Compliance is often seen as a barrier to sales success when it really doesn’t have to be. The extra steps required by compliance sometimes can create delays and frustrations, and tempt agents to take dangerous shortcuts. Questionable short-term solutions to compliance sometimes can lead to long-term problems as shortcuts undermine the quality of the sale. Agents who take too many shortcuts sometimes end up finding themselves under scrutiny, which can end up leading to sanctions and fines.
What can an agent do to keep compliance from being a sales success barrier? The following are some ideas agents can use to help themselves avoid problems.
1. Know the rules. Educate yourself about what compliance means. You can’t make compliance easy if you don’t understand it. In its simplest sense, compliance is doing to others what you would want done to you. It has rules and regulations you must know to meet the expectations of companies and regulators. Build a reference library of the manuals and guides provided by the companies you represent. Check the websites of the states in which you are licensed for updates. Read industry publications. Invest some of your continuing education credits in compliance-related courses.
2. Take responsibility. Blaming others for compliance problems doesn’t help you get in compliance and stay there. Only you can make what you do the right thing to do for your clients. Set high standards for yourself and your staff. Though others may take questionable shortcuts, don’t use that as a rationale for doing the same. Compliance-savvy agents know they cannot rely on anyone but themselves to keep from making possible compliance errors.
3. Learn from the past and move on. You cannot change the past. If you have made compliance mistakes, admit them. Learn from your mistakes and get on with your business life. Don’t try to justify what you did in the past by repeating it. Understand where you went wrong and why, as a first step in avoiding future errors.
4. Enjoy selling. Don’t allow your concerns about compliance get in the way of making your living. Compliance is only one factor that influences selling. Put it in perspective and don’t let it consume what you do and how you do it.
5. Simplify. Eliminate the unnecessary and the unimportant parts of selling that create compliance issues. Eliminate the barriers to being in compliance like disorganization, lack of planning, etc. Focus on the necessary and the important. Know the difference between what is required and what is just suggested in company policies and procedures.