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Sound Marketing, Inc.

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Jack Burke Jack Burke , 12/17/2013
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We connect with one another in many ways.  People make friends through business, social circles, hobbies, sports, church and schools.  Some of these are long term, while others are merely passing acquaintances.  What makes the difference?  Why are some relationships stronger than others?

I believe the answer is that we connect through our passions.

If you’re passionate about church, for example, you’ll tend to get involved in various ministries, perhaps participate in bible studies with like-minded individuals, teach Sunday school classes, etc.  In taking part in such activities, you’ll come to know people with a similar passion, and, these acquaintances often turn into life-long friendships.
Likewise a deep-sea diving aficionado will gravitate to friendships with others who enjoy the depths.

What's your passion – and what does it have to do with your business?

Golfers have known for years that more business can be done on a golf course than in the office.  Why?  For starters, a common interest in golf provides the underpinnings for a relationship.  Business activity springs forth because of the common ground found on the links. The passion became the foundation stone for other dealings. 

However, I want to take passion to the next level.  For instance, many insurance executives play golf – but only a few of have dedicated themselves to the niche market of insuring golf courses and clubs.  When it comes to a ham-and-eggs breakfast, the chicken is involved, but the hog is committed!  The avid golfer who happens to do business on the golf course is like the “chicken,” while the golfer who builds an insurance business around the sport is a “hog.” 

A recent conversation with a family-owned agency started this train of thought.  The founder and current principals all own houseboats.  The founder’s father actually owned a large houseboat manufacturing company in the past.  Houseboats are in their heritage, as well as a long-time passion.   The suggestion arose that they would be the perfect people to design a houseboat insurance package, because they know exactly what a houseboat owner needs and wants.  They could wrap the package in marketing that draws upon their history and their personal experiences.  They could build a segment of their business around their passion.  In fact, they could probably develop a package around it for the wholesale marketplace as well.  That’s following your passion!

BassPro provides a perfect example of the role of passion in creating one of the great success stories in the retail outdoor recreation business.  What many people don’t realize is that it started in the back of a liquor store.  Johnny Morris used about six feet of space in the back of his store to put a display rack with outdoor parkas.  He was a passionate outdoorsman, and this was his way of combining his passion with his business.  It was also the embryo from which sprang the giant retail behemoth known as BassPro.

Every agency is loaded with passion!  Every employee is passionate about at least one thing.  Explore those passions with your employees.  If a producer happens to love snowmobiles or working out in a gym, there might be niche market for them to penetrate. 

Likewise, employees in niche markets might be excellent recruits for your agency.  The assistant manager at the front desk of a local hotel might become  a hot producer of Hotel/Motel insurance business – especially if he or she is passionate about the hospitality industry.

When interviewing potential new employees, ask “What is your passion?”  Their answer might be the information you need to help them to build their future with your agency

Market your passions!  I constantly urge agency owners to offer their staff individual web pages where your clients can get to know them and their passions.  I’ll never forget the business we got from NASA because an engineer/executive was looking for wheel covers for a 1967 Thunderbird.  He googled “1967 Thunderbird” and found his way to our company web site, because I had a picture of my ‘67 T-Bird on my personal page.  He called and we talked.  He found a wheel cover – and I gained a customer.  He asked what Sound Marketing did and determined that we could help him put together an educational project.

You’ll be amazed at how many clients and prospects will identify with your staff because of common interests and passions – if you make them known.

Build your business on your passions!  It will nurture you in both a personal and a business sense.  Not a bad way to make a living, is it?