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Alan's Corner

Every new (financial) advisor I believe has the battle of maintaining their attitude and their motivation. 

Being a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Sales Course, the Human Relations, the Strategic Presentation Program, Xerox Sales Course, Dress for Success, Tom Hopkins Sales Course – How to Master the Art of the Sale, Think and Grow Rich, Earl Nightingale Tapes, Maxwell Maltz's Psycho-Cybernetics and probably a dozen or more other programs that I grabbed onto in my early days trying to make a living; I believe one must embrace the challenge.

Hopkins probably offered the most basic fundamental systems that I used on a day-to-day basis; I still have the tattered 3x5 cards with my daily affirmations; “I never see failure as failure, but only the negative input I need to change course in my direction” and several others. 

"I never see failure as failure, but only the negative input I need to change course in my direction.”

One of Hopkins's basic practices is “The Contract with The Face In The Mirror” – If one is not willing to give it all to keep a fundamental agreement with one’s self then who?

Soul searching and brutal honesty with oneself is essential to achieve high-performance sales or excel in any other endeavor.  One may say "I am going to run a 3-hour marathon this year,” which sounds very impressive but if the reality is that one cannot walk around the block without getting winded and there are no plans to train – then what are the odds of running a marathon? 

If one desires to reach MDRT, COT, or even Top of the Table, or maybe to make $250k or have a 50% sales increase over the prior year – or whatever the goal is, the reality is for you to excel in our industry the training equivalent is first appointments.

If you have set a production goal but haven’t tied that number back to how many first appointments, you have to make you are in the same boat as the 3-hour marathon person.  No training process established to reach your goal – it is that simple.

Remember – there are steps to determine how many 1st appts you need, you must know how many first turn into seconds then into closes then into actual clients. Then you must know your average revenue per new customer. 

Back to the runner –if he doesn’t even know where the mile markers are or how many miles are left in the race, or what pace he is running – how does he know if it is possible to attain his goal?

The runner might as well go for a stroll in the dark at midnight; it’s going to get then the same success as running blindly to nowhere.

The hard facts that you need to discuss with the face in the mirror are the same whether you are new to the business or have 25 years of experience.  If you are not seeing 10 new people a week – you must accept the fact that one is never going to excel in creating sales. You have to ask the face in the mirror, “What is the real, true, gut-wrenching reason that you either don't want to succeed or are unwilling to succeed?”

What is the real, true, gut-wrenching reason that you either don't want to succeed or are unwilling to succeed?”

Yes, I know what some of you are thinking, and what you are going to tell others, unfortunately. You say that I am old school – out of touch – no idea what I am talking about – and I say this is unfortunate because some of you will inadvertently become the albatross around someone else’s future – or the stumbling block beneath someone’s feet.  Please try not to contribute to a fellow advisor’s failure – there is a lifetime difference between making a living and building an empire - a thriving gangbuster of a business. There is absolutely nothing wrong with just making a living. But most of the people I know, when they are talking to the face in the mirror, would prefer to have something more, something far greater than just making a living, but for whatever the reason they can’t or won’t pay the price to get to the next level. 

So tonight, I am talking to the ones who still dream big, to those who have not lost faith in the world of possibilities around them. To the ones who understand a 3-hour race is amazing and starts with small steps. To the ones who dream of being a high performer in high-level sales. How important the small steps of first appointments are.

Keep these numbers in mind during your next meeting with the face in the mirror (FITM going forward). 

  • You prospect 1 hour per day to set 10 new appointments for the future. If Friday arrives and there are not 10 appointments set, then by Saturday until there are 10. This should take approximately 6 hours per week.
  • So, if you have 10 initial appts = 10/ hours per week (and thanks to COVID no drive time!)
  • 10 initial appointments from the prior week should result in 6 fact-finders (FF) (if executed correctly 7 hours for the week).
  • Your 6 fact finds from the prior week = 5 ATB/ plan presentations (8 hours of work). 
  • The 6 plans you need to create = 9 hours (and yes – the 9 hours for plan design includes product selection – and please don’t ever think you should say to me – I am not doing what’s best for my client – when the fact is successful producers don’t use paralysis b analysis as a form of work/call avoidance)
  • So, 6 + 10 + 7 + 5 + 8 = 37 hours – these are real hours – and yes, I can complete even a sophisticated plan in 1.5 hours if I have the necessary information. Yes, I can complete a very detailed FF in 45 minutes if I have prepped the prospect and they are prepared. 

Many of our advisors tell me they are working more than 37 hours per week. If you don’t have an assistant, this still leaves you 10 to 15 hours per week for stuff that you should be delegating. 

 If you have made it this far – thank you.

 Ask the FITM:

  • Have you ever done any of these things without having a completed detailed FF and a dollar commitment from the prospect?
  • Run just one life proposal – not to mention 6 or more? 
  • Put together an investment portfolio or proposal?
  • Called an outside vendor and asked them to do one of the above? 
  • Reported in your 30-day inventory commission for a case? 
  • Counted a case open? 
  • Told yourself you are going to hit your monthly, quarterly, or annual goal because of a case open without the above?

This is the reality. No matter how it is twisted, how much one wishes or wants – you do not have a case open or even a warm prospect until you have a detailed FF and a dollar commitment. 

Doing any of the above without a FF and money commitment is the equivalent of chasing leprechauns and unicorns. Or attempting a marathon before you can walk around the block.

You MUST stop wasting your time or allowing others to do so. A prospect is never going to buy from you if they do not trust you enough to provide you with a FF and a dollar commitment. Please accept this fact. 

Many of you have heard me say, “Make your top-10 list of to-dos at the end of your day.” Mine always had at the top of the list: make sure there are 15 new appointments on my calendar every week. It was always priority number 1.  

So, my big dream is that each of you meets and exceeds your wildest business dreams.  We are all part of a firm made up of people living their best lives every day.