Chris Paradiso is the owner of Paradiso insurance and Paradiso presents. Along with running a successful agency, Chris spends a lot of his time helping other insurance agencies improve their business through marketing.
What has been the most difficult aspect of running an Insurance agency?
People—By far the hardest part for any insurance agency is staffing. You have to find people that fit your culture, which isn’t easy. Along with that, the ever changing insurance industry. It feels like carriers want something one day and something completely different the next. Although, this is completely out of our control and isn’t true for all insurance carriers but is still a headache for agencies.
How can insurance agencies attract new customers in general and in niche markets?
Social and digital is everything. I think we should treat attracting new talent and new customers as a social arena. That doesn’t mean going to LinkedIn and blind messaging a sales pitch but instead providing value in the content you post. That makes you seem like you are only worried about yourself. Providing value to people by focusing on their needs is huge. I also believe in keeping everything positive and being a breath of fresh air for my clients. If you look at my website, I have 12 promises that I keep with all my clients and one of them is always being positive.
How are insurance companies different today than ten years ago?
I think, like with most industries, insurance used to be more focused on relationships but have switched to worrying about technology and the bottom line. Of course, it’s necessary to get an ROI on your investments but I don’t think there is a better ROI than relationships. Relationships make an impact on people which drives business forward.
You present to agents all across the country, what is the number one piece of advice you would give them to improve their business?
Invest in a full-time marketing staff member and hire a company that will build you a brand guide. Every agency needs a brand and needs to know how to market.
I have heard you say that you are not in competition with other insurance agents, why do you feel that way?
We aren’t in competition with each other. If we help each other, we can all improve and grow our business. I think we are a community that serves a similar purpose. We are in competition with companies that are trying to remove us from the equation. Direct to consumers are my competition because its trying to turn insurance into a commodity. Certain agencies provide value and the only way to compete with direct to consumers is to go above and beyond. Take calls on Saturdays, get in early and stay late, and take calls on holidays. We work for the client not the other way around.
As always, end with a fun question about you, who is one person you wish to have dinner with and why?
Mother Teresa, she lived the way she spoke, and I think that’s rare nowadays.