How to leverage technology to improve your business habits

By Mark Chai


As a technology company, we believe that the business of distributing insurance still revolves around cultivating and developing interpersonal relationships. For so many years, business was done over a dinner table or over lunch. Over the past few years, technology has de-personalized many business transactions and relationships.

Just think over the past couple days: How many phone calls or face-to-face meetings did you have versus emails you sent or received? It's staggering when you think how email has changed our lives.

What does this have to do with habits? Well, its safe to say that professionals have adopted emailing much like any habit — over time.

Habits are created when a cue (or trigger) induces a routine and results in a reward. Over time, that reward creates craving and thus a habit is born. Think about 20 years ago and the initial feeling you got when you logged onto AOL and that iconic voice chimed, "You've got mail."

I still vividly remember anytime a Blackberry buzzed and it triggered us to check our email and respond. How can we improve habits? The key with all good technology is making it simple and creating a new routine to replace the old. Here are some tips:

1. Click to call: Instead of emailing back a client, pick up the phone and call. Using voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phones and advances in CRMs, calling a client is as easy as clicking their names or phone numbers.

2. Data-driven profiling: The amount of information you capture about your clients online is staggering. If you aren't already, here's a list of data you should track:
  • Birthday
  • Anniversary
  • Shirt size
  • Favorite sports team
  • Top carrier
  • Production (this month, last month, last 12 months)
  • BD/ RIA
  • Social networks: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, BlogGood
CRMs already have places to store this data. The best CRMs visually display all this data with one click.

3. Fostering a culture of accountability: Your challenge as a marketing organization is to instill a culture that rewards good habits and behaviors. Reward your marketers who increase your phone calls and appointment settings. Any marketer is his or her own best critic. Make sure your marketers set their goals and are able to track this information daily. I look forward to the day when your marketer gets another policy paid, and your computer chimes, "You got paid!" Now that would be a nice new habit.