Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, here we are again with a new year moving in to replace the old.  Maybe this year I will only get to June before I stop writing 2008 on my checks.  Anyway, I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy, blessed, and prosperous new year.

I am also still seeking additional comments and feedback on my previous post about our referral program that is designed as a way for us to help some very worthy causes.  Please let me know what you think.

God Bless you all and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The host of heaven celebrated- Luke 2:13,14.  Merry Christmas and God bless!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Giving Back Referral Program

At this time of year, along with all of the usual holiday planning at home, I usually start to think about ways to improve my business in the new year.  One of the things that I have tried with some limited success in the past is to put together a referral program where clients, vendors, and other business partners would have an incentive to refer the people in their circle of influence to our agency for insurance.  We have tried financial gifts, gift cards, and prizes all without any real enthusiastic response.  This year I am contemplating something really different, and, hopefully, really exciting.

It being the Christmas season, I am constantly reminded about how blessed we are both personally and as a nation.  It always makes me think about ways I can make a difference for other people in my community, elsewhere in the world.  What I have come up with will be a way for me to partner with my clients and other affiliates to start making a difference.  I realize this will be small at first, but I am really optimistic about making it into a significant charitable operation in the future.  Let me lay out my initial thoughts-

We currently pay about $20 to an internet lead provider for auto/home and business leads.  While I certainly think they do a great job and deserve to be paid for their work, I would rather see that money go toward better causes.  

What if we gave that same amount of money to select charities that fit our standards both in terms of effectiveness and mission philosophy?  

What if we allowed our referring partners to participate in the giving? 

What if we also allowed the party being referred to participate too?

Are you seeing my vision yet?

I propose that when someone refers a new prospect to our agency for a quote on either their personal or business insurance that we give $10 to the charity of their choice from our list of approved charities.

We will also extend the same offer to the new prospect and allow them to choose a charity for us to send $10 to just for the opportunity to quote their insurance.  That's it, no commitment to buy and never any pressure (I just never learned the art of the hard sell).

I know $10 and $20 donations are not all that large, but if we received just 1 referral from every client that we currently have, that would translate into over $8,000 in contributions (about 10% of our gross revenue for 2007).  Now that can make a difference!

I may also start tinkering with some contests for the most referrals that would culminate in a larger one-time donation, etc.  I am really looking for some comments and feedback on this idea and how I can make it even better.  I have below a preliminary list of charities on the local, regional, national, and international level.  If you have any ideas about charities that we should consider, please feel free to recommend them.

The Salvation Army
World Vision
Samaritan's Purse
Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center
The Nature Conservancy
Capitol Area Food Bank
Mobile Loaves and Fishes
Texas Baptist Children's Home
Catholic Charities of Central Texas
American Red Cross of Central Texas
Habitat for Humanity
YMCA of Greater Williamson County
Boy Scouts of America

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Right Place at the Right Time

I had the rare opportunity (misfortune) last night to witness a bizarre rollover accident on 183 in Leander.  The vechicle was struck, spun, rolled into a ditch, and finally, came to rest right side up just on the other side of said ditch.  I immediately turned around to see if there was anything that I could do to help (I'm totally trained for this you know- jk).  Imagine my surprise to see the the driver was actually one of my clients and good friends.  

She recognized me immediately and was, I am sure, glad to see someone she knew.  Amazingly and thankfully, she was completely unharmed. Another person that stopped had to cut the side-curtain airbag to let her out.  The car, a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, had sufficient damage for the adjuster to declare it a total loss today, but it held up surprisingly well to have been in such a crash.  The roof was only slightly caved in the back and most all of the body panels had damage, but other than that I held strong and protected her.

As soon as she got out of the car, I called her husband to tell him that she was fine, but that he needed to come and get her.  She was able to sit in my car and stay warm while the police and fire department took statements and dealt with the vehicles.  In the meantime, I was able to call in the claim and schedule the adjuster to go out today like I previously mentioned. 

One of the firemen asked if I was with Allstate (perish the thought) because of their commercials.  I politely said no, but it was certainly reminescent of that Nationwide commercial where the agent walks right up to the vehicle with a cup of coffee after the woman driving goes into a hole.  My clients, who came to visit this morning mentioned that we should now do our own commercial.  Okay, so enough of the daydreaming, it was really cool to be able to help a client and friend in that way when they needed it.  Sometimes this is a really boring line of work full of policies, endorsements, and never ending billing issues, but, every once in a while I get the great opportunity and blessing of being in the right place at the right time to be able to help someone.

On a side note, the Leander police and fire departments were absolutely awesome!  They were courteous, professional, and arrived in less than 2 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Festival

We had a great time Sunday night at the second annual Liberty Hill Christmas Festival. The pictures with Santa went much faster this year thanks to the awesome help from Kathy Canady and my sister-in-law Dorean Pope.