We once had a new agent on our team who landed a huge group just two doors down from the regional sales office. The veteran agents were shocked and peeved. They demanded to know how she had landed this big account when everyone knew it was a waste of time to call on them because the HR lady had been saying no for years.
“Oh. I didn’t know that,” shrugged the new agent. “The HR lady said she had been thinking about doing business with us for awhile, but no one ever came by and asked.”
See, the HR director hadn’t been saying no all those years. She said no once, all those years ago.
That’s the beauty of thinking like a rookie. Rookies call on groups they’re not supposed to call on, mainly because they have to. They don’t know how it’s always been because they’ve never been there before. They enter an industry with new ideas and capture the market because they’re not prisoners of the moment.
The rookie has two basic mottos: “Never say never” and “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Why? Because they have nothing else. No experience. No client list. No income. Just a list of unqualified prospects and “carpe diem” scrawled on an index card and taped to their bathroom mirror.
As you’re reading this, we’re running head first into the “Exchange Era.” In this era, we’re all rookies, but not just any rookies. And that’s the cool part.
Imagine if we took all our experience and rolled it into a rookie mindset. Imagine if we saw opportunities instead of obstacles. Imagine if we quit worrying about having all the answers and looking stupid. Imagine if we did all this because, well, we have to.
If the last three years have taught me anything, it’s to never — ever — say never. And since this is new to all of us, we all have to pretty much fake it ‘til we make it.
I’m not suggesting that you make sure your E&O is paid up so you can do a Thelma & Louise with your career. I’m simply suggesting that you get comfortable with the idea that you don’t have all the answers yet. And you’ve been there before, and you beat it. You eventually progressed to a point where you didn’t need to consult with anyone, or Google it. You eventually could answer questions, get creative and find solutions for your clients.
That’s how you built a business over the last 20 years, and that’s how you’ll build it for another 20.