Industry Trends

Love What You Do, Just Like Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs didn’t live long – he died in 2011 at the age of 56. But in his short time on earth, he managed to become this generation’s Thomas Edison. Whether you’re Mac person or not, it’s likely this man had an impact on your life.  

From your favorite font, to the way you listen to music, the new wave of animated movies, or the way you interact with your computer, Jobs was a creative force behind several industries for 30 years. He passionately believed computers should be adapted to work better with us, not the other way around, and he dedicated his life to making "user friendly" the rallying cry at Apple. 

In a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, he talked about his life story and urged the graduates not to let anything, especially conventional wisdom, limit their dreams. "The only way to do great work is to love what you do," Jobs said. He lived that to the fullest. 

I encourage each of us to live this philosophy, both individually and as a group. Let's make it our passion and purpose to provide insurance solutions and service that is “user friendly” for everyone. Please take a few minutes to view Steve Job's speech and reflect on what it means to you. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


About the Author
As executive vice president of life sales distribution, Bob Klein is responsible for all of Ash Brokerage’s life, long-term care and disability income insurance sales. He is driven by his desire to help others get the most out of their natural gifts, and he gets the most satisfaction from seeing others grow and succeed.


Random Thoughts

5 Ways to Build Better Relationships


The best businesses are built on relationships – ones that go beyond transactions or contracts. It’s easy to say, of course, but harder to do. You have to move beyond your day-to-day duties and take the time for the little things that can make the biggest difference.

If you want to build better relationships with your business, here are five simple things you can do today:

  1. Make the most of technology. The software and networking tools we have for customer relationship management can do a lot of wonderful things, but just like a hammer in the tool chest, they have no value if you never use them! Use the fields you have to take good notes and search for common ground – the better you know the person, the better you can relate to them, and the more likely they are to work with you.

  2. Be an idea merchant. Don’t just work on the case or project your client has put in front of you. Think of ways they can find their next case, too. The more we share ideas, the more opportunities we’ll have to make a positive impact on their business.

  3. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. It happens to me all the time – I’ll call someone up to talk about one thing, and they’ll ask me about another. I can’t know it all, but luckily I always know someone who does! Don’t be afraid to bring up a topic or idea just because you’re not an expert. Connect them to the people on your team who can help.

  4. Call someone and say, “I was just thinking about you.” This is so simple, yet so powerful. If you have an idea that you think would help someone else, then chances are they’d love to hear it! No matter the subject, they’ll appreciate the reminder that you cared to think of them.

  5. Be dependable. Tell people they can rely on you. Don’t keep it inside – say it! “You can count on me. I’ll get it done for you.” That’s what people want to hear. They want to rely on you to be there for them when they need it.


None of these ideas are complicated – they just require a little time, effort and forethought. Try just one of them today, and tell me if you don’t notice a difference in how you interact with your clients.


About the Author

Tim Ash is known as a visionary in the financial services community. He is an industry leader who envisions a future where insurance is easy, affordable and an essential part of a sound financial plan. As CEO of Ash Brokerage, Tim has fostered an environment of success with team-focused empowerment and client-centered service. He has built a culture where people not only believe in what they do, but more importantly, they understand the reason behind their efforts. Everyone at Ash Brokerage knows their work makes a difference — in the lives of their clients and their communities.


SSI: It’s the PSI of Your LinkedIn Profile


It’s winter in the Midwest. Brr – I’m not a fan of the cold at all, what about you? My husband, however, is a tire manager for a major tire distributor and if the weather is really hot or really cold, he loves his job … why? Depending on the temperature outside, a tire can be underinflated or overinflated and folks bring their cars in to get services, thus causing sales. Guess what? Your LinkedIn account is exactly the same way.

You can stop by the Sales Solutions site of LinkedIn and grab your Social Selling Index easily by clicking here: (Being transparent, mine is 73.) 

So, what does this number mean?

The Social Selling Index (SSI) is the pounds per square inch (PSI) of your LinkedIn profile tires. LinkedIn measures your influence on their platform and rewards certain behaviors. Today, we will kick around their suggestions and make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your SSI at the right PSI and get the most mileage on your account.

Branding – yeah, it’s pretty important

When you go into your LinkedIn profile and fill it out, yes, that step helps you be found, but that’s not branding. A shiny new paint job on a car doesn’t make a Pinto any better of a vehicle, right? If, however, you fill out the profile the way your client would consume the information, then you’re thinking like a brand! This encompasses everything – not only what you put into your profile (aiming for it to be filled out completely), but also thought leadership, value-added content, consistent posting, interacting with others, and skillset endorsements (which is a sore spot for registered reps, I know!). Basically, go big or go home.

The heat is on

I attribute my lower SSI (it was 93 at one point – yikes!) because I momentarily lost my mind two years ago and connected with people I didn’t know well or even do business with – see, I make mistakes too! Every car has a limit on how many passengers it can take on the journey, and so does your LinkedIn profile. Now, I have to work on correcting this – gah!

If you’ve ever watched a racecar, did you ever notice during down time the driver swerves the tires back and forth? You can’t create heat for the tires when going slow, so LinkedIn wants you to leverage their warm environment by providing you with a succinct way to search and find the best leads.

Value – you have helpful stuff to share

Whether you join a group (and trust me – there is a group out there for everyone!) or you’re posting updates and using the Publisher feature of the platform, only do this if your intention is to add value. If I asked you to name a beautiful car, you’ll have a variety of answers. If I ask you to name a trustworthy car though, it’s probably not the same car, right? LinkedIn is the same way. People are looking for someone they can trust who will add value immediately to their situation. Respect this and LinkedIn will reward you.

Building a relationship is easier than ever

One of the things I see most often is the lack of colleagues connecting in an organization – huge mistake. Huge! Connect with each other and leverage your ability to get in front of more people.

Also, how many of you need to get to decision makers? The gatekeepers are still out there. Well, what if you can get a referral into someone? All of this can be accomplished through LinkedIn and if you use their platform, they reward you through the Social Selling Index.

In years past, the SSI appeared to be this arbitrary number which meant little to many users of the LinkedIn platform. Now you have some insight on how this works and can work on measuring your influence. If you need assistance, let me know.


About the Author

Sheryl Brown knows firsthand that social media can amplify your value proposition — and she wants to show you how. As manager of Advisor Engagement Services at Ash Brokerage, she assists advisors and employees with their own social media strategies, and she has been influential in developing a strategic online presence for Ash Brokerage — one that connects to both clients and advisors, positively impacts practices and creates communities aimed at improving the industry.