Every insurance agent “gets” that their sales success and their long-term business success is determined by the relationships they develop. However, do not confuse socializing and friendships with relationship building. Doing so is a costly mistake in terms of both time and dollars.
Many insurance agents think that they need to become your friend so you'll feel obligated to become their client. That's simply manipulative and very risky. When you confuse friendships with the relationships required for insurance sales success you run the risk of losing a lot of friends and getting very little business from your efforts.
First, realize your clients are not looking for another friend. They have friends. What they want and need is someone they can trust to help them get what they want. They need a trusted advisor, an expert in a body of knowledge that's confusing to them.
Relationship building is a process. As a process it should produce consistent and measurable results. When you make relationship building a process you ensure it happens the same way for each new potential client and each existing client.
From your perspective the purpose of relationships is to transform strangers into new clients, to earn repeat business from existing clients, to enjoy residual income from previous sales, and to produce high quality referrals. From your future and existing clients perspective the purpose of the relationship is to help them get more value from choosing you than a competitor, to ensure their best interests are served, and to provide a way for them to share with the people they know. A relationship process should serve the purpose of both you and the people you want to work with.
You need a process to transform strangers into clients, and a process to maintain the relationship you started with new clients so those clients remain clients. Your greatest profits come from the repeat business, the residual income, and the referrals you get from existing clients. The longer you're able to maintain and sustain that relationship the greater your profits and the greater your insurance sales success.
Simply glad-handing and schmoozing will not get you the insurance sales success you deserve. Those efforts produce random results at best rather than consistent results you can count on. When you develop a process to develop relationships you can track each step of the process and measure the results that step produces. Then you can take action to make incremental improvements in each step until you reach the maximum benefit from the entire relationship process for both new business and increased retention from your old business.