Monthly Archives: May 2012

Email Silence? Why Prospects Aren’t Answering Your Emails

No email responses?Email has proven to be a popular communication channel for many people, primarily the working class. We use the tool extensively here at National Agents Alliance, and the ease of email is especially great for sales people, who are prospecting and trying to find new clients.

But with the great usability of email, there are also some downfalls. Email is typically not responded to immediately, sometimes not even in a timely manner. Emails are usually read and replied to when someone is sitting in front of a computer (if they don’t have a smartphone), or finds the time in their busy schedule to sort through their inbox.

According to, if you avoid the most common mistakes when it comes to emails, you will see your inbox fill up with replies and new leads:

  1. They never got your email in the first place: Technology glitches do happen and people sometimes genuinely did not receive your email. With the sheer number of unwanted email messages most of us receive; it’s no surprise that spam filters are becoming more and more aggressive. Messages with attachments (especially large ones), lots of links, extensive marketing graphics, and other gimmicks aren’t likely to make it to the recipient’s inbox in the first place. Keep your prospecting emails simple and image free, even in your email signature. They’ll have a lot easier time making it past SPAM traps and junk filters, advises.
  2. You didn’t give prospects a strong enough reason to take action: Hard as it is to believe, few people care that your company has a long track record of success. Prospects are too focused on their own problems and issues to bother with any of that. Keep this in mind and use your email message to emphasize common issues and triggering events you can solve that really matter to your customers and prospects. Make them want to engage with you! The point isn’t to tell them more about you. It’s to give them a strong enough reason to begin a sales conversation.
  3. It seemed like too much to deal with at the moment: In “The Glimpse Factor,” I pointed out that you have three seconds — or less — to convince a prospect that they want to read your email, and that it won’t take up more time than they’ve got at the moment. Your goal is to make your email not just sound compelling, but also look easy to act on. The easier it is, the more likely your prospect will read the first sentence, and then dive in to continue and respond to you.

In the end, just like you and the rest of the National Agents Alliance team, your contacts are busy. Tell them what you want them to do using a simple sentence and don’t ask them to do something that takes more than a few moments. Give them a clear specific call to action that you’d like them to take after they read your email.

Girls Can Do Anything Boys Can Do—And Be Happier!

Is that a challenge?Women have long maintained that “girls can do anything that boys can do, but better and in high heels,” and now they have more evidence to support their belief!

The Hartford Financial Services Group report found that more than 90 percent of the women entrepreneurs have vied their business as a success; while only 80 percent of men felt the same way, Entrepreneur Magazine reported.

The survey found some clues as to what may be contributing to women’s confidence in business:

  • Women are more risk-averse: The survey found that 55 percent of women viewed themselves as conservative in taking risks in their business, compared to 47 percent of men. Furthermore, 80 percent of women responded that they did not think taking more risks would make them more successful.
  • Women don’t blame the economy: Instead of focusing on the economy, women found that the increased cost of doing business was their top problem, followed by government red tape. Only 21 percent said lack of demand or customers was their top concern.
  • Women vote in favor to help their business: Eighty-nine percent of woman stated that they would vote for pro-business candidates in November, whereas only 79 percent of males would. This may be because of their increased level of empowerment at the ballot box, which makes them feel more confident they’ll have a business climate they like.

Entrepreneur Magazine also offered another suggestion as to why women are happier with their business: “Our expectations may be lower. Fewer women go into business with dreams of building an empire. Women I know consider their business a success if they can be their own boss and replace their former job income.”

Here at National Agents Alliance, we believe that in the end, its mind over matter—if you want to be successful, believe that you are!

Gun Shy? 5 Tips on How to Make Better Decisions and Pull the Trigger

Decision makingOne of the requirements of being a leader and successful business owner at National Agents Alliance is being able to make decisions—some loathe this, others find it empowering and some just simply decide not to decide. No matter how you look at it you will have to make decisions at some point in order to become a leader and reach success.

While many decisions take time in order to come to an answer, but you won’t be allowed that luxury every time you need to come to a decision. Being able to make a decision at the drop of a dime is key to staying on top of your game.

Entrepreneur Magazine has released five tips on how to make quicker, more calculated decisions:

  1. Stop seeking perfection. Many great leaders would prefer a project or report be delivered only 80% complete a few hours early than 100% complete five minutes late. Moral of the story: Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers and trust that they’ll be able to build their wings on the way down.
  2. Be independent. Good decision makers are “collaboratively independent.” They tend to surround themselves with the best and brightest and ask pointed questions. For instance, in a discussion with subject-matter experts, they don’t ask: “What should I do?” Rather, their query is: “What’s your thinking on this?” Waiting for committees or an expansive chain of command to make decisions could take longer. Get your information from credible sources and then act, swiftly.
  3. Turn your brain off. Insight comes when you least expect it. Similar to suddenly remembering the name of an actor that you think you’d just plumb forgotten. The same happens when you’re trying to make a decision. By simply turning your mind off for a while or even switching to a different dilemma, you’ll give your brain the opportunity to scan its data bank for information that is already stored and waiting to be retrieved.
  4. Don’t problem solve, decide. A decision can solve a problem, but not every problem can be solved by making a decision. Instead, decision making often relies more on intuition than analysis. Deciding between vendors, for instance, requires examining historical data, references and prices. But the tipping point often rests with your gut. Which feels like the right choice?
  5. Admit your mistakes. If your feelings have steered you wrong, correct the error and fess up. Even making the wrong decision will garner more respect and loyalty when you admit you’ve made a mistake and resolve it than if you are habitually indecisive.

The Audacity of White Sheeting…

You like that title don’t you? Sucked you in and got you to read this.

Since you clicked on that catchy title, I’m going to share one of my secrets with you. After I tell you, you’re going to think, “that’s no secret” or “Andy is talking crazy again.”

It’s not really a secret, but it might as well be because not enough people do what I’m about to tell you to do.

[Read more…]

Today in the National Agents Alliance blogosphere, we are featuring a couple of different posts written by NAA founder and CEO, Andy Albright.  Now this particular blog on whitesheeting outlines a simple yet highly effective tactic that will have a tremendous impact for your business and personal life.  Seriously.

Using this practice will have positive impacts for you, and it is Andy’s belief that all of the National Agents Alliance team should be familiar with it.  If you have read this information prior, great!  Have a look again and leave some comments on how it has worked for you.  If you haven’t yet read up on this, go to Andy’s blog now and get the knowledge!  This could be the very edge you need to break through to the next level, fight your way out of a slump, or any number of things.

Andy Albright, Whitesheeting

Remember, once you’re over at Andy’s site, leave some comments to let us know how whitesheeting has worked for you!

Single Families: The Forgotten Market for Life Insurance

Single FamiliesMarried couples and families are the first demographic to come to mind when we think of people who would buy life insurance. But, according to a Pew Research study, only 51 percent of American adults are married.

While that statistic doesn’t mention whether those singles have any dependents, it’s pretty safe to say that is a huge pool of customers that shouldn’t be ignored. Single individuals are people who still need National Agents Alliance’s help in understanding the importance of life insurance.

While some people are better off financially than others, and have the cash to cover final expenses and cover any debt that they may have; chances are that there are more people who don’t have that luxury.

In order to find out how you can help a single individual has revealed some questions that you can ask to in order to help provide life insurance protection:

  • Do you provide financial support for aging parents or siblings?
  • Do you have substantial debt you wouldn’t want to pass on to surviving family members if you were to die prematurely?
  • Did family members pay for your education?

If they answer yes to any of these questions, then life insurance is something they definitely should consider.  In the event of an untimely death, this will provide peace of mind knowing that their children’s tuition will still get paid, their elderly parents will still receive the nursing care that they require and their family will not be left with a pile of debt.

The economic climate has also made “permanent life insurance an attractive asset class for the purpose of building a secure long-term rate of return for safe money assets. Cash value in traditional life insurance may provide a 3 percent to 5 percent long-term rate of return over a 20-year period. This can provide singles with money for opportunities, emergencies and retirement,” reports.

Furthermore, it’s important to express that the cost of purchasing life insurance is lower at young ages, which also allows them to protect their insurability for the future.

These are all valid reasons you need to express to your clients as to why life insurance is something they should seriously consider and how National Agents Alliance can help them.  Now, as Andy Albright would say, “Hammer Down!”

Parkinson’s Law

Expanding TimeYou may not be familiar with the name, but you have probably heard the definition:  “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”  This concept was first publicized in 1955 by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in an article for The Economist and later became the major point of one of Parkinson’s books, Parkinson’s Law:  The Pursuit of Progress.

Parkinson, who worked in the British Civil Service, saw firsthand how a bureaucracy provided no incentive to work hard, fast and/or smart, and now we know this phenomenon is not restricted to government work.  If you are not careful, it will seep into your National Agents Alliance business and will thwart production.

What the “Law” means is that if you give yourself eight hours to complete a one-hour task, then the task, in your thinking, will increase in complexity, causing more stress and tension about having to get it done.  Conversely, when we assign the right amount of time to any chore, we gain back more time and discover that the task is not really complex.  Many people are amazed at how quickly and efficiently some tasks can be done when they set a strict deadline.

Why do people allow Parkinson’s Law to govern their work?  In government bureaucracies it’s easy to fall into the trap because there is very little accountability, so “who cares?” In government people rarely lose their job over poor production, and it happens in business when an employee feels that their work is not appreciated.

For a National Agents Alliance agent it matters!  As an independent business owner you learn quickly that you are responsible for your own results and profitability, so getting things done in a timely manner can make a big difference in your income.

More importantly, you have to understand that, for new agents, working independently from home is probably a new experience and the temptations for procrastination are great.  With no boss to set deadlines it is real easy to let Parkinson’s Law creep into your work habits.  You can get up from the desk and wander to the refrigerator, play with the kids or just visit with family members or neighbors. With no sense of urgency to complete the work, the eight-hour work day becomes a thing of the past, 14-hour days become routine and you begin to feel that you are always working.

So, what to do the top producers at National Agents Alliance do?

Here are some of their suggestions.  Make a list of your tasks and assign the amount of time it would normally take to complete them.  Then challenge yourself to finish each task in half the allotted time.  Treat the time limit like an unbreakable deadline from a boss or client, but you are now the boss enforcing the deadline.  This is your business.  Treat it as such.

Most of the very successful entrepreneurs are very competitive people, so start treating these deadlines like a competition that you have to win.  Beat the clock without taking shortcuts; you still have to do things right.  Soon you will know exactly what a reasonable time to finish a particular task is.

Start by restricting some little time wasters; like handling emails and surfing the web.  If you usually spend a leisurely 20-30 minutes checking emails, allot no more than five minutes.  Don’t give these tasks any more attention until you’ve completed everything on your to-do list that day, at which point you can so some email reading, social networking and web-surfing to your heart’s content. Just don’t spend all your spare time that way!  Learn to focus on the important tasks.

When you start running a tight ship in your own home office you will be more efficient, more profitable and you’ll suddenly discover that you actually have more free time to live your life the way you want to live…and isn’t that why you wanted to be your own boss?

First Things First

Good Morning SunshineWhat is the very first thing you do every day?  Successful agents with National Agents Alliance lead busy lives and each day brings a full schedule of appointments, phone calls, and follow-ups.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of building your own NAA business is that no two days are alike.  Instead of following a “boss,” you get to design your own life!

If you study the top producers in NAA, you will learn that almost all of them have a pre-game warm-up routine.  What does that mean?  Most of them take time at the start of each day, before the phone starts ringing, before the emails pile up, before getting pulled in all directions, to be still and connect with their gratitude and to plan their day.

Many agents come from work backgrounds where chaos is the order of the day, with people jumping from task to task, responding to the crisis of the moment.  At the end of the day everyone is exhausted, stressed out and very little has been accomplished.

With National Agents Alliance, we learn from reading books like The 8 Step to Success that we have to operate differently.  Andy Albright teaches us goal-setting techniques that include seeing the results before they actually happen.  This keeps us focused on the right things and keeps our day from becoming the chaotic drill we remember from the corporate world.

So, start your day quietly.  Give thanks for all that you already have.  Take some time to organize your day inside your mind so that it will all come together.  Make a short list of the most important tasks to accomplish today, and stick to your list so your day is less likely to get hijacked by everyone else’s priorities.

One of the great reads for morning time is Max Lucado’s Each Day.  You can easily find this book on the web, and it is a short and wonderful way to get your mind focused on the things that truly matter.  Starting you day by thinking about who you really are at the deepest level helps you become a better person.  Once you become a better person, better results seem to show up in everything you do.

So, start your day right; first things first!

Leadership, Part 3

The conclusion to our study of the late John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success brings us to the final three blocks indicating traits all leaders need.

The two blocks supporting the apex of the pyramid are Poise and Confidence, both traits that top producers at National Agents Alliance display with ease because of their financial success.

Our top agents not only produce personally, but those with big organizations have the responsibility to teach new and growing agents.  While the NAA business is a proven, lucrative business model, it is certainly not without challenges and the usual ups and downs.  This is where poise is a required trait, and with younger agents watching every move they make, leaders cannot allow events to rattle them.  It’s always easy to look good when things are going great, but the true leader performs in a steady manner even while others around them don’t know how to handle the situation.

Confidence goes hand-in-hand with poise and is no less important.  New agents look to the leader to see how they act, and NAA’s top agents have been tested by fire, strengthened like steel.  We know that success breeds success, and every time top producers overcome hurdles and objections, more confidence is built.

At the apex of Coach Wooden’s success principles we find Competitive Greatness.  What is obvious in the best-of-best is their ability to rise to the occasion at the most crucial time.  They perform at their best just when their best is needed.

Leaders know that doing the little things will make the big things happen, and that means doing the right things every day, not once-in-a-while.  No shortcuts allowed.  What the leader does, the follower will do, too, so leaders know they’re expected to “make every day their masterpiece.”  They preach consistency and teach “the way you do one thing is the way you will do everything.”

National Agents Alliance leaders post the Pyramid of Success where is serves as a daily reminder of what they expect of themselves (you can get a copy at and they abide by one of Coach Wooden’s favorite sayings:  “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

Wooden's Leadership Pyramid

Leadership, Part 1 | Leadership, Part 2 | Leadership, Part 3

Leadership, Part 2

In a previous post we discussed the strong foundation needed to build an enduring National Agents Alliance business, or any endeavor, and we based the lesson on the “Pyramid of Success” developed by the late John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coach and expert on leadership.

After the five building blocks that make up the base, or foundation, the next two levels of Wooden’s success pyramid are made up of these traits:

  • Self-Control
  • Alertness
  • Initiative
  • Intentness
  • Condition
  • Skill
  • Team Spirit

Wooden's Pyramid of Leadership, Middle

To command respect, a leader must be disciplined, and therefore Self-Control a must.  It is difficult to get people to follow you if you cannot control yourself.

Alertness means that the leader is always aware and observant of what is going on around the business, the team, and is able to meet challenges in a timely fashion, never being blind-sided or surprised by circumstances.

To have the trait of Initiative requires decision-making skills, without procrastination, setting the example that no task is too small for anyone.

Any time that things become difficult, the leader displays the trait of Intentness, or perseverance, never surrendering, but working harder and smarter to overcome whatever roadblock life tries to put across the road to success.

Andy Albright’s 8 Steps to Success stresses being teachable and Wooden’s Pyramid of Success similarly highlights the building block he calls Skill, which he describes as “what a leader learns after he’s learned it all.” Followers are looking to you, and you can never stop learning.  If you stop, they will too.

In any organization, strong character is required for long-term success, and here Wooden emphasizes the importance of Condition of the body and mind as equally important as ability. It is obvious to everyone that ability is required, but many overlook the importance of having a well-conditioned mental, moral and physical character.

Everyone has probably heard the old cliché, “There is no “I” in Team,” and most understand the meaning.  Leaders know how crucial Team Spirit is to success any time there is more than one person involved, and embody the idea of “we” superseding “me.”  A good way to lose the team is to grab all the glory for yourself.  We know a lot more can be accomplished when no one cares who gets credit.  Top leaders at National Agents Alliance always work hard to promote and edify others, and make sure everyone gets their fair share of the credit.

Watch for the final installment on Wooden’s Pyramid of Success where we’ll take you to the peak of the pyramid and Coach Wooden’s final secrets of leadership.

Leadership, Part 1 | Leadership, Part 2 | Leadership, Part 3

Leadership, Part 1

The late, great John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coach, spent many years developing his leadership skills and a system of leadership applicable to anyone trying to be successful in any endeavor.

Wooden developed his Pyramid of Success after years of experimentation, and stressed the importance of a strong foundation to support the pyramid.

The five blocks that form the base of the pyramid are:

  • Industriousness
  • Friendship
  • Loyalty
  • Cooperation
  • Enthusiasm

Wooden's Pyramid of Leadership, Base

These five traits are also important in helping a business builder with National Agents Alliance.

Every agent learns quickly that Industriousness is essential in building any enduring business.  Without hard work, you will be hard pressed to make good things happen; there is no free lunch. Our business requires a lot of this type of effort, but the rewards are worth it!

The Friendship block denotes the camaraderie and respect a team needs to work effectively –This is not restricted only to athletic teams!  It is a must in business, as well. Without mutual respect it is difficult to enjoy your work.  If you don’t enjoy your work, it is difficult sustain the kind of attitude required for excellence. It is much easier to work at a high level when you enjoy your colleagues.

A leader tries to develop Loyalty within the team, and must learn to reciprocate.  You must be loyal to those you lead if you expect to earn respect. Without respect, no one will follow.

Every organization of any type needs Cooperation to function well.  The goal is to get the job done well without concern for who gets credit.  Wooden puts it this way:  “Have utmost concern for what’s right rather than who’s right.”  When the goal is reached everyone wins.

Finally, successful individuals and teams must have Enthusiasm.  It would be impossible to inspire others to greatness with a poor attitude.  Positive energy and a real joy for your work sets a tone that others find contagious.

When you read Andy Albright’s 8 Steps to Success you learn how Wooden’s principles can be utilized to build a strong business team with NAA.  In future posts we will discuss the remaining parts of the Pyramid of Success, but in the mean time, use the concepts here to strengthen the foundation of your business.

Leadership, Part 1 | Leadership, Part 2 | Leadership, Part 3

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