Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing advisors today, and what can they do to overcome it?

A: Advisors are facing more regulatory red tape, more industry scrutiny, more individual sales examination and a more skeptical consumer than ever before. It would be easy to make a strong case that each issue presents a significant challenge for advisors.

However, I am concerned the depth of our national economic storm has created a new challenge within the community of advisors. Sales declines have caused many otherwise talented advisors to drop their guard and allow doubt and discouragement to creep in. As I speak with advisors and marketing groups across the country, thoughts like “it’s just not worth it anymore”, “the leads are no good” or repeatedly searching for “the next big thing” sadly are becoming more commonplace.

I was recently speaking to a group where one of the producers made the comment that it seems that people just didn’t want to hear what he had to say. I asked him to role play with me and give me his best pitch. When he finished I have to say I wouldn’t what to hear much more either. There was no excitement, no encouragement, and no persuasive interest whatsoever. He had lost an important part of what a successful advisor brings to the table–passion!

We spent the next half hour reprogramming the group’s passion switch. The sad thing was there were many more in the group that felt the same way. They simply could not bring themselves to say out loud they were discouraged as well. We discussed four points;

o Passion will fuel discipline.
o Passion is the motor of action
o Passion is a shield from critics
o Passion will not tolerate excuses

Whadayamean, there’s nothing to be excited about? Name me any other product where you can take a small amount of money and through an insurance contract, put enough leverage into play that entire estates can be protected–family income can be provided for life and, most importantly, you can do it all without risk!

Advisors–right here, right now, renew the passion for your profession and stop the excuses. Stay committed to your goal, even in the storm. Don’t let the circumstances intimidate you. Surround yourself with experience and support … the storms will eventually pass!

–Al Atha, a licensed insurance professional for almost 30 years, is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the AmerUs Annuity Group.