Monthly Archives: December 2011

Managing Your Time

Time ManagementOne of the potential pitfalls of any business is mismanagement of your time.  It can come in many different forms, but two of the most common are on opposite ends of the spectrum:  Procrastination and being overwhelmed.  Neither one is good for your business or your health!

Procrastination usually results from needing to do tasks that, for whatever reason, are not enjoyable.  In order to combat something like this, schedule yourself a couple of 10 minute blocks within the day to focus on doing those tasks.  By doing so, you may find that accomplish enough to push yourself a little further, and knock even more chips out of that tiresome chore.  An alternative is to attempt to find a way to make the tedious into something fun.  While this is a good idea as a long term solution, take care not to turn the activity into even further procrastination, or you will end up just digging a deeper hole for yourself!

Remember to also try and limit your distractions, especially when doing an activity that you are prone to putting off.  It’s easy to lose focus and convince yourself that you need a break, and it is certainly a good idea to take a break – when you need one!  When you need one, it will help revitalize and center you.  When it is simply an excuse not to do work, it will negatively reinforce the procrastination habit, and be a detriment to your overall goals.  If a dull task is also a time consuming one, break it up into smaller pieces and reward yourself for completing each objective.

Overwhelming tasks require some of the same approaches.  Certainly consider breaking them up into smaller, manageable pieces that will not be so daunting.  Limit your distractions so that you can focus and not need to repeat portions as that will only extend what is already something that is complicated to handle.

Be sure to consider the state of your body.  This is easy to forget, but when faced with what seems an overpowering obstacle, it is very easy to overextend and get worn down.  Remember to set aside time to properly rest and refuel your body.  These are essential components to your concentration and focus, not to mention overall well-being!  Don’t neglect these important factors.  A degradation of body and mind will be counterproductive to nearly all you are striving to achieve, so be sure to take care of both.

Should you find yourself unsure of exactly what it is that is absorbing your time, think about keeping a journal of your activities for a few days.  Review it and make note of areas where your time could be better spent, or areas that need focusing and utilize the resources National Agents Alliance provides to your advantage.

Persistency Should Never be Overlooked When it Comes to Selling Insurance

Barron’s Insurance Dictionary defines persistency as the “Percentage of life insurance or other insurance coverage remaining in force; percentage of policies which may have not lapsed. The larger the percentage, the wider the persistency.” It is a part of sales that is often overlooked. To be profitable in insurance, it isn’t enough just to sell your product to one person; you should also try to retain your customers.

Client SalesNow, think about persistency for a moment. What’s the very first thing that pops into your head? Most likely your answer would not be marriage.  I mean, what would persistency have to do with matrimony? They seem further in relation than your cousin and a kumquat.

But the relationship between a client and an agent is just that, a relationship. It takes courtship, compromise, and commitment for any contract to be signed.  Nevertheless, walking down the aisle and saying your “I dos” isn’t the end of the marriage. Marriage is really a commitment and, in several ways, same goes with a client. If the client doesn’t feel you care, there may be a rift … or maybe “divorce.” In the world of insurance sales, that means cancelled contracts, which may result in the dreaded charge back.

In order to have great persistency, then, you should treat your agent-client relationships with pride. Your customers trust you, they’ve created a resolve for persistency with you, and they anticipate being treated as such. Here are a few methods to keep them happy after the contract is signed.

Keep in contact. Communication is crucial to a good relationship. Keep that bond powerful by reaching out to your customers. Express care for them outside of the context of the company. A simple birthday card or phone call can do wonders. If you’re trying to find an automated answer, NAA’s KIT letters can go further toward showing your clients just how much you care.

Earn their loyalty. When you love someone, it’s usually not just for one reason. It would be their sense of humor, their personality, or their smile. In terms of your clients, the relationship also needs to be multi-tiered. Having multiple contracts with them is a wonderful approach to retain persistency. The more policies they through you, the more likely they are to retain their policies and ask you for advice about future investments. When you help a customer once, they are just a customer. Help them again and they become a valued client. Help them a third time and you have a client for life.

What do you do in the event that the passion of this relationship has cooled and you’ve recently been “divorced?” It is possible to still salvage your relationship by contacting the client and asking why they cancelled. A small reminder will help them remember why they signed up in the first place, or perhaps it will reveal different problems you could help them with. Rekindle that spark of passion and you might be able to save the relationship.

Remember; persistency is a lot like a marriage. You’ve already devoted to one another. Through any time to show your customers how much you care, and seek out opportunities to “romance” them further, you’ll have a lengthy, fruitful relationship together.

Giving Back

One of the greatest time investments that you can make is in performing community service.  Not only is this something that can increase awareness of you and your business, enhance your reputation, and fill you with positive energy, but it is also something that can make a lasting difference in the lives of people in your neighborhood and surrounding areas.

There are a tremendous amount of organizations that attempt to make a difference in peoples’ lives every day, and chances are high that they could all use some help with skills that you have to offer.  From youth coaching to soup kitchens, the difficult economic times of late have impacted nearly every one of them.  Many of these programs could use any kind of support that can be offered, especially around this time of year when the need for them becomes even more obvious.

The returns of doing this kind of work are generally obvious, but consider what helping your community can do for you:  The positive energy will translate directly to your work, impacting everything in good ways.  The associations you can build with so many people by dishing out soup for those in need.  Teaching positive life lessons to children who are learning to play basketball under your coaching tutelage.  The extra one on one time with your son or daughter while building a habitat house that would otherwise be spent in front of a TV.  Plenty of other community members will be out there with you, helping you to positively influence the future of your community, and gaining respect for you.

In providing aid to your community, everyone benefits.  Our lives are busy, but consider donating some of your time to a cause that is near to your heart—Contemplate making it a resolution for the upcoming new-year.  If you have trouble finding a good local cause, check your local public schools.  Many state cutbacks have left them lacking in a lot of programs, and they could use a volunteer or two also.

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.

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