In the late 1980s, Don Speakman was making a little over $18,000 a year as an underpaid assistant at a printing company. Needless to say, he was struggling to make ends meet for his family. So when he was recruited by a manager who thought he might be a good risk, Speakman became an advisor and started the laborious process of learning to sell financial products.
He was not alone; he had three friends to keep him company. These four musketeers started out by giving public seminars on retirement planning. But while his colleagues fell by the wayside, Speakman survived and thrived. Today, with annual commissions far in excess of $1 million, this Pittsburgh-based advisor is a member of the exclusive Million Dollar Round Table’s “Top of the Table.” And he does it while working only two days a week.
Here are a few of the traits and techniques he uses to outdistance the competition, work a whole lot less, and make a whole lot more:
Put your activity on a point system - Low activity is the single biggest reason that producers fail. That which gets measured, gets done. Speakman’s effective method of keeping himself on track is a daily point plan. He assigns 10 points to a face-to-face interview, five points to a phone call by which he is trying to sell, and one point to dialing the phone. His goal is to hit 50 points – or he doesn’t go home.
Work with clients you enjoy - Many peak performers say that not only do they target a niche market, they also focus on select individuals with whom they enjoy doing business. Speakman says the hardest people to deal with are the technical types like engineers, accountants, and doctors. These professionals most likely have some knowledge of technical product issues, but that little bit of information can make them dangerous to their own interests, and potentially unpleasant to take on as clients.