Blog, Business Dev

Business Dev: Small actions = big consequences

While out at dinner one evening this week I happened to be following a large SUV with an advertisement for a local insurance agent painted on it. I’d seen the SUV around town and had thought about calling to get a quote since my insurance was coming up for renewal…looks like their marketing strategy might be paying off.

As luck would have it, this SUV was going to the same restaurant that we were and pulled in ahead of us. The parking lot was very full so and it took us a while to find a parking place in the far corner of the lot. As we came around the corner of the restaurant we saw the Insurance agents SUV parked in a handicapped parking spot.

At first, I didn’t think anything of it and assumed that the person was handicapped and had the requisite plates and/or placard. As I got closer to the SUV, I realized that they didn’t have either and that the neither of the two people getting out appeared handicapped in any way. I recognized the driver of the vehicle as the insurance agent painted onto the side of the SUV and decided to test him a bit.

I introduced myself to him…he was a pleasant man and we made small talk while we waited to be seated. I pointed out his SUV and we talked about the ‘cool’ painted ad on the vehicle. I then mentioned to him in a surprised voice that he forgot to put his handicapped placard.

His response was a laugh as he said that he wasn’t handicapped and didn’t know anyone who was. He laughed again while describing their search for a parking spot close to the front door, and since they couldn’t find one, they took the handicapped spot that nobody ever uses.

I smiled and said that we had parked in the far corner of the parking lot and felt like we had walked a mile. I then asked if he thought about what would happen if someone did need to use the spot and he just laughed it off and said ‘they can park somewhere else’.

I decided that he had failed my little test and told him so. I told him that prior to seeing his disrespect for the handicapped that I wouldn’t be calling to get a quote for my insurance and that he should be ashamed of himself.

His response to that was : “That’s ok…I wouldn’t want your business anyway. I can’t get by just fine without 1 or 2 car insurance policies.” I smiled at him and mentioned that I had been thinking about calling for quotes on 2 car policies, 1 home policy, 1 business policy, life insurance, and some investments that I had been wanting to move to a new agent.

Needless to say, I never called him after that.

Moral of the story:

Consider how the smallest action (like parking your car while eating out) can effect your image. The small things to you may be a big thing to someone else. And for goodness sake…if you have your picture painted on your vehicle, try not to act like a fool while driving…you will probably turn off some of your clients.

[tags] Selling, Business Development [/tags]

About Eric D. Brown, D.Sc.

Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. is a data scientist, technology consultant and entrepreneur with an interest in using data and technology to solve problems. When not building cool things, Eric can be found outside with his camera(s) taking photographs of landscapes, nature and wildlife.
View all posts by Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. →
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike Birdsall
16 years ago

You should report these people! You can do this at

That way there’s parking spaces for people who need them.

Eric Brown
16 years ago

Mike – Thanks for the link!

16 years ago

If I may add another moral of the story:
“Train your employees to be part of the company. Have the sense of belonging”. In the end, they will help the company keeps the good image.

Scot Herrick
16 years ago

Another great example of how easy it is to ruin a personal brand. The unfortunate part of this is that the insurance agent doesn’t even think that what he is doing is hurting his business.

We live our life on the front page of the newspaper…

16 years ago

You did great confronting him and discovering his lousy attitude. He was caught, by a potential customer, breaking the law arrogantly and then tells you nicely to push off with your trade? Looks like a great opportunity for a trustworthy agressive agent to poach this clown’s book of business. Since the fellow didn’t quite seem to get the point, it may be worthwhile passing this story, names & brand-names filled in, to the carrier(s) he represents. Certainly they don’t want to see their Brand-name involved in an escapade like this! Cheers, Steve (got the link from Scot’s Cuberules blog at… Read more »

Eric Brown
16 years ago

Steve – Thanks for the comment.

The agent in this story has gone out of business…many people around town have found out that he is a bit of a jerk and never did business with him.


[…] Business Dev Small actions big consequences Eric D Brown Posted by root 3 days ago ( Aug 25 2007 eric d brown technology strategy people amp projects steve thanks for the comment and never did business with him blog comments powered by disqus strategy people amp projects powered by wordpress Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Business Dev Small actions big consequences Eric D Brown […]

14 years ago

As I was browsing the internet for some prescription drugs I was surprised to come across an online pharmacy that had As far as I know, this kind of drugs are not quite legal and were quite expensive. This just goes to show that pharmaceutical companies think more about their profits than about the health of their clients.