Tag Archives: Working Smarter

Who Are You Neglecting?

Who needs life insurance?Did you know that only 39 percent of U.S. households recall having an opportunity to buy life insurance in the past two years? According to data released by LIMRA, it seems that many U.S. households are being neglected when it comes to life insurance.

The data also found that single people were the most neglected, with only 26 percent remembering having the opportunity to purchase life insurance, compared to 74 percent of married people.

But, it seems like the single people should be who insurance salespeople should be targeting; because singles reported being almost as likely to buy life insurance as married couples (51 percent versus 58 percent).

Regardless of their marital status, the largest determining factor of whether life insurance will be purchased is if there are children under the age of 18 in the household. According to the data, nearly half of buyers have children living in their home, compared to 38 percent of non-buyers, LifeHealthPro.com reported.

In addition, single mothers also remain to be an untapped market. Earlier LIMRA research found that one-third of single mothers who are the primary wage earners in their families had no life insurance coverage. But, among those who purchased insurance only two-thirds believed that their families would only be able to cover living expenses for a few months if they were to die.

These are all great opportunities for our National Agents Alliance insurance team to provide valuable coverage to an obviously unsaturated market. Now hammer down and get to work!

Do You Know the Leadership Secret?

It is safe to say that digital communications and technology has revolutionized virtually everything in our lives—the way we live, work and play. It has virtually wiped out forms of personal communication and making real connections, because of the convenience of video conferencing, email, social media, cell phones and text messaging.

Leadership coach Jerry Starbucker believes that the “power of face-to-face communication” is absolutely necessary for leadership and building teams—and National Agents Alliance agrees!

In person communicationFace-to-face communication is slowly becoming a part of the past, but there is absolutely no substitute for it. Face-to-face conversations create real relationships, connections and trust, which is something that simply can’t be done through a computer screen.

Starbucker maintains that “leaders that keep this in the forefronts of their minds, and not let technology rule the way they lead, will be the ones possessing a real, modern-day ‘secret.’”

NAA agency managers should take it upon themselves to personally meet with their agents at least once a month to check-in and see how they are doing face-to-face. A lot of times you find out about a person and help them more when you’re sitting directly in front of them.

Starbucker found in his own personal experience that making the effort to meet with his employees and have real conversations with them, seeing the commitment and listening to their feelings and passions, proved to be a real difference maker. Starbucker was able to gain understanding of the collective “state of mind” of the workforce, allowing him to make educated decisions on how to attack problems and fix them.

This is a great way for National Agents Alliance’s agency managers to keep their team motivated and on the right path to building a successful business. It’s easy; just get in front of your team!

What Does Your Goal Forecast Look Like?

Keep track of your goalsWhat are your goals? Have you checked on your progress in reaching those goals lately?

It happens to all of us—life gets busy, and less pressing tasks take the back seat. Unfortunately, our goals sometimes end up in the back seat instead of being strapped in the front passenger seat with its head hanging out the window. Goals give us focus and drive, and they can’t do that unless they remain front and center every day.

At National Agents Alliance we urge all of our insurance agents to keep your eye on the prize. Entrepeanuer.com has offered a helpful acronym when trying to keep your GOALS in check:

(G)ather Information: Maintain an ongoing log of information about the industry, trends and other information related to your goals. This information will help keep you focused on the big picture.

(O)rganize: Now that you have gathered all this information, you need to sort through it and prioritize it. This will help you stay on track and determine if your goals are still valid, based on the current happenings, and changes in the industry and in what you want. Organization applies to your files and materials, as well as your overall action plan.

(A)ct: Get up and do it! Start taking steps towards achieving your goals. No matter how far your goals appear to be, you cannot reach them without taking the first step!

(L)ook into the future, but keep your past in mind: By keeping your past in mind, you can identify mistakes and prevent yourself from repeating them in the future and while working to achieve your goals.

(S)et new goals: Don’t let success make you complacent. We’re at our best when we’re climbing, stretching and being challenged—reach for the next star!

As National Agents Alliance President & CEO Andy Albright said, “Do not set impossible goals; goals are promises to yourself, so make sure you finish the job.”

Customer Service and Repeat Buyers Begin with Empathy

Customer service is an integral part to sales, and ensuring that you will have repeat customers and positive recommendations and referrals. But, to have truly exceptional customer service, National Agents Alliance (NAA) reminds its sales force that “empathy” is the secret ingredient.

Empathize With Your ClientHaving empathy—the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feeling or difficulty—will help you connect with your customer and make them feel more comfortable and confident with you and your product.

CBS News reported that customer service empathy can be boiled down to five simple questions to ask yourself:

  • How does the person I’m trying to help feel?
  • How would I feel if I were that person?
  • No matter the request or the “rules,” is there something I can/should do to help?
  • What would I expect to be done for me if the roles were reversed?
  • In the end, what would make this customer satisfied or (better yet) happy, and is there any reason I can’t do it or find someone who can?

Our products at NAA Lifemortgage protection insurance, final expense insurance, mortgage disability insurance, spouse life insurance, term life insurance, tax free retirement and annuities—are of sensitive nature for some, who would rather not like to think of what may happen if their spouse or they themselves pass away. Having empathy with your customers and discussing the sensitive nature surrounding our services can help seal the deal.

With empathy and the right attitude, you’ll be selling more, have repeat customers and have people calling you to learn more about your products.

Are You Climbing the Right Ladder?

Climb the Right Ladder with National Agents AllianceWe often hear from people that say they are working their tails off to get promoted within the companies they work so hard for… only to find out when they finally get the promotion (to the top of the ladder) that they are disappointed that life is not what they thought it was going to be. In essence, their ladder was leaning against the wrong building. Why climb a ladder for years and years if you won’t be happy when you get to the top of it in the first place?

One should always consider the “end game” from the start. That is – what is it you are looking to accomplish through all of your hard work? If you invest countless hours and years of your life, will it ever give you your dream lifestyle? Will you ever own the business, or will that business own you? Your end game should be a business that affords you ample income and time freedom to live your life without limits. If this is not possible in your current career path, then it is time to rethink the path you are on. It only makes sense to decide on what END GAME you desire, then ask yourself honestly what career path will take you there.

National Agents Alliance is a diverse business with many types of agents and managers.  Occasionally, excuses are heard for not staying focused on doing the right activities – sometimes it can be difficult to maintain motivation when sales go through a rough patch. Or there could be a fork in the road…Folks may say they could not attend the weekly rotation meeting with some guests because their boss needed them at work.  This can be a difficult decision between making your boss happy (where you have a steady income) or climbing your ladder by building your business. Ultimately you must COMMIT to your business to have success, and nothing should get in your way and take you off track. Once you miss one meeting or one call, you open the door to allowing yourself to miss another, then another. Make your end game your priority, your mission. Let nothing keep you from your mission. Not a football game, a birthday party, a sore throat, or a hurricane. It’s a mission; it’s your mission.

So, the way to change your life, and climb the right ladder, is to align the end game you want in life with your National Agents Alliance mission. Take the steps to build your business foundation steadily, and once you have that solid foundation, commit!  Make your new mission as your #1 priority, and you are on your way to ultimate success with NAA.

The Latte Factor

The Latte FactorWith the great potential for creating wealth through a National Agents Alliance business no one should have cash-flow problems.  But we know some agents do.  Some have not yet learned to manage their money and are always living on the edge, waiting for commission checks so they can pay the rent.

Regarding increasing your profits, CEO, Andy Albright teaches a great lesson with a chart he calls “The Magical Movement of Lines.” The chart shows how gross revenue can grow without net profits growing too. Sometimes agents increase their gross income but their gross expenses rise as well, leaving no more net profit for them to enjoy. The sooner agents learn to control expenses, the sooner they’ll enjoy earning more profits.

One problem many people face has to do with what we call the “Latte Factor.”  Stopping at Starbucks every day, or in some cases more than once a day, to spend $4 or $5 on a coffee drink adds up, little by little, to eat away at an agent’s budget.  And it’s not just Starbucks…there are other little things, usually unnecessary, that people tend to waste money on, when, if they really thought about it, they could easily avoid.

At National Agents Alliance, our agents are encouraged to manage time by making calls while they drive, rather than stopping at the coffee shop for a refreshment and spending their time between appointments reading the newspaper or checking emails on their smart-phone.  If you add up the latte, the newspaper and a fast-food lunch, you can be spending $12 to $15 every day.  That could be as much as $300 a month ($3,600 a year).

When you pay for the latte, or the newspaper it doesn’t seem like much.  Throw in the lunch, add it up at the end of the day, figure out the monthly cost…now that’s a different story.

Andy Albright teaches agents to invest in their business.  Take that $3,600 and buy leads or spend the money on recruiting ads and spend a year building your business, watch it grow, and watch your income and profits grow, then you’ll have the time and money to enjoy a stop at Starbucks!

Overcoming Frustration

Stress Reduction?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.

Defeating Procrastination

MehThe most common time-waster is procrastination.  Leaders at National Agents Alliance defeat procrastination the same way a race horse is forced to focus straight ahead – they put blinders on.  By staying focused on their goals, their most important “why,” they never let common distractions knock them off course.

When polled, our top income earners give this advice: “Tackle your most important or difficult task first thing in the morning.”  Getting the most important things done early in the day frees up your creativity to design a great day, week, and life.  There is nothing weighing on your mind and holding you back from being what you want to be.

In a planning session with CEO, Andy Albright, the most experienced agents listed the major do’s and don’ts of top producers:
DON’TS

  • Talking too long on the phone – don’t let someone waste your precious time
  • Too much time browsing social media sites – save it for later
  • Always preparing but not taking action – make a plan and take action
  • Failing to say no to unrelated tasks and people – learn to say no if the request is not in your best interest
  • Failing to ask for help or delegating to others – you can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything
  • Waiting until late in the day to do tasks – get the important things done first
  • Focusing on smaller, less important tasks – hire someone else to do the mundane

DO’S

  • Schedule phone calls with end times when possible
  • Set a certain time AND a time limit for non-task-related Internet browsing
  • Plan your most important tasks and schedule them early
  • Make a SHORT daily to-do list and say no to tasks not on that list
  • Set deadlines and alarms for you to complete tasks – STICK TO THE SCHEDULE
  • Close your Internet browser or unrelated windows to avoid distraction
  • Place your phone on “Do Not Disturb”

It looks easy but most people do NOT master these skills.  However, if you look at the National Agents Alliance leader boards every week, you’ll find the agents listed there are masters of their time.  To be a high-producing professional agent you need to take charge of your daily schedule, defeat the temptation to procrastinate, and you’ll create a bigger income and more free time.

Asking Questions for Success

QuestionsAsking clear, thought provoking, and penetrating questions is one of the smartest and most effective strategies for getting ahead in life, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood and under-utilized tools.

Top agents at National Agents Alliance are not afraid to ask questions because they know the answers will help them achieve their goals.

To get something you have to ask.  It doesn’t mean you’ll get everything you want but you will get more.  Imagine all the things you don’t have just because you never asked.  “Ask and you shall receive” is not just a Biblical saying or a bumper-sticker slogan, it’s a fundamental success principle.

Asking boldly is the only way to get what you really want:

  • Know what you want
  • Step up and ask

First, ask yourself questions:

  • What do I want to get out of life that I am no asking for now?
  • What is needed to get what I want?
  • Who can help me get what I need?
  • What hurdles do I need to overcome?
  • What is the worst (or best) thing that can happen by asking?
  • What am I waiting for?

Second:

  • Ask for help.  It’s the only way to get what you want so you can accomplish your goals.

Be sure to always be willing to help those who ask for your help, and you will never lack for people to help you.  Ask any National Agents Alliance agents who regularly show up on the leader boards and they’ll tell you about two additional things to ask for:

  • Ask for the business
  • Ask for referrals

“Good things come to those who ask.”

How Audacious Are Your Goals?

Goal Setting Acronym - SMARTHave you set goals that are big enough to make you stretch? If so, do you believe you will achieve them?

If you don’t, how will you reach that goal?

If you set weak, easy to attain goals, what will motivate you to work hard enough to achieve them?

At National Agents Alliance, agents are encouraged to set really lofty goals and are taught the way to get there … by determining an extremely strong “why.” Without a very strong reason for a goal it’s too easy to slack off and fail to do the daily activities that lead to success. WITH a big “why,” you have a reason for the extra effort it takes. With the “reason” always in the back of your mind, you’ll make the extra dials, you’ll study harder to know your products inside and out, and, with that driving thought you won’t ever quit short of success.

NAA President/CEO Andy Albright teaches to make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

  • S – Specific. Your goal needs to be detailed. You have to know EXACTLY what you want. Use Who, What, When, Where and Why.
  • M – Measurable. Establish concrete criteria to measure progress. This will help you stay on track. Ask: How much? How many? How will I know when it’s accomplished?
  • A – Attainable. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
  • R – Realistic. To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. Determine your “why” and shoot big.
  • T – Timely. A goal should be grounded within a timeframe. With no timeframe tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 pounds, when do you want to lose it by?  “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st,” then you’ve set your subconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

Important! Your goals must be in writing.

If you believe in the National Agents Alliance mission and believe in yourself and the goals you set, you are destined for greatness. Develop that strong “why” and shoot for the stars; at NAA we don’t play small.

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