Monthly Archives: February 2012

Getting Started Right

At National Agents Alliance, everyone works hard to create a clear path for agents to run on.  It’s up to the new agent to follow the path that leads to massive success.

After licensing and contracting comes learning from your mentor exactly how top producers do the job.  Learning the products, learning the successful sales system, and practicing the scripts for appointment setting are definite first steps to success.

Ready, fire, aim!Watching and learning from your manager is important but you will also need to practice creating illustrations using the carrier software until you are confident that while in a client’s home, you can present options, overcome obstacles and successfully fill their needs.

You can’t learn to swim standing on the side of the pool, so it’s time to jump in and get your feet wet.  Without worrying about being perfect, the new agent needs to make some dials, set some appointments, sit with clients, protect that family and get paid!

Don’t be concerned if you make some mistakes; keep going and do it again and again.  As CEO Andy Albright says, “Once you have sold one policy, you know exactly what it takes to make as much money as you want, just keep doin’ it!”

Creating a work schedule for yourself can be a tremendous asset in getting started right also.

The most profitable agents use their time on the right activities and take time to plan their weekly, monthly and annual activities.

It doesn’t matter if you are a part-time or full-time agent, you MUST allocate definite hours of operation for your business. One of the biggest challenges of working independently from home is the lack of structure and time management.

You need to schedule adequate time to:

  • Participate in Corporate Training calls
  • Participate in Corporate Events
  • Participate in Team Training calls
  • Make your dials for Appointments
  • Study to expand your Product Knowledge
  • Work on Personal Development (Read, Listen)

The business system at National Agents Alliance is simple, but YOU have to do the activity.  Remember that there are no shortcuts to success.  Get leads, set appointments, sit with clients, submit applications and receive commissions from carriers.  Do it again. Follow the system!


Math Matters

Recently there was an article published that discussed the poor performance by American students in mathematics compared to students in other countries.

Only 32 percent of students in the USA tested at the “proficient” level while in Shanghai the number is 75 percent.  When it comes to advanced levels of math proficiency the scores are USA with 7 percent and 45 percent of students from Shanghai scoring at the advanced level.

Why is this important?  Mathematical ability helps provide the disciplined structure that helps people to think, speak and write more clearly, all of which are attributes that top agents at National Agents Alliance possess.

Since our agents’ success depends on their ability to communicate clearly and professionally with a variety of people, the training which comes from mathematics can dramatically improve the performance that leads directly to increased commissions.  An analytical mind is a tremendous asset when an agent is sitting in the home discussing the many options available to a client in terms of insurance protection and retirement planning.  The ability to “think on your feet” comes in handy when you are presented with a scenario you hadn’t planned on.

Our agents obviously work with numbers when analyzing face amounts, premiums, return of premium options, monthly vs quarterly payments, return on investment, and on and on.  Understanding all of the options and being able to explain them to the client is crucial.

To agents, numbers are also important in another way:  tracking activity and results is a primary duty for every agent, and the most successful agents at National Agents Alliance are diligent in the very simple but import task.

CEO Andy Albright explains the skill best whenever he lectures on the use of the NAActivity Book that was designed explicitly for field agents to track their number of dials, contacts, appointments set, and the resulting sales from those appointments.  Understanding the connection between those categories is the key to improvement, the key to success.

You have heard that the “cream rises to the top.” This is certainly true at National Agents Alliance and the leaders will attest that use of the NAActivity Book separates the “cream” and proves that “Math Matters!”


What’s in Your Wallet?

What's in Your WalletAmong the main things that we offer our clients everyday are financial security and peace of mind. But let me ask you…do you have that for yourself?

Agents join National Agents Alliance for a variety of reasons, but one common denominator is for the incredible income we are able to provide for ourselves and our family. But income and financial security are not one and the same thing. What does that mean? That means that someone earning $50,000 can be financially secure, while another person earning $250,000 can be absolutely broke. We all know someone who fits both of those profiles.

There are two simple and powerful practices that are the foundation of all financial security. You can read every financial expert and they will teach you these principles. The first principle is to pay yourself first. This is not negotiable and will make or break your financial future. Ten percent of every penny that walks in your door should be put away in a safe place, and allowed to accumulate. Some of you will say, I can’t live on what I’m making now…the creditors are calling…I’m behind on everything. Until you embrace this practice, you will remain behind on everything. Yes it’s difficult to save in this situation, but the blunt truth is that your creditors will still be calling, you will still be behind for a short period of time, but you will be creating a reserve for yourself that will attract more financial success faster than anything else. (Read “Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason).

The second and equally essential step to achieving financial security is to give 10% of your income away. Giving away money to a deserving cause (consider NAA’s project, Goad Ministries) sends a powerful signal that you have plenty and that you know that plenty more is coming. This ability to be a conduit for money and wealth is a hallmark of all successful people. Look at our own Andy Albright, he is the biggest giver in all of National Agents Alliance. Paul J Meyer, one of the great success stories in the life insurance industry, was able to give away $440,000,000 in his lifetime.

In order to be a successful agent you have to have the financial security and peace of mind that we talked about. If you’re in a client’s home and worrying about a creditor calling or an unpaid bill, you will not get the result you seek. Pick an expert, whether it’s David Bach, Suze Orman, or countless others and follow the plan. Your wallet will be glad you did.


Posture

Confident PostureHave you ever wondered why some agents with National Agents Alliance are so successful on the phone while others act like the phone weighs 30 pounds and dread their calling sessions?

It is vitally important during your phone calls to prospects that you display an air of confidence and speak enthusiastically without sounding out of control. There is an important distinction between projecting a confident, authentic, and enthusiastic demeanor and an over-exaggerated, slick and hype-filled pitch that will turn off most prospects.  The person at the other end of that call can “feel” the difference.

Many of the top agents in National Agents Alliance naturally possess the authentic, believable, and confident posture that makes prospects sit up and take notice.  For most agents, though, learning that skill takes a lot of practice, but there is no doubt that anyone can learn to have a strong “posture.”  The beginning agent needs to listen to and watch the more experienced agent do calls and notice his body language.  Smiling, sitting up straight in your chair, standing or even walking around the office actually comes across positively to the prospect who can’t even see the speaker.

Even though we get to work from home, it is a good idea to dress as though you are in the corporate office rather than be sloppy and sit with your feet up on the desk.  Again, the prospect can feel the lack of “posture.”  Your office environment needs to be neat and professional…no TV or radio on, no dogs barking or kids screaming.  Any audible distractions will come across as unprofessional.

Having a confident posture requires a total belief in yourself and a total belief in your business opportunity.  The business part should be easy…you know that National Agents Alliance is the leader in the industry.  Belief in yourself comes from hard work and diligent practice.  Before beginning your calling session, sit quietly and visualize a successful session.

In time, you will have no fear of the phone and a strong, confident posture will come across loud and clear!


Building a List

You learn quickly that you can earn a great income doing everything yourself, but you’re limited to how many hours you can work.  The way to overcome this is to use some leverage and build your own agency.  The first step in building your National Agents Alliance business is to create a list.

Most folks will know at least 200 people, which is a great starting point to develop a huge list.  Start with your cell phone contacts, then go to your Facebook friends, and watch your list grow and grow.

listWhen you hire a new agent, in addition to gaining a new business partner, you also got another list of at least 200 new prospects!  Sort the list and help the new agent contact his/her top picks.  Remember not to pre-judge anyone; it’s hard to know who will be interested or which person could end up being a super-star in National Agents Alliance.  These “stars” come from all walks of life and we can’t tell from appearances what they have on the inside in terms of work ethic and desire.

Inevitably, you will hire someone who appears to be a great partner but later discover that, for whatever reason, they just aren’t the right fit.  Even so, there are still 200 other prospects from their list of names that could be potential superstars in your team!  That list might give you the one with the qualities that successful people share.

Here are some suggestions for adding to your list:

  • Ask everyone you meet for a business card.  They might not be your next business partner but they know 200 people.
  • Attend meetings of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, etc.  All those businessmen know 200 people.
  • Be a great listener.  Ask open-ended questions, not questions that can be answered with a yes or a no.  Listen for phrases like “I want,” “I need,” “I wish I could…”
  • Don’t rush into telling someone everything about your business in 30 seconds as if you’re spraying them with a fire hose.  Focus on building a relationship first; later you can introduce your business to them.
  • Don’t rule out anyone because you “think” they’ll say no — you can’t make their decision for them.
  • When you get a negative response, ask for a referral.  Remember, they know 200 people!

To build a huge National Agents Alliance business, start with your list, then use other people’s lists, and finally keep adding to your list and you’ll have an endless supply of prospects.


Creating Leaders

leadersAs an agent in National Agents Alliance you probably want to build your own agency so you can leverage your way to a bigger income without having to produce every dollar yourself.

Here are some tips that may help you to build a big, strong and long-lasting agency:

1.    Do It For Them

Perform the task while understudies watch and learn.  Whether it’s making phone calls, assisting in making a list, showing the plan or doing a follow-up, leading by example will show them the right way to do it.  Repetition is very helpful, and about 6 to 10 live demonstrations should solidify the methodology.

  1. 2.    Let Them Do It With Your Supervision

Watch, evaluate and make suggestions to your pupils for improvement.  Help them gain confidence so they will be able to perform highly even without you.

  1. 3.    They Do It On Their Own

Turn over the responsibility for everything in their business to them.  Follow up with them regularly for reports, and to assist in areas where questions, concerns, or difficulties have arisen.

  1. 4.    Help That Agent Train a New Agent

Now the leverage really kicks in!  When you train your new agents properly you will begin to see real duplication occurring.  This is an important step.  Give plenty of support here and your business will grow exponentially.

  1. 5.    Get The New Agent Involved in a Personal Development Program

Developing leaders is a process that is difficult to do on your own, especially when your agency begins generating new hires every week!  Provide access to training materials, and encourage the new agents to read, listen to positive MP3’s, maintain a positive attitude, and utilize all the resources that National Agents Alliance provides.  Remember to also develop their motivation for creating massive goals and a process to achieve them!

  1. 6.    Become Their Mentor, Friend, Business Partner and Biggest Supporter

At this point you will be building a great relationship with your new leaders.  This relationship is at the core of long-term business success.

Empower each team member to be the leader of their own agency.  Be sure to recognize them for their accomplishments.  Allow them to have center stage without stealing the spotlight.  Get to know their family and include them in the business.  Help them set higher and higher goals and challenge them to reach for the stars.  Have regular strategy sessions to set the course for the future.

These are just a few of many possible guidelines and paths that can help to develop a leader.  As ever, National Agents Alliance wants you to keep in mind that a great leader is continually developing and ever evolving personally as well:  So in your quest to build others, be open to the ever present work of building yourselves also.  Your newly minted leaders will notice it, learn from it, and grow into great leaders also.  Once you’ve got that character built…let them run!


Developing Your Style

Developing Your StyleAre you aggressive enough in your sales approach?  Some of National Agents Alliance’s top sales producers use a very bold approach and month after month post huge numbers in sales of life insurance and annuities.  There is no way that they could succeed being a timid, wall-flower.

On the other end of the spectrum, other top producers employ a softer technique, you might say, “kinder and gentler.”  For them, this method works, and there is no way they could operate using the bold, aggressive approach.

Since both styles, at opposite ends of the scale, work for certain people, and all sorts of techniques in between do too, it begs the question: “Where are you and have you determined the best method for you?”

Admittedly, not everyone has the personality to use the in-your-face, aggressive style, but those who have mastered the technique claim it saves time.  No beating around the bush, get to the point, tell it like it is.

National Agents Alliance’s client-prospects need what you have, no doubt.  They have agreed to the appointment because they realize they need the protection for their family, but many of them still need convincing.  By being very direct, the client is shaken by the reality of the situation: “I should do this for my family.  I have to figure out how to make it work.”

Here is the story of how one salesman motivated the customer into action.  In 1953, Paul J. Meyer, at the age of 24, was the number one life insurance salesman in the United States.  That year, he earned $820,000 and he did it by using an aggressive style.

Meyer’s words evoked emotion in the client and targeted the spouse, too.  He didn’t spend time saying, “In the event this happens, or that happens your family would be left without their main income…blah, blah,blah.”  He would just boldly say, “You need this coverage.  You are going to be graveyard dead, six feet under with grass growing above and a stone on your head.”  Then, looking at the spouse, he would say, “Did you hear what I just said?  And you have no idea when that’s going to happen.”

It worked for him!  How about you?  Have you thought about your approach and how you might try different styles until you’re sure it’s right for you?  Learn from the masters and work to develop your own style and watch your production soar with National Agents Alliance!


In The Zone

If you’re an athlete you have surely experienced those times when everything you did worked; you were on, and you knew it. The golfer feels it when his swing is in the groove. The hitter feels super-focused when the pitcher winds up. The tennis player reacts and moves without thinking, practically gliding on auto-pilot.

In the Zone - Super SalesThe same thing happens to agents working the phones or sitting in a client’s home.  You know when you get locked in, and cross into the zone. You know when you’re doing better than you’ve ever done before. And you also know the opposite. You know when it’s not quite there yet, but you sometimes settle because it’s good enough. If you settle for “good enough” you might as well just pack it in and go home.

Most agents experience the “zone” if they allow themselves to, but most do not. It takes a lot of concentration and strong focus.  Most operate slightly below this consciousness, settling for the standards of the average and ordinary. But people who do amazing things, people who perform above the norm, top producers in National Agents Alliance – never settle for mediocrity.

You will never catch them doing less than their best because they won’t allow themselves to “settle” for anything less than the best. They set a higher standard for their performance and never compromise. They have developed the self-discipline to get to the point where they move into the zone at will, not occasionally but every time they work.  They allow no distractions; their focus is total.  Because of their intense concentration, their presentation is unfaltering, smooth and authoritative.  Objections roll off their back.

How about you?

Do you want that “feeling” every time? The top producers didn’t start out with the skills to operate in the “zone.”  They learned their products inside and out, and they practiced until their presentation would roll off their tongue with ease.  After each appointment they did a self-assessment, looking honestly at their performance.  They practiced some more, and over time became the confident, high-income earner you see on stage.

The magic comes with concentration and practice.  Do the work behind the scenes and your performance in front of the client will put money in your pocket; remember to use all of the resources that National Agents Alliance provides for you!


Focus on the Challenge

Focus on the ChallengeA question that is often asked by agents is how to stay focused day after day, and still keep the right mindset, especially when results seem to wane. Every agent goes through the ups and downs, and sometimes it seems like the downs out-number the ups.  But when you step back and look at the big picture, we know that’s not true.

There have been many different suggestions from top producers who have gone through just about everything.

Probably the best advice comes from one of National Agents Alliance’s top three income earners:  Embrace the challenge.

Yes, by embracing the challenge you reverse the attitude.  By staying optimistic, always positive, you reinforce your belief that your best days are still ahead of you.

It would be very difficult to be optimistic if you thought your best days were behind you. If that were true, what could possible excite you to get out of bed in the morning and make calls or go on appointments?

But, with an optimistic outlook, you can create the expectation of even greater things in the years ahead, always giving yourself new challenges – challenges that force you to grow.  And like an athlete, sometimes your physical skills will decline with age. But you counteract that with wisdom, experience and savvy.  It’s no different for an National Agents Alliance agent.

All the top producers with National Agents Alliance have accomplished some amazing things in their career, but every one of them truly believes that’s nothing compared to what’s ahead.  You, too, have had successes and can have far greater successes in the future.  When a policy doesn’t make it through underwriting, look at it as a challenge; if a policy is canceled by a client, look at it as a challenge; if you go to a client’s home and no one is home, look at it as a challenge.  Top income earners have faced the same things but they embraced them as a challenge, stayed optimistic, looked for better things to come.

You too should embrace the challenge!


Get Your Head in the Game

As we’ve previously touched on, National Agents Alliance believes in the power of setting goals, both in a business and personal setting.  So let’s look at a little more specific example and application:  At some point in your life, you, or someone you know, have probably tried to lose weight. There would be a grand plan to shed those pounds, but temptation would get the upper hand, and a dessert would be stolen here and there as time went along.

While we are aware that it is cheating the diet and ourselves, we give in and do it anyway. This blows the diet off course and the end result is that the weight isn’t lost. Justifications are easy to come by, “Just this time it’s OK” and related excuses quickly spring to mind.  Then, that easily turns into once a day, and proceeds to fries and burgers and other diet killers. This is a classic case of letting one’s head hurt their body!

The long and short of it is this: To lose weight, you really need to have your mind right first. When you get your head straight, you can focus on the work and the diet.

Selling insurance is no different in that regard. If you have your mind right, you are going to have more success than the guy who isn’t ready to do it!

There is a roadmap to success with sales. You learn it from people above you or from teammates. You learn it from reading and watching others. You hear it on conference calls and webinars. You learn it from dialing, talking and meeting with people too.

Where do we encounter problems when we are selling? We don’t up sell, we don’t make enough calls and we don’t follow the script. We focus on the wrong aspects of the product we offer. We convince ourselves our clients don’t want to hear what we have to say or just won’t like the cost involved.

In doing this, we basically void any sales we could make if our mind was right. We become our own worst enemy instead of being our best supporter and fan. We move back two steps instead of jumping forward three steps.

What you have to decide before selling …

Will you greet the next prospect or client with a sincere gusto or with a look of dread?

Will you be able to sell a policy when you think the people don’t want it?

Will you learn the script until you know it without even blinking when asked?

Will you work past 5 p.m. if that is what it takes? Will you meet people at night?

Will you make the extra effort instead of taking the easy way out?

Will you not judge your client or prospect based on appearance?

Will you keep learning, get better and get energized or will you just not bother to try?

Remember, sales really are in your head first! Whatever is in there determines how successful you can be!  Don’t forget to utilize all of the resources that National Agents Alliance provides for you in order to help with this.  From live and recorded information on NAAtv to the CDs and books available in the store, we’ve got whatever media form that you prefer.  Or if in person is more your speed, don’t forget to check out HotSpots for meetings and training opportunities from our top folks!


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