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3 Tips for Building Rapport Virtually

How can brokers effectively build meaningful rapport in our current environment? Here are three tips to consider.
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3 tips for building rapport virtually

“Our producers are struggling to develop connections with prospects during the coronavirus pandemic. Any suggestions?"

This question was posed to me recently, and I've seen versions of it over the past several weeks as brokers struggle to pivot their prospecting strategies in this new environment of social distancing, office closures and concern for the health and safety of others.

While we don't know for sure when, or if, life will return to normal, we do know that business must continue. So, how can brokers effectively build meaningful rapport in our current environment? Here are three tips to consider:

1) Engage together, but separately. I was speaking to an agency principal a few weeks ago and he shared that his team was having fun reaching out to prospects and inviting them to virtual coffee and cocktail events.

Before COVID-19, a go-to strategy was to meet prospects and clients for breakfast or cocktails after work. He found that getting prospects out of their office and into a more social environment was a great way to mix business with getting to know people on a personal level.

Today, his team sends agency-branded coffee mugs, boutique coffee beans and biscuits to prospects with an invitation to spend 15 minutes together over a virtual coffee break. He finds that the swag and messaging has resonated with their prospects and that they appreciate the creativity of the approach.

2) Educate clients. The phrase “never waste a crisis" has never been truer. Our broker clients have reported that webinar registration numbers have increased since the pandemic began, particularly related to subjects that deal directly with business risk mitigation. 

Business owners seek leadership in times of uncertainty. Brokers and agencies that demonstrate sensitivity to this uncertainty and provide clear and tangible insurance advice can gain traction with prospects.

3) Focus on community. Let's face it, national news can be a real downer. Politics, social unrest and a global pandemic do little to bring joy during these stressful times. As a result, it's easy to overlook the good that others are doing right in our backyards.

A strategy being used successfully by one of our agency clients is to showcase acts of community kindness and the work of local agencies to his LinkedIn followers. Not only do these community organizations receive exposure, which is always welcome, the agent also benefits by strengthening his relationships with leaders in his targeted industry.

Emphasizing the good builds relationships and underscores that we are all in this together, which is an important reminder during these challenging times.

Disruption can be a good motivator. It forces us to develop new skills, to think outside the box and explore new ways of doing old work. If we wait for “normal" to return instead of embracing where we are, we lose the opportunity to grow. 

Susan Toussaint is cofounder and partner at Oceanus Partners, a ReSource Pro company. Oceanus Partners is a firm dedicated to helping insurance professionals working in all lines of business insurance to improve sales and client retention.

Agent Viewpoint

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the United States and everyday activities, including work and social life, have gone virtual, there hasn't been a more important time to build rapport with others on social media. 

The key to building rapport in the social media realm is consistency. As an influencer on LinkedIn with 14,000 connections, consistency in providing valuable content has been my greatest attribute to growing my connections over the last three years, and especially during the last three months. 

Your connections want to see you every day and to build a relationship with you virtually, sometimes without ever meeting you in person. The relationship is developed when you consistently publish content that expresses your technical ability in your profession and exposes your personality too. 

My personal favorite is video content that allows your connections to see and feel who you are as a person and begin connecting and developing a rapport with you. However, if you don't publish content, then you limit your opportunities to connect with others. Therefore, the key to building rapport on social media is consistency in publishing content and providing value to others.

Chase Marable, Producer, Connell Insurance, Springfield, Missouri.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Sales & Marketing