Bump Up Production Big Time–And Reap The Rewards

Let’s say you’re a Top of the Table or an International Forum level producer. Wouldn’t it be gratifying to increase production 20%, 50%, or even 100% next year (with the consequent increase in your revenues)?

Even better, let’s say you also manage your affairs in such a way that you are able to keep a larger slice of that revenue than you do today. At the end of the year, you would be considerably wealthier.

What about producers who have not yet qualified for Top of the Table or the International Forum? Wouldn’t they like to bump up production by those proportions? Wouldn’t they also want to boost revenues? And most of all, wouldn’t they like to have the personal wealth that results?

It is our experience that improvements on this scale are not as exceptional as they might sound. They are clearly achievable.

Regardless of where a producer is, he or she can achieve what some would consider stunning improvements in production, in revenue and in personal income-all in a relatively short time frame.

Of course, it is not easy; there are challenges. The obstacles to reaching the next meaningful level in production and revenue fall into two categories. The first category of obstacles is psychological in nature, having to do with such things as producers’ motivation, their personal goals and their drive to make the effort to succeed.

The second category of obstacles is technical in nature, having to do with such things as the training in what to do, deploying the right support systems and the like.

The Desire

In financial advisory industry, there is a lot of lip service given to the desire to succeed. In our view, however, it is painfully clear that there are very few producers who really want to snatch the brass ring. That is to say, there are very few producers whose overarching goal is to create serious personal wealth.

A lot of producers say they want to become affluent or even wealthy, but scratch beneath the surface and you will find that they really think a lot of things are more important than serious personal wealth.

For some producers, family and little league games are more important. For others, physical fitness or sailing or other interests are more important. Still other producers may have different priorities.

Family, leisure time, charitable activities and the like can be more important than merely becoming exceptionally wealthy or just plain rich. However, we have found that high-end producers can “have it all.” They can have the personal wealth as well as the time for a great many non-business meaningful activities such as family, charity and themselves.

While the elite can scale the heights both personally and professionally, it is clear that the most successful producers share a drive for reaching ever-higher levels of professional accomplishment. Producers with this drive are motivated by the need to be technically cutting-edge. They also share an obsession with client service. Additionally, these producers share the drive for personal, serious, wealth.

Many people ask us whether this kind of drive is innate or whether it is something that can be evoked in producers. We have discovered the hard way is that this particular sort of drive is not something that can be artificially induced. Producers either have it or they don’t.

Our best coaching successes have always come from those producers who already have the drive, but who have been blocked by the second obstacle-knowing what to do and being able to put the systems and processes in place to excel.

All producers can do better knowing what to do and how to do it. Whether or not their personal drive is for serious personal wealth, all can live a better financial life by being more effective producers. We have spent our professional careers studying and working with top producers and their work-styles. We have spent many years coaching and facilitating many producers to reach ever-higher levels of production, revenue and income.

As a result of this experience, we are able to discern a number of methodologies and approaches that separate producers who are doing very well from those who are doing exceptionally well. We have distilled all this knowledge into a methodology that can make a difference-a difference that could be worth millions to a producer. This is the “living strategic plan TM.”

The “Living Strategic Plan”

Just what is a “living strategic plan?” It is a road map a producer can follow to improved production, revenues and income. It is the route top producers have taken to serious personal wealth. It is a versatile strategic plan that is conceptualized for producers and based in creating success today.

One way to understand a “living strategic plan” is to compare it to a corporate strategic plan (See chart).

Let’s start with the time frame. Corporate strategic plans are looking out a number of years, usually five. On the other hand a “living strategic plan” has a short-term time frame. A corporation may have the luxury of losing money for years as it restructures, for instance, but producers do not. No producer can afford a negative cash flow for very long as he or she resets their businesses.

Therefore, producers must be focused on making money today while they take steps to ensure they will make money tomorrow and next week, next month and next year.

This brings us to another distinction. Corporate strategic plans are relatively rigid, whereas a producer’s strategic plan must be built to be flexible.

As circumstances change, a producer must be able not only to adjust to the new situation, but he or she must be positioned to take advantage of the changes-and do so quickly. It is in these instances of structural transition that some of the largest pots of gold are found.

The issue of flexibility is where the “living” in “living strategic plan” comes from.

Finally, a corporate strategic plan adopts a global perspective-as though it were seen from a satellite above the Earth. In contrast a “living strategic plan” is built in the trenches. It is done from the ground up-client by client. However, for the producer there is an absolute need to deal with the realities of his or her business.

In effect, the “living strategic plan” encapsulates the “what” and “how” of each producer. Put another way, it is their personal, actionable business/marketing program–one that is predicated on the systems and processes that fit their business model today and provide a roadmap to the business model they seek to build.

Additionally, the “living strategic plan” is predicated on “running the numbers”-creating simple to complex pro formas that, if actualized, will result in significant revenue and, more important, profit.

One of the worst mistakes a high-end producer can make is to blindly take someone else’s goals or method and try to make it work for him or her. Unfortunately, the way the industry promotes business development ideas actually proves to be an obstacle to a great many top producers.

Instead, at this upper echelon, each producer will only excel when he or she finds their own unique way, which is predicated on their current and desired business model.

Producers strongly need to be sensitive to the systems and processes that work and do not work in the context of their professional strengths.

There is much talk of business plans and strategic plans these days, but the kinds of plans corporations use do not work well for producers. Producers need to adopt an approach that will indeed make their world center stage, and the “living strategic plan” is an example of such an approach.

Russ Prince, pictured above, is principal of Prince & Associates, research and consulting firm in Shelton, Conn. He can be reached at princeasoc@aol.com. Arthur Bavelas is president and CEO of Resource Network LTD, Radnor, Pa. He can be reached at aabavelas@aol.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, November 5, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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