Are you writing as much business as you would like? Has your revenue been steadily increasing over the last six to 12 months? Do you want to write more business and increase your revenue in the next 60 days?
If your answer is an unabashed "YES!" then I have the solution for you, and it is: Take Massive Action.
Before you read any further, let me state unequivocally that this is a "no excuses accepted" article. I know all of the reasons that you may want to give for a lack of business or for lower commissions. It is easy to say that companies are not making any changes because they are taking a wait-and-see approach to health care. Some of you may be tempted to say that it is harder to get business owners and human resource professionals to talk with you about medical insurance because they are asking you what carriers you can quote that their current agent cannot quote as well. And then some of you will use the "I am so busy with renewals and enrollments that I do not have time to do anything else. All of this is just a smoke screen for a lack of personal motivation.
Make 'em dizzy
Taking massive action changes everything. So what is massive action? It is initiating a marketing campaign that is all consuming. Massive action turns you into a walking, talking self-promotion machine. It will combine every type of marketing tool in your toolkit and keep your activity at a level that would make most other people dizzy.
But there is a caveat here: You must have an unwavering belief in the value you bring to a potential prospect. Unless you believe in that value proposition, massive action is impossible.
Let me give you an example of the importance of an unwavering belief in your value proposition from my own experience. For much of the last six years, I have been in a holding pattern as it pertains to my business. While I loved talking with group insurance agents about techniques that provide real, measurable value to their clients, that alone was not enough to get me into massive action mode.
Then three years ago, the idea "Be Extraordinary" began to germinate, but I was not sure into what exactly. Today that idea has grown into helping people achieve extraordinary results in life, sales and leadership, and it has become my passion.
My belief in my value proposition has me talking to everyone I meet about "Be Extraordinary," although it is not always couched in those terms. Sometimes it is couched in how I can help benefit professionals grow their business by providing really great service, sometimes by talking about how they can use some of the products that I represent to make a real difference. And then sometimes I talk with non-insurance agents about how I can help them achieve extraordinary results in their own lives and turn their dreams into reality.
Everything that I do is built on the foundation of "Be Extraordinary." Because of that, I open several new opportunities every single week.
Non-action is the norm
Now let's contrast my experience of opening up several new opportunities every week with that of the salespeople of one of my coaching clients.
In this group are several agents who are in jeopardy of not making their quota. To motivate them to take massive action, I created an easy-to-achieve goal - make contact with five decision-makers every day. If they accomplish that, the person with the most actual appointments and contacts receives a $50 American Express gift certificate.
Three weeks into this contest, only one out of five agents had actually made the effort to make contact with five new decision-makers every day. The others had varied excuses, but that is all that they are - excuses. These individuals lack a sense of personal mission and definitely do not have an unwavering belief in their value proposition.
So what would massive action look like? As an employee benefit professional, every business that you walk into would be seen as a prospect.
Have you ever asked the cleaners where you pick up your dry cleaning about their group benefits?
If you have eaten out in the last week, did you ask for the owner as you were paying for your lunch?
The person with an unwavering belief in his value proposition and taking massive action would have done each of those things. I do that all of the time.
Massive action would be sending out 30 pieces of mail every week and following up by telephone. Or it could be sending 500 pieces of mail containing a postage-paid business reply card every two weeks on a consistent basis.
Massive action may include contacting every one of your best clients and asking for a referral or seeking a cross-selling opportunity.
Massive action may be a commitment to contact 50 businesses every day regardless of the number of decision-maker contacts. Massive action is in reality a combination of all of these things. It is marketing all of the time.
The key to "Being Extraordinary" is personal responsibility. Personal responsibility begins with the recognition that you are exactly where you are because of your own decisions. There are no acceptable excuses if you want things to be different.
If you work for an agency, it is easy to blow off doing direct mail because the agency will not pay to print up 5,000 flyers along with the accompanying business reply cards. But at the end of the day, if you earn commission revenue when you make a sale and you believe in your value proposition, you make the investment yourself.
Here is a great example of a lack of personal responsibility. I recently spoke with an agent about a dental carrier that offers agents the chance to custom build their own dental plans. By using copays and a lifetime deductible, this plan can save employers in some parts of the country between 20% and 30% on premiums.
This agent watched the demo and loved the product. As it turned out, however, the firewall on the agency's system would not allow this agent to run quotes. I suggested that this agent run proposals from home on his own computer.
To date the only thing that I hear from this agent is how they have not solved the firewall issue at work. Now, that is a lack of personal responsibility - period!
If you want an extraordinary business with extraordinary results, you need only to recognize that you hold the key. You need simply to begin to take massive action and then watch the results begin to flow.
Schlesinger is president of the National Association of Health Underwriters and a successful sales coach specializing in working with employee benefit professionals. He can be reached at 336/777-3938.
Don't let down your guard
Medical and prescription drug plan cost trend rates for 2012 are expected to decline from 2011 levels, and actual trends for 2010 were the lowest in more than 10 years, according to the 2012 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey. But advisers and plan sponsors can't relax. "Although the rate of increase in health plan cost trends is slowing, but still above the CPI, it is important to remember that those rates are still putting pressure on budgets. Plan sponsors need to continue to implement cost-management strategies that mitigate increases and improve overall health and well-being for their plan's population," notes Edward A. Kaplan, who heads Segal's National Health Practice.
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