InsuranceNewsNet Magazine January 2012 : Page 19

HAVE YOUR BEST YEAR EVER | FEATURE I T IS OFTEN SAID that producers can succeed in annuity and life sales no matter what else is going on. But, how can they do that in 2012 with so much uncertainty in the air—regarding the econ-omy, the elections, taxes, unemployment, foreclosures and more? We put that question to several top producers and sales experts, and heard the same response from each: Opportunity is everywhere. The producer’s job is to identify the opportunities and go after them. This year will pose some challenges, they agree. “But don’t let any-one or anything take you off track,” advises Mark Lindsey, a producer in Canoga, Park, Calif. Bill Bachrach, chairman and CEO of Bachrach & Associates, San Diego, adds: “Your success will be affected by the environment only if you let that happen.” In that spirit, here are some of these experts’ best ideas for achiev-ing success in the coming year. SEMINARS ROCK Some have been asking if seminars are still effective for prospecting. Our experts answered that with a firm “Yes!” “If you want to succeed in 2012—or any year—you need to do what the big produc-ers do,” says Lindsey, who is also founder and CEO of The Revolution FMO. One way to do that is to offer seminars, he says, because that is what the big producers do to attract new prospects. “You don’t want to run seminars?” he asks with some bite to the words. “Then you probably won’t be a big producer.” You don’t know how to do seminars? “You can always work with organiza-tions that provide proven seminar sys-tems,” says Lindsey. Marc A. Silverman, president of Sil-verman Financial, Miami, also advo-cates seminars. He says he offers 40 workshops to the public a year. All are designed to attract and inform his tar-get market of middle-income and older people who are interested in retirement plan services. The idea of offering seminars is not new, of course. But top advisors say it is a highly prized strategy. For instance, Silverman says his workshops consis-tently generate good sources of leads and actual buyers, though he also gets referrals from existing clients. In fact, his database now has more than 4,000 names. Roughly 1,300 of them are active clients. Most are work-ers or former employees of local busi-nesses—such as the phone company, electric company and the state of Flor-ida. They buy annuities and life insur-ance, as well as other products for retirement. On average, the firm adds 330 to 340 new clients a year, Silverman says. Other client contacts occur when existing clients come in for annual reviews, “planting seeds” for future needs. Silverman recommends this approach because, despite the tough economy of the past few years, “business has never been better.” He expects his business will continue to grow in 2012 as well. “This is good in any environ-ment, not just today,” he explains. HAVE A SALES SYSTEM IN PLACE Advisors need a sales system, too, says Christi Daughenbaugh, vice president and brokerage manager for the Borden Hamman Agency in Dallas. In fact, the most successful annuity producers she sees are those who use a sales system. These are the type of pro-ducers who can “take a system and put legs on it,” she says. Unfortunately, a lot of produc-ers don’t follow through and imple-ment the system the way they are sup-posed to, Daughenbaugh says. So her recommendation for 2012 is that pro-ducers put a lot of effort into imple-menting the system they buy. Producers should take care not to choose just any system, cautions Lind-sey of California, who also is a strong advocate of using sales systems. It should be a “proven” sales system, he says, explaining that “the right system will help you be more efficient, so you can sell more in less time.” For instance, Lindsey says, “My sys-tem gets the job done in one and a half hours, not in four hours and four appointments.” The support of an organized and effi-cient staff is critical, too, he adds. In his own practice, Lindsey has found it to be a waste of time for him to set his own appointments, chase money and man-age the office. “That’s not my job. My staff frees me to do what I am best at doing, which is running seminars, see-ing people, helping people and doing business.” Silverman uses a system, too. When new leads come in, his staff sets up appointments. Then, in the client meet-ings, Silverman says he does a fact-finder, develops a game plan for the person and discusses what the person can expect as he or she transitions to retirement. And, when clients call, he says that he or someone in the office makes a point of getting back to them right away. The tight scheduling and fast response system keeps Silverman extremely busy but he still finds time to squeeze in extras. He says the efficiency and high volume is what makes it all work. STAY FOCUSED In 2012, or any time, producers should “never, ever, ever lose focus,” Lindsey says. He is talking specifics, down to the granular. For instance, he recom-mends setting up a system for work-ing through emails, faxes, letters and phone calls, so it doesn’t accumulate and overwhelm. Lindsey also recommends devel-oping relationships with “people to call who can lead you in the right January 2012 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine 19

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