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Sponsored Contentby Mutual of Omaha

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Whether you're considering an expansion of your practice, oryou're looking for young professionals to replace establishedadvisors who are reaching retirement age, it's critical to have astructured training plan to nurture new talent. After all, thebenefits game is as much an art as it is a science. A good trainingprogram should educate candidates, instill confidence and preparethem for the field.

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When bringing new candidates onboard, concepts often associatedwith military boot camps can help ensure their success. We're nottalking about the familiar images of pre-dawn drills, soldiersmarching in unison and not-so-friendly drill sergeants. Instead,discipline, teamwork and accountability are what great advisors aremade of. With that, let's take a quick look at three key principlesthat help make a solid onboarding program.

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1. Keep it real

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Like military boot camps, onboarding programs have a way ofidentifying future stars, and those who might not be a good fit.Candidates need to understand that insurance isn't a nine-to-fivegig. There are evening appointments, weekend functions, and lots ofnetworking. And while insurance is a wonderful profession, whichcan be both professionally and financially rewarding, success onlycomes with hard work and commitment.

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Be honest about the realities of the profession. These jobrequirements are often welcomed by new prospects, but for some, itcan be a wake-up call that leaves them thinking, “maybe this isn'tfor me.” If a prospect opts out early, consider it a mutuallybeneficial byproduct of training that ultimately saves everyone alot of time and potential frustration.

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2. Be all you can be

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New candidates will be eager to begin their insurance andfinancial services careers, but your training program shouldinitially focus more on the person than it does insurance productsand sales techniques. In fact, for the first several months, theprimary goal should be helping new advisors develop fundamentallife skills and a solid foundation upon which they can build asuccessful career.

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Candidates need honest feedback concerning issues that can standin the way of their continued growth. Helping new advisors build asolid foundation for a successful career starts with helping themunlearn bad habits; some of which they might not even know theyhave.

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Training should help them take a full inventory of how theyproject themselves: their vocabulary, eye contact, manners, howthey dress and their non-verbal communication. Ultimately, yourprogram should enable personal growth and inspire them to be thebest people they can be.

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3. This bud's for you

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Once the candidate has established a solid foundation, it's timeto transition them into a Buddy Program where they'll shadow a moreexperienced advisor for about a year. During this apprenticeship,they'll develop a unique value proposition and their own personalbrand.

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It's also during the apprenticeship that candidates areintroduced to the science of sales and the variables that drivebuying behavior. Prospects are immersed in product information,they learn the ins and outs of the business and they prepare toestablish their own practice.

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After 15 years of training new candidates, I've learned thatthere aren't any shortcuts to helping benefit professionals preparefor a successful career. The program shouldn't rely on complexlearning strategies, and the most innovative concepts are usuallygood old-fashioned common sense and hard work.

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Programs that employ genuine recognition, team work that createspowerful bonds, and positive reinforcement, will help instillwinning ways.

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In the end, effective training programs should leave newadvisors well positioned to have long and fulfilling careers. Andas they venture into their professions, they should do so with one,fundamental take away: Success is a lifestyle.

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Jeff Eilers is Regional Vice President of Group Sales,Western Region. He can be reached [email protected].

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