Evolving CRM

In an earlier post, we touched on the power of social media and some ways to leverage it.  These sites aren’t just a tool to use, though.  They are an actual movement that has caused a change in mindset for how businesses should interact with their customers.

CRMNot so long ago, customer relationship management was a static set of protocols and processes.  Everything was well-defined, only certain departments would interact with clientele and transactions were kept simple.  The advent of social media has dramatically changed this landscape.  Presences on various social sites are available 24/7, allowing more customers to engage a business, and affording all employees the same type of access.  Rather than being straightforward and process-centric, CRM has had to evolve to handle the more dynamic and complex relationships that have resulted from the social media phenomena.

In many aspects, being a National Agents Alliance agent has you well prepared and ahead of the game for this.  Meeting with clients has always been a dynamic and complex process and your experience there will translate directly into how you treat CRM in the social media world.  If you are working on developing a presence, keep in mind your knowledge of working directly with a client and apply how you handle yourself there to your online presence.  Remember that all of your friends or followers will be seeing your posts and responses, so be sure to alter your interactions to take that into consideration.

Here are just a few areas to consider in harnessing the power of the new, social CRM:

Accessibility and responsiveness are paramount.  As a sales professional, you already know the value of striking while the iron is hot, and in the ever available online world, the expectation of your users is for prompt replies to both the good and bad.  Keep in mind that the overall goal is create positive experiences, so don’t get offended if a negative should appear, simply approach it with the end goal of a positive resolution in mind.

Demonstrate your interest in the client.  Keep them informed about your business and its status, but also engage them in conversation and interact with their posts.  In many ways, the marketing facet of social CRM is handled through the communal aspects of your social media platform rather than through typical campaigning and advertising activities.

Often, to get followers, you will need to follow them also.  Something to consider is subscribing to the blogs or other social media endeavors of your friends and to comment on, ‘like’, or share those items appropriately.  This not only exhibits your interest, but actually increases your visibility to others, making this an excellent method in your approach to social CRM.

As a professional with National Agents Alliance, the social aspects of your work have you well prepared to tackle the endeavor of this changed face of customer relationship management.  Social media on its own will give you the power of presence.  Combining that with this new and popular approach to CRM can dramatically increase your reach and reputation, which can only increase your opportunities.  Leverage this technology to your advantage!

3 Ways to Increase Your Referrals Using National Agents Alliance

Sales Referrals

Referrals are a great way to reduce your sales expenses and build a whole network of clients that trust your business. This will cut down on your cold calling and you can focus on the sale at hand.  Remember referrals will improve your level of satisfied customers and generate more referrals.  The cycle is continuous and productive and will increase your revenue.

Below are 3 ways to increase your referrals with National Agents Alliance by your side the whole way providing the proper resources to help you get the job done and most of all taking care of your clients.

  1. Identifying and Setting a Target: Make sure you’re setting a realistic target you can hit every week.  Example, 5% increase in referrals over the next week.  Too many people will set goals that are unrealistic and nearly impossible to hit which will then cause frustration and lead to discouragement.
  2. The Right Timing: Conventional sales wisdom claims the best time to ask for the referral is immediately after the close of the sale. That is way too aggressive and could actually end up having a reverse affect. Give your clients time to experience your service and products National Agents Alliance has to offer before asking for a referral. Ask for the referral at close of the sale only if your client is already extremely satisfied with your personality and business.
  3. The Referral Type: Not all customers are the referral type of candidates. Make sure you identify the proper clients when planning your referral hunt.  Find the clients that are happy with your business and ask them for referrals. Make sure their network is the type of client you want.  Give your clients the extra customer service, follow-up and attention all the time.  This will only help your case when asking for referrals because the client will know you take the extra mile when serving them.  Let your customer know what kind of referrals you are looking for so the client has a clear picture of what you’re looking for in a referral so they will be quality candidates.

If you need help don’t hesitate to use the endless training material National Agents Alliance provides, found on NAAtv, NAA Support, KIT Marketing  and many other resources.  You’re not the only one who has experienced issues and who better to ask then your upline. Finding ways to progress not regress is important to continuing to succeed with NAA.

Females More Likely to Purchase Annuities than Males

If you are trying to sell annuities, you might find it interesting to know that more women are likely to buy an annuity than men, according to a study by LIMRA.

AnnuitiesLIMRA findings indicate that women are “somewhat” more likely to purchase an annuity; with the average age at which the product is bought is 73. The majority of sales, according to LIMRA, consist of guaranteed payments.

LIMRA found that there is more flexibility with annuities than consumers realize. Potential clients often hesitate to buy an annuity because they have a fear of losing control of their money. However, research shows that two-thirds of the contracts actually allow clients to convert a portion of remaining payments to cash if necessary.

In further research, LIMRA reports indicate that buying annuities through an agent remains the most popular method of purchasing the product, though a there is evidence of consumers using brokers and banks. At any rate, it’s important for a client to feel comfortable when purchasing an annuity from their agent. Planning for one’s final years is an important decision that should not be trusted to just anybody.

You want to ensure that you and your family is taken care of as you live out your Golden Years. Finding the right agent and relationship to make sure this happens is very important. Don’t wait until it is too late. Take the proper steps today to make sure you put yourself in the best possible position financially as you plan for retirement.

Visit National Agents Alliance NAALife for more information regarding annuities.

Building Momentum with National Agents Alliance

In nearly any situation, having some momentum on your side is a great asset.  It will give you self-confidence and put that extra spring in your step that people notice and gravitate towards.  Having momentum on your side can turn even the most difficult situation in your favor.  The question becomes, how can you keep it rolling?

A big part of keeping momentum on your side is timing.  After making a big sale or landing a really good prospect or appointment, it can be tempting to revel in your achievement and enjoy the moment.  It is certainly acceptable to do so, and most likely well earned!  However, in terms of building and maintaining momentum, the absolute best time to do each of these things again is right after you have just succeeded in doing it.  This success will give you immediate confidence and motivation that can be directly applied to your next endeavor, boosting the energy you have available to put into it, and making the effort required seem smaller.

Building MomentumContinuing to roll your successes together will build you more and more momentum, in turn increasing your motivation and self-confidence.  All of these things combined together will allow you to keep pressing onward.  Even should you have a miscue during one of your sessions it will affect you less and allow you to move on without having to struggle with negative drains.  On top of the individual impact, momentum is a contagious thing that will spread to your peers and influence them positively.  Alternatively, if you are in need of a boost, your fellow National Agents Alliance members can help you out by spreading the bug!

Keeping your momentum can be as simple as that, although success doesn’t always readily come easily one after another.  Remember that momentum is infectious, so if you are suffering from a lack of it, use your resources to get some going!  Once you have it, don’t give it a chance to disappear, keep building on it!  Celebrate your victories later, leverage this game changing tool as often as you can.

Get up When You Get Knocked Down, Part 2

When we talked about The Flinch in a previous post we concluded that flinching equals pain avoidance.  To face the pain you have to learn to stop flinching.

It might be good to understand where this habit came from and then we can figure out what to do to defeat “the flinch.”

Unfortunately, our society has been training us to flinch.  Remember, we said a champion fighter has to train to take the hits without flinching, and all this time we’ve been trained to do just the opposite…work smarter, not harder; don’t rock the boat; don’t climb that tree, you might get hurt.”

You see, every time you took the easy way out (or someone let you), you reinforced the flinch.  In the back of your mind you stored the fear, and the excuses for not facing the facts.  The flinch supports the status quo; it makes it easier the next time to refuse the challenge and run.  Once again the status quo wins.  Whenever a good idea pops up in your mind the flinch is there, that little memory in the back of your mind telling you “that’s too hard, or you can’t do that.”  It gets easier to give in every time the fear holds you back.  Then the next time comes and your heart rate elevates and your palms get sweaty, but you find it easier and easier to run and hide.  It’s just like ruining your 5-week-old diet.  You cheat with a night-time snack and guess what happens the next night?  Do you think it’s now easier to say no when the pie ala mode is staring right at you?  I don’t think so!

If you want to see “the flinch” defeated watch children at the playground.  Watch them experiment and test themselves.  Watch them fall down and get back up.  Watch them climb as high as they can.  When they reach their limit they’ll come back down, but the next time they’ll try again and go higher. They shrug off the scrapes and bruises.  They overcome their fear, and, if you watch closely, you’ll see they don’t often cry (or not for long) when they fall unless there is an adult there saying “oh sweetie, are you ok?”  If that helpful adult does that too often or tells the child, “don’t do that. It’s too high…” you have the beginning of reinforcing the flinch.  It starts storing info in the back of the mind and builds up fear and the reflex to avoid doing the hard things.  You already see over-protective adults outfitting their kids in every protective helmet and padding imaginable.  Flinchers in the making!

Adults who flinch need to look in the mirror, face the truth, recognize the lie they’ve been telling themselves, and face their fears without hesitation. And face it now…you’ll be glad later.

Make a list of all your fears and begin the process of facing down every single one of them.  Open your mind to all the possibilities and don’t listen when someone tells you that you can’t do it.  Don’t give credibility to a situation being tough…stare it down.  Try everything.  Mistakes are not final, NOR fatal.  Don’t let someone else dictate your goals…go for yours!  We have all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”  Why don’t you test out that theory?  You might be surprised what you can accomplish if you don’t flinch.

If you’re looking for a good book visit the National Agents Alliance Online Store at www.shopatnaa.com.

Get Up When You Get Knocked Down

If you’re new to sales with National Agents Alliance you better learn this lesson real fast: When you get knocked down, get up! Get up fast!

Get UpWe have unbelievable euphoria when we make a sale, but we take a real shot when hours and hours of preparation go unrewarded when we get a big, fat NO. Our skin gets thicker with experience but when we’re new we sometimes feel like getting a job behind a desk where it’s easy to hide.

There’s an interesting book, The Flinch by Julian Smith, that anyone new to sales should commit to memory. Smith describes a boxing gym he visits that has a sign above the door: “VIP Entrance – anyone who enters can be a champion.”  However, the caveat is that to become a champion you have to learn how to get hit, and you can’t flinch. A boxer who has trained doesn’t flinch when they get hit because, if you do, you can’t win. Learn to face the pain, without flinching!

In sales we don’t get physically hit but we take plenty of hard knocks. After you have prepared, traveled, greeted, schmoozed, presented, rebutted, presented some more, filled out the app and you hear the dreaded “sounds great, but I need to think about it,” you flinch! We’ve all done it.  It has driven the weak from the business. Three of those in a row and you’re out. It’s a good thing that Babe Ruth didn’t flinch; he set the record for the most strikeouts but also hit 714 home runs.

Learning all the “HOW TOs” of selling is the easy part.  Libraries are filled with sales books, but that’s not the answer. The “flinch” is your real enemy and learning “how to sell” won’t beat it.

You see, the flinch is why some never make it in any profession.  The talented tennis player who never sweats to make it puzzles all the “experts.”  He was a “can’t miss” player but he flinched when it came time to do the work ordinary people are unwilling to do.

Flinch equals pain avoidance. To face the pain you have to learn to stop flinching.

Challenge yourself. Face up to the hardest part of the job. Don’t give in. Don’t take the easy route. Do what Mark Twain said:  “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”

Check out the National Agent Alliance Store for a whole variety of books to help you take your business to the next level.

Making Negative Energy Work for You

Since negativity is something that is a normal part of life, how can you make sure that it doesn’t impact your work and influence things detrimentally?  Remember that the best method for dealing with an issue is to address the root cause of the problem with a healthy and holistic approach.  This will give you a long term and beneficial solution.  Of course, this is usually a process that takes some time.  So what do you do while you are addressing the larger picture?

Think PositiveAs we touched upon in a previous post, the first step is to acknowledge the negativity.  Doing so will allow you to open up to many different possibilities and keep you from being affected in ways that you may not notice.  The next thing to work on is harnessing that negative energy with a positive twist.  Here are a couple tactics that may help you get that energy to work for you rather than against you.

You will need to identify exactly what the negative drain is making you feel.  Here we mean to determine if it is causing anger or sadness, apathy or anxiety, or perhaps even nothing.  If you are having trouble identifying how you are being affected, tap your resources:  Ask a spouse or significant other, a close friend or relative, or work with your National Agents Alliance peers and see how your presentation comes off to an observer.

If you are truly not being impacted at all, then you are in luck!  You should focus on the big picture solution.  Should you be looking for some more inspiration sources, though, check out the NAA Shop for some of the excellent and informational books that National Agents Alliance has to help energize you even further and keep you running well.

When it comes to emotions in the realm of anger, frustration or anxiety, they are potentially very powerful motivators that are often employed in situations in athletics.  These may be negative, but they actually do produce energy in you and are highly accessible sources.  The trick will be to invoke that resource, grab onto it and then temper it with an activity that you enjoy a lot.  In doing so, you should find that you approach that activity with extra energy and vigor, quite possibly too much, and here is where the tempering comes into play.  Try and focus on controlling how much extra energy you have and direct it into improving what you are doing.  The things to avoid are getting out of control or pushing too hard too quickly and burning out.  By practicing on an activity you enjoy and are familiar with, it should be easy and fun to determine how to hone this skill.  Mastering this will be a tremendous asset whose methods can then be applied to your sales proficiencies, turning this formerly negative source to your advantage.  It may not be easy, grasshopper, but remember, practice and you will be well prepared should the need arise!

Now, negative energy in forms similar to apathy or sadness can be much more difficult to deal with.  As touched on, types similar to anger will actually produce substantial energy on their own, so most of the work is a conscious effort to bend it to your will and control it, instead of allowing it to do those things to you.  These others are the energy sappers, leaving you with very little to harness to your advantage.

In these cases, the consuming source needs to be altered and changed into a production source.  In a time when you may have little drive, you will have to make a conscious effort to push forward.  Enough energy of another emotion will need to be generated to overcome the deconstructive flow that is being experienced.   Try writing down what the issue is and what about it is frustrating you.  Make the list as big as you need to, and once you begin to feel that little spark of frustration or anger latch onto it right away!  Take it immediately, and use the things that give you positive and healthy energy to mold it to your will and help you in keeping control of it.  A good idea is to have an activity that you enjoy all set to go before you attempt this process.  This way there is minimal time between finding the spark and applying it, lessening the chance of losing it.  At that point, it is a matter of keeping your drive going.  Continuing to do activities you enjoy will greatly help here, and keeping your mind active and engaged is also a tremendous asset (reading, playing cards or games, etc).  Should you find the draining sensation coming back though, go back to your list and read through it again, add to it if necessary, and get yourself rolling again.

Always remember to not lose focus of your big picture of healthily fixing your negative drain though.  Temporary solutions are great, but the permanent ones are the end goal.  Also remember your assets, and don’t forget to make use of them.  National Agents Alliance has lots of goodies at NAAtv, Hotspots, and the NAA Shop to help keep your mind engaged, and remember that your peers have dealt with many issues too.  Talk to them and make use of their knowledge!

Finacial Freedom with National Agents Alliance

The Decision to Start:

Nothing starts until you make the decision and have the determination to start with National Agents Alliance. Success in this business is not easy so get your mind right and prepare. If you want financial freedom you must make sacrifices. Just remember if you run into a wall, National Agents Alliance is here to help, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and use the necessary tools provided to get the job done.

Financial FreedomThe List of Achieve Goals:

Clarity and focus equals power. Find your meaning and purpose with NAA. Make a list of goals you would like to achieve and focus on them. Don’t make them so unrealistic that you get frustrated and in turn lose focus. Long term goals are great but you need to have short term goals so you’re accomplishing something every day. This will make your job more enjoyable and more successful.

Take Action:

If you have thoroughly completed the above process then you can start taking action. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t worry about the details as they will come to you. Remember you have mentors that have been through this process and are available so use them and your outcome with National Agents Alliance will be amazing!

If you need help with anything, NAA has plenty of resources.  Below is just a few.

www.naasupport.com
www.naa-tv.com
www.naahotspots.com

The Negative Drain

Most folks know the power of positivity and optimism, and how they can be a great asset to your work – The benefits tend to get talked about a lot, and are a familiar discussion point.  On the other side of that coin, though, is the damaging and potent draining effect of negativity.  It is very easy to simply dismiss negative thoughts under the misguided belief that they will not be noticed, or will not impact the things that you do.  Negatives are things that we don’t want to happen and often it is all too easy to formulate excuses to ignore them instead of meeting the problem head on and dealing with it.

Positive and NegativeThis easy dismissal can make it hard for us to see the impact that negativity has on ourselves.  Indicators can be very subtle – just like some of the body language items you want to take advantage of as touched on in the discussion about putting your client at ease – but they will exhibit themselves, and most likely in multiple areas.  Slight shoulder slumping, a weaker handshake, smaller attention span, the tonality in your voice, and even down to your breathing patterns (sighs or deeper breaths) are just a few of the potential indicators.  While these items may appear to be small and unnoticeable things, bear in mind that a client who does not know you well will be hyper-sensitive to such slight indicators and perceive them.  Think of it as a storm hovering around you.  Even if that storm isn’t directly upon you and pouring down rain, thunder, and lightning yet, there is still that feeling that it is approaching and about to break.  The drain of negativity on your demeanor acts in the same manner to those around you.

Consider this:  The average person takes all of five seconds to make their initial judgment of us via a first impression, and in this line of work there are an awful lot of those!  It is a valuable asset to you to be able to make those impressions as best you can.  Adding hurdles to the process of developing a policy is a step backwards and one that you should strive to avoid.

Certainly negative things can happen and are a normal part of dealing with life.  The important thing is to acknowledge the issue and not try and sweep it under the rug.  Doing so has a positive effect on your mind and body such that they aren’t constantly trying to remind you of this item that is causing you stress.  The result is that you will be able to regain your usual positive mindset and eventually address the issue rather than just attempt to mask the negative symptoms.

In a slump?  Don’t be afraid to leverage your resources.  Talk to your peers and get yourself back on track.  If a book is more your speed, National Agents Alliance has plenty of material on motivation, leadership, and the effects of optimism and negativity.  Check out the shop provided by National Agents Alliance!

The Importance of Referrals

Did you help your clients’ friends by getting referrals?

Here are some great ways you can get referrals and help your business attract more high-quality clients. By using the following tips, you could create an endless number of talented people and keep growing with National Agents Alliance!

1. Treat the entire referral process with importance – it is urgent.

How you communicate makes a difference. Let people know there a benefit to their friends, family and people they care about. Make time to have a great conversation about referrals. Be on a mission to bring your service to others. As you begin the referral conversation, say something like, “This is of the utmost importance. I need you to share this with people you know because it will help you both.”

2. Have a client-service relationship model that drives your contact with your clients.

Most financial professionals don’t use a formal client-service model. When it comes to staying in touch with their clients, they wing it. Guess what? Your clients can tell if you’re winging it. If you want to maintain a high level of client loyalty and remain referable over a long period of time, you have to stay in touch with your clients on 2 levels:  1) Continue to bring value to your relationships (or you’re no longer necessary); and 2) Build business friendships with your clients. (Hosting client appreciation events shield your clients against the competition.)

Referrals3. If you get one referrals, why not more?

If you have one name, why not 10, 12 or 25? Think like that and you will get more. Create your own sales team with National Agents Alliance. Teach them: how well you take care of your clients and the value you bring to your clients; teach them what types of people you serve the best; and teach them the best way for them to give you their referrals.

4. Upgrading the quality of your referrals is simple: Learning more before means you care more and it will show to the people you speak with!

Don’t just settle for a name and phone number. In fact, in this new do-not-call world, you’ll need more than that. The person who just gave you a referral is a great source of information that can help you make a better connection. Learn as much as you can about the person before you contact them, such as: how they know each other, why it might be a good fit, how the prospect might react, the best way to contact them, what you can do to pique their interest, and what your referral source likes or admires about the person.

5.  Expect referrals.

Don’t go into your relationships with prospects and new clients wishing to get referrals. The work you do is important. Be on a confident mission to help others. Be a difference maker for people. Let that confidence show through. Do not tell your clients you expect them to give you referrals. It’s not an in-your-face conversation where you are putting major pressure on them, but carry this confidence with you into every visit.  National Agents Alliance has many ways to guide you through this.  Just ask your upline or mentor.

6. Keep your client advised of how you are following up on their help.

When you get a referral, there are three things you MUST do to keep them coming from that person:

1)  Follow up on ALL referrals as soon as possible.

2)  Let your client know you are following up on their help.

3) Thank your referral client with a handwritten note and a small gift.

Using these simple steps really can help you grow your business with National Agents Alliance while you continue to help others. Why wouldn’t you want to help the people closest to your clients? It’s a no-brainer!