OK, the word is out. The next 12-18 months are not going to be pretty no matter who you are or what corner of the business you’re in. It’s going to be rough going. Time will tell, but my guess is that those that made persistent progress with the latest Web technologies on the sales and marketing side over the last five year will likely see better non-acquisition revenue gains than those that didn’t. In either case, the investments made in 2009 (and remember, the traditional EPS #’s are going to stink no matter what) will DEFINITELY set the stage for the winners and losers when the economy picks back up.

Check out this article – it makes two excellent points.

Encouraging agent attendees to incorporate the next-step technology into their offices, she shared ideas, such as: providing chat capabilities on Web sites [easy]; using text messaging [yup]; creating special Web sites for niche marking [microsites]; providing customer- access portals on agency Web sites [a lot to bite off for an agent]; using Web presentations with small-business clients [easy, excellent]; and researching and communicating with clients using the social networks Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn [absolutely - got to get in the game though].”

“…and keeping up to date with new technologies.” I know I’ve been saying this for a while, but I’ll say it again. For the vast majority of players in this game, outsourcing the insurance technology development, hosting, and maintenance to experienced professionals is critical. In-sourcing is often more expensive in the long run, especially when you consider lost business opportunities because of small but nagging issues with the Web sites. Remember, people make a bale/no-bale decision on a Web page in 6-8 seconds.

Shot the coldest soccer game, hobby-to-date.  NAIA National Tournament first round in Cleveland.  In this picture, I narrowly missed getting wammed in the face by the ball.  But, hey, I got the shot!  I know – I’m nuts.  See more here.