If you’ve just joined the financial planning industry as an insurance agent or a financial planner, chances are you’re driven, energized, and your current morale is high. You’re certainly going to be hungry for success, and you’re probably like most of the people we’ve met.
You want to make a difference in various ways. Maybe it’s a breakthrough in income, sometimes it’s a better life for your family, maybe it’s just to get out of the employment trap and to leapfrog ahead of your peers.
However, joining this industry isn’t completely risk-free. Perhaps you’ve given up an office job, so you might even be fearful or uncertain about the future. This industry usually doesn’t provide the security of a salary, and if things take a bad turn, you might end up in debt, and leave this industry worse off than before you joined.
You see, when you first joined the financial planning industry, many people think that they can join this industry just to “try it out”. The fact is, you can’t try this industry, the industry will try you!
One of the drawbacks of joining financial planning is that no one will drop a training manual on your lap, and tell you exactly what to do. The horror (and also the beauty) of the industry, especially in South-East Asia, is that everyone starts out the same, from zero.
What you do right from the start will define how long it takes for you to attain what you’re looking for. That’s why we’ve compiled 7 tips for you as a shortcut to finding success in this industry.
1. Define Your V.I.P.
Nope, this has nothing to do with an exclusive area, reserved only for your best customers. In fact, the key to success isn’t what to do or how to do it, but to understand why you joined this industry. What you do and how you do them, are things that you do to attain why you do them.
Vision is where you see yourself in the future. Maybe it’s 3 or 5 years from now. Vision will set the direction you should be heading. Some consultants are lost and uninspired, not knowing what to do on a day to day basis, most because they lack the vision of where they are supposed to end up.
Uncertainty will cause people to stand in place, not moving forward, or even falling back to something more familiar to them (but just doesn’t work). While average people allow a current situation to define what they are and what they should do, the top financial planning professionals let their long term vision of themselves guide their activities, despite their situation.
One possible vision for financial sales professionals would be the Million Dollar Practice. A very challenging but absolutely attainable end goal.
This is, simply put, what you would call yourself. This is the label you give yourself about who you are as a person. If you have gone through life with many successes in your life, you would probably given yourself the label of a winner or an overachiever.
On the flip side, if you keep making mistake after mistake, setback after setback, guess what, you’ll soon tell yourself you’re a loser, you are useless, you are trash.
Is that the kind of identity you want to build for yourself? Of course not!
How you see yourself will determine your activities. If you see yourself as a salesperson, you will only do the activities of a salesperson. If you see yourself as a productive professional who cares for your clients, you will do the required tasks to be a productive professional.
One practical exercise you can do is complete this sentence:
“I AM _______________”
What do you want to achieve for yourself as a person? Who are you working so hard for? How do you want to live your live? If you don’t even know what you want to achieve, how can you expect to create success?
What is your cause. This is based on Beliefs, Values and Principles. This fuels the emotional reason behind why you do what you do.
One way to illustrate this point is to look at some of your more successful colleagues. When they have a purpose that drives them internally, they don’t require any instruction in order to perform.
Purpose drives the emotions needed to get to your vision. When you don’t live your life with a strong purpose, you will only end up giving excuses.
2. Understand This Is Not Going To Be Easy
Many well-meaning financial consultants or financial advisers join this industry thinking this industry will make them the most money in the shortest time. We’ve even heard of stories where consultants were recruited based on the promise of building a passive income for the rest of their lives after just a few years of sales.
Agency leaders are not wrong when they make these claims. The financial planning industry has been proven to be extremely rewarding for many people, and have created plenty of millionaires all over the world.
What people need to realize is this sounds simple, but it’s not easy.
Many people think insurance agents and financial advisers make tons of money in commissions. But the reality is, self-employed financial planning professionals are fairly compensated. Think about it, from generating leads, making sure these leads turn into qualified prospects, multiple consultations, conversion, to paperwork, and eventually client management, everything is handled by the agent him/herself!
But the most demanding part of the sales process still has to be prospecting. Agents probably spend the bulk of their time, their sanity, and most of their emotional health on that. Most agents will face more rejections, handle more objections, than making actual transactions! Furthermore, there usually isn’t backroom staff who’ll check their paperwork, so all risk is borne by the agent him/herself!
If you put it in perspective, the reward for being self-employed is certainly directly related to the effort – but not all the time.
One of the biggest mistakes a new adviser can make is mistaking effort for results. If you start off your career learning and doing the wrong things, meeting the wrong prospects, and using the wrong process, guess what, you’ll be getting the wrong results!
3. Make A Target List
This is typically the first thing that your manager/agency leader asks you to do, sometimes even before you clear all the qualifications to be an official consultant! Many people refer to this as a project 100/300/500, and has been recommended since time immemorial. Doing this well is akin to using an accurate multi-destination GPS, at least for the first few months.
However, why would so many of you dread this?
Many of our students start off in their careers rejecting the idea of selling products to their friends and family, I’m guessing as a new agent, you’ll be thinking of this too.
Here’s the paradox – you want to sell to people, but you reject reaching out to people closest to you.
Would that be because you think selling to them is doing them a disservice? Would you be against recommending a good book to people? An entertaining movie? How about a good restaurant?
Fact: People have nothing against financial products, they just have a problem with how it’s being sold.
As long as you are clear on what your products do, how they help your friends become better off financially, why should you have a problem with letting them know what you do? That’s also why your identity (refer to the earlier point) has to be defined clearly. If you see yourself as just a salesperson who has no issues with misrepresentation or misselling, then you will steer clear of the people you care about. However, when responsibly sold, for the right purposes, most financial products will provide financial benefits. You just have to have the right process.
So it’s perfectly fine to go out there and make a killing? Let’s get a target list going and you’ll go out there and sell sell sell?
Wait.. before you do that, read on for the next point.
4. Prospect Through People Not At People
So say you’ve convinced yourself that what you’re doing is good, do you go out there and find every single warm body and start going on and on about the products’ benefits?
Look, as we mentioned, you’re just going to piss everyone off if you try to hardsell them products. Some prospects are even going to buy something from you just to get you to shut up! Even if you manage to make a sale, you have created a transaction and not a relationship.
So what is the best way to make sure people are happy to buy from you and may even recommend more people to you?
The key to doing that is understanding people love buying things, they just don’t like being sold things.
How you open the sale is how you’re going to close it. If all you do is talk about the product, your friends are only going to see you as a product salesperson, not a consultant. If you fix an appointment under the context of introducing a product, you’re only getting ready for a hard rejection. However, if you’re fixing the meeting with the purpose of getting your prospect’s feedback on some strategies and solutions, this is certainly going to be more palatable than the former!
5. Find A Mentor
Do note that these tips are not the only ones that will set the foundation for your business success. Many more nuggets of knowledge can be gleaned from your manager, your peers, and even external coaches.
Think about successful athletes and teams. None of them got to where they are today because they struggled and tried figuring out what to do on their own. One rather amusing example that comes to mind comes from a very successful football team, the champions of Europe in the 2018/2019 season, Liverpool FC. They got the world scratching their heads when they hired a coach just to do throw-ins, because they realized that’s one part of their game they could improve on. It’s no surprise, that yielded outstanding results, which was a huge contributor to their success.
If you have identified lead generation as a big problem, seek help in lead generation. If you need help in prospecting, make sure you find someone who can solve prospecting problems. If you have a problem with closing, make sure you find someone who can tackle closing issues!
The point is, when you find a mentor, you will not be out there making your own mistakes, and you can just use proven and the most efficient methods in your business. This will create a shortcut, shaving years of trial and error in achieving your eventual goals.
If you have challenges in finding a mentor, just remember, PPP Academy has impacted tens of thousands of agents and advisers, and has created thousands of success stories all over Asia. One resource you may want to consider is Stepping Up Without Stepping Out, a free webinar that is highly relevant to today’s situation.
While the world struggles with a pandemic, many agents may be struggling with how to approach their clients and what to share with them during their appointments. Thus, we have come up with a value-packed webinar that doesn’t just tell you what to do, we even packaged complete scripts for you to copy word-for-word.
We want to make sure financial sales professionals never struggle with their business ever again, and thus offer training opportunities for every stage of the sales process. Do feel free to contact our success hotline for more details, whether you’re a new adviser, or even an experienced Lifetime MDRT member.