Why Aren’t You Getting The Results You Want?

I just finished a one-hour coaching call with an advisor who has been in this business for over 20 years. Duringthe call, he asked me to help him with a phone script to set appointments with the leads he was buying. He also wanted help to determine why he wasn’t getting any response from the letter he was sending out, offering his free information booklets. As we talked, I asked him questions to clarify what he was doing. It was obvious, after just a few minutes that he hadn’t read and studied many of the most important parts of the marketing and sales system he had invested in. He had missed many of the crucial ‘insider’ secrets and tips that makes these proven lead generation methods effective and almost foolproof.

This 20 plus year veteran agent was purchasing leads without knowing what to do, ask or say to set the appointment. If he had taken the time to read and study the entire system he would know exactly what to do, ask and say to prospects to set an appointment. He would understand that ‘setting the appointment’ is the first sale to your prospect, and the importance of asking questions to get people emotionally involved, so they want to meet with you!

This veteran agent had also purchased a list of the people that ‘he wanted to work with!’ The people ‘he thought’ would be interested in his free information booklet. He was sending his free information booklet letter to those people and no one was responding. The reason no one was responding is because he had missed a crucial ‘insider secret!’ He wasn’t sending his letter to the people who had an immediate problem they wanted to solve, the people whom would be most interested in his booklet.

Like so many of the agents, advisors and planners we talk to, they’ll invest in a system from us, or from one of our competitors, and instead of taking the time to read and study the entire system, they’ll just pick out a section of the system that catches their interest, or that they think should work. And, they’ll jump right in and use it. Then, they’ll wonder why they are not getting the results they should have.

Trusted Advisor Success Training... How to Attract Prospects for Whole Life, Universal Life, Index Life and Variable Life Insurance
Let’s see if I can put this into perspective using the game of golf. Let’s assume you buy a system on learning how to use the driver, from one of the foremost golf pros. It includes a training manual and training videos. You decide to watch the first video on developing your swing with the driver. You practice your swing at home, and you go to the driving range. After a few weeks of practicing, you are hitting the golf ball 350 yards and straight as an arrow, so you decide that you are ready to play your first round of golf. Now, you are on the first tee. What’s your chance of hitting this fairway? How many golf holes don’t have a dogleg to the right or left? How many have water and sand traps? How many trees? How narrow is the fairway? What is the wind doing? What are you missing? What don’t you know?

“No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.” Brian Tracy

Please understand, the reason you are not getting the results you want from your lead generation system is you are missing many of the crucial ‘insider’ secrets and tips. And, it’s generally because you’ve skipped over some very important parts of the system.

There are many reasons why most agents skip over some of the most important sections in a system. One is they think they already know everything that’s in the section. Or, they think that particular section doesn’t apply to what they want to do. Or, maybe it’s because they are impatient, in a hurry or under the gun to find something that works. Whatever the reason, they are missing many very crucial ‘insider’ secrets and tips.

Unfortunately, as with everything in life… We don’t know what we don’t know!

But, what’s even worst is… Not understanding that much of what we think we know, isn’t so!

Or, as Mark Twain said…

“Danger lies not in what we don’t know,
but in what we think we know that just ain’t so.”

There are many proven ways to generate a consistent flow of high quality prospects. There’s referred leads, dinner seminars, educational workshops, free information booklets, joint ventures, newspaper ads, being a guest on a radio show, being a guest speaker for a local association, and many more. Each one of these lead generation methods works extremely well, if you learn, understand and apply the ‘insider secrets!

As we’ve stated in previous articles, the agents, advisors and planners we work with have more high quality prospects than they can handle. However, it might surprise you to know that they aren’t really doing anything that’s different from what you’re doing. They’ve just learned a few little ‘insider secrets’ and tips that makes them just a little bit better and much more successful at it!

There Is A Reason Why The Advisers We Work With Are On Magazine Covers!

Mehdi Fakhaarzadeh, the world’s most productive living agent puts it this way…

“Your special knowledge gives you special power.
Never stop building your special power.
Use this power that you acquire.”

If you want to beat this recession! If you want to have more prospects than you can possibly handle, set more appointments and close more sales, then you must become a real student of marketing and sales. You can have all the product knowledge, the foremost designations, the ultimate products, the latest sales idea, and be the most caring person in the world, but if you can’t consistently attract the right prospects to you and set the appointment, you are doomed to struggle and fail.

No matter how good you are at closing a sale, once you are in front of the right prospect, you need to learn and understand the finer points of sales, to be able to consistently sell the reason why people should meet with you.

The Legendary Ben Feldman said…

“Be dissatisfied. People who are satisfied with the way they are living and doing their job, are in a rut. If they have no driving urge to be a better person or to accomplish more in their job, then they are standing still. And, as any successful financial advisor will tell you, this is the same as going backwards. One of the greatest traits is the inability to be completely satisfied with your own work. The feeling of having successfully completed a job is rewarding, but the feeling of having done it perfectly is fatal.”

Starting today, study marketing and sales an hour each day. Read and re-read everything you can about marketing and sales. Not just to learn what to do, but to also understand the reasons why. I’m not talking about doing it for a day, week, month or year. I’m talking about studying an hour a day about marketing and sales for the rest of your career. It’s not an option, if you truly want to succeed in this business.

“Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival.”
W. Edwards Deming

Yours In Success,
Jeremy and Lew Nason
‘The 9 Out Of 10 Guys’

P.S. Listen: Over the years, you’re going to spend thousands of dollars in time, money and effort promoting your business. Why not learn how to do it the most cost effective, money-making way? Why not learn the marketing, prospecting, appointment setting and sales strategies that most of the leading agents, advisors and planners on the planet use? It just makes good sense.

What Everyone Ought To Know…

About Annuity Seminar & Workshop Attendance
(or, about generating insurance and annuity leads in general)

In the past 6 years, we’ve gotten a lot of calls from agents, advisors and planners who are telling us that with all the bad publicity about annuity dinner seminars and this crazy economy, the attendance to their events has fallen off sharply. They’ve tried working with other marketing groups, used different direct mail houses, changed their invitations, tried using post cards and unfortunately, nothing seems to be working. They want to know if the people who are using our systems and we’re coaching, are having the same problems?

The answer we give them is… “The people we work with are still getting extraordinary results!”

What are the agents, advisors and planners we work with doing that is different from everyone else? It might surprise you to know that they aren’t really doing anything that’s different. They’ve just learned a few little ‘insider secrets’ that makes them just a little bit better and much more successful at it!

10 Reasons Why Agents, Advisors and Planners Struggle
With Annuity Seminars & Educational Workshops Continue reading What Everyone Ought To Know…

Selling Annuities… The Missing Ingredient

During the past 14 years, we’ve talked to thousands of agents and advisors who are trying to sell annuity products to seniors. The vast majority of these agents and advisors are really struggling to make sales. Whether they are buying leads, using a lead generation program or running seminars, for every 10 annuity leads they may get, they are setting appointments with only 1 or 2 of those leads. Even when they are lucky enough to get an appointment, they are closing a sale with only 1or 2 out of 10 of those appointments.

These agents and advisors tell me they have great products, they feel they do a good fact-finding interview with each prospect, they have a great sales presentation and they are good closers. They all tell me their problem is the poor quality of their leads. They go on to explain that most of the leads they get are with seniors who don’t have any money, they already have an advisor, they don’t have a problem or they came to the seminar for a free meal. Continue reading Selling Annuities… The Missing Ingredient

A Financial Plan, Is Your Road Map To Accumulating Wealth…

Many financial problems occur in each of our lives. How we face these problems can determine the quality of our lives and the lives of our loved ones!

Problems In Common

Some of the financial issues which each person can expect to face during his or her lifetime are:

A. Cash Management: More than just keeping a balanced check book, cash management includes preparing (and following) a budget, using credit wisely, and keeping the income tax burden to the lowest possible.

B. Risk Management: There is risk of loss of both life and property. Life insurance can be used to protect a family against the risk of premature death. Disability insurance can protect against the loss of a person’s ability to earn a living. Property and casualty insurance can protect our worldly goods against accidents and such perils as fire, flood, earthquake and theft.

C. Accumulation Goals: We all need to “save” money for some reason. Education for our children is one very common goal. Buying a home and building an investment portfolio for retirement are two other typical accumulation goals. Continue reading A Financial Plan, Is Your Road Map To Accumulating Wealth…

Are Your “Gatekeepers” Killing Your Client Relationships?

I had been limping around for three weeks with a pain across the top of my left foot that didn’t seem to be getting any better.  I made it through five straight days on my feet for two workshops and an active vacation, but the pain did not subside.  So, I finally decided to visit a local orthopedist.

It was good for me to go through this experience, because as often happens, it reminded me of why I do the work I do.

I called the doctor’s office and an unhappy-sounding scheduling assistant treated me as if I was a huge interruption to his day.  He was abrupt, unsympathetic, and annoyed when it took me a couple of seconds to give him precisely the information he demanded.  He advised me that the doctor I wanted wouldn’t be available in this century, and offered me some alternatives.  And he became noticeably agitated when I wasn’t satisfied with the first available appointment.  After all, who did I think I was?  HE worked for a DOCTOR and was VERY busy.  I was just one more bother in his bothersome day.

The Gatekeeper

Actor Frank Morgan as “The Gatekeeper” in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

When I arrived at the office, the staff was annoyed that I didn’t notice the big hand-written sign at the window on the right that says “Sign In Here”, and that I thought it was okay to approach the busy person sitting behind the desk on the left instead. When I got back to the person on the right, she handled our entire transaction—from the clipboard to the insurance card and picture ID—without ever looking up to see my face.

Believe it or not, your staff may be treating people like this—and no matter how good you are at what you do, or how kind and considerate you might be, your clients are thinking, “I’m not coming here again.”

Maybe, as it was in the case of this doctor, there are so many people waiting to see you that you can afford not to know how your staff is behaving.  But if you’re like most professionals, it matters to you that clients who have experienced something like this aren’t staying with you, and that they will tell others to stay away, as well.

If you want to grow your practice or business, you need to be certain that you’ve spelled out for your staff how to handle the phones and how to greet people, and you need to be sure that they’re following your system.  This means listening in on a prospective client or patient call, and having someone report to you about how they are treated while they’re waiting for you.  Don’t assume because you’re being treated well by your assistant that he or she is treating your clients in the same way.

It also means spelling out the basics for your team with a formalized procedure that includes, at least, all of the following points:

1. Identify the office and yourself.  Everyone who answers a phone should use his or her name.

2. Be pleasant.  No matter how frenetic your office might be, every caller deserves to feel that he or she is not an interruption in someone’s busy day.

3. Offer to help.  The identification should be followed by “How may I help you?” or “How may I direct your call?” or—well—anything that’s genuinely helpful.

4. Don’t rush the caller.  No matter how busy you are, clients want to ease their stress, not to confront yours.

5. Own the call.  Until the caller is connected elsewhere, the person answering the phone is responsible for the caller’s experience.

These are just some of the basic rules.

Nearly an hour later, when I finally got to see the orthopedist, I found him to be extremely competent, and a genuinely nice human being.  He advised me that I had fractured a bone, but I wasn’t willing to face his staff for the follow-up appointment. I ended up taking my foot elsewhere.

Referrals come from clients who tell stories about the “magical” service they are receiving.  If you’re not certain that you and your staff are making magic in your practice—right out of the gate—you can always contact me.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

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Small Talk, BIG SALES: Lessons from a Master Moneymaker

Mehdi Fakharzadeh is one of the most successful insurance sales agents in history.  At 92, he is still taking on and servicing clients.

Mehdi achieved his success despite starting out with a severely limited grasp of the English language and American customs.  Now, at the top of his industry, he is famous throughout the world—with a following in over forty countries.  A Chinese admirer changed his own first name to Mehdi, and at least one other inspired insurance agent gave that name to his son.

Individual Coaching

At an Insurance Pro Shop seminar a few years ago, I had the honor of being asked to speak alongside Mehdi and the renowned publicist Wally Cato.  Here are some of the Lessons I learned from Master Mehdi that day:

1. Doing the right thing for your clients results in more business and referrals.  Mehdi does not attribute his success to any skill of his own—he believes it is his karmic reward for giving what he can to everyone he comes into contact with.  His belief in this regard, and how it humbles him, shines through him as he speaks.

2. Love what you doMehdi told his audience that selling insurance is his hobby.  He is up at 4 a.m. eager to start his day and doesn’t stop until his wife calls him to tell him to come home for dinner.

3. Be prepared to give them what they ask for, but always show them what you believe they should have.  Mehdi talked about how he increases the size of his sales, and helps clients at the same time, by presenting insurance policies at signing time for amounts greater than what he had previously discussed with them.

“They always try to buy less than they should,” he told his audience. “I present to them what they really should have, and often, they agree when they see it.”

4. Make them clients first.  What do you do when a client doesn’t want what you believe is right for him?” a workshop attendee asked.  “I give him what he does want, of course,” was Mehdi’s reply.  But he continued:

“I wait two or three years [until we have a good relationship and my client trusts me],” he explained, “And then I show him a chart that has on the left side what he bought, and on the right side, what I believed was right for him.  I ask him which plan looks better now…and he always points to the one on the right.”

None of this can happen, Mehdi told his audience, unless the person in question becomes a client first.

5. Never give up!  A consistent theme in everything Mehdi spoke about was his persistence“Whenever there is a problem,” he told his audience, “I sit down and create a solution.  There’s always a solution.”

6. Talk “Nonsense”.  That’s what Mehdi calls his delightful way of engaging people in conversation.

“If I’m going up in an elevator and I push ’4′, and the other man pushes ’8′, I say, ‘You must be twice as good as me’.  When he asks me why I say that, I tell him that 8 is twice as good as 4.”

Mehdi reminded his audience that day that it makes people feel good when you’re having fun.  As further proof that Mehdi walks his talk, he invited me to spend an afternoon with him at his office to pick his brain, and bought us lunch at his favorite Chinese restaurant—asking nothing in return.

Give first, talk small, and think big—and contact me for help with doing the right thing.  Love what you do, and keep REACHING…

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Throw Away Your “To Do” List

Every week, I try to provide you with a message of value—either to keep you motivated, or to help you hone your skills to get more clients—or for whatever else you want in your life.  Today’s message has an almost Shakespearian relevance:

“To Do” or “NOT to Do”…That is the Question!

hamlet_preview

During my workshops, when I ask participants to describe their biggest challenge, “Time Management” is often ahead of getting or keeping clients.  But since we can’t really manage time—only our activities—thinking in this way can get us stuck in an approach-avoidance tango—with ourselves.  So, this week, I want to see if I can shift your perspective.

If you have created a traditional “To Do” list that is now 31 pages long and leaving you feeling overwhelmed, throw it out!  Or, at least, put it away in your drawer for a moment.

Before you do, however, pull from it the Six Things you believe are the most important and put them on a sheet of paper that you can keep on top of your desk (perhaps, pin it right next to that Memo to Self: Learn to Let Go!).

Prioritize those six things—and only those six things—from most important to least important, and only then, begin working on Number One, taking it as far as it can go.  Tomorrow, maybe move on to Number Two…and so on.

In the early 1900s, the industrialist Charles Schwab paid consultant Ivy Lee $25,000 for this one idea.  At first, Schwab did not believe that ignoring his huge list and focusing on just six things could possibly work.  After a month, however, he was excited to find he had finished more projects in those four weeks than he had in any previous month.  Try this strategy for just one month, and see for yourself.

While you’re at it, make another list of things “Not to Do”.  As my colleague David Ward describes:

“You have unlimited choices.  But you don’t have unlimited time…As you choose what to do, you also choose what not to do.  The word “decide” means to “kill the other option”…If you want to accomplish great things, you must focus on great things and let go of things that are merely good.  Give up good to go for great.”

A “Not to Do” List might look something like this:

1.  Check my smart phone.
2.  Turn on my email client.
3.  Go on Facebook.
4.  Reorganize my files.
5.  Be hard on myself.
6.  Procrastinate!

Remember: this is only for now.  Set the hours between which you choose to abide by your “Not to Do” List.  Then, schedule in the time slots when you’re allowed to break the rules, and put this “Not” list back in your drawer for the evening.  Suddenly you’ll feel like you’re Managing Time.  Your story about your own ineffectiveness will change.

You’ll be thrilled with how much less you Procrastinate when it’s one of the six items on your new “Not to Do” list.

If you need help simplifying what To Do and Not to Do, contact me.  In the meantime, do what you can to keep REACHING…

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Avoid This Common Mistake

A very common mistake that most agents, advisers and planners make is trying to appeal to everyone, with the result that you attract too many people who don’t want to pay for your services, don’t have any money, or are people you’d rather not work with.

The more profitable and effective marketing strategy is to position yourself and your firm to attract just those people that want to work with you, and with whom you’d enjoy sharing your expertise.

Imagine if every lead you pursued turned into a client, one who you could be honest and direct with, a person who you looked forward to working with. You’d make more money and have more fun.

While you can’t completely control who contacts you, you can use your marketing to position yourself to attract promising prospects and people who would make good clients. Here’s how… Continue reading Avoid This Common Mistake

Holiday Sales are Easy as Pie

For most advisors, the Fourth Quarter means a year-end blitz to improve their production numbers, hours billed, and company or office standings.
Realistically, there are only a few ways to do this:

1) Find more clients
2) Find more ways to serve existing clients
3) Make more sales
4) Make bigger sales

The majority will focus on the first of these, squeezing in as many cold calls, workshops, and client-appreciation events as they can.  They’ll rush around, becoming exhausted and frazzled—but not necessarily maneuvering themselves into a better position—by the time the holidays hit.

Many top producers, however, will slowly and meticulously examine their top clients’ files to see if there are more ways they can serve them, planning out their referral discussions, and looking for ways to surprise and delight them enough that these advocates will tell their friends and family members about the magical experiences they are having.  More business from existing clients and more quality referrals—without the frazzle and exhaustion.  Their Strategy is Simple:

1. Serve them.  Set appointments with your best clients.  Review their files first to see if there’s any way you can help them that you aren’t already—whether it will produce immediate income for you or not.  If they need an introduction to an accountant or a good podiatrist, serve them by being the source.

Santa_jack

Nightmare Before Xmas (’93)

2. Use the holidays as an excuse to surprise and delight them.  Fortunately, while the upcoming season may feel like crunch time, it also presents some great opportunities to get your clients talking about you.  The first of these opportunities is actually Halloween.  Just think of all the ghoulish possibilities!

 

 

 

 

Do your best clients have children who will be dressing up?  How about investing in the Klutz Face Painting Book?  It comes with easy-to-remove face paints and detailed instructions for creating characters.  Or, pick up and deliver some great pumpkins and bring them to their homes.

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Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

For Thanksgiving, find out if your best clients will be traveling and, if not, order them a wonderful pumpkin or apple pie from a local bakery or pie company.  Hand-deliver it a day or two before the Holiday—or on Thanksgiving morning.

Two years ago, my coaching client, Don, was invited in to meet his financial client’s family when he showed up at the door with pie.  In the presence of her relatives, his grateful client announced how much she enjoyed doing business with her advisor—how much they had accomplished and how much more they would have to do.  A few days later, one of her guests contacted Don about starting to work together.

If pies aren’t your thing, be creative.  It’s about astonishing your clients in a way that gets them smiling about their relationship with you and raving about you to the people they know.  Brainstorm with your team.  Is there something unique and special you can do to show them how important they are to you?

3. Talk about helping their families and friends.  With another financial year coming to a close, do your clients have friends or family members who might need your services?  If you can specifically identify someone in their circles, ask about him or her.  If not, ask them if they know someone who might need your help before the quarter’s done.

You can still go ahead and make those cold calls, book those workshops and events, but put your emphasis on existing clients—the people who already do business with you and will be joyous to rave about you to those they love.  If you need more tips on serving up the right surprises, contact me. Either way, keep delivering what you do best, and keep REACHING…

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GIVE SOMEONE THE GIFT OF SELF/SALES HELP

Send someone a thoughtful and thought-provoking gift this season:

Autographed copies of my books, The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet.  I’ll even include a personal note that you can customize.  There’s no extra charge for the signing, nor for holiday gift-wrapping.  Simply click here to order the 2-book package, and make sure to edit the Gift Options and/or Add a Comment or Request to let me know your needs.

What Are You Waiting For?

Like most agents, I struggled when I started in this business in 1982. But, then I got extremely lucky, because I had three very successful producers take me under their wings and teach me how to consistently attract, set high quality appointments and close sales with my best prospects.

And, I quickly became a top producer like them. (Thank You, Mike, Phil and Ron!)

What Made The Big Difference In My Success?

What made the difference, was the 3 mentors I had early in my career.

Given enough time and money, I’m sure I would have eventually figured this business out on my own…  with a lot of studying, and applying what I learned through trial and error.

The question is, without the guidance of my 3 mentors, would I have had the resolve, money and patience to make it happen? Would I have survived the early years in this business, let alone become a top producer?

Whether you have been in this great profession for 30 days or 30 years, if you are not seeing the results you want, then when are you going to do something about it?

One of the most overlooked and best ways to quickly improve your results, is to find a mentor. Someone who is (or was) already successful at what you want to do, and is willing to help you.

When people think of mentors, they may think of a retiree they met at their son’s little league practice who gave them some pointers on dealing with mortgage brokers. They may remember their neighbor who started a successful business several years ago and whose brain they’ve picked during the backyard barbecue. They may recall the experienced businessperson who took them under their wing and taught them all about business, customers and relationships – the one person to whom they wouldn’t think about making a major decision without consulting.

The first two examples above describe an advisor relationship, while the third describes a mentor.

Advisors can be extremely valuable, and you should try to learn all you can from them. Most people are happy to give you an hour or two of their time, particularly if you’re clear that this is all you want. Few people will resist this approach: “I’ve admired what you’ve accomplished in this field. Would you allow me to take you to lunch and ask you a few questions?” When you meet with them, remember that the more specific your questions, the more value you’ll receive.

A mentor relationship is much deeper, more personal and longer term. A mentor is someone who serves as an example, an advisor, a sounding board and ultimately a friend. That last attribute is very important. A mentor cannot really be effective if they don’t truly care about you, and vice versa. Truly effective mentors do what they do for one reason: They want to help you succeed. They aren’t working with you to make money off your business or to boost their egos.

They work with you because they are truly interested in helping people and giving back!

A mentor is someone who has proven skills and experience in the area you want to develop. A mentor is someone who has owned, developed, or run a successful business and has demonstrated that they have the skills required to succeed. They will also have had their share of mistakes and failures, and it is their ability to turn a those mistakes and failures into a success, that makes their input so invaluable.

Ideally, they will have had experience running businesses similar to yours, however, the industry is less important than the type of business it is. For instance, if you sell services, then a good mentor for you is someone who has built and/or run a business that sells services.

A mentor may be someone you hire to support you, or it may be a friend, a previous boss or colleague who shares their experience and wisdom willingly.

A good mentor is someone who has a personal investment in your success and is committed to helping you achieve your business goals. They are the first person to whom you turn for advice and they are the first to hear of your successes. They explore options and solutions with you, and they help you to deal with obstacles.

For this reason, a good mentor will always be honest with you. They will tell you if they think an idea you have is a good one, or too risky. They will also tell you if they don’t know something, and ideally, they will have an extensive network of other experts and suppliers to leverage, to get you the right answer.

Both a coach and a mentor play an important role in your success and in an ideal world, you might have both – I still do, even after 30 years in this business!

Yours in Success,
Lew and Jeremy Nason
‘The 9 Out Of 10 Guys’
Trainers, Coaches and Mentors

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