There are some obvious differences between people who achieve success and people who don’t. At National Agents Alliance we don’t settle for mediocre and we look to recruit like-minded people who specialize in turning challenges into triumphs.
In the NAA business model, as in life in general, success or failure is up to you. We have all the training necessary for learning the business, but no one can do it for you. Our leaders search for men or women who first believe in themselves and have some common traits found in winners.
Attitude is more important than ability. There are plenty of unsuccessful people with great ability in the world, but the winners in life all have a great attitude. We want people who develop the attitude that nothing is impossible, people with a burning desire to succeed, and someone with the intelligence to follow the footsteps of our great leaders who have already done it. NAA agents with the right attitude will not try to “re-invent the wheel,” but are receptive to learning what has been proven successful.
Success in our business is about leadership. The ability to influence others, whether it be to purchase one of our products or to teach others the business, is a characteristic we look for in new agents. This ability can be developed if the individual is “Teachable,” one of Andy Albright’s 8 Steps to Success. Agents possessing the right attitude already mentioned, can become future leaders by copying the best-of-the-best at NAA. Have you developed this characteristic yet?
Are you a good listener? In the 8 Steps to Success, NAA CEO Andy Albright emphasizes that you first “seek to understand.” Leaders, with that winner’s attitude, actively, and respectfully, listen with the intent to understand. This means listening to your mentors, as well as your clients, because leaders never stop learning, and it’s an interesting fact that NAA’s top income earners master this skill first to sell more.
Talent on its own will never make you successful. We definitely want talented people in our National Agents Alliance business, but more importantly, we look for new agents willing to learn, who will listen to our successful producers, and who ultimately, possess a great attitude…a belief that nothing is impossible, an attitude that “I can, and I will.”
The following are LifeHealthPro.com‘s “Top 12 Cheesy Sales Lines to Avoid:”
- “What will it take to earn your business?”— Uh, maybe you could act like a professional and show me how I’m going to benefit from your product or service?
- “Is price the only thing holding you back?”—No, but the fact that you think price is the most important issue shows your complete lack of sales ability.
- “Here’s the phone, why not call your wife right now and talk to her?”—Seriously?
- “Don’t you want to save money?”—No, I’m an idiot. But, please insult my intelligence again by asking another stupid question like this.
- “If I could show you (insert benefit), would you be interested?”—How about you ask me a question or two so you can figure out how your product will help me?
- “This price won’t last long.”—Really? You can’t come up with anything better than that?
- “At this price, we’ll be sold out by the end of the day.”—Sure…and your new shipment arrives tomorrow morning.
- “I don’t think we’ll be offering this incentive next week.”—Yeah? I bet it will be better then, so maybe I’ll wait.
- “What do you know about us?”—Didn’t I just see a scathing story in the news last week?
- “What do I need to do to get you into…?”—You’re not “getting” me into anything with that approach.
- “Have you heard about us?”—No, and do you really think this question is going to make me want to listen to your sales pitch?
- “What are your needs?”—Why don’t you ask me some good questions that take a bit of thought and effort and I’ll tell you?
National Agents Alliance wants to know: Are you guilty of making a sales line faux-pas?
Are you being the best agent that you can be?—and by that I don’t mean having the most sales or the strongest team. I mean, are you providing your customers with good advice; explaining their benefits and policy options clearly and in a way that they understand? According to a recent survey, only about half of current owners of life insurance are happy with the advice they received from an agent who sold them a policy, LifeHealthPro.com reports.
The Deloitte Research survey looked at 1,071 U.S.-based life insurance policyholders and 1,000 individuals without life insurance in June 2011. The survey found that in learning about life insurance benefits, coverage needs, option and costs among current buyers, most satisfied reviewing their employee benefits package (67%), followed by speaking with an insurance agent (59%) and reviewing information packages from an insurance agent. Satisfaction levels were lower among those speaking with a financial planner (44%) and those either speaking with a bank representative or reviewing information packages received from a bank (36%).
When speaking with a client, it’s important to simplify what you’re trying to say—not because your client is not intelligent; it’s because it’s easier to understand when it’s in simple terms and not in confusing industry jargon. If you give a client a clear understanding of what they are buying and how it can benefit them—along with all the fine lines, and terms and conditions—you build trust and create repeat customers that will refer their friends to you.
In addition, the survey also found some other interesting points:
Among current policyholders who had received solicitations, two-thirds (67%) came directly from life insurers, with other sources, including agents (37%) and banks (30%), trailing behind. Twenty-six percent also reported receiving cross-selling offer from their auto insurers.
Furthermore, only about one-third of current buyers strongly agreed (14%) or agreed (21%) that they bought life insurance because of advice from a family member, friend or business associate. A similar percentage said they purchased it because of a recommendation of an insurance agent. Thirty-seven percent noted they were impressed by the brand name, reputation and/or rating of the insurer.
When current holders of life insurance were asked about factors that had influenced their last purchase decision, more than 8 in 10 (84%) either strongly agreed (35%) or agreed (49%) that they bought a life policy because the price was affordable, LifeHealthPro.com reports.
I ran across an old article that originally appeared in 1997, titled “In War against No-Shows, Restaurants Get Tougher,” by William Grimes, and it is especially relevant for us as salespeople with National Agents Alliance.
The owner of a restaurant in Chicago, had an epiphany a bit over 10 years ago when he began adding up the cost of no-shows and found that the grand total was $900,000 a year, a figure that got him thinking, fast.
He made a change in the restaurant’s procedure that underlines the status of a restaurant reservation, which is less than a contract but something more binding than “I promise.”
He instructed his receptionists to stop saying, “Please call us if you change your plans,” and start saying, “WILL you call us if you change your plans?”
The no-show rate dropped from 30 percent to 10 percent!
In other words, by asking a question and eliciting a response, the receptionist created a sense of obligation. Getting that soft commitment made a huge impact. When we say “May I send you some information?” that is asking the prospect to give you permission; instead, “I’ll send you some information, will you look it over and we can talk again in a few weeks?” is asking the prospect to commit to the next step. Ask for some commitment — not permission.
If they’re too busy right now, “Will we be able to talk more about this when I call back in a few weeks?” is asking for commitment and implies that they need to be ready for that conversation when you do call back. Top producers at National Agents Alliance learn to get that small commitment so the prospect will be ready for the call. On the other hand, “May I call you in a few weeks?” is simply asking for permission.
People like to honor their commitments. If the call ends and they have only given you permission, why would they care what happens next? The ball is not in their court. But if the call ends and they’ve committed to doing something, odds are good they’ll do it. And if asking for that commitment doesn’t feel right, then it probably means you’ve got more work to do in building interest. Make it your goal on every call to ask a version of “Will you?” as opposed to “May I?”
Do you know some people who never seem to be happy and some who always seem to be happy? You actually have the freedom to choose happiness. Some people get up every morning and make that choice, while others choose to let any little life challenge keep them on the unhappy side of the coin.
Remember from “Think and Grow Rich,” in the first sentence of the book it says, “Thoughts are things.” Since we get to choose our thoughts you can start the day with thoughts that promote happiness. As you know, thoughts repeated regularly and systematically sink into the subconscious mind and become habitual. The leading American philosopher of the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, “A man is what he thinks all day long.” Don’t allow negative thoughts, defeatist thoughts or unkind thoughts linger in your mind; change them immediately. Clean up your thoughts and make happiness a habit!
In his conclusion to The 8 Steps to Success, Andy Albright talks about “The Feeling of Success,” and what a great feeling it is! However great it is to be able to afford anything you want, happiness is not about things. You can’t purchase happiness. The joy comes from being able to help others and really loving what you do.
Speaking about achievement, Andy says, “people ask, ‘why does a guy like Warren Buffett, up in years and amazingly wealthy, not just retire and count his blessings?’ It’s because achieving is what he does. It defines who he is. Achieving puts to use the strengths he has been given.”
The happiness comes from the journey, all the experiences along the way. Successful people like Buffett have found the right journey for them and the wealth gained is just the “fruits of the labor,” but by itself does not define the happiness one feels. It’s more about the challenges faced and overcome, the relationships shared along the way and the feeling of helping other people reach their potential.
Even though the National Agents Alliance business can be hard at times, our agents, because they get to live the NAA creed…Have Fun, Make Money and Make a Difference…can create a level of happiness that far exceeds anyone’s wildest dreams.
Don’t allow wrong thinking to keep you from the happiness you deserve!
Asking the right questions will often determine whether or not you close the deal. But, some of these lame sales questions are killing your game.
According to LifeHealthPro.com, the following are the 5 lame sales questions you need to avoid, and why you should cut them out of your sales pitch index:
1. “What are your needs?” Really? You seriously think this question separates you from your competitor? Using this question automatically turns you into an order-taker, not a sales-maker.
2. “Are you the decision-maker?” Although there is nothing technically wrong with this question, it usually results in a yes response. A more effective way to get this information is to ask, “Who else do you normally consult with on decisions of this nature?”
3. “What is your budget?” Many people haven’t established a budget or don’t know what to budget for a particular purchase. Do them and yourself a favor and focus on exploring their problems and presenting a solution that addresses those issues and budget becomes less of a concern.
4. “Do you want to save (money/time/other lame benefit)?” Don’t insult my intelligence. Enough said.
5. “Do you want this (whatever feature)?” I don’t even know what that feature is. How can I possibly tell you if I want it? Oh, wait! If I say that, then it gives you the opportunity to start talking about your product. Now I get it…
National Agents Alliance wants to know if you have accidentally made one of these question blunders. Comment below!
Due to advancements in medicine, people are living longer – But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have grown wiser, as Americans are failing to obtain life insurance to protect themselves and their loved ones.
An annual study conducted by the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), called “The Insurance Barometer Study” found that almost one-third of respondents believe they need more life insurance; that includes 20 percent of current policyholders and about half with no coverage.
The report also found:
- The two main excuses for failing to purchase adequate amounts of life insurance is because it’s too expensive (83 percent,) and because of other financial obligations (85 percent).
- When asked for an estimate of the annual costs of a 20-year level-term life policy for a 30-year-old, the respondents over-estimated at $400. Younger adults, those most likely to qualify for preferred pricing, overestimated the actual cost of $150 by a factor of seven.
- Consumers believed they couldn’t afford life insurance, yet they had no idea how much it actually cost.
- The respondents were found to be more concerned with paying their mortgage or rent (31 percent), or losing money on investments (26 percent) than with buying life insurance.
Obviously, there are huge misconceptions in the world of life insurance and the true cost to obtain this protection that could save families from losing their home, and prevent financial disaster in the event of an unfortunate death. It’s our job as National Agents Alliance insurance agents to bust these myths and explain to clients that life insurance is much more affordable than it’s widely believed, and how it can help keep a family in their home, their kids at their school and have everything they need after their untimely death.
First impressions are everything in the world of sales! It really does play a factor in where your sale is going; and you know what they say about first impressions—they’re lasting impressions. It’s extremely difficult for many people to form a new opinion of you after the initial introduction. It sets the tone for the business meeting and whether or not this person feels confident in making a purchase from you.
“Dress for Success. Your personal appearance is a reflection of who you are,” National Agents Alliance CEO Andy Albright stated in his book, 8 Steps for Success.
It’s important to use your personal appearance to your advantage, because how you dress projects an image of your professionalism. Wearing dirty and ripped jeans, wrinkled shirts; sporting dirty nails and a three-day-old unkempt beard just won’t cut it; nobody trusts the salesman who looks like he’s been sleeping in his car for weeks!
Remember also that not only would a lack of grooming and use of a washing machine reflect poorly on you, it also reflects a negative image of National Agents Alliance. Our sales team is essentially the face of the company; YOU are who clients see when they do business with NAA. Your image is our image, and we expect all of our agents to not only conduct themselves in a manner that exudes a positive representation of the company, but also present themselves in the same way.
Other than your clothes, the most important accessory you should also be wearing is a smile! Having a smile on your face combined with freshly pressed attire is the perfect package when doing business. Remember: the packaging helps sell the product, and you are the packaging!
Even the best of the best at National Agents Alliance often face frustration and feel like they just can’t get everything done. Some days just don’t seem to go as planned and all the best intentions can’t right the ship that seems ready to tip over.
Step number eight in Andy Albright’s 8 Steps to Success tells us to always “Communicate with a Positive Mental Attitude,” but sometimes at 3:30 in the afternoon when the last hour was filled with complaints from team members and twenty consecutive calls where no one answered, it doesn’t seem possible to be positive. With still 10 things to go on the to-do list, and the afternoon blahs setting in, you just feel like there is a 30-foot wall directly blocking your path.
At this time it might make sense to slow down. Instead of willing yourself to fight through it in a rush, do the opposite. Give yourself permission to take a 5- or 10- minute mental break.
Consider slowing down instead of speeding up. Our brain functions better and is more productive when it focuses on one particular task at a time. So, instead of beating yourself up to speed up and get more accomplished, focus on one goal, complete it and go on to another. Pick out the one most important task left on the list and see if you can get that completed. Remove the pressure of the long list of things to do.
Frustration comes from inside us and has more to do with attitude than anything else. Stop, think, and re-do your plan for the day. And don’t forget an important National Agents Alliance mantra: Have fun.
In the beginning of their career as an independent agent with National Agents Alliance, some young agents struggle with the “independent” part.
When agents work for themselves and are paid commissions, some make the mistake of living off their “gross” income, while employees are accustomed to living off their “net” income with taxes being withheld from their paycheck.
As an independent contractor, the agent is responsible for paying all expenses for running a business, including paying quarterly tax payments to the IRS. Other expenses to be considered are all of the office type expenses – office supplies, cell phone, internet service, and many more, including buying leads. If the agent is spending all of the “gross” income on living expenses and recreation there will certainly be a shortage of funds at some point.
CEO, Andy Albright recommends reading The Richest Man in Babylon for a simple money management philosophy. In this book the agent will learn an effective strategy for living on 70 percent of the monthly income, allowing for a system that will cover taxes and business expenses, savings and giving.
The book emphasizes living on much less than the total income to put the individual in a position to withstand the inevitable emergencies that life throws at us all from time to time. If you are not putting money away to cover your taxes you’ll face the music on April 15th when you file your tax return. If you don’t save for emergencies you’ll be in for a big surprise when you suddenly have a $700 car repair bill or need to buy an airline ticket to fly home for a family emergency.
As a financial services provider you must learn to manage your money and set an example for others. The top agents at National Agents Alliance learn early in their careers to save for a rainy day, and prove the power of compound interest by putting money into savings while they are young and watching it grow into a huge fund. By doing this they never have to worry about being knocked down by any of life’s surprises.