Relationships May Not Make The Sale But Without Relationships There Won’t Be a Sale

How important are relationships for the independent insurance agent when it comes to making the sale? Relationships may not “make the sale” but it’s a good bet you won’t make the sale without a strong relationship.

If you’ve been selling for more than a day then you know people want to do business with people they like. It’s not that someone will entrust you with their insurance just because they like you. But, unless you offer something so unique, something they can’t get anywhere else, having a good relationship is a prerequisite to making the sale.

Most people are self-aware enough to know when they have a good relationship with someone. What I’ve seen over the course of my career is this; far too many people don’t always know why certain relationships are strong and others weak. However, when you understand a few basics you can be more intentional about building better, stronger relationships.

Engage Liking

There’s a psychological principle of influence referred to as liking. We define it as follows: we prefer to say yes to those people we know and like. There are a few things research clearly points to as relationship builders.

Have you ever met someone who cheered for your favorite sports team? How about finding out someone went to the same college as you? I’m sure you know people who have the same pet as you. I’m willing to bet in each case you found yourself having instant rapport with those folks. Why? Because research shows we like people we see as similar to ourselves.

How do you feel when someone pays you a sincere compliment? If you’re like everyone I know then the endorphins are flowing and you feel good. Of course, you prefer being around people who look for the best in you and others as opposed to a negative Nelly.

Connect on what you have in common and pay genuine compliments and you’ll become a more likable person with everyone you meet.

Engage Reciprocity

Another relationship builder is reciprocity. This is the feeling of obligation we have to give back to people who first give to us. When you give, most people appreciate it and naturally want to help you when you need it. That’s what causes relationship, continuing mutual exchange.

If you really want people to feel good about you and your giving, I encourage you to focus on three things:

  1. Personalize. Make sure whatever you give is specific to the individual’s preferences, needs or wants. Calendars for all of your clients doesn’t cut it. But, when you give something because you know it has value for the individual, that means a lot.
  2. More. Whenever possible, give a little extra. I’m sure when someone comes into your office on a hot day you offer them a cold drink. Just before they leave give them another for the road and that will stand out.
  3. Unexpected. We appreciate gifts on holidays and birthdays but we also expect them. However, giving a gift when someone doesn’t expect it, there’s a wow factor that makes your generosity mean even more.

A word of caution: don’t give to get. If people think there are strings attached to your giving or help, they may say, “No thanks.”

Two Keys

There are two things to focus on when it comes to relationship building that will help you hit a home run every time.

First, don’t try to get people to like you. That may sound contradictory to what I shared earlier but it’s not. The mindset you need when building relationships is this: I want to like the people I meet.

Here’s the good news; the very same things that cause people to like you will cause you to like them. When others sense you really like and care for them, they become much more open to whatever you might ask of them. Why? Because deep down we believe friends do right by friends.

When it comes to giving, the more you focus on liking the people you meet, the more genuine your giving will be. Again, when people notice how much you like them, they don’t see your giving or helping as coming with strings attached. Rather, they accept it as coming from a good place, which it does.


Change your focus, change your relationships. We hear the term “trusted advisor” all the time. Who would you trust as your advisor, the person you see as simply wanting to make a sale or the individual you know cares about you and your insurance needs? The answer is obvious and now you know how to make it happen quickly and naturally.

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