Thousands of top financial professionals from around the world are gathered in Vancouver this week for MDRT’s annual conference.

Speakers at this event have been known to say that if you come home from MDRT with one new good idea that you can implement into your practice right now, attending the show is worth it. In reality, if you come to an event like MDRT and walk away with only ONE new good idea, you just aren’t paying attention.

While the main platform lineup each morning tends to be loaded with motivational speakers with amazing stories that usually have little to nothing to do with life insurance or financial services, it is the breakout sessions each afternoon where the practical business-building ideas flow freely.

On Monday afternoon I attended a pair of focus sessions packed with effective strategies that I had not been aware of previously. Here are just a couple of those good ideas:

While Daniel Corrigan, in his Monday afternoon session, “Best Sales Concepts to Motivate Action,” focused primarily on compelling arguments for being a “concept salesman” who makes use of illustrations (hire a local “starving artist” to create custom drawings you can use during presentations) to effectively demonstrate your point to prospects, my favorite nugget from his presentation was one good question that will really make your prospects think: “If you save the same amount of money in the next five years as you did the last five years, would you be satisfied?”

Dan Allison, in his Monday afternoon session, “End Prospecting and Referral Challenges for the Rest of Your Career,” hammered home the point that your best clients can teach you more about your business than any consultant ever could. He discussed a system that included conducting a one-hour interactive client survey with your top ideal clients — either individually or via a focus group — perhaps six at a time. In that time, you can teach your top clients what you do (most really don’t have a good, clear idea, he says), and you can learn how best to approach him about referrals in a way that is comfortable for the client. You can also inquire about one product they would like to know more about, which can open doors to further sales — perhaps you didn’t know a top client was thinking about disability insurance or LTCI.

This meeting will help you develop a plan that will enable those top clients to truly be an advocate for you — the meeting will give them the tools they need.

These breakout sessions at industry events are always filled with great ideas that can easily be translated into your practice, which is why it is such a great idea to carve some time out of your busy schedule for professional development by attending a conference or two each year.

More blog entries from Brian Anderson.