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Are We Communicating?

August 2, 2010

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

I am a blogger. I have been a blogger for the better part of the last year and yet that phrase still rings a bit exciting and somewhat strange to me. Tell someone, especially someone with only peripheral knowledge of the internet that you’re a blogger and see their reaction. It’s often one of respect, the kind of respect offered to one with special knowledge and insight. However do I actually have either? Often times a blog entry is just like a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, except that this letter is guaranteed to get published and not be edited for content. Do I have special knowledge, yes, sometimes, but sometimes its simply the bully pulpit for my opinions. My point is simply that the internet elevates the “letter to the editor” in a way we hadn’t envisioned thirty years ago.

I attended an insurance meeting in Miami a few weeks ago and one of the participants approached me during a break to tell me how much she enjoyed our blog and that she felt that she had grown to know everyone in our agency. She gained all of this from me sitting in my “man room” tapping away while smoking my pipe. Speaking of which, over this past weekend my wife came across a pipe for me at an antique show. I knew by examination that this wasn’t just a cheap old pipe. I tapped a message to a pipe enthusiast in Texas who forwarded my inquiry to another collector in Columbus Ohio and just minutes later I was receiving needed information followed by an email conversation. I then continued that conversation with my friend Inge, the owner of a pipe shop in Denmark. These three people, one that I had just met and the other two I have known for a period of months I have never met face to face. As a matter of fact, I have never spoken to any of them on the phone and wouldn’t recognize them if they were standing in front of me, yet we are friends. Could we have envisioned these relationships thirty years ago?

This summer, I took a motorcycle ride to Alaska. I decided that I would like to finish the trip by resting for a few days at the beach on the south Alaska coast. In minutes not only had I booked a condo, but I could tell you exactly what each room looked like inside and what the ocean view from each room offered. I even traded some thoughts on where to dine with the proprietor. I did all of this without having to disturb my sleeping shih tzu at the foot of my recliner. As a matter of fact, I am having an email conversation with a friend in Arizona as I write this missive.

The point of this rambling opus is that I seldom stop to examine how my interactions have changed my relationships and buying habits in just a few short years. What I find even more stunning is that I am not a tech savvy person. The fact that I still use email makes me a dinosaur to some in the younger generation and yet the few things that I do know how to do are completely foreign to less advanced segments of the population that opt for older forms of communication.

We are living in an era with the broadest spectrum in history of how people communicate with each other.

As a small business owner how do we target each segment? Choosing to meet our clients face to face, email, video email, Skype,Facebook or the old fashion paper letter just to name a few, are choices that we have to make each day. We have to sell ourselves to our clients in the way that they wish to buy. Reaching them where they are while anticipating where they are going is a full-time job in itself. All the while still developing relationships and offering solutions to complex insurance issues. The world of communication is changing fast and so I am going to put my feet up on this recliner and run full speed ahead!

Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco

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