Are you looking to cast your National Agents Alliance net further than your back yard? Many Sales experts are eager to go out into the frontiers in order to meet with families who have never spoken with a mortgage protection specialist.
However, out-of-state leads need to be approached in a smart way or you could end up in the hole. We recently spoke with Alex Fitzgerald of National Agents Alliance, one of the top Agency Managers in the business.
For a little background, Alex Fitzgerald is one of National Agents Alliance’s brightest and most enduring stars. As a self-employed salesman he sold coupon books, LTC insurance, and just about anything else they could find with his good friend Andy Albright. One day, Andy informed Alex that he and two of their other friends had decided to start their own business and invited him to become one of the first members. Alex decided to rely on his long-term trust of Andy and joined National Agents Alliance in its infancy. Alex and his team made over $9 million in issued premium in 2008, and is still growing strong today. This is especially impressive considering he was once $60,000 in debt.
Because he started from the bottom and worked his way up we knew he’d give us great perspective on how traveling for business works. We weren’t disappointed; Alex gave us a plethora of travel tips, as well as many pitfalls agents fall into during, or even before setting out.
If you’re one of those intrepid NAA agents that are ready to saddle up their wagon and travel to other states for sales, pay close attention to the following guidelines Alex gave us.
Perfect your sales ability locally first.
It may seem like an obvious tip, but many agents strike out and travel for sales when they haven’t gotten down the ABC’s of making a sale.
“I don’t encourage someone to travel until they’ve got the basics of the Sales System down in their local area.”
It’s better to hone your skills locally where you can cut back your travel expenses than trying to cut your teeth two states over.
There’s no real measuring stick to when you’ll be ready to travel, but ask the advice of your managers or other traveling agents.
Make your appointments no longer than 24-48 hours out.
Alex also pointed out that the short time frame on local leads applies to non-local leads as well.
“Our agents that travel get their leads right before a trip and call like heck for two days before traveling. Don’t book farther out than 24-48 hours.”
Even before you travel, you need to sign up your potential client for an appointment two days at the most. Anything beyond this point in time and you’re more and more likely to knock on empty houses doors or encounter clients with a change of heart.
Also, give them a follow-up call the day before or day of your appointment; it may seem like overkill to be so persistent, but it’s not; your chances of a successful appointments increases substantially the closer the appointment is to the initial call, and the more frequently you keep in touch. If you’re going to take a bigger risk by traveling outside your local area, this should be an even higher priority to ensure a better chance of success.
Premium leads don’t always equal premium applications.
An insurance sales agent with National Agents Alliance should not have a false sense of security just because he bought premium travel leads; premium leads are not the end-all solution to booking appointments, and can actually end up taking a bigger bite out of your budget.
When we asked Alex about it, he told us that agents who cherry pick premium leads often burn through money much faster.
“Try working with discounted leads. They will keep costs way down while increasing your sales way up.”
He also questioned agents who had difficulty booking appointments on premium leads:
“Clearly they need more training on making phone calls to potential clients.”
This goes hand-in-hand with our earlier advice to perfect your sales skills before venturing out.
Understand how traveling sales is different.
Finally, an agent should consider the fact that travelling for sales is just plain different than local sales. We don’t mean the people are different, but planning for how a trip will factor into your production certainly is.
Alex explained it this way:
“I always viewed traveling to run production as a chance to get a month’s worth of production in a weekend. If an agent is getting 10 premium leads a week, the absolute minimum he should write is $12K in a month… and just like minimum wage, that’s not great. That’s 40 leads a month. If you take 40 leads in a weekend, we are finding that the agent would run similar (usually better) production as if he had taken them over 4 weeks.”
Traveling isn’t for everyone, but it’s highly lucrative if you follow all the guidelines above! But wait…what about getting there, and what pitfalls do agents fall into during and after the sale? Believe us, there are some, and we’ll tell you what they are in our next post!
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