For the last 20 years I have learned many things, one of which is that when there is a concern or a problem, it is not the time to do something–as much as it is the time to know something.
As both a financial representative and a professional trainer, I was deeply saddened by the results of a recent LIMRA study that indicated our industrys retention is at an all-time low for agents in their first four years. Only one out of seven agents stay in the business, ironically at a time when we have more wealth in our country than ever before and a marketplace with an increased need for planning.
The question before our industrys management responsible for recruiting and training is, “Why?”
It is now time to reflect and ask the tough questions, time to remember who we are as an industry and how we contribute to agents and clients, time to remember that the key to our lives and businesses is relationships. If we can get this part right, we can accomplish anything.
I have experienced in my own career that the problem is rarely the problem, and the solution is rarely the solution. Clarity of thinking and understanding is how to resolve a problem.
People do not go to work to fail. They are doing the best they can with what they know. I have observed that many field agents are recruited and trained without a clear sense of understanding the following questions:
?–Why are you here?
?–What will you do?
–How will you do it?
Without a clear understanding of these core questions connected to the individual’s values, you can see where confusion rather than clarity would be the rule.
For example, take two agents with similar intelligence and training. Both start their careers with the best of intentions. Why is it that one enjoys success and performs in the top 20% of his peer-group, and the other barely gets by?
I submit that top producers think differently. They are clear about why they show up and how they can contribute. They are confident in the knowledge that they make a difference, their work matters, and they perform accordingly.
Agents who are struggling in many cases are doing so because of their belief that they are not good enough or interesting enough. I remind agents that if they dont think they’re good enough, how can they expect their prospects to think any differently.
The opportunity before all of us in this great profession is to have the courage to see our current reality and confront it. We need to have the courage to get clear about our purpose, intention, motivation, agreement, and communication with why and how we conduct ourselves in business situations. We must remind ourselves that we always have a choice:
–We choose whether our purpose is to make money, or to make a difference;