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While the concept of NetWeaving continues to prove itself as a sales and marketing tool, the opportunity exists to use these same methods to help re-energize your recruiting efforts.

First a quick review. As much as wed like to think of ourselves as highly altruistic, with human nature what it is, most of us will look out for our own interests first. NetWeaving is a “golden rule” form of networking that is based upon the idea of helping other people and yet doing so with “enlightened” self-interest in mind. Its learning how to listen with a second set of ears and to be attuned to the needs, problems, and opportunities of others, rather than just our own.

The two skill sets of NetWeaving are first, learning how to be a connector with other people. Its connecting with another persons needs, problems and opportunities in mind. Secondly, in order to be a successful NetWeaver, you must learn how to become a gratuitous resource provider for others. This is done by connecting a person with someone who has the resources to satisfy that persons needs, problems and opportunities.

Many times, you may position yourself as the resource provider, but often you will be introducing someone from your Trusted Resource Network. This network is essentially a group of people whom youve developed relationships with in a variety of different industries, professions and fields.

NetWeaving allows agents, brokers, and planners to make bigger sales by building new and deeper healthy human relationships. People want to do business with someone who is perceived as a great NetWeaver.

These techniques, while proven successful in sales, can work just as well in a recruiting context.

But first, we must take a closer look at the professionals that make up the insurance industry and how they came to be. Years ago in the 1960s, there were a lot of people attracted to the life insurance business under the theme of “serving mankind, while also being able to make a good living,” or maybe the converse “making a good living, while also being able to serve mankind.”

Now, after years of being tarnished by a number of different industry embarrassments, the publics perception has changed dramatically. The days of a life insurance agent being considered an admired profession are mostly over.

Of course, we all know that on an individual basis, men and women agents in their local communities still rise to the top and attain a high image and status–but the insurance profession as a whole certainly doesnt have it anymore.

This is one reason a lot of newer agents coming into the business enter as “financial planners,” or “financial advisors.” They do this to purposely avoid the stigma attached with being a life insurance “agent.”

What if we could identify groups of people who would be attracted to a career of “helping and serving people” and also have access to their own network of upscale prospects?

I would like to suggest several groups and approaches where NetWeaving can become an effective recruiting tool:

People associated with nonprofits, especially those who have been involved directly or indirectly with some end of “development” (i.e. fund-raising).
Early retirees in their late 50s and early-to-mid-60s, especially those hit hardest by the market plunge who are now realizing they must go back into the workplace on at least a part-time basis. Unlike their younger counterparts, these people have established networks of contacts theyve made over their lifetime or careers.
CPAs and attorneys who are sitting on a virtual gold mine of insurance sale possibilities, but for any number of reasons have avoided being in the direct line of sales (in states where they are permitted to hold an insurance license). In contrast to being viewed in insurance sales, NetWeaving gives them the opportunity to maintain a high ground as strategic connectors and resource providers.

All that is needed is for some of the creative managers on both the career and the brokerage side to apply NetWeaving strategies to their recruiting efforts, and Im convinced their results will be as effective as they are now already proving to be in sales and marketing.

, CLU, ChFC, FLMI, SRM, is principal of Littell Consulting, Atlanta, GA. He is co-author of “Power NetWeaving: 10 Secrets To Successful Relationship Marketing” published by The National Underwriter Company. He may be reached via e-mail at BobLittell@aol.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, March 17, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.