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Lost in Translation

June 17, 2009

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

A few years ago, Robert De Niro was in a comedy film called “Meet the Parents.” One of the running jokes in the film was centered on De Niro’s character talking about the importance of the “Circle of Trust.” I was reminded of the “Circle of Trust” today while spending some time with one of our new young sales people.


Fresh out of a good college, he’s smart and he picks up on new concepts quickly. He, like the vast majority of our clients, has not been exposed to our industry terminology. Before sending him off to a formal insurance training school, we are spending some time exposing him to the basic coverage concepts. He brought in a copy of his auto policy so we could do some role playing.

I found myself in the role of agent and the role of the client. As the agent, I quickly noticed myself using a lot of insurance terminology to describe his current coverage and my recommendations. I noticed this at the very moment that his eyes were beginning to glaze over.

Generally our clients opt for an independent agent because they value the relationship and understand what it is that we do verses the other forms of insurance distribution. Building that relationship over the long term requires a trust that we have their best interests at heart. Communication is the foundation of that relationship.

I have seen a client’s eyes glaze over when we use industry terms that we mistakenly assume to be a part of their every day vocabulary. In their confusion, they often feign understanding and become timid about asking questions. As a result, we may have squandered a valuable moment in building our Circle of Trust.

The value that we bring to the table is a depth of insurance knowledge that exceeds other forms of insurance sales by a country mile. Let’s not lose it in translation!

Thank you for spending your precious time with me!

Chris Garlasco

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2009 1:37 pm

    Chris, great comments! Not only do we need to speak in terms consumers understand, but we need to let them know that we have shopped their insurance among several carriers and these are the ones that offer the best choices for the client to consider. Independent agents are unique in representing several insurance companies– not just one like the other forms of insurance distribution– but we need to demonstrate that advantage to the client by letting them know we have engaged in this shopping process!

    Jeff Yates
    ACT Executive Director

  2. Chris Garlasco permalink
    June 22, 2009 12:03 pm

    Hi Jeff;
    Thanks for the kind words! I actually have a completed entry on the subject of multiple markets and our value proposition that should be posted at the end of next week. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Chris Garlasco

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