In a competitive and cluttered insurance market, a broker’s skill, qualifications and technical ability may not necessarily be enough to stand out.
Building a professional presence or identity is something that brokers should consider as part of their professional development and growth strategy.
A compelling identity allows an individual to be more conspicuous in a pool of others with similar expertise. It’s about stepping up, to stand out.
Essentially, your professional identity is your calling card; what you’re known for and being positively recognised for your talent and the value you offer. Whilst you may consider yourself to be a specialist or guru in the field of insurance, the simple fact is that if you don’t build a reputable ‘brand’ or presence, it can be difficult to achieve your goals.
Your identity is something you have control over and is an exciting opportunity to actively and consciously be the driver, not passenger, of your career, passion and purpose.
People with a strong presence are very clear about who they are and what they want to achieve. They possess high levels of self-awareness, and an understanding of both their strengths and the areas in which they need to improve. They are authentic, genuine and sincere in their interactions with others.
Developing your professional identity is certainly not related to blatant self-promotion, bragging or chest-beating. Rather, quite the opposite. It is considering how you can utilise your ‘stand out’ qualities and leverage those for everyone’s success.
Additionally, those with a strong presence strive to add value – in other words, they show, they don’t tell. Irrespective of roles or responsibilities, we each have an array of opportunities to value-add professionally. Often, the difficulty is knowing what we should be doing more of that will be of value to those around us.
Bring more to the table
So, what can you do that may add value? Some areas to reflect upon include:
- Do you contribute meaningfully and positively to team meetings?
- What do you do to assist your superiors or team members be more successful?
- Do you publicly praise and recognise the achievements of others around you?
- When did you last thank your employees for their contribution and hard work?
- Do you reach out to your networks, simply with the goal of nurturing the alliance?
- Do you share relevant content or information that might be useful or assist others?
- Do you regularly touch base with your clients, rather than annually at the time of renewal?
The benefits of adding value and assisting those around us guarantees that we generate a positive impression, remain relevant in our field and presents opportunity. In other words, when we ‘give’ freely and without intent to others, we are also likely to ‘receive’.
Throughout your career, your professional identity should be an on-going process which is deserving of both your time and effort. Like any worthwhile goal, a clear plan is vital; understanding what you’re working towards and why.
It also requires a consistent commitment to be the best you can be, whilst also identifying any areas that may potentially undermine or sabotage your reputation.
If you’re interested in separating yourself from your peers or learning more about how to enhance your professional visibility, come along to my ‘Step Up & Stand Out!’ session at the upcoming NIBA convention in September – I hope to see you there!