As the new year races on, it’s cold out, and it’s easy to mentally hibernate (as well as physically). But you can still get the year off to a good start. Let’s look at 10 temptations and what you can do to turn them around.
1. I’ll prospect tomorrow. It may be your least favorite activity. You look for any excuse to put it off.
What will you say tomorrow? When does tomorrow become next week? Your manager wonders why your pipeline isn’t getting filled.
Instead: Work on a good habit: Get the less desirable tasks out of the way early in the day.
2. I have the whole year ahead of me. It’s tempting to make the case to “ease into work” over a few days or weeks. There was an old Russian Communist era joke: “They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.” But you have a different business model – you are paid on business you bring in. You need to get started.
Instead: Think of the New Year as horses lined up at the starting gate at a race. The firm’s top producer and you are starting off even. What will you do to lead the pack?
3. I’ll wait until the stock market shows some direction. First of all, your primary product is insurance, not investments. In times of market volatility, insurance products can look pretty attractive.
Instead: Talk to people invested in the stock market about the benefits of diversification. Present insurance as something they should consider.
4. My clients don’t open their statements. This implies money means nothing to them. The cable TV financial news statements are screaming about market volatility. Don’t you think those clients need some hand holding?
Instead: You sell insurance. They might own products that share in the stock market’s upward movement, while offering them a degree of protection on the downside. This is a good time to remind them.
5. They must be OK because they haven’t been calling – let sleeping dogs lie. Not calling doesn’t mean not worried. They may be actively prospected by another agent or advisor saying: “When was the last time you had a call from your advisor?”
Instead: Annual reviews are good, quarterly reviews are great. People want to know where they stand. If you don’t call and the stock market continues to decline, making the call becomes more difficult.
6. My clients don’t want any other products – they never asked. We think because they only buy one product, they have no other interests. Meanwhile, they only buy one product because they think of you as “their insurance guy.” They don’t know you do other stuff.
Instead: Have a meeting and explain the range of products and services you offer. You may be surprised at their reaction.
7. I have all their money. How do you know that? Do they advise or indirectly control other money? Do they advise their parents on their finances?
Instead: Continue to bring them ideas.
8. I don’t need to see them – our relationship is fine. It takes time to meet a client at their home in the evening after work. You might do most of your business over the phone. You might use e-mail and texting within firm rules. Distance weakens relationships. Their adult child might be asking: “Why do you stay with them?”
Instead: See them periodically. Do something nice for them. Get to know their spouse. Get to know their children, if possible.
9. I don’t need a plan – I keep everything in my head. It’s generally believed people with business plans do better than people who wing it. A great deal of the success in this business comes from follow-up and getting back in touch when the client has funds coming available.
Instead: Do a business plan. Use a template. Design your own if you prefer. There’s no GPS for business yet, giving turn by turn instructions. You need a map.
10. I don’t need training – I’m good at what I do. Ever notice how some established agents and advisors skip training sessions? They feel they are good and stay in their comfort zone. Your firm designs new products and services because they think people will buy them. You can’t explain them if you haven’t learned about them.
Instead: Attend training provided by the firm. Ask yourself: “How could this new product or service fit into my practice?
It’s easy to get off to a slow start in the New Year and find yourself running to catch up later. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s your alternative.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.