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Pigs Get Fat, but Hogs Get Slaughtered
By Rodney Ballance

My dear friend Jeff Armstrong has said this statement thousands of times. Jeff is the President of a Fraternal Benefit company in New York, and came up in our industry through some of the same channels as me.

When Jeff says this rather graphic statement he means that when a financial advisor serves to meet the needs of his clients, he will eat well because he has served the needs of another. On the other hand when a financial salesman focuses on simply selling a particular product, and wedges it in to fit everyone’s “needs”, they are going to eventually end up dead in this business.

I agree with my friend Jeff in that far too many licensed agents are more focused on selling a particular product than they are truly learning the needs of the prospect, then filling those needs with a variety of products.

There’s no wonder our industry is considered among the lowest ranks when it comes to trust. Typical families don’t understand how various financial tools work, and therefore can easily be taken advantage of by unscrupulous sales people with a slick gimmick.

One such gimmick is the push for annuity sales today. Even though I agree with and whole heartedly support the use of fixed rate annuities in an interest friendly environment, I would stop short of blindly prescribing one for everyone.

I know your inbox is littered with promotions every day, just like mine, with IMOs promising that selling annuities will double or triple your income. What if you do only sell annuities, but someone actually could benefit more from a combination of permanent and term life insurance but you’re only there to sell an annuity?

If you’re only a “one trick pony” will people ever seek you out as a true financial professional? Or will you be labeled as the annuity salesman until such time you decide to sell something else?

I want all of us to “get fat” from doing the right thing for clients. That right thing, in my opinion is taking a holistic approach to personal finance. Being able to recognize the basic needs of a prospect, then filling those needs with a combination of the appropriate financial tools will earn you respect and referrals.

Unfortunately when one agent “gets slaughtered” because he/she sold someone something due to limited knowledge or concern for the client, we all get slaughtered with them. Remember this thought, “Do something good for someone and the silence is deafening, but do one thing wrong and you can’t stop the talk about it”.

If you want to become a well-rounded financial professional, and make sure you’re not confused with the salespeople headed for the “hog pin” there are a number of fine training programs available in our industry.

To truly be considered a professional advisor with a “holistic” approach to personal financial planning, you should contact my friends, Jeremy, Will and Lew Nason at the Insurance Pro Shop. Their basic and simple approach to our business has claimed them numerous awards for personal production and in management positions.

Their no nonsense teachings has helped thousands of agents just like you be as successful as they wanted to be, all the while earning referrals because those agents always seek to serve the client before the Company.

Let’s all get “fat” together as we listen to the clients, consider all objectives, and place the right combination of appropriate financial tools to meet those needs and objectives. Just give it a try, and separate yourself from the hogs on their way to an unpleasant demise in this business.


“I’ve written over $270,000 of life premiums in the past two months”

“Thanks for everything. I’ve written over $270,000 of life premiums in the past two months since
attending the boot camp in December... ($190,000 in commissions) Freedom Equity Group has
asked me to do a teleconference to explain how I’ve accomplished this dramatic increase in my
business. I’ll be recommending your Found Money Management system and your boot camp
(Trusted Advisor Success Training) to everyone on the call.”

Randy Delph,
RFC, LUTCF, FMM - IN, (35 years in the business)

Practice management: Don't do the same thing expecting a different result
By Sandy Schussel

Burt, an independent financial planner who was already making a good living, was looking for a way to further increase his sales. He started a marketing (or prospecting) program, paying attention to the fact that clients are usually tuned to radio station WII-FM (What’s In It For Me).

Refocusing his initial conversations to be completely client-centric was, for Burt, a radical departure from the “I’m building my business” approach he had been using for years. Burt called me, concerned that the work we were doing was not going to be effective. “I speak with a group of my peers on the phone every morning,” he started, “And when I told them today what I’ve been trying out with you, they told me it wouldn’t work and that I should go back to doing what I was doing before.”

“So now, I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing,” he concluded.

“Burt, are any of the people in your peer group making significantly more money than you are?” I asked him.

“No,” he responded, “One of the reasons we all meet is that we’re all at about the same level.”

“What if all of the things you’ve been doing up until now got you all to that same level, but no higher?” I asked. Burt paused for a long moment and then responded: “I see what you’re saying. If we don’t change our approach, we’ll keep getting the same outcome ...and making the same income.”

Albert Einstein is credited with having defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If you’ve reached a certain level in your business or practice and can’t seem to get any further, then there may be a touch of insanity involved. You need to look first at the extent to which existing clients or customers are praising you. If you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do, but only that much, then you aren’t really doing enough, and this will show in the limited number of unsolicited referrals you are getting.

Burt recently told me that he had just experienced his best August ever. Burt’s success was about curing his insanity. Doing new and different things in his practice was the remedy he required.

It's Finally Here... And It's "Awesome!"

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Note: Effective May 1st, 2013 the investment for new members of the Insurance Marketing and Sales Resource Center™ will be $25.00 per month. (Current members will stay at their current monthly investment) The investment for NEW members will eventually be increased to a minimum of $50.00 per month. You will be Locked In’ at your original monthly investment for as long as you are a member, no matter how high we may go in the future.



“...the sale was for $24,000 commission, not a bad day!!!”

“I just made a large (for me) annuity sale that would have not been possible had I not used
your website (the Insurance Marketing & Sales Resource Center) and your coaching advice.
I have learned to listen much, much, more than talk. The sale is made by them not me. And most importantly I did the right thing for the client because they will be earning much more income
and saving a bundle on taxes. So, you not only helped me, but the client. Oh, by the way, the sale
was for $24,000 commission, not a bad day!!!
This is only step one in the planning  process,
step two the life insurance review will generate another smaller, but nice sale.”

Brian H. - PA

Not sure we can help? Then call today, for a FREE 15 minute consultation... 877-297-4608

By Forrest Wallace Cato, IFLA
Winner of the Fred R. Kissling Article Writer’s Award.

My great friend the late Steve Allen, originator of America’s Tonight Show, on NBC-TV, said on the first telecast in 1954, “This program is not going to be an exciting production. This is going to be a little talk. The exciting parts will come in future weeks after we get underway.” I can make a similar statement about this IPS article, “This article is not going to be exciting. This is going to be a definition of personal branding. The exciting parts will come in future weeks after we get underway.”

Back in 1992 I placed an item in PR Aids Party-Line, a nationally-circulated newsletter providing editorial leads for public relations practitioners so they could possibly make more placements. I invited PR agents to send me contact info for their clients with established personal brands or personal brands in the process of becoming established. I wanted to follow-up and interview these people for an article assignment on personal branding. But I only received one lead.

Today, ask anyone anything about personal branding and you will find that you are speaking with a personal branding expert. Go ahead. Try it. Most everyone goes on- and-on about personal branding even when they know little or nothing about this subject. Anyone and everyone is an expert on personal branding. But most likely the same people can not even accurately define personal branding. And it is also likely that they do not have a personal brand. If a person is a professional of some type then he or she often presumes to have a full-understanding of personal branding. I find that most people with no personal brand will quickly answer any question about personal branding, but usually they are incorrect or incomplete. A few (Very few, thank God!) ego maniacs are experts on all subjects.

Once at a workshop conducted by the Insurance Pro Shop® I interacted with 31-financial professionals composed of 15-insurance agents and 16-financial planners. I gave each participant a list of 20-subjects, one of which was personal branding. I asked the group to quickly write one brief paragraph “on the easiest to write about subject” in the group and another short paragraph about why that subject was the easiest for them to write about. Topics I expected to be selected most were some aspect of selling, like getting referrals, product knowledge, cross-selling, covering objections, prospecting, closing, etc.

Apparently if professionals, many of them even without a business card, and without an office, know anything about marketing, they presume to know all things about personal branding. But personal branding may be the most misused term tossed about today. This term is often used in place of your persona, you ad campaign theme, your personality, your portfolio of offerings, your one special product, your logo, your slogan, your image, your communications in general, your status, etc. There is a vast army of marketing brand consultants and their qualifications are all-over-the-board, some even with faked credentials.

In March of 2013 Amazon listed 687 books on branding, the majority of which are self-published. Various aspects of personal branding become highly subjective when you get into discussions of brand delivery, performance, capabilities, style, and evaluation. You can quickly get excessively academic about branding when you talk about identity research models and focus prisms.

In the past affordable personal branding was not available even for the most successful professionals. The system I devised finally made personal branding affordable, plus you can obtain better results for building a stronger personal brand. And most importantly, you can start with the correct information.


Your Personal Brand Accurately Defined

Here is how I described personal branding in 1982 to the Publicity Club of New York City, back when the term was seldom ever mentioned: “Your personal brand is your core identity. Your personal brand is an accumulation of what your clients and prospects know and believe about you. Your personal brand is your established profile. Your personal brand focuses your positioning in your market area. Your personal brand is the essence of what is unique, special, and precious about you.

Your personal brand explains why you are so valuable. Your personal brand determines the position you occupy within the region where you sell. Your personal band is what people know, think, and believe about you. If you have an established personal brand then this can work for you like marketing magic. If you do not have a personal brand then you will always struggle to get clients, make sales, build your practice, and be accepted.

A desired personal brand makes you more attractive, more approachable, more sought-after, more appreciated and more recognized. A personal brand saves you from being merely typical, routine, or average. Your personal brand sets your standards and highly influences how you are treated. A personal brand is the same as a personal image brand. Your personal brand has been called, ‘What people say about you when you are not there.’

Your personal brand influences all thinking about you and all evaluating of you. If you are a professional at any discipline then you must have a personal brand to lift you above the vast majority -- your competition -- practitioners that are considered ordinary and typical. Anything and everything you do or say that could become a part of your image should be in accord with your desired personal brand -- the brand that you seek to create, establish, and maintain. A personal brand should be embraced, not feared. If you don’t have a personal brand then you are most likely not well-known.”


In 1989 Howard Penn Hudson, publisher of Public Relations Quarterly, wrote, “The complete definition of personal image branding is difficult to phrase, but since Wally Cato combined art with science to create the highly improved process for achieving personal image branding, we know now that it is safe to say that Cato’s definition is the most complete. So many elements are entailed that paragraphs are required for al-encompassing definition.”

Daniel J. Edelman, founder and chairman of one of the largest PR firms in the world, and himself a groundbreaker in the field, said in 2001, “Personal image branding as re-defined by Wally Cato means you can always manage to have community renown and a resilient image.”

Stuart Henderson Britt, Ph.D., the famous psychologist, and university educator, who was an American leader in social psychology, applied personal psychology and consumer psychology, wrote many books, possibly the best-known of which are Advertising Psychology and The Marketing Manager’s Handbook. Dr. Britt hosted the Advertising Age Creative Workshops in Chicago’s Palmer Hotel for many years. He and Cato were friends, as well as collaborators. In 1978 Dr. Britt reported, “Cato’s definition has not changed since he originated it. This definition has become more absolute and better established through Cato’s work”

Dr. Britt concluded, “By using Cato’s procedures your personal brand can be alive indefinitely without the huge expense and work previously required. It can grow. It can evolve. It can change over time as you change. Your personal brand probably should be ever-changing.”

“Any professional without an established personal brand is at a great marketing disadvantage. Your personal band allows you to position or to re-position yourself for maximum marketing results. If you have a personal brand based around factors that are insignificant, inappropriate, ineffective, or even illogical, then re-branding yourself is critical to your marketing effectiveness.”

Attorney Sandy Schussel is author of Become A Client Magnet and The High Diving Board. He is also a highly-booked American speaker. Schussel says, “When I talk about personal branding, I explain Cato’s definition this way: It’s not good enough for your ideal prospect to believe that you are the best choice from among many to provide what that prospect needs. You need to be the only choice that prospect will need. If I am a parent worried about the rising cost of college, I don’t want a great financial advisor. I want my community’s renowned expert college planning advisor. If this is your ideal client, your name is the only one that must come up.”

Mehdi Fakharzadeh, the world’s most successful living and active insurance sales agents, according to the MDRT, says, “I believe that Cato personal image branding is how you establish in your market region that which is unique, special, and precious about you. As you become locally famous you also become more accepted.”

Back to the test of 31-financial professionals at the Insurance Pro Shop® whom I asked to write a brief paragraph on the “easiest to explain” topic. To my surprise they all chose the subject of personal branding and their reasons for their selections were all some variation of “this subject is so simple,” or, “anyone can quickly understand this topic,” and, “it is so easy for me to write about personal branding.” Yet all of their paragraphs contained inaccuracies. Every paragraph was based on false assumptions. I’ve never understood why people presume to have expertise on personal branding as if no qualifications, knowledge, or experience were required.

Physicians understand that knowing about many aspects of different medical problems doe sot mean they know enough about all of them. But good people in marketing and sales who know a lot about sales and marketing routinely presume to know “all about personal branding.”

Lew Nason, IFLA, founder of the Insurance Pro Shop® explains, “At times it seems that the number of people who write articles on personal branding exceeds the number of people who read the articles. At financial industry meetings, everyone volunteers to speak on this subject, and why not, since everyone is an expert on personal branding. Today the term is often mentioned but almost meaningless as it now means anything people want it to mean. Personal branding may not be what you thought it was up until now.”

615-547-4668  -  -

“Lew helped me close $16,800 in commissions in 2 weeks!”

“Lew’s coaching and system has helped my practice immensely! Learning from Lew on how to
 ask questions the right way, helped me close $16,800 in commissions in 2 weeks! Thanks Lew!”

Ron Fara, RIA - IL

"Allstate has spent a ton of money on similar programs,
but in my humble opinion, what you offer is much better."

“Lew, I recently purchased your Advanced Fact-Finding Video... I have been on two interviews
so far and used the methods you described. It was surprising how the folks opened-up. Not only
were their defenses totally down, but they actually stated that they liked the low-pressure approach
and questioning process to find out what their needs/concerns were before they were asked to buy
anything. In both cases the customer actually told me what they were going to buy... By the way,
I am going to recommend that you contact Allstate's Financial Specialist Manger, so you can help
them with their sales efforts. They have spent a ton of money on similar programs, but in my
humble opinion, what you offer is much better. Feel free to drop my name.”

Robert Dupuis, Allstate Agency Owner - TX

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