who will provide you with counsel and advice as you progress at work. These individuals will serve as catalysts and a sounding board on your quest to become a credible and trustworthy source.
Resource 3: Work on your personal brand.
Personal branding was popularized in an article by Tom Peters first published in Fast Company Magazine (“A Brand Called You”) in 1997. Peters writes, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
The secret to building your personal brand is to figure out what makes you “you.” This is the necessary first step to making your personal brand realistic, relatable, and trustworthy. Start by thinking about what you plan to accomplish in the marketplace. Think about what benefit your brand offers and how you are different from your competition. In other words, you need to determine your unique value proposition.
Think about what makes you unique. How do you stand out from the crowd?
Once you’ve answered this question honestly, you can begin packaging your personal brand to reach prospects, clients, carriers, and colleagues in a way that delights them and keeps them coming back for more.
Building your personal brand stimulates your business and lays the foundation for future success. Your personal brand will grow and evolve over time as your goals change. And that’s the beauty of figuring it out. By getting to the core of your passions and your unique value proposition, you are investing in a personal brand that’s transparent, relatable, authentic, and trustworthy for the long haul. Your personal brand…an investment in your future worth making.