It's easy to get off to aslow start in the new year and find yourself running to catch uplater. It doesn't have to be that way. Here's your alternative.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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As the new year races on, it's cold out, andit's easy to mentally hibernate (as well as physically). But you can still get the year off to a good start. Let's look at10 temptations and what you can do to turn them around.

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1. I'll prospect tomorrow.  It may beyour least favorite activity.  You look for any excuse toput it off.

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What will you say tomorrow?  When does tomorrow becomenext week?  Your manager wonders why your pipeline isn'tgetting filled.

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Instead:  Work on a goodhabit: Get the less desirable tasks out of the way early in theday.

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2. I have the whole year ahead ofme.  It's tempting to make the case to “ease intowork” over a few days or weeks.  There was an old RussianCommunist era joke: “They pretend to pay us, we pretend towork.”  But you have a different business model –you are paid on business you bring in.  You need to getstarted.

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Instead:  Think of the New Year ashorses lined up at the starting gate at a race.  Thefirm's top producer and you are starting off even.  Whatwill you do to lead the pack?

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3. I'll wait until the stock market shows somedirection.  First of all, your primary product isinsurance, not investments.  In times of marketvolatility, insurance products can look pretty attractive.

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Instead:  Talk to people invested inthe stock market about the benefits of diversification. Present insurance as something they should consider.

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4. My clients don't open theirstatements.  This implies money means nothing tothem.  The cable TV financial news statements arescreaming about market volatility.  Don't you think thoseclients need some hand holding?

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Instead:  You sellinsurance.  They might own products that share in thestock market's upward movement, while offering them a degree ofprotection on the downside.  This is a good time to remindthem.

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5. They must be OK because they haven't beencalling – let sleeping dogs lie.  Notcalling doesn't mean not worried.  They may be activelyprospected by another agent or advisor saying:  “When wasthe last time you had a call from your advisor?”

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Instead:  Annual reviews are good,quarterly reviews are great.  People want to know wherethey stand.  If you don't call and the stock marketcontinues to decline, making the call becomes more difficult.

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6. My clients don't want any other products –they never asked.  We think because they only buyone product, they have no other interests.  Meanwhile,they only buy one product because they think of you as “theirinsurance guy.”  They don't know you do other stuff.

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Instead:  Have a meeting and explainthe range of products and services you offer.  You may besurprised at their reaction.

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7. I have all their money. How do you know that?  Do they advise or indirectlycontrol other money?  Do they advise their parents ontheir finances?

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Instead:  Continue to bring themideas.

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8. I don't need to see them – ourrelationship is fine.  It takes time to meet aclient at their home in the evening after work.  You mightdo most of your business over the phone.  You might usee-mail and texting within firm rules.  Distance weakensrelationships.  Their adult child might beasking:  “Why do you stay with them?”

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Instead:  See themperiodically.  Do something nice for them.  Getto know their spouse.  Get to know their children, ifpossible.

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9. I don't need a plan –  I keepeverything in my head.  It's generally believedpeople with business plans do better than people who wingit.  A great deal of the success in this business comesfrom follow-up and getting back in touch when the client has fundscoming available.

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Instead:  Do a businessplan.  Use a template.  Design your own if youprefer.  There's no GPS for business yet, giving turn byturn instructions.  You need a map.

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10. I don't need training – I'm goodat what I do.  Ever notice how some establishedagents and advisors skip training sessions?  They feelthey are good and stay in their comfort zone.  Your firmdesigns new products and services because they think people willbuy them. You can't explain them if you haven't learned aboutthem.

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Instead:  Attend training provided bythe firm.  Ask yourself: “How could this new product orservice fit into my practice?

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It's easy to get off to a slow start in the New Year and findyourself running to catch up later.  It doesn't have to bethat way.  Here's your alternative.

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Bryce Sanders is president of PerceptiveBusiness Solutions Inc.  He provides HNW clientacquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found onAmazon.

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READ MORE:

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6 steps to accelerate the salescycle

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8 mistakes advisors make when joining the Chamberof Commerce

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7 cultural issues that drive salessuccess

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”